Show up, start a bonfire, crack open a beer. That’s the idea behind Tentrr, whose guiding principle is to make camping effortless. Launched in 2015, the service aims to take the hassle out of camping, allowing guests to simply show up, and kick back, in a premium canvas tent that’s already set up.
Perhaps most easily described as the “Airbnb of camping,” Tentrr works with private land owners hoping to share their slice of heaven with guests. On their end, Tentrr constructs the wood platforms, supplies the tent, and the picnic table/kitchenette. Each Tentrr also comes with an air mattress, two Adirondack chairs, a firepit, and a camping toilet. The rest is up to the land owner, but tents often comes with area guides, lanterns, and essentials like bug spray, water, and lighters. The best part? Total seclusion. Long gone are the days where you find yourself camping next to noisy neighbors, unlike the nearby overcrowded campgrounds!
Currently up to thirty campsites, the website aims to grow all over the country… but for now, they’re launching in the best place in the world: the Catskills. Most listings are in Western Catskills in Sullivan and Delaware Counties, though a few others are spattered around the eastern edge of the park. For our first Tentrr excursion, we stayed at Schoharie Creek, in Elka Park, which is the northern region of the Catskills.
We picked the Schoharie Creek campsite because of its proximity to Tannersville, one of our favorite Catskills towns. After leaving the highway, the drive to the campsite takes you up Platte Cove Road, which is only open seasonally April through November, as its twists and turns are too dangerous in snowy weather. The views from it are spectacular. Once beyond that, our instructions were clear but also a foreshadowing of the uniqueness of yet to come: “turn left into the barn, then drive through the hole in the fence, on the dirt road, through the flower field and into the meadow.” Sure enough, the turnoff to the campsite is at a big red barn, through a hole in the fence, down a dirt road and through a flower field, into a meadow. And it was amazing. The idyllic setting was straight out of a storybook—frolicking deer, bouncing bunnies, and other wildlife encounters included.
Our campsite had the standard Tentrr setup: tent on a platform, Adirondack chairs, picnic table, camping toilet, sun shower, firepit and water. Bonus items included solar lamps and lanterns, an area guide, some books about the area, a Weber grill, and a hammock. A two minute walk leads to this Tentrr’s namesake, the Schoharie Creek, ideal for a lazy day in a tube or fishing. As luxurious as the tents come, though, there are a few things you’ll need to bring, like utensils and bedding. Upon booking, Tentrr will send you a confirmation email with a list of what’s included in your site, and suggested items to bring.
Though we fell in love with Schoharie Creek, Tentrr’s 30+ campsites are all unique in their own way. With that in mind, we were super impressed that once we booked, Tentrr sent an email with a list of what’s included at our campsite, along with a list of suggested items, the weather forecast, and other useful information. Schoharie Creek not available? Check out some of their other listings and pair up some of our other guides: in Woodstock, campsite Woodstock Mountains and Ponds; in Roxbury, The Hollow or Plattekill Mountain; or in Ellenville, the Mountain View campsite.
What To Do Around Elka Park: Take in the Outdoors Hiking, Fishing, Swimming or Ziplining
Ella Park is a tiny community in the Northern Catskills, ten minutes from (larger) Tannersville, who’s known as the “Painted Village in the Sky.” Its Main Street is quiet, but the area is booming with outdoorsy-type stuff to do, including hiking, fishing, skiing, and swimming. It’s also right down the road from Hunter, a ski mountain thats open year round with summer attractions like zip lining, hiking trails and scenic chairlift rides. (Pro tip: on the way into Tannersville from Elka Park, keep your eyes peeled for an old, grand hotel that’s falling apart.)
If you’re up for a hike, check out Huckleberry Point, which is about ten minutes from the campsite on Platte Cove Road. (This is the aforementioned twisting, steep seasonal road.) The 4-mile hike takes about two and a half hours, crossing a couple creeks and mostly wooded trails. At the top, the views are incredible. To your right, the nearby mountains loom above, and to the left, you can see straight past the far-off Hudson River. A bit further out clocking in at about a 30 minute drive is Kaaterskill Falls, a must-see for any waterfall lover. It’s a short 1.5 mile hike with an incredible payoff—the tallest two-tier waterfall in New York State—but its popularity can be a turnoff. Try visiting on a weekday when the trails are less crowded, or save yourself the trouble and head to Huckleberry Point instead.
Another fun way to spend the day outdoors is at Hunter Mountain, a ski mountain that’s open year-round. In warm months, take the $12 scenic chair ride up the mountain and walk down; or take in the views on North America’s longest and highest ziplines. The five miles worth of ziplines will take a decent chunk of your day, and requires reservation in advance. The combination of adrenaline rush, overcoming of the fear (!), the hilarious tour guides and the views throughout are sure to create memories that will last forever. Hunter also has hiking trails, mountain biking, Jeep off-roading, and a ton of special events; check out their event website for more info on both.
Where To Eat & Drink Around Elka Park: Lowbrow Burgers to Highbrow Lodge Dining in Tannersville
Though it feels like the middle of nowhere, the Tentrr campsite is less than 10 minutes from Tannersville, where you’ll find all the food you need for the weekend. You can stock up on groceries at Foodtown, but for a more gourmet experience, check out Last Chance Cafe. Besides being a cute restaurant, Last Chance also has a great small grocery stocked with yummy cheeses and craft beer—not to mention antiques, and a huge selection of throwback candy!
When breakfast rolls around, if you’re too lazy to cook over the campfire, head into town for an easy and indulgent breakfast at Twin Peaks Coffee & Donuts. (No relation to the TV show, though they do make a damn fine cup of coffee.) The donuts are made fresh to order, so kill the wait time by browsing their antique shop while you wait. For a more traditional sit-down experience, head to Maggie’s Krooked Cafe, whose colorful and kooky decor perfectly fits with the rest of the town. The food is excellent, and the cafe/juice bar has a huge menu; the buckwheat pancakes are not to be missed! For lunch, our favorite spot in town is Mama’s Boy Burgers, serving up great burgers and 26 flavors of custards in an old roadside ice cream parlor. Order from the counter inside, and find a spot at their outdoor picnic tables or enjoy inside at their retro-chic booths.
For a fine dining experience, or just a break from camping, check out the Deer Mountain Inn. The Adirondack-style lodge houses a seven room inn, but also has a great bar and restaurant. The atmosphere is the perfect compliment to camping, with its multiple huge fireplaces and taxidermy-filled interior; it also offers a place to warm up with a cocktail and a hearty meal before heading back to camp. Dive bars more your style? You’ll feel right at home with a burger and a beer at the Spinning Room. It’s your quintessential small-town dive bar, darts and jukebox included, with a mixed crowd of locals. If you’re feeling brave, try their “cool ranch” burger whose bun is lined in Doritos—or play it safe with their signature Buckaroo burger, which locals swear by. (And to the brave soul who tries the Dorito burger, will you please report back on how that goes?!)