Lodging on Eastern Long Island is expensive, especially during the warmer months. Camping is a lower cost alternative, as long as you’re OK with abundant mosquitoes and racoons looking for a meal. There aren’t many campgrounds to choose from, and they fill up fast, so plan ahead by making reservations.
Eastern Long Island Kampground (ELIK), tucked away in Greenport, is a private campground which has tent sites and RV sites. While there’s a large RV crowd, tent people are well represented too. For what is billed as a family campground, things can get pretty raucous on the weekend. On Saturday nights, college boys home for the summer show up in groups, building bonfires, getting drunk, and chatting audibly into the wee hours. If you want a more peaceful stay, go during the week.
Facilities at ELIK are adequate. A bathouse is located within a reasonable distance from each campsite. Hot showers are free, and the bathrooms are cleaned every morning. Each bathhouse has a sink oustide for washing dishes — a very useful amenity.
The Shelter Island and Orient Point ferries are located within a short drive from ELIK, making it a well situated base camp for daytripping. In season you’ll find numerous roaside farms stands in the area. The fresh fruits and vegetables make for splendid camp meals.
My friend Jeff and I chose ELIK as a base for daytripping on bicycles. One day we pedaled to Orient Beach State Park and explored the extensive beach along Gardiner’s Bay. Another day we took our bikes to Shelter Island via the ferry. The two lane roads on Shelter Island take cyclists past gorgeous homes of the filthy rich. Even if you never achieve such grotesque wealth, you can always pedal to find one of the many great swim spots on the Island, which are free.