Outdoor Activities – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Scenic image of mountains with Adventure NY logo


During the evolving COVID-19 situation, please review our webpage for how to enjoy NY’s outdoors safely, locally, and responsibly before visiting state lands.

Find Your Adventure

New York’s breathtaking natural resources are unique, abundant and open to everyone. The opportunities abound, from hunting and fishing, to hiking and rock climbing, swimming and boating, or simply relaxing in a tent under the stars.

DEC plays a vital role in both protecting our natural resources and providing opportunities for people to enjoy them. Under Governor Cuomo’s Adventure NY program, DEC is making critical upgrades to State campgrounds and facilities to better serve people who want to enjoy our outdoors. DEC is also implementing and expanding outreach initiatives to encourage more New Yorkers and visitors to connect with nature and outdoor recreation. Learn more about this exciting initiative (PDF).

Improvements to DEC Lands and Facilities

DEC is committed to completing 75 projects over a three-year period to enhance access to outdoor recreation. Learn about some of our recent improvement projects.

Adventure NY Programs


I Bird NY Logo

I Bird NY was launched in 2017 to build on the State’s efforts to increase access to New York’s vast natural resources and promote low-cost opportunities to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. Visit I Bird NY to information on birding challenges, where and how to bird watch, upcoming bird walks and other events, a downloadable kids booklet, and additional resources.

First-time Camper Program

family with fishing poles

NYS provides FREE First-time Camper weekends throughout the summer. New York families that have never camped before have the opportunity to see if they enjoy the great outdoors before investing in their own gear by registering for a fully stocked campsite at a select NYS campground for a weekend. Learn more about this popular program, which launched in 2017.

Outdoors Day

DEC will host Outdoors Day events across the state on Saturday, June 13, 2020 in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day. The events were designed for New Yorkers of all ages and abilities to try out a wide range of recreational activities, including fishing, hiking, paddling, birdwatching, camping, archery and more. Find a location near you and stay tuned for more details on Outdoors Day 2020!

First Day Hikes

Celebrate the New Year outdoors with friends and family! Join one of the dozens of sponsored hikes held each New Year’s Day at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas and trails across the Empire State. Staff from State Parks and DEC, along with volunteers at many sites, lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions. Thank you to all that attended on January 1, 2020. Stay tuned for the list of January 1, 2021 hikes.

Hike With Us – Catskills

Ready to try hiking in the Catskills? Take one of the 15 guided hikes as part of the Hike With Us – Catskills program. This series of 15 beginner-level hikes is designed to provide a fun, safe, introductory experience that encourages continued participation while providing educational messages and outdoor skills for participants. Guided hikes range from two to six miles and will be held in Greene, Sullivan, and Ulster counties. Registration is required and space is limited.

Catskills Fire Tower Five Challenge

For nearly a century, observers watched the forests of New York State – including the Catskill and Adirondack forest preserves – from more than 100 fire towers perched atop the highest peaks, searching for the dangerous, telltale signs of forest fires.

You can experience these spectacular views from the top of five fire towers by taking the Catskills Fire Tower Five Challenge. Climb all five towers in the Catskill Park, take a selfie at each tower at the designated sign, and submit to have a chance to win!










Plan YOUR adventure (PDF) now for New York’s breathtaking outdoor experiences. Find exciting places to go across New York. Save time with the convenience of purchasing your fishing and hunting license on-line now.

click to learn more about downloading DEC's app

I Love NY

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