When I was in the third grade, we packed up our house and moved across the country to southern California. Just a few minutes from the beach, I spent most of those years perfecting my boogie boarding technique and building sand castles. Fast forward to now, one of my favorite places to go in the summer is Rockaway Beach in Queens. The chill surfer community vibes remind me of my childhood, and there’s nothing I love more than watching my daughters play in the waves while I dig my toes in the sand. So when I found out about the Camp Rockaway glamping experience, I knew we had to cross it off the summer bucket list this year so that I could once again wake up to the sound of waves crashing.
Located at Jacob Riis beach on the Rockaway peninsula, Camp Rockaway consists of furnished tents right on the other side of the Jacob Riis bathhouse. Complete with a communal campfire, solar powered outdoor showers, and plenty of games to borrow- it’s the perfect way to unplug with the ones you love. Each tent comes furnished with a bed, nightstands, a trunk for your valuables, and the option to rent a cot for older children.
Each tent also has its own hammock located on a shared platform- perfect for reading or a midday nap. If you’re visiting Camp Rockaway with a group- be sure to let the camp know so that they can place you near each other.
We arrived early via the NYC Ferry so that we could enjoy the beach before check in, and drop our overnight bags off with Camp Rockaway staff. We brought our own beach chairs, but if we really felt like packing light, we could have utilized the Lido Beach Butlers located right in front of the bathhouse. This service offers everything from luxury beach cabanas to lounge chairs and umbrellas- even cooler rental and food delivery service!
We were also able to borrow solar chargers and boogie boards to use at the beach for the day. There is a water cooler for guests to refill their bottles throughout the day, and additional drinks and snacks for purchase.
There are quite a bit of food options along Riis Beach, especially over at Bay 9. And the awesome part is that this outdoor summer concessions building turns into an indoor off-season restaurant in the cooler month- making Camp Rockaway the perfect vacation beyond the summer.
The NYC Ferry stop is located at 106th street, so just hop on the free shuttle bus that drops you directly in front of Camp Rockaway
After a long day on the beach (and even a whale sighting!), we headed to our tent to grab a change of clothes and head to the showers. There are hooks inside the tent to hang towels and wet bathing suits- perfect for changing back into them the next day.
There are two solar powered showers available for guests, stocked with body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Despite being fully booked, we had no issues with waiting to shower as folks arrived at different times from the beach. The shower and changing area were also designed pretty cool- making it a much more pleasurable experience than many camp showers.
Each night a communal fire is lit- and anyone who brings food can throw their dinner over the flame. There is no refrigeration available, but the camp will supply some ice to add to your cooler if needed.
After we noshed on our hot dogs, we purchased a $10 bag of s’mores ingredients and enjoyed sitting around the fire. My little one made a friend instantly, which gave me and my oldest some one on one time together.
Games are available to borrow and we spent the rest of the evening sitting at the picnic tables playing.
In the morning, I woke early to enjoy a refreshing shower and some reading in the hammock before the kids woke up. We then grabbed our chairs and headed to the beach- there’s nothing like enjoying the early morning hours before the crowds arrive.
Coffee and tea service is available in the morning, but there is also a great coffee shop right in front of the camp where guests can grab bagels, smoothies, avocado toast, and more.
We spent the rest of the day on the beach- grabbing lunch and ice cream at The Meetup Grill. Before we knew it, it was time to jump back on the shuttle to head to the ferry.
As expected, our stay at Camp Rockaway was the perfect ending to a perfect summer. Ending our day and starting our morning on the beach, the quality time, and the vibes at Rockaway are an experience like no other.
But summer isn’t the only time to visit Camp Rockaway- and we plan to return this fall. In fact, once the summer crowds disperse after Labor Day, locals consider it their “second summer.” So whether it’s bathing suits and umbrellas, or hoodies and a hot coffee- Camp Rockaway is the ultimate staycation.
Camp Rockaway runs until October 2019. Weeknights are $195 nightly and $249 on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. For more information, visit www.camprockaway.com.