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New York City for $20 a Night? Gateway National Recreation Area Makes it Possible


Camping at Gateway National Recreation Area. NPS photo.

Visitors to New York City who are looking for an affordable place to stay—and residents who'd like to escape the concrete canyons of the Big Apple—will soon have some additional options. Gateway National Recreation Area is adding new campsites which are slated to open by the July 4th weekend.

Floyd Bennett Field, in the park's Jamica Bay Unit, currently offers five family campsites, but by early next month, that number is slated to grow to 47. Six of the campsites will accommodate recreational vehicles, although none will have hookups. Some sites will be ADA-compliant.

Gateway National Recreation Area is one of only a small number of national parks to offer family camping within a metropolitan area's city limits. Gateway plans to open a total of 90 sites over a two-year period, and both traditional camping and recreational vehicle (RV) sites will be available.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar viewed progress on the expansion of camping facilities at Gateway during a mid-June visit. The work is one of a series of projects to link parks and other open spaces in the New York City metropolitan area. Secretary Salazar wants to enable local communities, and especially young people, to connect with the natural beauty and history of the region.

Expanded camping opportunities at Gateway are just part of ambitious plans for the area that were announced earlier this month.

"These are concrete steps we are planning to take under the America's Great Outdoors  initiative to create a model for a new generation of Great Urban Parks in America," Salazar said. "We want every citizen of the New York area—particularly the children—to have easy and accessible access to outdoor recreation and the cultural and historical heritage that makes this part of the country unique."

Many city dwellers, including those from New York City, have limited experience with camping, so the staff at Gateway is offering weekend programs to introduce them to the basics. Park staff and volunteers will teach participants how to raise a tent and build a campfire, and activities such as kayaking and swimming will also be available. All equipment is provided; participants just need to "bring their food and an adventurous spirit." "Explore the Urban Outback" will be offered once each month from June through
September; space is limited and reservations are required. 

Campsites at Gateway cost $20 per night and can be used for a maximum of seven nights. Additional details about the campsites at Floyd Bennett Field are available at this link on the park website.  Reservations for campsites at Gateway are scheduled to become available at by the end of June.

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