Free Camping Near NYC?

I have a few friends who live in the New York/New Jersey area who always want to get out and enjoy the outdoors. They often ask me for advice on finding free campsites. I use a lot of BLM land, something they obviously don’t have there. Any suggestions for free or less than $20 a night camping options for tent camping??? Since I am not from the area I never know what to tell them.

Hi Bunny. I live in central NJ. When we first learned about BLM and US forest land out west we were AMAZED (and super jealous)! We’ve tried a few local spots over the past few years but nothing is quite as good. Depending on where your friends live some of these could be too much of a trek because of horrendous summer weekend traffic. It’s cheaper for state residents at their own state parks so that could help with the selection. So… a few suggestions w/ links to theDyrt page (I think I’ve reviewed them all there):

FYI, all NJ run properties are no alcohol.

In terms of NY, I’m originally from upstate NY and there’s lots of beauty up there… (might be too far?)

  • Ithaca, NY area (~4 hrs from NYC) - lots of good camping and really nice local area too - Buttermilk Falls State Park OR Robert H. Treman State Park OR Taughannock Falls State Park
  • Watkins Glen State Park - very nice!
  • overall the Catskill and Adirondack areas have good hiking and cute towns

And then there’s New Hampshire to Vermont to Maine. NH being the closest, one of our favorite parks:

Hope it helps and happy to answer any specific quesitons if I can.


great list to work from!!! I will make sure to share some of these ideas with my friends… I know that once things start moving around again they will be interested in having some recommendations!!!