Camping in the Great (Urban) Outdoors

Fire at Campsite

There are a ton of great places to camp near New York City from the Hudson Valley to Montauk. Yet, camping within the five boroughs is limited to a few National Recreation areas or one of the highly coveted spots in Central Park available only by annual lottery. Luckily, every June, OutdoorFest (our sister site) transforms a 75-acre green space in Staten Island into NYC’s largest campground for a 24- hour experience unlike any other.

The campgrounds, usually a private JCC day camp in the summer, offer a place for outdoor enthusiasts to create their own adventure landscape within New York City. This DIY outdoors event risks leaving even the most pro-active adventurer with FOMO so we’ve created a guide to the best parts of the event – so you don’t miss out.

GET SWEATY

The robust schedule for the night includes everything from slacklining classes to guided hikes with local Staten Island Greenbelt experts. We’re most excited for the outdoor Vinyasa yoga class led by Brooklyn-based Pop Up Yoga NYC, a nomadic studio that leads classes everywhere from rooftop farms to museums to Herald Square. For those looking to up their cardio, the evening’s headlamp trail run offers a 5K timed course on the trails of the Greenbelt.

 

 

LEARN Rhett Teaches Things

In between yoga and running, make sure to carve out time for the outdoor academy. Fly casting lessons, map & compass skills, survival techniques, fire building, and even campfire cooking are on the agenda.

The true highlight of this entire event is the astronomers who join in with their telescopes. They’ll stay up all night staring at the stars and let you peek into their telescopes to get an up close view of the moon, Saturn and more.

EAT, DRINK, & DANCE
Grab an empanada or bandejita paisa for dinner served up by Mi Casa Foods. This team of chefs focus on whipping up delicious versions of latin foods that are traditionally considered “peasant” dishes throughout Latin America. As the night falls, grab a beer, and head to the stage in the woods where Brooklyn based trio Bandits on the Run, known for their “upbeat brand of musical mischief” will be playing a live show.

STAY

This is a true night under the stars so don’t expect cabins or even glamping at this campground. Participants must bring their own tents and sleeping bags to spend the night. Luckily, New York City has a few outfitters that rent gear including Paragon Sports (Union Square) and REI (Soho). The campground does offer some key amenities including running water, bathrooms and even cell service (though we recommend turning your phones off).

 

HOW TO GET THERE

While the intrepid traveler can bike or bus (S54) to the campground, it is easier to be able to load gear into a car and drive directly in. This year, OutdoorFest has partnered with Brooklyn’s newest car sharing service ReachNow to provide 24 hour BMW rentals for attendees. Alternatively, hop on the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan and take a quick Lyft ride to the campground.

Register for the OutdoorFest campout by May 30 and get 10% off with the code offMetro ($55 and up).

+ Enter to win two VIP tickets and $200 worth of gear here.

Photos by Dorothy Reilly and Tom O’Hare

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