Adult summer camps have become a thing in recent years—for a couple hundred dollars you can relive your own summer camp experience, or if you’ve never been, you can create fresh memories of s’mores by the campfire, canoeing and plenty of bourbon and beer. For a much more low-key, but just as pimped out experience, though, you can camp at the privately run, AMC Harriman Outdoor Center. My first visit was last summer, and it was the most luxe campground I’d ever pitched a tent in. For starters, you don’t have to camp, you could rent a cabin instead. And if you don’t want to start a fire in the morning, or deal with your campstove, you can just walk to the dining hall and get a decent breakfast and bottomless coffee, your choice of dairy or almond milk! On offer are a dozen canoes you can use to paddle on the petite, but pristine mountain pond, which you can also enjoy in the Adirondack chairs on the dock, or just by diving into the deep, cool water itself. Of course, I’m not the only one on to this gem of a camp; you have to plan far in advance to get one of its 20-odd sites (including the “backcountry” sites that you can hike into, if you’re into that kind of abuse). It’s also more intimate than your typically massive state campground, so in some cases you’ll be sharing a campfire with strangers unless you book an entire section to share with friends. (Just call the office to RSVP; the site doesn’t list all available sites.)
I’ve already got one weekend booked at AMC this summer, and because I’m feeling adventurous, I plan to try another spot on our list of campgrounds near NYC, Mongaup, even if it is state-run.