Can you boondock in New York?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “Can you boondock in New York?” We will discuss the best boondocking sites in New York, along with their activities and landscape. We will also talk about the best places for free boondocking in New York. At the end of this post, you will get to know some of the best boondocking spots in the city.

Can you boondock in New York?

Yes, you can boondock in New York. Several areas within the state allow boondocking. Note that boondocking is allowed only at the designated spots. Several reserved forests allow boondocking, but a few rules must be followed. Apart from the busy streets and stunning buildings, there are places to boondock in New York.

New York has beautiful forest areas with nature trails and incredible wildlife. Plenty of pristine lakes and landscapes make it one of the best destinations for motorhome enthusiasts. Yet, there are plenty of challenges when it comes to boondocking in New York. It is also important to note that boondocking in wildlife management areas is prohibited.

Best boondocking sites in New York

There are plenty of boondocking sites in New York that not many people are aware of. Some of these sites are located towards the north of the city, while some are down south. Overall, there are plenty of options for boondocking in New York. Here are some of the best sites described below.

North Harmony State Forest

  • The North Harmony State Forest is located towards the southwest of New York and has five boondocking sites. The State Forest also provides free camping and various outdoor activities, including snowshoeing, hunting, hiking, etc. The North Harmony State Forest has 2,561 acres of land and designated boondocking areas.
  • Some boondocking areas are the Jasper Park area, Snake Forest Road, and the Wiltsie Marsh area. The North Harmony State Forest is known for their beautiful camping spots for motorhome enthusiasts.

East Otto Forest Campground

  • The East Otto Forest Campground is perfect for those who love hunting. It has more than 1,350 acres of land, and 12 designated places for pitching tents and camping in motorhomes. There is no need to worry about boondocking since there are multiple ponds around this beautiful park.
  • When it comes to wildlife, the East Otto Forest Campground is one of the best places to consider. You also discover plenty of trails and other farm roads along this beautiful forest campground.

Chautauqua Gorge State Forest

  • The Chautauqua George State Forest is another beautiful New York place for boondocking. This is where you find hundreds of RV and motorhome enthusiasts camping throughout the year. With nearly 550 acres of land, the Chautauqua Gorge State Forest is the perfect place for hiking and fishing.
  • There are beautiful trails, outhouses, picnic tables, and fire rings to enjoy a campfire at night. There are eight designated primitive campsites at this beautiful spot.

Sugar Hill Fire Tower

  • Sugar Hill Fire Tower in New York is known for boondocking and is an excellent place to stay connected with nature. It is famous for the 75-foot fire tower, one of those well-known camping spots in New York. There is a beautiful trail system with nine acres of camping sites.
  • This is the largest state forest campground that is available throughout the year. However, it works on a first-come-first-serve basis. There are enough restrooms, potable water, and horse-mounting spots.

Little Rock City

  • Little Rock City is also a popular campsite in New York with plenty of mountain bike trails. There are unique rock formations with tunnels, caves, and passageways. Camping in this place differs from other sites due to the rocky terrain. Various campsites are free and are spread across 2,905 acres.
  • If you are looking for an adventurous weekend getaway, this is the perfect place to be. Little Rock City is undoubtedly a fantastic camp place for boondocking.

Rockwood State Forest Campsite

  • The Rockwood State Forest Campsite is one of the other top places for camping in central New York. This place is right near Rockwood Village, with beautiful lakes, long trails, and amazing woods. The 856-acre property is one of the top places for boondocking in New York City.
  • If you love nature and wildlife, this is one of the best places to visit. Several recreational outdoor activities include fishing, horseback riding, and hunting.

Moose River Woodhull State Forest

  • The Moose River Woodhull State Forest, or the Old Forge, has 100 campsites in this 3,500-acre location. The uniqueness of these campsites is that they are all secluded from each other. 
  • You can also drive around to the campsite if you are not interested in hiking. There are plenty of long trailers and fantastic woodlands that surround these campsites.
  • This place is one of the best for boondocking, and it is perfect for those who want to unwind and stay away from the busy city.

Best places for free boondocking in New York

The northern part of New York has some of the best places and fantastic campsites just right for boondocking. The best part is that these places are free to camp. Here are some of the best options.

Cherry Plain State

  • With 175 acres of property, the Cherry Plain State is situated in the woodlands of Taconic Valley. This beautiful park has hiking trails, gorgeous mountain views, and woods. 
  • Once again, this is an amazing spot for those who love nature and love camping away from the city. This place is free, and boondocking here is sure to be adventurous.

Letchworth State Park

  • Letchworth State Park is another amazing place surrounded by cliffs and beautiful waterfalls. Camping here is easy as you camp on the lakeshore or in the gorge. The weather is beautiful, and the views are stunning. Camping in this beautiful park will surely give you memories worth a lifetime.

Saranac Lake Islands

  • The Saranac Lake Islands are one of the best places to visit during summer. This is where you get to go boating, fishing, and boondocking. There is plenty of access to water and no problem with boondocking. 
  • There are also primitive campsites that are scattered around this beautiful place. Various trails are available along this beautiful place.

The North-South Lake

  • For those who want a combination of different terrains, the North-South Lake will give you a great combination. This place has 1,100 acres of land and a combination of lakes, beaches, and forests. It is a perfect destination for boondocking, boating, sunbathing, fishing, etc. There are two swimming beaches and two picnic areas in this beautiful place.

Schodack Island State Park

  • For those who love camping towards the eastern part of the state. The Schodack Island State Park is one of the top places on the list. This is a perfect place for a family getaway; plenty of hiking trails exist. There are bird conservation areas that make it perfect for bird enthusiasts.

Heatherstone Point Campground

  • Heatherstone Point Campground is in a beautiful cove, a unique place to enjoy camping and boondocking. There are primitive camping spots, and you can use the electricity, showers, and bathrooms for those who do not want to boondock. Heatherstone Point Campground has plenty of hiking trails in the area.


In this blog post, we have answered the question: “Can you boondock in New York?” We have discussed the best boondocking sites in New York, along with their activities and landscape. We have also talked about the best places for free boondocking in New York. Have you camped at these places before? Leave us a comment below and let us know.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!