Pros:On Long Island, relatively close. No-tolls, no-bridges. A lot to offer at a good price.
Cons:North Shore beaches are rocky. Park is sprawling. Too large for easy access.
The Bottom Line: Once out there, you forget you are on the end of one of the worlds busiest sub urban areas.
My son set up a camping week for our family. My wife went out with two of my younger girls and a grand daughter on Sunday and met my son, his wife and their daughter. Later that day my oldest daughter, her husband and their three month baby rounded it all out. Unfortunately, due to work, I couldn't join them until late Tuesday and Wednesday.
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This was my very first time out to this park that is out on the east end of Long Island on the northern part of East Hampton. I was impressed with the park and yet at the same time I found it a bit too sprawling without a center point. I found it distracting on how some main parts of the park were divided by the parks major roads.
Let me also mention here that it is important to have your bearings getting into and out of the park. I did a bit of "searching" for the park and East Hampton more than once. Be careful of deer as you drive through the grounds. We saw a good amount of them.
Residents and Non-Residents
This park is open to both local people or tourists. We tented. Up to two tents and two cars could be at each site. The price was $24 for non-residents and $14 for Suffolk County residents with the yearly $20 park reservation pass. This happens to be a county park on 607 acres. I never saw many of the beaches on the north eastern side of the park. There was a lot to see. Four wheel drive access is allowed in some areas with a permit.
A visitors parking area is available but all overnight cars must be registered.
The sites are not separated all that much from each other on this mostly level with small hills campground. Showers and toilets are all spaced fairly evenly among the 190 or so sites. It's not the prettiest of campgrounds but it is all in shaded woods. At the same time I have to say that all the surrounding area of the campgrounds are beautiful. There isn't any privacy between neighboring campers. A small metal pit for open fires is at each site along with a picnic table. Some had old wooden ones while many others had newer one piece aluminum tables with benches.
Some restrooms are better than others. My wife took her showers at the newest facility near the main campground entrance area. The time is regulated for you. Simply push a button and the shower comes on. Some don't give a lot of time and a number of button pushes are required to take the shower. The showers were easily regulated for temperature and the pressure, though it couldn't be regulated, was high. The restrooms were always decently clean. I never noticed them being cleaned out, yet I didn't see any problem areas either.
The grounds, due to wear and shadows of the trees is mostly dirt. The family had originally set up in a fairly nice looking area. After a number of people warned them that those particular sites are the first to flood with any rain, they switched to a couple of other adjoining sites.
This was not a problem midweek. I understand the weekends get pretty busy. I didn't witness this myself.
The park has camping by reservation for youth groups, clubs and large groups. You must make arrangements before hand.
This is the finest part of the park. There are stretches of beach that are easily accessible by short walk from a small parking lot. Most beaches are also within a short walk from the sites but are a bit far when you have to carry gear. We checked out the northwestern beach of the park.
Being the north shore of Long Island, actually the north shore of the southern fork of Long Island, the beaches are rocky with a sand base. Some kind of foot ware is needed both in and out of the water to be comfortable. The water is very clean and clear. I was surprised. There were snorkelers out in the water. I wish I brought my gear. Though this isn't the Caribbean Islands, it still looked pretty interesting. The rocks though are slippery and hard to negotiate. Good shoes make it much easier getting around. I wear my Teva brand water sandals and they did fine.
During the week there weren't many people on the beach. We had plenty of room.
There are a number of fine picnic areas that can be reserved that would make for a fine day at the park. They are in very nicely spaced and attractive areas on small bluffs above the beach. They are situated nearby the main playground and a baseball and basketball field area.
On the beach are row boats and kayaks that may be rented. Most rentals are weekends only however, one weekday the booth was manned. It was a bit expensive at $20 for an hour out. The family took out row boats. My son took along his own kayak that he launched from the beach. A parking area is about 100 feet from the beach.
My son went out a bit into the distance and fished from his craft. He and his buddy caught a keeper fluke, some kind of shark, and some snappers. This was in about half hours time. When I went out later with my wife and all I did was have a small bluefish, bigger than a snapper, chew through my line and take my bait, line and sinker. There is excellent fishing on this part of the island. Many surf casters come out here too.
An old lighthouse that was built in 1860 still stands and is a nice place to take a leisurely walk to. A long sandbar of perhaps a mile takes you right out to it. From there you can see the beaches of the park. It is all quite beautiful and the sunsets from this area are absolutely glorious!
General Store and Snack Bar
Ok, I'll admit that I didn't get up early and to start the aroma of bacon wafting through out campground. Hey this is Long Island! We simply took a short walk and in many cases jumped into the car and picked up the finest of cooked egg breakfasts at the camp snack bar. The folks in there are simply the finest I have ever met. VERY friendly and patient when many large orders were being give. A couple of video type game machines are in the sitting area inside.
They have a nice picnic area very close by overlooking the beach areas. It is really a fine place to be. The prices are good and the food was terrific. Well I suppose any food at a campground is good.
We seldom camp on Long Island. We are looking for something different when going away. Well this place is different and my wife is checking out new dates for all of us to return.
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Best Suited For: Families
Best Time to Travel Here: Jun - Aug