7 Best New York Beach Campgrounds
If you’re like most people, when someone says New York, your mind fills with images of soaring skyscrapers and bustling city sidewalks. But New York’s beaches are some of the Northeast’s best-kept secrets. Especially for campers!
Join us as we swap pavement for sand and the honking of horns for the soothing crash of the waves at New York’s seven best beaches with camping.
Let’s dive in!
What’s Special About New York Beaches?
Beaches in New York may not have Florida or California’s star power, but they’re not to be missed! The state’s unique location allows access to several Great Lakes beaches, numerous inland lakes, the Long Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean.
New York beaches are also among the most accessible due to the enormous concentration of people in the New York metro area. This is great for beach lovers who can’t or don’t want to travel far from home.
New York beaches are also a very affordable place to visit and stay. Day use fees are modest and can be eliminated with an $80 “Empire Pass” card. In-state residents can pay less than $20 per night for campgrounds, some located right on the water!
The 7 Best Beaches To Camp On In New York
We rounded up our seven favorite beaches in New York for your next camping trip. They range from the Great Lakes of western New York to nearly the easternmost point of Long Island. No matter what kind of camping you enjoy, you’ll find a campground for you on this list.
#1 – Fair Haven Beach State Park
Address: 14985 State Park Road, Fair Haven, NY 13064
About Fair Haven Beach State Park: While most may think of oceans first, lake beaches can offer some of the most fun and tranquil waterfront experiences. Especially when it’s a Great Lake! Fair Haven Beach State Park is located in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region, on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario.
You’ll enjoy more than a quarter-mile of sandy beach, including a swim area and a lifeguard. Fair Haven offers a diving channel, boat launches and rentals, and various picnic and event areas. You can even play golf at an adjacent 18-hole course or hunt deer and waterfowl in certain areas of the park!
Fair Haven is also relatively affordable. You’ll pay just $9 per vehicle to enter and between $18 and $33 each night for camping. Cottages and cabins are also available for more premium prices. Camping is available between early April and mid-October. Fewer than 50 of the nearly 200 sites have electricity available. Campground amenities include restrooms with showers and a camp store.
New York Beach Rating: 7/10. You’ll enjoy the beautiful scenery and lots of opportunities to get out on the water or relax on the beach. However, don’t come expecting a ton of amenities if you’ll be camping.
#2 – Hither Hills State Park
Address: 164 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954
About Hither Hills State Park: Drive nearly to the eastern tip of Long Island, and you’ll find the little-known but much-loved Hither Hills State Park. Located just over 120 miles from Manhattan, you’ll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city when you walk the two miles of sandy beach or the unique “walking dunes” of Napeague Harbor.
The park is also well-suited for biking, horse riding, boating, and fishing. During the peak summer season, you’ll also be able to take advantage of programs like movies, music, theater, or educational events. A day at the beach and a bike ride followed by a free movie night or magic show can help families on a budget make the most of their vacation time.
Campsites here start at $31 per night. That’s not bad, considering some are essentially oceanfront! You’ll enjoy amenities, including bathrooms with showers, a convenience store, and an RV dump station. Unfortunately, you’ll have to leave your four-legged friends at home, as the park is not pet-friendly. Campgrounds open for the season between mid-April and early May and close in late October to mid-November.
New York Beach Rating: 9/10. There’s so much to do at Hither Hills that you’ll be planning your next trip even before you leave. If you want to make sure there’s something for every member of your traveling party, this may be your park.
#3 – Evangola State Park
Address: 10191 Old Lake Shore Road, Irving, NY 14081
About Evangola State Park: Another Great Lakes beach, Evangola State Park, is located on Lake Erie’s shore in western New York. The primary attractions here are the beautiful beach and unique Angola shale cliffs.
You’ll also have access to various other standard state park amenities like sports fields and picnic areas. Hunting is additionally available at the park. Make sure to check out the calendar of park events, including the yearly Tomato Festival! Evangola is also a stopover for thousands of migrating Monarch butterflies that pass through the area every September.
Camping at Evangola State Park offers a truly unique experience among New York beaches – yurts! A half dozen of these large, wood-framed tent-like structures are available to reserve, each of which comes with six cots. This may be more glamping than camping, as the yurts include wood floors, windows, a refrigerator, and a microwave. These cost between $84 and $90 a night, with discounts for weekly rentals.
Eighty standard campsites are also available, ranging in price from $15 to $32 per night. These sites have access to a water fill station, bathrooms with showers, and a dump station. Camping season runs between May and October.
New York Beach Rating: 8/10. Distinctive natural scenery and unique camping options make this part stand out among other beaches in New York.
#4 – Southwick Beach State Park
Address: 8119 Southwicks Pl, Henderson, NY 13650
About Southwick Beach State Park: Southwick Beach State Park is another of the rare and beautiful sandy beaches located on Lake Ontario in northern New York. At one time, Southwick Beach boasted a genuine amusement park, complete with a roller coaster and merry-go-round.
These days, swimming and lounging on this long stretch of sand are the primary attractions during the summer months. Visitors can also fish, use various sports fields, and hike through the adjacent Lakeview Wildlife Management Area. You’ll also be able to grab a bite to eat at the park’s snack bar.
Camping here can be a fantastic experience. Some of the park’s campsites are essentially waterfront. You’ll be able to take in unbelievable lake views for between $18 and $35 a night, a genuine bargain when you consider the price of other waterfront camping. Those just coming for the day will need to pay an $8 fee per car to enter. As with many state parks, you’ll have access to bathrooms with showers as well as an RV dump station. You can camp at the park between mid-May and mid-October.
New York Beach Rating: 8/10. Cool history, great beaches and nature, and cheap waterfront camping are a recipe for a great beach campground experience.
#5 – Moffitt Beach Campground
Address: 217 Page St, Lake Pleasant, NY 12108
About Moffitt Beach Campground: Moffitt Beach Campground may be located on the smallest body of water on our list, but don’t let that fool you. There are still great times to be had at this underrated gem on Lake Sacandaga’s shores in the Adirondacks.
The dense woods creep right up to the edge of the lake, providing a unique chance to explore two environments in one. Relax on the beach, swim in the lifeguard-protected waters, or even launch your boat for a day on the lake. However, you’ll need to bring your own food and drink since none are sold in the park.
Moffit Beach offers a massive campground with more than 200 sites spread across a wide lakefront area and forest. A significant number of those have waterfront views, and most others are only a short walk away. Campers also have access to bathrooms with showers and an RV dump station but no other amenities. Sites start at $22 per night, and camping is allowed between late May and early October.
New York Beach Rating: 7/10. Beautiful mountain views and a good beach, but the relative lack of amenities may scare off some.
#6 – Wildwood State Park
Address: 790 Hulse Landing Rd, Wading River, NY 11792
About Wildwood State Park: You’ll find this slice of beachfront heaven less than 75 miles from New York City on Long Island Sound. This unique two-mile beach sits against high hills that provide fantastic views across the water toward Connecticut.
After a morning swimming or fishing, check out the park’s 12 miles of hiking trails, sports fields, or relax at the picnic area and grill up some lunch. Summertime visitors can also take advantage of park programs like weekly movies and square or line dancing events.
RV campers will love this park, as it has 80 full-hookup sites (with 30-amp electric) in addition to nearly 250 tent sites. You’ll have access to two bathrooms with showers and a camp store for supplies, as well as an RV dump station. Campsites run between $18 and $39 per night. You can also rent one of ten rustic-style cabins for between $175 and $225 a night, with discounts for weekly rentals.
New York Beach Rating: 9/10. The breathtaking views, top-notch state park amenities, and wide variety of activities help make this one of the top beaches in New York’s state park system.
#7 – Ausable Point State Campground
Address: 3346 Lakeshore Drive, Peru, NY 12972
About Ausable Point State Campground: Way up north, you’ll find Lake Champlain straddling New York and Vermont’s border. This pristine setting also offers access to nearby Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area and the Ausable River, perfect for nature lovers, hikers, and boaters.
In addition to allowing watercraft of all types, the waters at Ausable Point are well known for their great wind- and kite-surfing. The lake is a fisher’s dream as well. The park’s waters are home to a wide variety of fish, including northern pike, bass, trout, and even salmon. You’ll also have access to standard park amenities like sports fields and picnic shelters.
Ausable Point offers both lakefront and riverfront options, allowing you to pick the vibe that most suits you and your fellow travelers. More than 115 sites are available, with amenities like bathrooms with showers and an RV dump station. You’ll need to bring your own food as none is sold in the park, but a water filling station is there if you need it. The campground is open between late May and mid-October, and sites start at $22 per night.
New York Beach Rating: 8/10. Breathtaking views in a region not often thought of for waterfront camping. A perfect choice for boaters, wind-surfers, or fishers!
New York Beaches Rival Southern Coasts
You don’t need to limit your beach trips to the south or west coast. New York offers some of the nation’s best beaches in some extremely accessible locations. Whether you’re just looking for a day in the sun or a weeklong camping trip, you’ll find something perfect for you and your crew.
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