No car? No problem. You can still go camping at these 5 public transit accessible parks across the country.
This article is brought to you by our friends at Ethnotek, whose Cyclo travel sling bag is a handy, water-resistant travel bag you can use in the city or on the trail. Pack your metro card and your water bottle, and keep your valuables organized on your commute to transit accessible camping.
Many cities across the U.S. provide urban parks and places to hike. In Chattanooga, Tennessee you’ll find Stringer’s Ridge and in Portland, Oregon, you can hike on Mt. Tabor, an extinct volcano in the middle of the city. It’s a little trickier, however, to find campgrounds that are easily accessible from the city — especially if you rely on public transportation.
5 Public Transit Accessible Camping Options
Just because you live in the city, doesn’t mean you don’t love to get outdoors. You just have to find ways to get out there. To lower the barrier between you and all the campground fun, we rounded up camping destinations that are accessible to public transit.
1. Dash Point State Park, WA
An hour and a half by bus from Seattle and Tacoma, Dash Point State Park is a transit accessible camping solution that has gotten rave reviews from The Dyrt Rangers. It’s even closer by car, as Dyrt Ranger Isabelle K. points out— just thirty minutes from the SeaTac airport, in fact. However you get there, you might be surprised by how good the facilities are, especially for a campground so close to a major metro area. It’s been a popular pick for events from races to Questival.
“The campground itself is well appointed with spacious spots, although the sites aren’t huge, they are wooded enough to provide decent privacy,” says Isabelle K. “Our site (#21) was right across from a trailhead that led down to the beach which made for a great sunset watching location, I would definitely recommend reserving a spot on the lower loop by the beach trail.”
Transit Accessible Directions: To get to Dash Point from Seattle, pick up the 179 Bus at the Twin Lakes Park and Ride and get off at 21st Ave SW & SW 320th St. Walk a minute to SW 320th St & 21st Ave SW and pick up the 187 to Hoyt Rd SW & SW 323rd St. From there, walk 30 minutes southeast on Hoyt Rd SW toward SW 323rd St to reach the trailhead. Camp Here
2. Camp Gateway, NY
New York City isn’t exactly synonymous with camping, despite how close it is to the wilds of rural New Jersey and how many green spaces the city boasts. Camp Gateway in Brooklyn is a pleasant surprise in the trendy borough near the marshes of Jamaica Bay. Birding, canoeing, and archery are all popular activities, as well as plenty of trails to walk.
Dyrt Ranger Charmaine R. points out that “you’ll hear crickets and tiny paws walking around while you sleep and of course, the airplanes landing and departing from the nearby airport.” That later detail is one of the few downsides, but there are plenty of amenities to make up for it, including, “24/7 bathroom and showers” and “a camp store that has all the necessary things you need.”
Transit Accessible Directions: pick up the 1 train toward South Ferry at 34 Street and Penn Station. Hop off at Houston Station and walk five minutes to West Houston Street and Washington. From there, take the X7 to Lily Pond Avenue and McClean. Walk northwest on Lily Pond Ave toward McClean Ave., then turn right onto McClean Ave. Next, continue onto Battery Rd, then continue onto Hudson Road. Turn right onto USS North Carolina Road, then turn left onto Range Road. Camp Gateway will be on the left. Camp Here
3. Cherry Creek Campground, CO
If you’re in Colorado without a car, it’s hard to beat Cherry Creek State Park for a little forest bathing. It’s just an hour outside Denver by public transit and set on the lovely Cherry Creek Reservoir in Aurora. If you bring your #dyrtdog, there’s a designated off-leash area of the park and plenty of trails for you both to explore. Plus it remains easy to reach no matter the time of year— which isn’t always the case in farther flung parts of the state.
Cherry Creek is a “good option for camping in the winter because it’s easily accessible,” writes Dyrt Ranger Kelly Z. “Whereas a lot of the mountain camping you can’t get to unless you have 4WD.”
Transit Accessible Directions: To get to the Cherry Creek campground, pick up the H Line at 18th & Stout Station toward Florida. Get off at Dayton Station and find the Village Greens Park Trail. This trail will take you in a loop around the park in either direction and to several different camping spots. Camp Here
4. Indian Point City Campground, MN
Half an hour from Duluth, Minnesota by the No. 2 bus, Indian Point City Campground is an easy, yet picturesque, transit accessible camping target. Perched right on the St. Louis River by the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, this spot is ideal for kayakers and canoers, and even has rentals available. Cyclists will be pleased to know this is an easy beginner bikepacking destination, readily accessible from Duluth even for a novice. Once you get there, you’ll find biking trails to enjoy all along the waterfront.
The Dyrt Camper Stephanie H. notes, “It was a nice campground with mostly private and large sites. Close to a biking trail and close to Duluth. Will definitely be staying here again!”
Once you’re all tuckered out from exploring the river and nearby Lake Superior, The Dyrt Camper Anne G. recommends, “going down to their dock and seeing the moon shimmer on the water one night for sure!”
Transit Accessible Directions: Grab the number 2 bus at the Duluth Transportation Center and ride until you reach Grand Avenue & 75 Avenue West. Head southwest on Grand Avenue, then turn left onto toward S 75th Ave. West. Continue onto Pulaski Street, then turn right. The campground will be on your left. Camp Here
5. Kumeyaay Lake Campground – Mission Trails Park, CA
Super close to sunny San Diego, Kumeyaay Lake Campground in Mission Trails Park is ultra accessible. Explore up and down the Father Junipero Serra Trail that runs along the San Diego River and Hollis Lake. It’s all tucked away about an hour and a half from downtown San Diego by bus. “We stayed for one night and there was plenty of room at our site,” says The Dyrt Camper Pablo T. “The site was great and the showers and bathrooms were a big plus. Reservations were easy to make.”
Like a few of the other transit accessible camping options on this list, Kumeyaay Lake has also been a site for Cotopaxi’s Questival (if you want to go this year, here’s a guide to 2018 Questivals). You can also catch cool programing here about the local flora and fauna and catch shows at the Mission Trails Park amphitheater like Native American flute performances.
Transit Accessible Directions: To get to Kumeyaay Lake Campground, get on the Sycuan Green Line at the Santa Fe Depot. Get off at the Santee Town Center Station and walk to the Santee Town Center. Get on the 834 West Santee. Hop off the bus at Mission Gorge Road & West Hills Parkway. Head west down Mission George until you take a slight right onto Father Junipero Serra Trail. Follow that to the campground, which will be on your right. Camp Here