About a month ago, I wrote a post explaining why winter camping is the best and listed some of my favorite beers for when you go. In my own words, "In the winter, camping areas are typically less crowded, you can cook heartier meals without too much guilt, and you don't have to worry about it being too hot to fall asleep. Plus, few things beat sitting around a warm fire on a cold night and drinking a few beers with your friends."
A large percentage of our readership is located in NYC, and I'd reckon that a small percentage of them own a car. Just because you traded your car keys for a metro card doesn't mean you can't get to experience winter camping. MTP has you covered; below are the 5 best campgrounds in the NYC are that you can enjoy (winter, spring, summer, or fall) when you don't have a car. Grand Central was used as the starting point just to give you an idea of how you'd get to these sites, but make sure to map it out before you grab your gear and head out.
How to get there from GCT: 4 Train to Wall Street>X1 Bus to Fingerboard Road
Total time: 1 hr 5 min
Fort Wadsworth is one of the oldest military sites in the U.S and also the start of the NYC Marathon. This site has controlled New York Harbor since the Washington Administration. Camp sites are primitive, but there are restrooms and showers. There are only 7 campsites, so you should call the office ahead to reserve a spot. Sites are $30 per night; the fee is on the expensive side, but that gets you a unique view of the Verrazano Bridge, a chance to explore an old military base, and the opportunity to camp at one of the only campsites in the city.
How to get there from GCT: 4 Train to Franklin Ave>2 Train to Flatbush
Total time: 1 hr 15 min
Similarly to Fort Wadsworth, Floyd Bennett Field is one of the only campgrounds in the city and also an old military base. It was once a naval air station, but it is no longer an operational commercial, military or general aviation airfield (the NYPD does have a section for use as a helicopter base, though). There are 32 tent sites and 9 RV sites & the fee is $20 per night. Floyd Bennett Field has fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking, archery, and swimming, so you should definitely also visit in the warmer months after your winter stay.
How to get there from GCT: MNR to Manitou Station>2 mile hike
Total time: 1 hr 12 min + however long it takes you to hike 2 miles
Though Harriman State Park is the furthest spot north on this list, it has some of the best features. The park has lean-tos, cabins, RV spots, and other designated camping areas that you can pay for; or you can hike in and pick a free spot wherever you want to set up camp. The park is adjacent to Bear Mountain and has 31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of hiking trails, 2 beaches, and miles of streams and scenic roads. If you decide to do the trip up via metro north, make sure you check train times both ways because the train only stops at Manitou station on the weekends a hand full of times.
How to get there from GCT: MNR to Croton-Harmon>1.6 mile hike
Total time: 1 hr 16 min + however long it takes you to hike 1.6 miles
Of the three main MNR lines (red, blue, green), the green line has the most scenic route as it follows the Hudson. An hour and 16 minutes is a little long for a train ride, but you will be able to enjoy the beautiful views the whole way up to Croton Point Park, a 508-acre park located on a peninsula on the east shore of the Hudson River. You'll be able to camp, hike, and (when it's nicer out) swim when you get up there. The park is also the site of the oldest wine cellars in New York State.
How to get there from GCT: 7 Train to Woodside>LIRR to Patchogue
Total time: 1 hr 52 min
If you're a beach bum and want to go camping, you should check out Fire Island. Watch Hill, located on Fire Island and across the Great South Bay, has campgrounds, a marina, visitor center, a general store, nature trail, and (during the summer) life guarded beaches. At your campgrounds, you will find running water, grills, picnic tables, showers, and bathrooms. The campgrounds boast 26 sand sites, so make sure you bring extra long stakes for your tents.
Have any great camping spots that fit the criteria but were left off the list? Leave a comment below with it and we will check the sites out.