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Get friendly with Mother Nature on a late-summer camping trek. (Photo credit: Pollyanna Ventura for iStock)

The summer of 2023 saw a spike in traveling. Even with inflation, more than 3 in 10 (31 percent) of vacationers planned to spend more on travel in 2023 than last year, according to a recent report from World Travel and Tourism Council and booking site

However, the road back to normalcy has been a bit bumpy, with delayed and canceled flights making for a monkey wrench in many a getaway. Maybe those scared you off. Or, perhaps they didn’t, but you’re looking for one last blast this season.

During the late spring and throughout summer, the Hamptons can feel like a playground. The soft, white sands and lush greenery make it a destination. There are plenty of rentals and resorts with spas and inns offering heaping helpings of luxury and elegance to make your South Fork stay a good one.

Camping may not be on your radar, but it’s a hidden gem — a way to immerse yourself in the Hamptons’ natural beauty. There are numerous parks where campers can pitch tents and stay a while amid beachfront surroundings. Plus, nothing is stopping you from digging into an upscale meal at one of the area’s notable nearby restaurants or indulging in retail therapy at a high-end shop.

Ready to “rough it” Hamptons-style? These South Fork campgrounds allow you to sleep under the stars before the sun sets on summer.

Cedar Point County Park, 5 Cedar Point Lane, East Hampton, 631-852-7620

The sprawling 607-acre Cedar Point offers postcard-perfect views of Gardiners Bay, once a bustling port after its settlement in 1651. These days, campers can dine al fresco in picnic areas, rent boats and meander hiking trails. The historic lighthouse built in 1860 can be accessed through a narrow but walkable path that begins on the mainland. You won’t be entirely roughing it in these parts. Bathrooms offer hot showers, and more upscale glamping tents with nightstands, dressers and USB ports are also available through Airbnb and ReserveAmerica.

Hither Hills State Park, 164 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, 631-668-2554

This state park with 189 campsites is a waterfront wonderland 122 miles and a world away from New York City. It has two miles of sandy Atlantic Ocean shores and a 40-acre freshwater lake. The “walking dunes” at Napeague Harbor were made for exploration on the park’s eastern point. Handicap-accessible picnic areas, basketball and volleyball courts, biking and horseback riding opportunities, hiking trails and hot-water showers are among the other amenities.

Shinnecock East County Park, Meadow Lane, Southampton, 631-852-8839

Pitching a tent is a no-go at Shinnecock East County Park, but camping in vehicles is permitted. The unspoiled, underdeveloped landscape where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Shinnecock Inlet offers a more throwback camping appeal. Self-contained campers, like guests with self-contained RVs, can rest their legs in one of the 100 outer-beach camping sites.

Cupsogue Beach County Park, 975 Dune Rd, Westhampton Beach, 631-852-8111

Cupsogue Beach County Park offers a campground juxtaposing the pristinely landscaped homes along Dune Road. But don’t count out the views of the white-sand barrier beach at this campsite, which allows campers and recreational vehicles to set up camp on an access road that runs parallel to the outer beach (a permit is required). Scuba diving, saltwater bass fishing and swimming are other ways to enjoy a camping trip at the beach.

Indian Island County Park, Cross River Drive, Riverhead, 631-852-3232

Located before the Forks split, this park is ideal for up-islanders and city people who want the East End camping experience without the long ride. The 275-acre park welcomes trailers and tents to its place at the mouth of the Peconic River. Picnic tables offer vistas of the glimmering Flanders Bay, and grills are available for people who didn’t have room to bring their own. Bonus: Indian Island allows for an “endless summer”: While other campgrounds run by Suffolk County close in November, Indian Island is accessible year-round (although water is turned off in the cold months).