Adirondack State Park is situated just a few hours north of New York City and is considered New York’s largest playground.
It is the most spacious, singular, publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. In fact, the Adirondack Mountains was one of the first locations to obtain the coveted Forever Wild status in America.
Suffice it to say that a visit to the Adirondacks is right up there on the bucket list for most outdoor adventure lovers.
This nature lover’s paradise consists of over 3,000 lakes, 2,000 miles of hiking trails, and 1,200 miles of river, with plenty of camping opportunities, locations, and destinations, which brings us to the purpose of this information below: figuring out which are the best camping sites in the Adirondacks.
Rules and Regulations in Adirondack State Park
Before looking at specific campgrounds, sites, and the many features offered within the broad scope of the park, it’s helpful to understand the rules, regulations, and code of conduct to know and practice within Adirondack State Park itself. There are seven primary rules for conducting yourself within the park under the Leave No Trace code of ethics:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Understand and familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of New York State public land. Check the weather report and dress accordingly. Check the Backcountry information for conditions in the Adirondacks.
2. Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces: When traversing trails, wear proper footwear, walk in single file, stay on the trail, understand that camping is prohibited within 150 ft of any spring, trail, road, pond, stream or bodies of water without the designated “camp here” disk. Generally, lean-tos are first come, first serve, and you will likely have to share with other campers.
3.) Dispose of Waste: Carry out what you carry in, even if it’s human waste, dog waste, or something as innocuous as orange peels or apple cores. Use the bathroom provided, or if there isn’t one provided, make sure to move at least 150 ft away from water or campsites and then dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep, then cover your waste. Don’t wash yourself, dishes, or clothing with soap within 150 feet of water.
4.) Leave What You Find: Don’t stack rocks, don’t pick leaves or wildflowers to take home, don’t leave painted rocks, and do not carve into rocks, lean-tos, or trees. Remember the adage, “Take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints.”
5.) Minimize Campfires, or Avoid Them if Possible: Be sure to look for “no fire” markings and know you can’t build fires near them. Emergency fires only are permitted above 4,000 feet in the Adirondacks. Make sure you thoroughly and completely extinguish your campfire before leaving the site. When in a permitted area for fire, use the established mound or fire ring only.
6.) Respect Wildlife: Keep pets under control and away from park wildlife. Understand the rules for bringing your dog to the Adirondacks by reading the 10 Leave No Trace Tips for Dog Owners. Observe wildlife from a safe distance and never chase, approach, or feed animals. Follow NYSDEC rules to avoid wildlife mating and nesting sites and look for posted notices.
7.) Be Considerate of Other Campers and Park Visitors: When you visit this huge park, you will likely come across either other campers or at least day visitors. Make sure that you respect other peoples’ experiences in nature and avoid being too loud. Also, when approaching a group, step to the side to give space.
Best Camping in the Adirondacks
Now that we have looked at how to behave when visiting this breathtaking location, ensuring it remains set apart from the rest of the world and a haven of natural beauty, let’s consider some of the best camping options in the park:
Rogers Rock Campground
This immensely popular campground features picnic pavilions, tables, fireplaces, hot showers, and flush toilets. Rogers Rock Campground also boasts sand beaches, guarded swimming areas, boat launches, dump stations, a recycling center, and more.
For reservations at Rogers Rock Campground, contact Reserve America. Dates of operation for this camp begin May 17 and go through September 2nd.
Fish Creek Pond Campground
Considered by many as the most attractive and finest of all the campgrounds in the Adirondacks, Fish Creek Pond Campground features a natural sand shoreline along with water access for most campsites.
In addition, Fish Creek Pond has a playground, restrooms, a picnic area, a boat launch, summer recreation activities, fishing, showers, and a dumping station.
Reservations can be made up to nine months in advance, and the booking window runs from January 10th to October 10th, 2024.
While its amenities are many, Fish Creek is most beloved because of the feeling of community that is created in this idealistic location. There is even an ice cream truck that makes a nightly stop, which is most certainly a crowd favorite.
Guests have noted that campers will cheer each other as they enjoy water sports, and claim there is a yoo-hoo that calls around the circle of campsites before the quiet hour begins, along with the occasional rendition of Taps.
Suffice it to say that Fish Creek Campground is like a little haven in the heart of the Adirondacks.
Saranac Lake Islands
On the opposite spectrum of a fun, lively, community-based campground, you find Saranac Lake Islands. These campsites are situated on a private island accessible only via boat, while you will leave your vehicle in the Village of Saranac Lake.
There is plenty of privacy, seclusion, and primitive facilities. In fact, there are only rustic outhouses.
You might be wondering what the appeal of this location is, then, if it’s so isolated and rustic. Well, that’s just it – it is simply breathtaking and like venturing off into another world. In fact, guests have stated that you can experience the very best sunsets in the Adirondacks from the remoteness of these island campsites.
Book a site on the Reserve America for a location. Be aware that you need to have your own equipment and be ready to camp when you register.
Heart Lake Campground
The campground includes 32 sites, with six canvas cabins and 16 lean-tos. Campsite and lean-tos are available year-round.
There are also cabins on the property that can be rented. The Adirondak Loj, operated by the Adirondack Mountain Club, which offers a variety of rooms accommodating up to 38 guests, is also available.
Heart Lake is open for paddling, fishing, and swimming, and there are a number of programs and classes that are available for visitors.
This area is close to the beginning of the Van Hoevenberg Trail that will come next to the Marcy Dam. Next up is Indian Falls, and then finally, New York State’s highest peak, the summit of Mount Marcy.
Heart Lake Campground’s seasonal wash house is available for use during the fall, summer and spring months, and there are also restrooms, along with men and women’s showers. During the colder winter months, guests are allowed to use the facilities at the nearby High Peaks Information Center.
As a bit of a change from the more primitive and rustic sites listed, let’s consider Camp Orenda, a luxury camping resort. Let’s face it – as a mom, you were likely already freaking out trying to figure out how to make a tent or a lean-to work. Well, when glamping at this site, you don’t have to worry about it.
This glamping option, which gives you access to the beautiful Adirondacks area while still offering you an all-inclusive luxury feel, is the ideal way to camp.
At Camp Orenda, there are eight custom-made, private canvas tent cabins available, including an outdoor shower. There are even staff-arranged whitewater rafting trips available for the Hudson River Gorge.
Other activities you can book through this site include rock climbing on Crane Mountain.
In addition to the fact that you don’t have to worry about bringing along a tent when visiting Camp Orenda, you also don’t have to worry about gear or activities, as there is plenty available right on site.
Popular activities for the family include fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and more. Pets are also welcome at this glamping site.
Be aware that Orenda does not allow children under the age of 12, so this is a retreat for families with older children.
Orenda has enjoyed a top ranking from National Outdoor Retreats and is considered the original roots of glamping in the Adirondacks.
When camping at Orenda, the goal is to create a balance between nature and comfort and provide a luxurious experience for all guests. Those who enjoy being outdoors, as well as those who really don’t care for it, will equally enjoy this location.
Dining is an all-inclusive experience but with the feel of rustic dining as all meals are prepared for guests daily on an open wood flame using dutch ovens, cast iron skillets, and griddles.
Ingredients and produce come from local farmers as well as the on-site heirloom garden.
Adirondack Adventure Base
This campground offers a bit of everything for the camper who simply doesn’t know exactly how rustic they want to get.
There is the high-end option, which really honestly isn’t camping at all, but who cares – their beautiful chalet. You can also rent a magical tree house to stay in, which is, of course, also not tent camping, but still oh-so fun, and who wouldn’t love to sleep in a tree house?
To get back to glamping, you can choose the Overlook lean-to with the glamping appeal. No meals are offered, though there is an outhouse and cooking station.
There are also primitive or more traditional campsites available here that allow you to set up camp with your own tent.
Staying at Adirondack Adventure Base gives you easy access to many trails, which are ideal for mountain biking or hiking. There are also horseback riding trails less than a mile away.
Most notable is the Osgood River, with nearby put-ins and take-outs. Here, you will see a great deal of wildlife, and guests have noted it’s a particularly good area to spot the bald eagle that nests at the river’s edge.
In addition, Adirondack Adventure Base features two hosts, Bob and Sheila, who are former professional wilderness guides. They will help you connect this unique destination with great experiences to form memories that will last for a lifetime. Get directions, advice, and help to make plans when consulting your on-site guides.
With the mantra of “creating unforgettable memories,” staying at the Adirondack Safari in the Lake George region of the Adirondack Mountains is truly an amazing experience. This upscale glamping campground allows you to enjoy the outdoor life while still appreciating some familiar comforts of home.
There are 59 luxurious, spacious campsites featuring either a safari or furnished bell-style tent. Configurations are available in single, double, triple, or quad, all with a comfortable queen mattress with frames, bedding, lamps, electricity side tables, power strips, floor fans, and more.
Sites go quickly, so plan ahead if you want to venture to this interesting campground and make your reservation early.
Each luxurious site also contains a picnic table with a canopy, fire pit, zero gravity chairs, and charcoal grill.
The communal areas of the camp include an outdoor lounge area with optional games and activities like Bingo, paint classes with local artists, karaoke, bracelet making, and more throughout the year, in addition to complimentary river tubing and kayaking on the Schroon River.
In addition to the immense comfort of this campsite, there is also regular entertainment in the form of Native American performances on Thursday and Friday evenings, along with an outdoor movie theater.
This glamping campsite thankfully provides enough amenities to keep you comfortable while enjoying the outdoors and its beauty.
Situated in the Lake George Region (known as the Queen of American Lakes), just an hour away from Albany, and about three hours outside New York City, is a relatively new glamping resort called Huttopia Adirondacks.
Nestled on the base of Kenyon Mountain, this campsite includes over 300 acres of woodlands.
There are four different styles of tents available, constructed uniquely using wood frames and canvas. This gives you the ability to choose from a variety of styles and pick how much you truly want to rough it.
You can actually sleep under the stars if you want to at certain sites, while others give you a more at-home feel.
There are also several communal amenities that I particularly love, such as a wading pool, a large swimming pool, a huge fire pit perfect for making s’mores, and a playground, along with winter stay options.
There is also a main lodge house that boasts spectacular views, a cafe bistro, a camp store and more.
The aspect I love about this glamping site is that it offers enough to keep any family occupied while still providing the most amazing views and outdoor opportunities in the Adirondacks.
If you want to venture into town, visit the famous village of Lake George and all the attractions, restaurants and shops you can enjoy there.
Lake Eaton Campground
Located near Long Lake, NY, Lake Eaton Campground is a bit more toward the rugged side of things and away from the glamping sites we have just been highlighting.
However, while there are tent sites available, there are also trailer sites as well if you want to camp that way, bringing the total sites available to 135.
Lake Eaton offers secluded campsites so that your family can reconnect during your camping experience, while they also have blacktops for bike riding and walking for the less “adventurous” hiker. You can rent a rowboat, canoe, or kayak as well from the campground.
Tent site rental includes access to a picnic area with fireplaces, flush toilets, hot showers, and a dump station, along with a recycling center. Camping reservations can be made for Lake Eaton up to nine months in advance and can be reserved here.
In addition to all the fun activities you can have while staying at Lake Eaton, one I was particularly interested in is seaplane rides, which are available just a mile away from the camp in Long Lake. This and fishing, along with riding a snowmobile (seasonally), are sure to be on the itinerary.
Other nearby attractions that are easy to access when staying at Lake Eaton campground include Water Safari Water Theme Park (opened seasonally), The Adirondack Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, and The National History Museum of the Adirondacks located in Tupper Lake.
Crown Point Campground
With the unique distinction of featuring views of the beautiful Champlain Bridge that links New York to Vermont on the northern side of the property, Crown Point Campground features 66 sites, a trailer dump station, hot showers, firewood sales, a boat launch, and a recycling center.
If your kids love history, or perhaps you, like me, want to spark some interest, take them to the Crown Point State Historic Site, which is right down the road and the ideal place to learn some local history.
Crown Point enjoys a rich heritage dating back to the 1750’s. It was built on what were forts and battlefields dating back as far as 1775, so there is plenty to learn and explore.
The campground, as mentioned, features a boat launch. Rowboats, power boats, and canoes are allowed. Fishing is also immensely popular, as the area is known for smallmouth bass, yellow perch, lake trout, largemouth bass, and northern pike.
North River Hobby Farm
Offering a slightly different option with glamping and cabin choices, staying at North River Hobby Farm in the Southern Adirondacks is a unique and memorable experience.
Situated 30 minutes from Lake George and just five miles from Gore Mountain (New York’s largest ski resort), this campground boasts romantic cabins, and acres of wildflowers (seasonally), and all sites have breathtakingly gorgeous mountain views.
The cabins you can book feature old-style detailing with beadboard walls, log beam ceilings, antique oriental rugs, bay windows, and comfy beds and linens.
All sites are private and are surrounded by woods and lawns. Each cabin has its own fire pit and chairs visitors can enjoy, and all cabins feature clean new bathrooms, fully stocked kitchenettes, and WiFi!
If you want to go the more traditional route but still want to enjoy a nice time, you will love their four glamping tents. Each is fully furnished with beds, decks, and lights. There is also a lovely bath house you can use with separate sides for men and women.
One of the most unique features of the North River Hobby Farm is that they invite their guests to join in the fun of making their own wood-fired pizza (seasonally spring, summer, and fall). They provide dough and fresh basil (from the on-site garden), but they encourage guests to bring their own toppings.
The wood-fired pizza oven is fired up in the late afternoon and is lots of fun for guests, along with being amazingly delicious after a day of exploring outdoors.
The campground even features its own Workshop where you can buy fresh herbs for your own cooking, vegetables, potted plants, or even hand-crafted gifts to take back home.
S’mores kits are also available for purchase and include logs, matches, kindling, and everything you need to make the best s’mores imaginable to enjoy time together as a family under the stars.