COVID 19 Updates: Get Outside Safely, Responsibly, and Locally
New York State’s PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL campaign encourages residents to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. New York State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation recommendations for getting outside safely incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases. PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL encourages New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect for all outdoor adventurers, and use common sense to protect themselves and others.
You can also get the New York State Parks Explorer App, a free, user-friendly resource to get alerts and plan outdoor adventures. State Parks Explorer mobile app is available at no cost for download for iOS and Android devices.
To download, visit:
- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.ny.its.nysparks or
Take the Pledge to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely and Responsibly
- I pledge to respect the rules and do my part to keep parks, beaches, trails, boat launches, and other public spaces safe for everyone.
- I will stay local and close to home.
- I will maintain a safe distance from others outside of my household.
- I will wear a mask when I cannot maintain social distancing.
- I accept that this summer, I may have to adjust how I enjoy the outdoors to help keep myself and others healthy and safe, even if it means changing my plans to visit a public space.
- I will be respectful of others by letting them pass by me if needed on a trail and keeping my blanket ten feet apart from others on the beach.
- I will move quickly through shared areas like parking lots, trailheads, and scenic areas to avoid crowding.
- If I’m not feeling well, I will stay home.
Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, swim, ride a bicycle, fish, hunt, go horseback riding, go boating, or visit a park or state lands is a healthy way to stay active, spend time with immediate household and family members, and reduce stress and anxiety when practicing social distancing. While indoor spaces and restrooms at State Parks and DEC public facilities may be closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent community spread of COVID-19, many parks, grounds, forests, and trails are open seven days a week. However, on a case-by-case basis, DEC and State Parks may close certain trails and areas to recreation if density pressures do not allow for appropriate social distancing.
Below are some specifics for State Park visitors:
Parking: To encourage physical social distancing at popular parks, trailheads, and scenic areas, State Parks will reduce the number of available parking spaces on high visitation days. Have a plan ready to visit a different park or another park area. Visit https://parks.ny.gov/parks/ for a list of parks. Park maps are available on each park page.
Face Coverings: For the safety of all visitors, please wear a face covering when you cannot maintain social distance.
Restrooms: Public restrooms may be limited. Visitors should plan accordingly and call the park office for more information.
2020 Camping: New York State Park campsites, cabins and cottages are currently open. Reservations can be made in advance by calling toll free 1-800-456-CAMP or http://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com. No walk-in stays will be accepted at this time.
Cabins, Cottages and Yurts: : State Parks has implemented an enhanced COVID-19 cleaning and sanitizing protocol at the conclusion of each reservation requiring a two-day reduction in weekly reservations at many locations to allow staff adequate time to perform these tasks for the health and safety of our visitors. We will continue to evaluate our protocols as the COVID-19 status evolves.
New York State Park Camping Guidelines
2021 Camping: New York State Parks has lifted the 9-month reservation window restriction for camping and will allow for transfers of existing camping reservations into the 2021 season. In addition, you may also make new reservations for the 2021 season at this time. Please note that there is no guarantee that you will get the same camping site or dates for 2021 whether you transfer or make a new reservation. We encourage online reservations as the Call Center is experiencing longer than average wait times.
Golf:Operating schedules will differ across the state. Call the course directly for current information.
Travel Advisory: Please note New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut have implemented a tri-state travel advisory that requires any individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory for more information on the advisory, including the daily updated list of affected states.
While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to follow the CDC/NYSDOH’s guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:
- Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and/or troubled breathing;
- Practice social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;
- Wear a mask when you cannot maintain social distancing;
- Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;
- Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and
- Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.
DEC and State Parks also encourage visitors to state parks and state lands, and other parks to:
- Use common sense when visiting the outdoors. Stay local within your because some amenities like public restrooms and restaurants may not be open.
- Visit in small groups limited to family members and members of your own household. Maintain a distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads, and scenic overlooks.
- Choose a time to visit when trails and parks are likely to be less crowded, such as a weekday or earlier in the day.
- Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, binoculars, balls, or Frisbees.
- If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas.
- Practice ‘Leave No Trace.’ Respect parks and state lands and take out whatever you bring in, including disposable gloves, wipes, masks, and toilet paper.
- New Yorkers over 70 years old or with a compromised immune system should not visit public spaces, including the outdoors. These New Yorkers should remain indoors or spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space
Be patient. Accept that this season you may have to adjust how you enjoy the outdoors to help keep yourself and others healthy and safe, even if it means changing your plans to visit a public space.