Best Places to Go Camping on Long Island with Kids

Hither Hills State Park campground offers several miles of oceanfront for camping in Montauk.
Hither Hills State Park campground offers several miles of oceanfront for camping in Montauk.

For generations, families have bonded over camping. On Long Island, where campgrounds offer oceanside views, hiking trails, historic landmarks, and lighthouses, happy campers can enjoy roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, making shadow animals on tent walls, chasing after fireflies, and otherwise celebrating nature.

We've compiled a list of the best camping destinations in Nassau and Suffolk counties just waiting to host you and your family. Some are located in our favorite state parks, while others are county parks, where residency restrictions might apply. Still, more camping spots are private or corporately run and open to all. Regardless, camping is an especially popular Long Island pastime from May to October, so book soon if want to go camping this season.

Find more great outdoor fun in our Guide to Playgrounds and Parks on Long Island, and find more ways to get out of town in our Long Island Getaway Guide.

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Top Spots for Camping in Nassau County

1. Battle Row Campground – Old Bethpage

Open year-round
A camping trip at Battle Row is set amid 44 acres of dense woods and features 64 campsites ranging in length from 40-45 feet. A comfort station is equipped with restrooms and private showers. The campground also offers swings, a recreational field, a softball field, and a rally field for club group camping, along with both tent and overflow campsites.

2. Nickerson Beach Park Campground – Lido Beach

Open April through early November
Nickerson Beach Park totals more than 121 acres and offers camping surrounded by protected beach property. The campground features 74 RV sites. It also offers admission to the swimming pool, picnic area, skate park, concession stand, and grills. Sewer and electric hook-ups are available.

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Suffolk County Parks offers plenty of options for a family camping trip
There are many options for family camping at Suffolk County Parks Campgrounds. Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County Parks Department

Where to Go Camping in Western Suffolk County

Suffolk County campgrounds are open with restrictions. Only one car may be parked at a campsite; a second may be parked in the main lot. One family is allowed per campsite. Campers must practice social distancing and wear a facial covering when unable to keep space. Masks and gloves are required when using the dump station.

3. Blydenburgh County Park – Smithtown

Open April through early November
Blydenburgh is a 600-plus-acre park of forests and meadows that lies along the headwaters of the Nissequogue River. At this camping spot, find 50 campsites for tents and trailers with shower and dump facilities. There is fishing and rowing on Stump Pond, a historic homestead and water mill to explore, a playground, and an extensive trail system that links up with trails in the neighboring Caleb Smith State Park Preserve.

4. Cathedral Pines County Park – Middle Island

Open year-round
Cathedral Pines is a 320-acre camping site situated along the headwaters of the Carmans River and adjacent to Prosser Pines Nature Preserve. Facilities include campsites for individuals, youth groups, clubs (10 or more units), and families, including 10 camping sites with water and electric hookups. Other entertainment includes a playground, hiking, mountain biking, bridle paths, and picnicking.

RELATED: The Best Children's Playgrounds on Long Island

Go camping at Fire Island's Watch Hill campground
Pitch a tent near the seashore at Fire Island's Watch Hill campground. Photo courtesy of Kevin Farley

5. Watch Hill Marina and Campground – Fire Island

Open mid-May through early-October
Watch Hill Marina and Campground has 22 sand sites, one universally accessible site on decking, and four glamping sites, all nestled among the dunes right by the beach. Each has water, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and many even have electrical hookups. There is a National Park Service Visitors Center with programs every day for kids and families. There is also a restaurant and tiki bar. Dogs are allowed on leashes.

6. Smith Point County Park Campground – Shirley

Open April through mid-November
Smith Point’s campground offers more than 270 trailer sites and features a playground, fireplaces, grills, and a camp store. A beach restaurant offers meals, and a protected beach area is featured. Outer-beach camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

7. Southaven County Park – Brookhaven

Open April through mid-November
The Carmans River flows through this park. Southaven offers fishing, row boating, horseback riding trails, camping for tents and trailers, and picnic areas accommodating 1,000 people. On the second and fourth Sundays of the summer months, attend a Long Island Live Steamers open house and ride around eight acres of tracks on miniature model steam trains.

RELATED: Gorgeous Glamping Near NYC for Your Next Family Getaway

Wildwood State Park is home to a beautiful, sandy camping spot
Wildwood State Park offers a host of family activities from April to October. Photo by Dennis Sitarevich/CC BY-ND 2.0

Top Camping on Long Island's North Fork

8. Wildwood State Park Campground – Wading River

Open late April through late-October
Wildwood State Park campground has two miles of sandy beach for swimming on Long Island Sound. It features full electric capabilities, showers, restrooms, grills, and water/sewer hookups, as well as shaded camping plots and picnic areas. The park also recently debuted several cottages available for rent that feature living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. Movies are shown in July and August, and there is line or square dancing once a week in the evenings. Recreation options include fishing, hiking, sand volleyball, and a field for playing baseball or softball.

9. Eastern Long Island Kampground – Greenport

Open late April through October
Sites are available for tents, trailers, motor homes, and pop-ups. The facilities include a swimming pool, general store, laundry, playground, and a game room. There are planned supervised activities and special events such as "Christmas in July" and a "Maritime Festival" in September. A limited number of safari-style tents and yurts are available for visitors who prefer a glamping experience.

10. Indian Island County Park – Riverhead

Open year-round
Indian Island County Park is a 275-acre park located at the estuarine mouth of the Peconic River. Restrooms and showers are available for campers. The park offers picnic tables, grills, benches, and views of a glistening Flanders Bay. There are 100 tent and trailer campsites. Recreational options include fishing, hiking trails, and a bike hostel. Dogs must be leashed. The camp store and playground are closed for the 2022 season. 

11. McCann Campground – Greenport

Open year-round
This is a small, quiet, and secluded camping destination that accommodates tents, trailers, pop-ups, motor homes, and camping vans. The campground also offers water and electricity. The six acres of property offer restrooms, showers, a dump station, and Wi-Fi. Contained fires and house pets are permitted.

RELATED: 100 Things to Do with LI Kids Before They Grow Up

Enjoy Montauk County Park at sunset durng your camping trip on Long Island
Enjoy sunset camping on the beach at Montauk County Park. Photo by Jonathan A. Neary

Where to Go Camping in the Hamptons and South Fork

12. Montauk County Park – Montauk

Open April through mid-November
Montauk County Park offers outer-beach access and outer-beach camping for self-contained trailers with a permit. It also offers saltwater and freshwater fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. Nearby, Deep Hollow Ranch provides horseback rides to the beach for park visitors.

13. Cedar Point County Park – East Hampton

Open April through early-November
The 607-acre park, located on a peninsula just outside of historic Sag Harbor, has a shady forest, magnificent views of Gardiners Bay, and almost a mile of sandy beach. It also has a freshwater lake with canoe rentals, a playground, and walking trails. The general store and snack bar on-site offer free Saturday-night family movies, and free recreational equipment.

14. Cupsogue Beach County Park – Westhampton Beach

Open April through mid-November
Cupsogue Beach County Park, a barrier beach spanning 296 acres, offers outer-beach camping for self-contained campers. There is a lifeguard on duty, a snack bar, restrooms, a first-aid center, a shower, and changing rooms. Pets are allowed, but dogs must be leashed.

15. Hither Hills State Park Campground – Montauk

Open late April through early-November
Hither Hills features two miles of ocean beachfront, a 40-acre freshwater lake to fish, and a playground. The campground has showers, restrooms, a dump station, and a general store. Hither Hills has a resort feel with movie nights, sandcastle contests, arts and crafts, and swimming.

16. Sears Bellows County Park – Hampton Bays

Open April through mid-November
This 979-acre park offers tent and trailer camping, as well as showers, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding (with a permit). Rowboat rentals are offered on freshwater Bellows Pond. The park also has a playground, abundant picnic tables, and barbecue grills.

17. Shinnecock East County Park – Southampton

Open April through mid-November
This rugged, undeveloped barrier beach park includes ocean and bay beach recreation areas. The adjoining Shinnecock Inlet is known for its striped bass fishing. The park offers 100 campsites for outer-beach camping in self-contained vehicles.

This article was originally posted in 2017.

Unless noted, photos are courtesy of the parks.

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