My wife and I are seasoned campers be it front or backcountry. We wanted to take our 6 month old daughter camping for the first time in mid September and wanted to give Hither Hills a shot (this place is notorious for being booked solid months in advance). We stayed at a local motel for one night then tried for a walk in spot the next day. We were lucky enough to get one. The campground is nothing special as it is basically wide open with little privacy. We were initially concerned bringing such a young child with the potential for crying (she was a trooper!) but it wasn't a problem with all the families around with young kids.
There is beach access, a playground, and a general store for things you may have forgotten (tent stakes for instance). It is close to town, the Montauk brewery, Montauk Point, Camp Hero, etc. The star gazing was great too being so close to NYC.
Just north of the Hamptons and south of the tip of long island Mantauk, lies Hither Hills State Park. This place is a great way to experience both at an affordable lodging rate! The usual free hot showers and plenty of camping options just on the other side of the dunes! Fishing galore with a pond and ocean options.
Not sure where the "hills" part of this park's name comes from, it's pretty flat even by Long Island standards. Lots of lovely easy hikes on site and nearby, including dunes, shorelines, pine barrens. It's near The Hamptons if you want the unique experience of swanky nightlife while camping. Requires stargazing permit or night fishing permit to be out on the beach at night---totally worth it! I've seen people with dune buggies and horses in the area, not sure about the details of that. The whole area is very nice with a very Long Island feel. Just 2 hrs from NYC but feels like it's thousands of miles away. Make sure to catch sunrise over Montauk!
Campground itself is on a lawn pretty close to the beach. There's little privacy for most of the sites, but all our our neighbors were quiet and respectful. Nice and clean, like all NY State Parks. Fees are pretty steep for non-NY residents…since the camps sites don't exactly feel like you are immersed in nature, in you might just want to get a hotel and visit the park during the day. Definitely worth a visit whether just for a few hours of beach hiking, or for a few days of camping!
Hither Hills campground is clean, well run and is just one dune away from an incredible stretch of beach. It's also conveniently located to town, Montauk Point and other nearby parks with great views and some cool hikes. The campground has plenty of clean bathrooms, with flush toilets, sinks and showers. There is also a general store that sells most of the necessities, if you run out of something.
The campground is flat and has little shrubbery, and with the crowds that it attracts the sites have very limited privacy. You don't really get the sense of relaxing in nature when you are at your site. However, in a minute you can walk over the dunes and see all the nature you want! Camping here is a great way to spend some time at an awesome beach.