New York State Campgrounds Are Now Reopening!
New York State Campgrounds Reopening


Effect on the 2020 Camping Season (NY State/DEC Campgrounds)

KEY TAKE AWAY: (Affects All New York State Campgrounds)

Last Updated: May 30, 2020 9:54am

State Parks run by OPRHP are planning to open Monday June 1st for those with reservations only. Most campgrounds will require self-contained units others are not, at least initially.

All DEC campgrounds will open on or after June 8th. Official dates have not been set yet. No word on DEC restrictions as of yet.

OPRHP Restrictions:

• There have been no mention anywhere of restricting camping to New York residences only.

• OPRHP campgrounds are generally open to self-contained units only. The exceptions to this so far include Kring Point SP, Jacque Cartier SP, Southwick Beach and Cayuga Lake SP. There may be others.

• At this time existing reservations only will be honoured. No walkups.

Currently New York State has suspended all future reservations for the 2020 season at ALL New York State and DEC parks on Reserve America. No indication as to when 2020 reservations may reopen.

A limited number of full hookup RV sites will now be made available for new reservations at OPRHP campgrounds starting June 1st, 2020. (Full hookup state campgrounds include Green Lakes, Cedar Point and Wellesley Island).

Safety guidelines for campers is now available. See below in the "Reopening Guidelines (OPRHP)" section.

Update For 2021 Camping (May 12, 2020): New York State Parks has temporarily lifted the 9-month reservation window restriction for camping and will allow for transfers of existing camping reservations into the 2021 season. If you choose to transfer, the change fee will be waived until June 11th for online transactions only. In addition, you may also make new reservations for the 2021 season at this time. Please note that there is no guarantee that you will get the same camping site or dates for 2021 whether you transfer or make a new reservation. They encourage online reservations as the Call Center is experiencing longer than average wait times.


What Will Happen Next To the 2020 Camping Season?

Some issues still need to be resolved:

There is staff to hire back before campgrounds can fully open. This is particularly concerning for DEC campgrounds due to budget cuts.

There is still preparation work to do at many DEC campgrounds.

Shared bathrooms and shower houses will have to be managed safely.

Please note the section below includes my own thoughts based on what I have learned along with monitoring what has been happening across the country in regards to the effect of COVID-19 on the 2020 camping season and how it will likely affect camping at New York State Parks. This includes State Parks run by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and well as those run by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Many other state parks across the nation have been closed and remain closed to the public.

I'll be posting any known dates for campground reopening here as announcements are made by the state.

For official messages from the various agencies, be sure to visit the links to the left.


New York State and DEC Campgrounds have now been closed for camping through at least May 31st. You can no longer make reservations for the rest of the 2020 season at any New York State Park.

At this time my own personal opinion continues to be that we won't see any state parks open for camping until early summer at best (on or after July 1st). More likely mid to late summer.

Some potential issues in allowing state campgrounds to open/remain open include:

1. People are travelling

2. Group setting

3. Social distancing

3. Public areas such as washrooms and showers are shared and can become a health hazard

4. Lack of PPE (personal protection equipment) for staff

5. Limit emergency personnel and equipment in rural areas

NY Forward - 4 Phase Reopening Plan

The 4 phase reopening plan in place puts camping into phase 4 (recreation). The plan is phase 1 to begin May 15 with subsequent phases opening every two weeks. This would suggest campgrounds open on/about June 26, 2020. That assumes all criteria and conditions are met.

You can check out the NY Forward Reopening Guide HERE along with the Regional Monitoring Dashboard to see how various areas of the state are effected.

Your Existing Reservations

As the state warrants the closure of State and DEC campgrounds they will be automatically cancel your effected reservations and refunding all fees.

I recommend NOT cancelling reservations yourselves as you may incur the cancellation fees. If the state cancels your reservations you will be refunded the full cost of your reservation including the original reservation fee, and you won't have to pay the cancellation fee. You will receive notification of the cancellation and refund by email.

I'll continue to post here any additional information that I come upon. As always this is a dynamic situation and as such, things can change quickly.

Some Great Links to Keep You Up To Date on the Situation

Monitor Governor Cuomo's ongoing statements on COVID-19 as it pertains to New York State.

Check out NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation COVID-19 Updates for everything related to COVID-19 and New York State Parks.

Check out Reserve America for information regarding new or existing reservations .

Our New York State Campsite Photos Facebook Group is a great resource for COVID-19 discussion, questions and answers. Be sure to join the group!


Key Announcements

On May 29th Reserve America on behalf of NY State Parks (OPRHP) sent out an email to campers with reservations in 2020 outlining safety guidelines for the reopening of State campgrounds (see below under the "Reopening Guidelines (OPRHP)" section).

On May 29 OPRHP campgrounds are officially stated to open on June 1st to those with existing reservations on the NY Parks website.

On May 29 it was announced that NY Parks would be offering a limited number of full serve hookup RV sites for new 2020 reservations starting June 1, 2020.

By May 28 It became widely known that most OPRHP campgrounds would be only open to those with self-contained units. The exceptions so far seem to be Cayuga Lake SP and King Point SP. Only those with existing reservations are permitted. No walkups.

On May 26/27 NY Parks began indicating that state parks run by OPRHP would all open June 1st.

On May 26th the DEC announced that DEC Campgrounds would be closed to overnight visitations through June 7th. This suggests at least DEC campgrounds 'may' open June 8th although official opening dates have not been set at this time.

On May 24th Governor Cuomo announced that all State campgrounds may now reopen as of May 25 (Memorial Day) as campgrounds were moved to the essential services list.

On May 24th Bowman Lake Campground emailed campers that they would be offering a limited number of campsites on a walk-in basis beginning May 25th, but with guidelines. All campers must be self-contained with bathroom and shower facilities. By late day they reversed the decision to open May 25th. Gilbert Lake did essentially the same thing. The original mention of limited number of campsites being available as well as the self-contained units may be an indication of what is ahead.

On May 24th it was reported that the State Parks in the Finger Lakes Region will NOT be open tomorrow. Parks do not have opening guidelines and will not open until they have them.

On May 20th the DEC announced that all water access campsites remain closed until DEC campgrounds open. This includes Saranac Lake Islands Campground, Indian Lake Campground, Lake George Islands Campground, Tioga Point Campground, Forked Lake Campground, and Alger Island Campground.

On May 19th the Canadian Government announced that the US / Canada border closure has been extended until June 21st. This will effect any Canadians that have existing reservations or wish to camp this season in New York State.

On May 12 Reserve America announced that the 9 month reservation window restriction was temporarily lifted allowing campers to change 2020 reservation dates for 2021. Also campers are now able to make new reservations for the entire 2021 season!

On April 24th Reserve America announced that all State/DEC Parks would not be closed until May 31th but would open June 1st if they deem campgrounds safe to open. NY State Parks and the DEC do not yet should this latest change on their websites yet but would should see those updates shortly for the 2020 season.

On April 9th NY State Parks announced that all State/DEC Parks would not be closed until May 14th but would open May 15th if they deem campgrounds safe to open.

On March 31th Oneida County was the first region in NY to announce that the county's campgrounds will remain closed until July 1st. This would suggest campgrounds including Delta Lake State Park and Verona Beach State Park could be closed till summer although there is still some confusion regarding this matter. It is possible other regions will follow suit in the days ahead.

On March 20th New York State released orders that effectively closed campgrounds unless they were listed as an essential service due to the spread of COVID-19. They have since reversed this decision for RV Parks and campgrounds. You can read more about this HERE. This makes sense for permanent or semi-permanent campers who use their camper as their home. On the other hand state campgrounds are primarily used by those who are vacationing and therefore not likely to be classified as essential services.


Reopening Guidelines (OPRHP)

• For the courtesy of other visitors and our staff, face masks must be worn when outside of your campsite area and all patrons shall practice social distancing.

• Only registered campers will be allowed in the campground areas, no day visitors will be permitted.

• In order to practice social distancing, we may need to move you to an alternate site in certain areas/loops.

• Cabin, Cottage and Yurt stays that are between 7 - 14 days will be reduced by 2 days in order to sufficiently clean between reservations. You will receive a refund for unused days. Bring your own linens, cookware and silverware. In order to assist us with enhanced cleaning of the accommodations, Check-in time is now 5 p.m. and Check-out time is 10 a.m.

• There may be limited shower and/or restroom facilities and they may be closed periodically to allow for enhanced cleaning. We ask that all campers be patient while our staff makes your stay as pleasant and safe as possible.

• Certain amenities may not be available. Playgrounds remain closed.

• If you can, PLEASE pre-register to save time at check-in. Make sure your occupants are all listed!


For more questions and answers visit our Reopening FAQ.

Definitely join the New York State Campsite Photos Facebook Group Discussion for updates as they come in!

If you have any additional information to contribute please contact me at