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Saturday, September 9, 2023

North South Lake Campground and Day Use Area - Camper Trip 2023

August marked our second time camping at the beautiful North South Lake Campground at in the Catskills of New York. I've lost track of how many time we've been up to the Catskills to date, but this part of the northeast is one of my favorites places to visit over and over again. I've written a Weekender's Guide for a summer in the Catskills which is perfect for any first timer or frequent visitor like myself. 

While there is so much to do in the area, the beauty of visiting North South Lake is you never have to leave. This campground has it all from playgrounds, volleyball nets, a large network of trails, picnic areas, a swimming beach, boat rentals, and more. If you simply want to be in the Catskills and enjoy the outdoors for a few days, this is the perfect place to do it. 

This year was a little different as we had a baby in tow in addition to our toddler. Oh, and a serious upgrade from our tent. We had just purchased a 2021 Winnebago Hike and it was our maiden voyage in our new rig. Camping with kids is logistically much more involved and having the camper truly makes the experience so much easier. It's much easier to black out the light and drown out some of the noise in our 20 foot box vs our tent. Its a soft place to sleep and a place to prep food and cook breakfast. It's a place to store gear and keep our creature comforts that make packing for trips away as a family so much easier. 

I promise to give a few review of our little camper once we have used it a few times and really have a sense of this travel trailer.

This trip was a memorable one as it was our first trip to the Catskills as a family of four. In true North South Lake Campground fashion, we spent the weekend at the campground, only leaving to venture down the road for ice cream. You don't even have to leave for ice cream as an ice cream truck actually makes its way around the campsites twice a day. We spent a lot of time hanging out at the camp site and watching the kids play. We also headed down to the beach to swim, I ran the loop around the lake, and we set out on some of the iconic Catskills hikes that set out from the campground or just next door. 

Reservations: online at - book early as it sells out fast. We book sites the first night it opens up which is nine months before your requested date. We aim for late August so we book for November. 

Camping Season: Mid-May through mid-October - Check in is between 12 and 9 pm and checkout is 11am. 

Fee/People: $22 a night. Each site accommodates 6 people (2 tents, or 1 camping unit and 1 tent), and 2 cars maximum

The park is also open to day users so expect to see busy beaches and pavilions on the weekends. 

Amenities: Modern clean bathrooms, showers, and a wash sink at each camping loop. Boat rentals, swimming beaches, playgrounds, volleyball nets, outdoor showers, water spickets. 
Highlights: Biggest campground in the Catskills with large private sites (with seven loops and over 200 sites for tents and RV’s) ranging from heavily wooded to right on the lake. North-South Lake is not a state park, but it is run by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.  

North South Lake Beach Area

Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with a grate for cooking. Really family-friendly campground with playgrounds, hiking trails, swimming lakes, and an ice cream truck came by the campsite twice a day. Everything you need to enjoy a Catskills summer, swimming included (you never need to leave the campground). There is a cute little convenience store right down the road with camping amenities, beer, ice cream, firewood, and more. 

Dogs: YES! Dogs are allowed in the camping area. You will need to bring proof of rabies vaccination with you. They are not allowed at the beaches or picnic area. 

North South Lake Campground Swimming
Swimming at North South Lake Beaches

Artist's Point Hike
Artist's Point Hike

Activities: Hiking, walking paths, swimming, playgrounds, boat rental, Junior Naturalist Program (kids ages 5-13). One of the best parts about this campground is the amazing network of hiking trails right from the park. You can also walk the loop around the lake in a mix of hiking trails and road (just under three miles). 

Close by: Hunter Ski Mountain, Kaaterskill Falls, former Catskill Mountain House 

Hikes: You can hike Kaaterskill Falls right from the park by South Lake or at the Laurel House Road Parking Area. You can also hike to the Catskill Mountain House area and Newman's Ledge or a little shorter for kids, Artist's Point.

RV Specific: No hookups are offered what-so-ever (no water, no electric). There is a pump station on the way out. Each site has a specific maximum size for RVs so check the individual site before you book (a lot of 20' and 30' sites, a few sites can accommodate 40'). Generators can be run between 9 and 11 am and 4 to 7 pm. 

More Catskills

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