Staten Island camping offers the greatest of New York and New Jersey’s great outdoors.
As a city with “island” in its name, Staten Island may not be the island campers expect—but that doesn’t mean you should lower your expectations. Sure, the city is technically part of New York City, but Staten Island provides access to some of the best parks, beaches, and campsites in two states. Opt for a campsite in New Jersey, where both verdant parks and sandy beaches live up to the Garden State alias. Or, head to the Rockaways, where beach camping always comes with a view. Even in Staten Island, however, urban streets are never far from parks, forests, beaches, and nature centers.
Start your camping trip right on the end of the borough. Part of The Gateway National Recreation Area, Great Kills Park is where hiking trails meet beaches and a salt marsh, so campers can meet the campsite of their dreams. See: your Staten Island camping trip will keep you on your toes, whether they’re barefoot or in hiking boots.
Continue your camping adventure with a trip to New Jersey. Not far from Staten Island, Sandy Hook offers some of the best beach camping in the tri-state area. Pitch a tent that fits the whole family, wander along the shore, swim in the waves, or simply stare out at the NYC skyline. From your campground with a view, bad days cease to exist.
Once you’ve had your fill of water, head inland. New Jersey’s Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is a great starting point for all the flora and fauna of your camping dreams. Opt for an idyllic campsite near New Vernon’s wilderness trails and keep your eyes peeled for soaring hawks and even bald eagles. The range of wildlife offers a nice change of pace from NYC’s trademark pigeons.
Gauge your camping timeline by the weather. Summer is best for beach visits and tent camping, when the waves beckon to boogie-boarders and sunbathers alike. However, fall and spring can be just as fun options, so long as you plan accordingly—and perhaps book a campsite with electricity and a roof. The Gateway Recreation Area remains open year-round, so no matter when you visit, you’re certain to glimpse nature in its element.