The best camping near Jamestown, New York.
With camping and lakes galore, Jamestown lets you explore the best of western New York.
Located near the southeastern end of Chautauqua Lake, Jamestown is known for its connection to comedy—the hometown of Lucille Ball is now home to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and the National Comedy Center, and has a vibrant performing arts scene. It’s also close to several lakes and one of the only old growth forests in New York, along with easy access toRead more...
Located near the southeastern end of Chautauqua Lake, Jamestown is known for its connection to comedy—the hometown of Lucille Ball is now home to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and the National Comedy Center, and has a vibrant performing arts scene. It’s also close to several lakes and one of the only old growth forests in New York, along with easy access to outdoor recreational opportunities year-round. There are also plenty of options for campers, from lakeside tent and RV sites to rustic cabins and luxurious cottages in the woods.
Where to Go
Stretching for 17 miles, Chautauqua lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing, paddling, and swimming. Several quaint towns can be found around the lake, including Chautauqua, home of the Chautauqua Institution, and Bemus Point, home to Midway State Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country. Camping locations range from lakeside to secluded woods, and include sites for tents, RVs, cabins and cottages, and amenities like hookups, picnic areas, beaches, pools, and boat rentals.
This spot is less than an hour away from Jamestown and offers ways to enjoy the water and Lake Erie wine country. Stay at Lake Erie State Park, with more than 100 rustic tent and electric campsites and cabins overlooking Lake Erie, or nearby Evangola State Park. Or follow the shoreline into Pennsylvania and Ohio, where camping options include Geneva State Park Lake and numerous private campgrounds that let you stay right along the lakeshore.
Allegany State Park and Allegheny National Forest
Head east to explore Allegany State Park, a rare old growth forest in New York, with 65,000 acres of rugged terrain ideal for outdoor adventures, hundreds of campsites, plus winterized cabins and cottages that let you stay year-round. Or head south to Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, which offers dispersed backcountry sites, developed campgrounds for tents and RVs, boat-in campgrounds around Allegheny Reservoir, and cabins, plus hundreds of miles of trails and wilderness.
Niagara Falls and Buffalo
Less than two hours away, Niagara Falls is a dazzling natural wonder. A visit to Niagara Falls State Park lets you experience the power of the falls up close, including the Cave of the Winds and riding the Maid of the Mist. Nearby Four Mile Creek State Park offers a campground full of amenities. There are also several private campgrounds near the falls, with features like cabins, swimming pools, and wifi. Or see the falls from the Canadian side and camp in Ontario. For urban adventures, head into nearby Buffalo.
When to Go
Spring and summer are popular times to visit, and feature the best weather. The lakes in the region are a big draw over the summer, especially on the weekends. The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and America’s Grape Country Wine Festival both take place every August. Visit in the fall to see dazzling fall foliage. Winter is a popular time for winter activities such as downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.
Know Before You Go
- Although Jamestown has an airport, the closest ones for commercial flights can be found in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York. You will need transportation to get around the region.
- Most New York state parks require advance reservations to camp. It’s best to plan ahead, especially during peak season.
- Bring water shoes to swim in Chautauqua Lake, as sharp mussel shells can be found in certain swimming areas.
- Ticks can be an issue in the region, especially in late spring and early fall.
- Bring your passport if you want to cross into the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.