Where to go camping in Suffolk County

Hither Hills State Park in Montauk is a beachfront campground. (Courtesy: I Love NY)

The East End of Long Island is well known for its glamorous waterfront hotels and friendly bed and breakfasts, but it’s also a top spot for roughing it in the outdoors at one of several great campgrounds.

While there are 10 county campgrounds in Suffolk, the county’s four flagship parks for camping all front the Atlantic Ocean, between Mastic Beach and the South Fork.  Montauk also boasts Hither Hills State Park, a top destination.

For a more casual experience between the two forks, there’s the bayfront Indian Island County Park in Riverhead.

Here’s our top five picks for camping in Suffolk County:

Hither Hills State Park

Let’s face it, even a northforker can’t deny the power of setting up camp at “The End.” Hither Hills State offers visitors the opportunity to roll out of the sleeping bag and walk straight  into the ocean. It also puts you right in the heart of one of the East End’s most enjoyable summertime communities.

Smith Point County Park

Located at the popular park in Mastic Beach, Smith Point may not feel quite as glamorous as a weekend in, say, Montauk, but this an excellent option for campers looking for a quiet week at the ocean. The camping layout is a simple loop that sets you up close to the ocean beach and farther away from the crowded parts of it.

Cupsogue Beach County Park

If you’re looking for the Hamptons experience but Montauk feels a bit too far, Cupsogue is an excellent alternative. Also a barrier beach, this park on Dune Road in Westhampton will not disappoint. It features sites on both the bay and ocean side.

Shinnecock East County Park

Flanking the eastern border of the Shinnecock Inlet where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, this rugged, undeveloped barrier beach park includes both ocean and bay beach recreation areas. Shinnecock is a favorite spot for striped bass fishing and off-road recreational vehicles, which may drive on the outer beach.

Indian Island County Park

On the North Fork, you don’t have to go far to get away. Case in point, Indian Island County Park. This 275-acre retreat at the estuarine mouth of the Peconic River, is open to the public year-round for a variety of activities. What was formerly the “island” at Indian Island County Park is now connected to the mainland by a causeway composed entirely of white sands. Remote, yet easily accessible to all, this “island”, complete with picnic tables, grills, comfortable benches and views of a glistening and peaceful Flanders Bay that are tops for picnics.