When I told our family and friends we would be pulling our trailer into New York City, most of them thought we were insane. And honestly, maybe we were.
Nevertheless, we ventured forth into one of the largest cities in the world pulling our travel trailer behind us and lived to tell the tale. What’s more, we actually enjoyed ourselves, and would even consider doing it again.
I’m not going to lie, pulling a 27-foot trailer through the streets of Brooklyn was not an easy feat. It was scary at times and often frustrating. On top of that, the tolls to get in and out of Brooklyn were unavoidable and ridiculously expensive. In fact, we ended up spending just under $100 round-trip. Was it worth it? Absolutely. We got to stay in NYC relatively close to everything and thus take advantage of public transportation.
That said, if you are eager to visit the Big Apple with your RV but hesitant to drive it through the city, there are other options. Many people opt to stay in a nearby city and take the train in. This is a great option if you aren’t feeling as brave as we were.
Wherever you decide to stay, you will certainly find plenty to entertain your family in the one and only New York City. This is one place that really does have something for everyone. The only problem is, seeing it all is impossible.
What to do
See a show
The number one thing I had to do when visiting New York was see a Broadway show. I’m glad we did because it ended up being my favorite thing we did on the trip.
I am a theater geek and have seen my fair share of musicals and plays over the years. Nothing even comes close to seeing a true Broadway production.
We ended up seeing Matilda and the show was phenomenal. The cast was spot-on and I was thoroughly impressed with the kids in the show, who never once made a noticeable mistake.
I definitely recommend seeing a Broadway show if you visit NYC. This was a one-of-a-kind experience, and I only regret not seeing a second show while we had the chance.
Go for a walk
People in New York walk. They walk pretty much everywhere, and if they can’t walk, they take the subway or the bus. If you go to this enormous city, be prepared to do your own fair share of walking. However, walking does not have to be used only as a mode of transportation, it can also be an excellent form of free entertainment.
Some of the best places to walk in New York City include:
- Chinatown — This interesting area is home to many shops and stalls selling a wide variety of exotic foods and items. There are usually musicians performing in the park, and there is a public playground available, which my son loved.
- Central Park — No trip to New York is complete without a trip to Central Park. The park is enormous and filled with things to see and do, so be sure to do some research and decide where in the park you would like to be before starting your stroll.
- Washington Square Park — Offering ample playgrounds and walking paths, Washington Square Park is a fun hangout for anyone looking to be amused. Street performers are everywhere you look in this public space, and there is never a shortage of entertainment.
- Times Square — If you like bright lights, hustle-and-bustle, and plenty of shopping, Times Square is the place for you. We had a fun time seeing this iconic part of the city, and recommend that everyone see it at least once. My son particularly enjoyed the M&M Store, and I liked the enormous Disney Store.
Ride the ferry
Another must-do in New York City is taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry carries passengers between lower Manhattan and Staten Island every 30–60 minutes (depending on the time of day) all day, every day.
The journey is absolutely free and gives passengers an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty. If you want to see the statue without paying a cent, this is the way to do it!
We loved our ride on the ferry. We were impressed with the cleanliness of the terminal and vessel itself, and the view of the Statue was lovely. We left as the sun was setting, which provided us with a pretty cool view, and the ride back was in the dark, giving us a completely different photo-op.
Visit a museum
New York City has too many museums to count. No matter what interests you, you are sure to find a museum you will love.
Not sure where to begin? Consider a visit to:
- The Museum of Modern Art
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Tenement Museum
- The Museum of Mathematics
- The American Museum of Natural History
Where to eat
- The Bagel Store — Featuring the famous rainbow bagel, and serving up a wide variety of interesting cream cheese spreads, this Brooklyn favorite is a delicious must-eat place when visiting NYC.
- Oslo Coffee — Go to Oslo and order the iced Americano. You won’t regret it and will likely be back for another. I never thought I’d prefer an iced Americano over a cold-brew iced coffee, but this place has proven me wrong.
- Percy’s Pizza — Okay, so NYC is filled with $1 pizza places. You can’t walk anywhere without passing one, and most are mediocre at best. Percy’s Pizza is great though. It is consistently rated one of the best $1 slices in the city, and it truly deserves all the praise.
Where to stay
- Camp Gateway at Floyd Bennet Field — This place is affordable and conveniently located in Brooklyn near a bus stop. There are no hookups, and there is no dump station. There is, however, a camp store, a very clean restroom, and a shower house.
- Liberty Harbor RV Park — Liberty Harbor is convenient but expensive. The park offers ferry service into the city, water and electric hookups, a dump station, a laundry room, Wi-Fi, and an on-property restaurant. RV sites fill up quickly, so be sure to make reservations in advance.
- Cheesequake State Park — This state park offers beautiful camping and the cheapest rates around. There are no hookups available, but there are restrooms with showers. Manhattan is a 1.5-to-2-hour train ride away and could be visited each day without a problem. This campground is only open April 1st–October 31st.
While RVing in the area, keep in mind:
- Motorhomes and trailers are NOT permitted on the Taconic State Parkway.
- LP gas is prohibited between Manhattan and Jersey City in the Holland Tunnel. Between Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey lower level of the George Washington Bridge (I-95 South) and the George Washington Bridge Expressway between Manhattan and Weehawken, New Jersey: Lincoln Tunnel. LP gas is prohibited between Manhattan and Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and between Manhattan and Queens on the Queens Midtown Tunnel.
See the complete list of State Road Laws here.