From dramatic gorges hiding one waterfall after another to coastal camping along the Chesapeake Bay, the Mid-Atlantic region has some hidden gems to explore — whether you want to hike all day or just chill at camp. For example, you could spend an afternoon floating downstream at Shenandoah River State Park. How about a little rock climbing at Grayson Highlands State Park as wild horses traipse about? Or maybe some wine tasting in the Finger Lakes region during your stay at Watkins Glen? And, if you’re really brave, you could take a hot air balloon ride over the “Grand Canyon of the East” while camping at Letchworth State Park. With so many places to go and things to do, this list of The Dyrt campers’ favorites is a good place to begin.

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1. Letchworth State Park — New York

Iron bridge stretching over a rocky canyon with a waterfall down below surrounded by forests beginning to turn color in the autumn.

Image from The Dyrt camper Ginney M.

For the top campsite in the Mid-Atlantic region, The Dyrt campers chose the “Grand Canyon of the East,” otherwise known as the iconic Letchworth State Park. Located in western New York, this river canyon is best known for its cascading waterfalls. Pitch a tent or park your RV and then enjoy 66 miles of hiking trails, rivers to paddle in and the opportunity to glide down the gorge in a hot air balloon. In the winter, enjoy snowshoeing and cross country ski routes.
Even if you’re not big into physical activity, you can always relax by the pool, visit the onsite museum or head to the nature center.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $24-26
  • Number of sites: 270
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

2. Grayson Highlands State Park — Virginia

Backpackers hiking the rocky trails of Grayson Highlands surrounded by lush rolling hills.

Image from The Dyrt camper Leah W.

Camp almost a mile above sea level in the alpine wonder known as Grayson Highlands State Park. This unique area sits on the southern border of Virginia and provides year-round access to the Appalachian Trail. Grayson Highlands is known for its unique, high-elevation meadows, boulder fields perfect for rock climbing and, of course, wild horses that roam in this area.
While Grayson Highlands State Park is heavily trafficked, be aware that it is accessed by winding mountain roads that can be tough for larger RVs. However, The Dyrt camper Robyn W. says it’s worth the ride: “If you are fearless and willing to take your RV up a beautiful small winding road into the mountains this is the place for you.”

Campground Details:

  • Price: $25-35
  • Number of sites: 70
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

3. Watkins Glen State Park — New York

River rushing through a canyon in Watkins Glen State Park in New York.

Image from The Dyrt camper Ali V.

Known as the gem of the Finger Lakes state parks system, it’s no surprise Watkins Glen boasts a top-rated campground with its 19 nearby waterfalls. Head to this wooded wonderland situated just below Seneca Lake for cascading falls, gorge hikes and a short trip into town for some wine tasting.

This campground is known for its Olympic-size pool, clean facilities and access to the rim trails. The Dyrt’s campers recommend visiting on weekdays or in the spring and fall to avoid the crowds. It gets super busy during peak season!

Campground Details:

  • Price: $18
  • Number of sites: 279
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

4. North-South Lake Campground — New York

Rock sided fire pit and picnic table at campsite overlooking North-South Lake.

Image from The Dyrt camper Yuchen

Head to North-South Lake Campground to bask in lakeside views and hike in the Catskill Mountains. This gorgeous piece of land is also known as the most popular state campground in the Catskills. It offers plenty of nearby hiking and swimming options, but the most popular attraction by far is the two-stage Kaaterskill Falls, located a mile away from camp.

This campground can get very crowded during peak season. The Dyrt campers recommend booking in advance and reserving at Loop 6 for lakeside views. The Dyrt camper Kyle C. suggests visiting in autumn for “incredibly scenic views during the fall when the leaves change colors.”

Campground Details:

  • Price: $22
  • Number of sites: 219
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

5. Cook Forest State Park — Pennsylvania

Young boy paddling along the river in the Cook State Forest in a canoe.

Image from The Dyrt camper Brannon M.

Looking for a relaxing family getaway? Our campers recommend this forested campground in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. Pitch a tent, park your RV or cozy up in one of their cabins. Enjoy nearby hiking trails, a flowing river for boating and tubing and a pond for fishing. This is a great spot for a weekend away in the summer. The Dyrt camper Danielle S. does a great job setting the scene: “Lush hardwood forest; plenty of shade for summer hikes.”

Note that if you plan to bring your dog, you must camp in the allocated dog loop.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $26-35
  • Number of sites: 210
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes (dogs on the dog loop)

6. Big Meadows Campground — Virginia

Brown and white tent nestled in forested campsite surrounded by trees and bushes.

Image from The Dyrt camper Tiffany K.

Camp in the center of Shenandoah National Park at Big Meadows Campground, which offers hiking trails, nearby lodges for dining and the occasional black bear sighting. There’ll be no shortage of deer, either. As The Dyrt camper Gloria J. wrote in her review, “Big Meadows campground is so conveniently located to the visitor’s center and many local trails.”

This campground has laundry, showers and the nearby lodge, but does not offer hookups.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $30-75
  • Number of sites: 201
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

7. Shenandoah River State Park — Virginia

Green tent set up on gravel platform in forested campsite.

Image from The Dyrt camper Tara S.

Looking for an off-the-beaten-path section of the Shenandoah River? Head an hour north of the Shenandoah National Park for a more intimate camping experience filled with riverside views. This park offers access to a variety of activities. As The Dyrt camper Gary G. writes, “There are hiking trails, biking trails, horse trails, and places to put in and take out of the Shenandoah River. The river is shallow, but provides enough water for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. Wading is allowed but there is no formal swim area.”

This campground usually has a few campsites open even if you arrive late, but campers recommend arriving early if you plan to camp in a primitive site. The campground also offers yurts and cabins for those looking to glamp.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $25-46
  • Number of sites: 43
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

8. Ricketts Glen State Park — Pennsylvania

Cascading waterfalls caught in motion at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Image from The Dyrt camper Heather T.

Sitting on a peninsula in Lake Jean, the campground at Ricketts Glen State Park is the perfect northeast Pennsylvania getaway. For those looking for a summer camping experience, Ricketts Glen offers shady forested campsites, a swimming beach and refreshing waterfall hikes.

Just about every camper on The Dyrt recommends doing the Falls Trail and camper Emily M. recommends hiking it early in the day before the crowds form.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $15-20
  • Number of sites: 120
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

9. Sun Outdoors Cape Charles — Virginia

Sunset over the Cape Charles pier at Sun Outdoors campsite in Virginia.

Image from The Dyrt camper Teresa C.

This top-rated coastal campsite sits along 300 acres of the Chesapeake Bay. Sun Outdoors Cape Charles is the perfect vacation destination with beaches, a pier, mini golf and a pool. This spot at the Eastern Shore of Virginia offers campsites with coastal views of some iconic sunsets!

While this is the perfect spot for some family fun, campers do mention it is on the noisier side due to kids and crowds.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35-200
  • Number of sites: 700
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

10. Branches of Niagara Campground — New York

Lagoon pool surrounded by cabins and lawn chairs at Branches of Niagara Campground.

Image from The Dyrt camper Rob L.

This spacious campground between Niagara Falls and Buffalo has something for everyone, including log cabin rentals, yurts, RV sites and tent campsites. There are also plenty of activities to keep the family entertained — everything from zip lining to swimming to wildlife shows.

If you’re passing through in October, make sure you check out their Pumpkin Harvest Weekends. Book a stay to enjoy bonfires, cider and donuts, wagon rides, a pumpkin patch and more!

Campground Details:

  • Price: $77
  • Number of sites: 80
  • RV sites: yes
  • Fires allowed: yes
  • Pets allowed: yes

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