Can you RV to NYC? Sure, but there’s a better way

smiling couple with NYC skyline
The first night we headed out to the Jersey side of the Hudson River for some great views of the New York skyline.

Can you RV to NYC? Of course, you can, but I have a tip on how you can do the next best thing: RV Jersey City.

One of the great things about driving a Class B RV like our Roadtrek van is that we can take it pretty much anywhere we need to go.

I recently got invited to speak at a communications conference in New York City. I really wasn’t looking forward to flying in. Then we found out Jessi could go with me, and I suggested we make a big trip out of it. So we drove the Roadtrek and stayed at an RV park in Jersey City, New Jersey. We took public transit to and from New York City each day. That way, we could RV to NYC without risking major headaches from driving into the Big Apple itself.

It worked out great. I hate flying and airports and everything that goes into what the commercial-airline style of travel has become. By driving, we are more on our own schedule. That means that on the return trip, we could use our preferred method of serendipitous travel. If we spot something fun or different along the way, we stop to check it out. It is a much more comfortable way to travel. We are in better seats during the day and our own bed at night. We have a bathroom always available, and we have a kitchen to make food whenever we get hungry for a meal or need a snack.

Traveling by RV is a much better way to travel than being packed in like cattle on someone else’s schedule, which is what happens when you fly via commercial airlines. Having your own bed is especially nice not just en route but also at your destination. Even the nicest hotels make me squirm a bit when I think about how well the linens may have been washed or what bed bugs might be waiting in the mattress for me.

Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park
campervan in RV Park
Site A14 at Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park

Located in Jersey City, New Jersey, the Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park is located right across the Hudson River from New York City. It is billed as the closest campground to New York City, and it appears they are right. Essentially, you are staying in a big parking lot at the marina. But the sites are a decent size, and there are electric and water hookups at each one. It is conveniently located if you are heading to New York City. There is even a water taxi that leaves directly from the site. It takes you over to the Wall Street area of Manhattan. So, if you are looking to RV to NYC without having to drive your rig into the craziness epitomized by New York City traffic, the Liberty Harbor RV Park might be a good option for you.

tent sites at RV park
Tent camping in the city? It’s possible…

If you don’t have an RV, you can tent camp at Liberty Harbor. They have about eight sites with turf grass where you can put your tent for overnight accommodations. There is no electric hook-up for the tents, but you are located right near the bathroom building so you have easy access to water. That also means you are tenting right outside the bathroom building. Of course, if you are looking to tent camp in a big city, you probably aren’t expecting the wide open spaces of BLM land. In this case, it’s all about access and convenience so you can experience city life and attractions. Location, location, location.

The bathroom building has men’s and women’s facilities that provide toilets, sinks, and showers. They were all well-maintained and clean. Liberty Harbor also offers a laundry room on site so if you need to freshen up your clothes, that is available, as well.

RV to NYC…almost
New York skyline and Hudson River
The New York skyline across the Hudson River from Jersey City

Even from the RV park, you can see the New York skyline. Take a short walk out to the marina side and you have some nice views of boats and the Statue of Liberty.

About a 5- to 10-minute walk away, depending on your pace, you will find the station for the PATH train. A $2.50 single rider ticket can take you from New Jersey to New York where you can catch the subway for the Metro Transit Authority to continue your travels throughout the city.

The PATH trains and subway system can seem daunting to the uninitiated. Grabbing a Metro map and plotting out your course beforehand will save you a lot of grief and anxiety. Google Maps can also be a huge benefit because you can pull up transit directions on your phone. Don’t forget that you may lose your cell signal periodically along the way. That’s why I would use Google Maps for planning your route and comparing options.

You also want to know which trains you need for each leg of your journey before you enter the underground labyrinth of the New York City subway system. With that knowledge in hand though, purchasing tickets and finding your way isn’t that difficult. Just keep in mind that you are in New York City. No matter what form of travel you take, there will be chaos and a lot of people. You need to leave extra time because it will take longer than you think. The staff at Liberty Harbor RV Park were helpful with tips on how to get in and out of New York. Make sure you take advantage of locals who can give you an idea on how to get where you’re going. Also, be sure to inquire how they would get there.

In the video below from our YouTube channel, you can see more information on our travel style and see the Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park. It’s Part 1 of a 2-part series on our trip to New York.

YouTube thumbnail
Click here to watch Part 1 of the 2-part video on our trip to New York City.
Jersey City cellular

speedtest screenshotAnytime you’re in a major metropolitan area, you will notice good and bad impacts on your cellular service. That’s because while the major networks are likely to have more towers carrying their service, they also are carrying signals for a lot more people, which can clog things up.

Once at the RV park, I quickly figured out our best options for cellular service. We currently travel with access to Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile (through Project Fi) on our cell phones, plus a Verizon MiFi and a WeBoost cell signal booster. If you’re interested in finding out more about our set up and what I found in Jersey City, click here. It might surprise you how the different options compared.

Coming Up Next: Seeing New York City

In a second blog post and video on our YouTube channel, we’ll share information on some of the sights we saw in New York. The theme: Don’t miss Central Park, especially if you find a major metropolis to be somewhat overwhelming.

Central Park and NYC skyline
Central Park!

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