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. Notably, they’re offering a Day Pass this year for those who want to enjoy an outdoorsy Saturday and then head back to the comfort of sleeping indoors.
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 at OutdoorFest 2019
The robust schedule for the night includes everything from slacklining classes to guided hikes. 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 Outdoor Skills in NYC
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, photography 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 and Dance Under the Stars
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 for a live show by local Americana band Bridges & Tunnels.
How to Get to the OutdoorFest Campout
While the intrepid traveler can bike or bus (S54) to the campground, it’s easiest to hop on the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan and hop into OutdoorFest’s shuttle to the campgrounds.
Photos by Dorothy Reilly and Tom O’Hare