Looking for rustic, relatively quiet, no-frills overnighting in Harriman State Park, but want the convenience of being able to drive your car to the spot, or the thrill of a fourth wall? Try Sebago Cabin Camps, on Lake Sebago in Harriman.
Americans are a rustic-camping loving people. And though we are also a customized-mattress loving people, we’ll make an exception for places like Sebago Cabin Camps, where the cot mattresses are, shall we say, flimsy? The floors might be dusty, and you’ll find the occasional beer can in the fire ring. But don’t let this scare you: “Rustic” is the operative word at Sebago Cabins, and in America, we rough it every so often. It has its rewards.
Sebago Cabin Camps is located on the southeast side of Lake Sebago, in the southern section of Harriman. You’ll take Seven Lakes Drive north from Sloatsburg, New York, and just past the boat launch for Lake Sebago, you’ll see the drive to the camp.
This is a relatively tranquil place to camp, in comparison with the other two public group campgrounds in Harriman (Baker Camp and Beaver Pond). And while the beach at Lake Sebago is closed for the 2013 season, you can swim at the little beach in the camping area, provided there is a lifeguard on duty. Which is to say, in the summer months and on or before Labor Day.
Note that you’ll need to book a seven day stay during peak season. (I always wonder about that. Do I really want to stay at Sebago Cabin Camps for seven days? These cabins are rustic.). If that doesn’t suit you, try booking off-peak (ie, during the early fall or late spring).
By the way, what’s “rustic” mean to you? There’s really nothing charming about these cabins. They’re dark. They look like they’re made of plywood, with some logs sliced and applied to the outer walls for a “rustic” effect, but really, this is Army-barracks style simplicity. The cots are plain and thin. There are probably cobwebs and spiders overhead. Few cabins have porches — you’ll want to get one that does.
Staying at Sebago Cabins — The Facts:
Yes, you can bring alcohol, but it should be consumed in the cabin area.
No pets, tents, firewood (as in, don’t bring your own), large parties, firearms or bows, loud music, trailers, sleeping in your car.
Make reservations between nine months and two days in advance.
Phone: 1-800-456-2267 or visit website: www.reserveamerica.com to reserve.
There’s a one-week minimum stay during peak season, and a two-night minimum in the off-season.
Eight of the cabins have porches: A3, A5, A11, A12, B12, C1, C2, and C5.
There are two four-bedroom cottages: A6, and B18. These are $101.25/night.
Five cabins are handicap accessible: C1, A12, A11, A5, and A3.
The “C-loop” cabins are closest to the shore.
Things to Do With the Kids Once You’re There:
There’s plenty to do with the kids once you’re settled. They’ll love the little beach that edges clear Lake Sebago, and the fact that there’s a little rec room, a Saturday night bonfire, and boat rentals. There’s a small playground, a place to play baseball or soccer, and the lake itself to explore. Best of all, you’re right in the middle of some of the best hiking New York State has to offer.
Hiking and Day Adventure Suggestions from Sebago Cabin Camps:
Here’s an idea. Pay 75.00 for a cabin at Sebago, and then leave your camping gear at home. Opt instead for the lightest backpack you can find, fill it with water and some trail mix — the bare minimum — and spend the day hiking lighter, farther and faster.
Make Pine Meadow Lake your destination for a day. Get ahold of the Trail Conference mapset for Harriman-Bear Mountain (there are two maps in the set, for the north and south sections), and take either the blue-blazed Seven Hills trail from Seven Lakes Drive, across from the boat launch driveway, or. Explore the lake, take an unsanctioned dip, have your lunch on the north shore before hiking back.
Rent a boat, and paddle over to the (now closed) Lake Sebago Beach:
Since Hurricane Irene had her way with the sand at Lake Sebago Beach, it’s been closed to the public. But you can check it out by renting a boat from Sebago Cabin Camps, and visiting it yourself.