Spending the night indoors is a fine way to pamper yourself, and it’s pretty easy to prepare for a trip when there’s a bed waiting for you on the other end. But if you really want to be immersed in nature and take in all of the sights and sounds of an Adirondack forest, you need to get out there and live in it, even if it’s only for a night or two. In the Adirondacks, finding a campsite to fit your style can be as easy as finding a Starbucks in the city — they’re everywhere. Want a hot shower? We have it. Want a bit of luxury with your fire pit? That’s easy! Want to wake up to the sun glistening off of a mountain lake? Get your backpack ready and keep reading to learn more!
Minerva Town Beach
This town-run campground is all about quiet comfort. Its fifty-six tent sites are all within a short walk from the tennis courts, horseshoe pits, basketball courts, concession stand, playground, and Donnelly Beach. The restrooms have hot showers and there’s a public boat launch for non-motorized boats.
Adirondacks Jellystone is the best way to get away from it all while having it all at the same time. It’s basically a mini tourist town tucked back in the woods. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, spa, sandy beach, boat rentals, fishing, 18 hole mini-golf, gift shop, snack shop, mini mart, and game room. And that’s not all! The campground also hosts all sorts of daily activities like movies, ice cream socials, and theme weekends.
But what about camping? Adirondacks Jellystone has more than one hundred sites available ranging from basic tent sites to 50-amp pull throughs. They even have camping cabins, two-bedroom cabins, and trailer rentals.
Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area
The newest Adirondack camping experience, Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area, is going to be a hit with overnighters of all stripes, but what really makes it stand out is its equestrian camping area, which boasts space for thirty-three equestrian camping sites including American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant features, such as two ADA compliant horse mounting ramps.
The equestrian sites aren’t just little dirt patches that have been carved out of the forest, either. Each has electrical hookups, hibachi-style grills, two tie stalls, and water spigots within 250 feet of the site. There’s also a stud stall with room for up to sixty-six horses, and for people there’s a shower building and a pavilion with electrical outlets and interior lighting.
Equestrians staying at the campground will have easy access to trails that offer stunning Adirondack scenery. The easiest way to take a ride is by heading out from the campground on a rural road. They are a mixed of pavement and hard packed gravel, and see little vehicle traffic.
With a little traveling, horseback riders can also head to Newcomb and explore the gorgeous Boreas Ponds area’s 25 miles of woods roads and trails, take the 5 mile ride to Great Camp Santanoni, or check out the Essex Chain Complex’s 22 miles of woods roads and trails.
Lake Harris House Lodge
Luxury camping, or glamping, is the answer to the age old question: How do I get outdoors without feeling like I’m roughing it? OK, maybe that’s not an age-old question, but glamping is a thing and you can do it in the Adirondacks.
Opening this summer, the Lake Harris House Lodge in Newcomb will give glampers-in-waiting four glampsites to choose from. Each is a heavy canvas tent on a wooden platform. Nothing special, but inside is where the magic happens. Peel back the corner of the tarp and you’ll find a queen bed, dresser, seating area, ceiling fan, and electrical outlets. Outside there’s a porch with more seating that faces the lake.
The lodge itself will have a restaurant, bar, ninety tables, and three fireplaces, making this a great all-season choice. Did we mention glamping guests will be able to order room service from the lodge?
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area
For access to the great outdoors and options galore, nothing beats the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area. This 46,283-acre area has fourteen lean-tos and thirty-eight designated tent sites that are marked with yellow “Camp Here” discs. All are first come first serve and all are primitive, meaning you won’t find any amenities beyond a fire pit at them, but what you will find is a wilderness experience like no other. The sites around the 441-acre Pharaoh Lake are especially popular, and with good reason. The Milky Way is the star of the show in the night sky above the lake, and loon calls and owl hoots are a common occurrence. There are more than half a dozen smaller lakes and ponds to camp on as well!
The vast Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area can be accessed from any of the nine parking areas that dot its perimeter. The hiking here isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take a walk to get to any of the sites and backpackers should be prepared to go farther if the spot they wanted is occupied. The good news is once you’ve settled in, you’ll have the forest at your disposal. Swimming, fishing, and relaxing by the water are all recommended, and if you’re looking for a challenge you should put hiking to the summit of Pharaoh Mountain on your list — the view is incredible.
Campers who want the Pharaoh Lake experience but prefer more amenities can camp at one of the following nearby campgrounds: Putnam Pond, Paradox Lake, Rogers Rock, Scaroon Manor, or Eagle Point.