Is Camping in Central Park Okay?
Central Park is the iconic greenbelt in New York City on everyone’s bucket list, but can you camp there?
With 843 acres of woods and field, there’s plenty of room to camp in the park. So we did some digging to found out if it’s legal or not.
Let’s jump in!
About Central Park
Central Park is located in Manhatten and is one of the cultural centers of the city. The park provides space for the city’s inhabitants to spend time in nature. In addition, it offers various cultural points of interest and educational tours such as the family-oriented Discovery Tour.
Central Park is a popular movie location as well. For example, Hair, When Harry Met Sally, and The Avengers are just a few of the over 300 movies made there. Maybe you’ll get lucky when you’re visiting and come across a set!
Things to Do in the Park
What can you do in Central Park besides camping? Central Park isn’t just a place to take a walk or have a picnic. Its immense size allows for a wide variety of activities. For example, you can take a self-guided tour, rent bocce balls and play a game, or enjoy catch and release fishing.
The Walk Through History and Culture self-guided tour takes visitors to the many statues and historical places.
Guided tours include the Conservatory Garden, various Discovery walks for families, Belvedere Castle, and Seneca Village. Kids and families alike will enjoy the performance artists and storytelling in the park.
Birdwatching is extremely popular at Central Park as it has over 210 bird species throughout the year – some residents and some migratory.
Camping in the Park
It’s clear that people were legally camping in Central Park in the past. However, it was only on certain days in the summer through a lottery.
Sadly, we’ve been unable to find any information on this after 2017, so it doesn’t seem to be an option anymore.
Fortunately, a couple of other New York City parks in the Bronx and Brooklyn offer lottery-based family tent-camping a few days each year. They’ll often even provide a tent and food, so all you have to bring is a sleeping bag and basic supplies.
It seems, though, if you want to go camping near New York City, you’ll need to drive a bit outside of the city.
Campendium shows a 3-star RV park across the river in NJ, about half an hour away from Central Park. However, the best camping seems to be at Nickerson Beach Park, about an hour away on the coast. This is a county park that states it can handle big rigs with full hookups and 50-Amp service.
Central Park is Still a Great Place to Visit
No, it’s not legal to camp in Central Park. But, if you enjoy the outdoors or history, it’ll be difficult to be bored there. Have you been to Central Park? What was your favorite part?
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