New York has a population of over 8.5 million—roughly 27,000 people crammed into every square, concrete mile. In a place this congested quiet time is a rare kind of luxury, which is why upstate and coastal getaways have long been a part of the culture here.
If the beach is your staycation preference, then Rockaway, Queens, is a strong contender. The city’s original seaside destination has been undergoing a resurgence since Hurricane Sandy, and this fall even gets its own glamping spot, Camp Rockaway.
Camp Rockaway is a pop-up campground situated just behind the sand dunes of Fort Tilden beach—a circular arrangement of safari-style, fully-furnished canvas tents surrounding a central fire pit. For guests with dinner plans that extend beyond gooey campfire s’mores, there’s a self-service kitchen, plus hammocks, games and virtually anything else you might need for a chilled and wholesome weekend getaway.
The site is a nod to Rockaway’s heyday, and the shoreside “tent colonies” that provided affordable accommodation for vacationing New Yorkers at the turn of the 20th century.
“I saw these pictures when I was studying the history of Rockaway, and realized I had been looking for a solution like this,” explains Camp Rockaway founder, Kent Johnson, who makes regular journeys from the city to the beach, chasing swells. “Being able to do an evening surf, then have some low-key accommodation overnight before surfing again in the morning—it’s perfect.”
Remaining “engaged with the beach” is another perk camping provides. Most New Yorkers feel nature-starved and burdened by constant busyness—at Camp Rockaway they get a break from meetings, deadlines and social obligations, and they don’t have to travel far for it.
Abigale Stock, who owns a digital agency in Brooklyn, spent a weekend at Camp Rockaway with her family. “I felt like I caught my breath for the first time in months,” she said. “Waking up and walking right out onto the beach, watching the sunrise, listening to the waves…there’s nothing better for the mind, spirit and soul.”
Camp Rockaway is open at Fort Tilden until November 6th 2017 as part of a National Park Service pilot program.
Camp Rockaway, Davis Road, Queens, NY, USA, 11697 (347) 916-6199