North America USA

Camping at Watkins Glen State Park, New York

By Neha Kulshrestha  

There’s always a first time for everything, so we thought of adding a chapter of camping in our travel anthology. We did camping at Watkins Glen State Park with kids. And it lived our expectations to the fullest.


We were lucky to have experienced friends who did a lot of pre-planning for us – from booking the campsite at Watkins Glen State Park, NY to make the checklist.

With our excitement now soaring, we set out shopping for the most vital thing – a tent for our car camping adventure. We purchased a Columbia 4 person tent.

Are you puzzled?? Wondering if we are going to camp in the car…..I was also inquisitive when I heard this term.  Car camping basically means driving up to the campsite rather than walking and carrying the gear. Thereby you have the luxury to pack extra stuff which can be intimidating though.

Since it was the first time, we planned on a 1 night stay to get a feel and see how the kids adjust. We reached our destination in an afternoon and started to set up our tent foremost. (We had tried it once back home to apprise ourselves). Our biggest helpers were our kids who had no limits to their exhilaration.

Camping at Watkins Glen State Park Camping Tent

Kids in the camping tent


After getting our abodes ready, now was the time for some exploration. Hiking seemed a perfect way to unfold the beauty of nature. Since we had kids, we chose an easy trail to the base of a waterfall. It’s a 0.75-mile Gorge trail that leads to the base of the main waterfall.  Gorge trail is open all year round and can be done easily with kids.

Camping at Watkins Glen State Park Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls

We had the company of a beautiful stream flowing, cool breeze blowing, a rustling of trees all along our trail. As we reached the base of the waterfalls, we were drenched by the mist and nature’s marvel.

Camping at Watkins Glen State Park Taughannock falls

Drenched under Taughannock falls

After the adventure now was time for a hearty meal to satisfy our appetites. While heading to a campsite, we bought the firewood and filled the fire pit ready.

Why should kids be left behind??? They had fun collecting some wood from around for the grill. While the kids settled in to play some games and cards, the dinner was getting ready – corn, grilled veggies, baked potatoes. The beautiful day had to definitely end on a sweet note, and what best by making S’mores. Slowly roasted marshmallows, oozing chocolate, sandwiched between graham crackers, so simple yet divine…. You keep wanting for Some more.

Camping at Watkins Glen State Park Cooking

S’mores!!! give me more….A sweet treat in making

What an evening – sitting by the campfire, relishing the food, affable company, lots of giggles, unplugged, under the blanket of twinkling stars… getting a glimpse of our ancestor’s life. This experience is so simple yet so profound.

We headed out to our tents to recede into our dreams and to wait for the glorious dawn.

Our Camping List for Watkins Glen State Park

4 person tent (since we are a family of 4)

Footprint/ Tarp – a strong waterproof sheet to spread under the tent to prevent wear and tear.

Air bed /sleeping bags /comforters

Lantern, flashlight

Insect repellent, Afterbite cream, and first aid kit

Firewood/ charcoal, lighter/matches, lighter fluid

Food items, water

Cooking Utensils, skewers, Disposable tableware, aluminum foil

Garbage bags

Games, cards, books for entertainment

Watkins Glen Camping Tips

  1. The campsites, especially at national and state parks, get booked fast, so plan and book well in advance.
  2. The nights can get a bit cold, hence pack extra layers/ full lengths.
  3. Better to reach your campsite during the daytime, it will help set up your tent and get acquainted with the place. If it is your first experience, try to pitch the tent at home.
  4. If you plan to cook on the grill, get the coal or wood. Be aware of the regulations as most places only allow to get firewood locally. Don’t forget to put off the fire before sleeping by adding water.

Camping at Watkins Glen State Park Finger Lakes New York

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  • Reply
    August 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

    what is the name of the place

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 18, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      Watkin Glens state park, NY, USA

  • Reply
    Tushar Singh
    August 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    This is so cool! Your kids are having an amazing childhood. Reminds me of my 10-day NCC camp back in college.

    Just one tip. You should mention the location in your post. People might not see tags.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 17, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks..Yes we want our kids to have varied experiences and i am glad that they enjoyed this.
      Good to hear that this reminded you of sweet memories..
      And thanks for the tip, will make sure to mention it.

  • Reply
    Le Coin de Mel
    August 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    What a lovely camping trip! Thanks for sharing your list of essentials. I used to go camping a lot when I was growing up, but I haven’t been since having children. My 4 would love that!

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 17, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks..Oh you must try it out with your kid now. i am sure will youngest was 3 and she just had a super time ..
      Do share about your experience when you try..

  • Reply
    Ketki R S - Dotted Globe
    August 17, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    That’s cool, where did you go camping? It’s such a great way to connect with nature.. Also love the blog title, and its styling!

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 18, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks for liking the post and its esthetics..
      We did camping at Watkin Glen state park, NY, USA. Yes, its a great way to get close to nature which i guess we miss during our busy lives.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2017 at 5:05 am

    Your post brings back such great memories of camping with my family when I was a kid. Every year we’d visit a different national park and still tell stories of those times. There’s nothing better than an afternoon exploring and an evening sitting beside the campfire with a ooey gooey s’mores in your hand. x

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Aww!!! I am glad that my post brought back sweet childhood memories of yours. Yes the National and state parks have great camping opportunities that one should not miss. Truly, Its so relaxing just sitting by campfire, chatting with friends, hearing the birds chirping, just being yourself….
      Guess need to start packing again soon for yet another camping time…:-)

  • Reply
    August 18, 2017 at 7:02 am

    This is such a cool post. I have never done camping (silly me) and this inspires me do one super soon. Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks Aditi…Glad it inspired you. Of course you should try it out, its great fun..
      Do let me know if you need any help planning. I’ll try my best.. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 18, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I always love camping and traveling places like that, photos are amazing, my last camping was in Tungnath, Uttarakhand, you should checkout this place, amazing for camping and trekking.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      I am glad you liked the post and the photos.
      Yes we just loved our first camping experience and the place Watkin Glen added to it. Its good to hear that you enjoy camping. I googled about Tungnath and it looks so beautiful in the lap of Himalayas..I wish can make it someday..
      Happy camping…Do share more experiences if you have..

  • Reply
    Made Adayasa
    August 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Well camping is such a great idea to stay away from Hustle and bustle city life . I am coming from village and living in my farm , for me coming back home and live in the village is such a great camping already . From your post I am sure you had a great time sleeping with great nature around you . But where is that places ? seems like a great place for camping

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 18, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Yes for sure..totally away from that chaos and getting to know yourself in that quaint environment.
      Farm life, wow!! My son is so fascinated with farms and animals on it.

      So sorry i didn’t mention it in the post. We camped at Watkin glen state park in NY, USA. beautiful place to be..

  • Reply
    Jpr Arv
    August 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Hiking and camping is a great outdoor experience. What i like about it is that it helps family bonding. Time well spent together!

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 18, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      So is full quality family time without the interference of technology. And moreover kids learn to appreciate nature and experience an alternate way of living.. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 19, 2017 at 2:29 am

    What a beautiful family! I spent many weekends, and summer nights, camping in tents in the national forest we lived in. It is such a fun experience and memorable for the whole crew!

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 19, 2017 at 3:22 am

      Thanks Shawna. It was indeed a memorable experience especially being the first. Hope to continue having more fun nights under the stars..

      • Reply
        August 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

        I hope that for you as well!

  • Reply
    August 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I still have yet to go camping. Even if I live by the coast, surrounded by camping sites, I didn’t yet made it to one. I think it’s a great experience, especially for children.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Oh you must try it. It is such a great experience . And we were amazed how our kids enjoyed every bit of it.

  • Reply
    August 20, 2017 at 5:56 am

    Love this posts. Love your family. These moments are priceless.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 21, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      Aww…Thank you so much…:-)
      beautiful memories…

  • Reply
    Ana De-Jesus
    August 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Is it weird that I have never tried s’mores before they look so delicious. So glad that you had a good time camping and what beautiful photos as well x

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      Oh yes S’mores are so addictive. I had eaten them before but made them the first time..Infact my husband is not a big fan of chocolates, but he also enjoyed them. Go ahead and try some..
      Thanks for liking the pics..:-)

  • Reply
    Via Bella
    August 20, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I will have to check this out when I travel up- Esp with those waterfalls. Something so restorative about them.
    XO Via Bella blog

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 21, 2017 at 1:36 am

      Sure you should…You will feel so relaxed and rejuvenated…

  • Reply
    August 21, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Beauty of Nature indeed! I always love seeing pics of family traveling together..Your kids are adorable.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks for liking it..Yes its great to spend family time without any gadgets around…

  • Reply
    August 22, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    My husband went to Cornell and we would go to Watkins Glen many a times but never camped there, though we love camping. Looks like such a wonderful experience, your pics make me miss upstate NY.

    xx, Kusum |

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      August 22, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks. Good to know that you love upstate NY.. It is so beautiful with so much natural beauty around..
      You should definitely plan camping there sometime. You would love it.

  • Reply
    Claire Santiago
    September 3, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Camping is a great family adventure and bonding. If we only have ample time, we would want to camp once a week.

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