Inside the Island Glamping Retreat Just Minutes From Downtown Manhattan

Yes, you read that right. Here’s how you can spend the night in a luxury canvas tent on Governors Island in the middle of New York Harbor this summer.

Inside the Island Glamping Retreat Just Minutes From Downtown Manhattan

Collective Governors Island is the first overnight accommodation to open on the tiny island in New York Harbor since the Coast Guard left in 1996.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Ever since the U.S. Coast Guard vacated Governors Island—a tiny 172-acre island just off the tip of downtown Manhattan—back in 1996, it has undergone a spectacular transformation from a military installation into a public park enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Each summer since 2005, thousands of visitors have been able to bike, eat, and enjoy the views from the island during the day, but for the first time in over 20 years they’ll also be able to spend the night there now that Collective Retreats’s latest glamping site is open.

Traditionally, Collective Retreats is known for opening luxury camping sites in more remote locations, including Vail, Yellowstone, Texas Hill Country, and New York’s Hudson Valley. Collective Governors Island marks the first time it’s built one of its campgrounds in an urban setting.

Here’s a look inside New York City’s brand-new glamping retreat.


The great lawn at the center of Collective Governors Island

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

How to get there It only takes eight minutes on a ferry from downtown Manhattan to reach Governors Island and the campsite is a short walk or golf cart ride from the ferry terminal. With rates starting at $150 per night, this ultimate city-meets-outdoors experience is a far cry from pitching a tent in the Adirondacks, but it certainly beats spending hours stuck in a car trying to leave the city on a summer Friday. Plus, did we mention there are views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty outside each luxury canvas tent?


Journey Tents start at $150 per night.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Inside the tents Guests can choose to spend the night in one of 27 “Journey” tents or 10 “Summit” tents within the retreat. Both types of tent feature real beds and mattresses, fully functional electricity, and French Press coffee bars. Starting at $150 per night, the Journey tents offer a slightly cozier option and shared bathrooms within a two-minute walk of each campsite.

Local New Yorkers can apply to a lottery system to win $75 rates for the Journey tents via Collective’s email database. While the lottery is currently full for the summer, Collective Retreats says it is planning on offering more dates this fall before closing for the season on October 31.


Summit Tents start at $450 per night.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

For those looking for a truly over-the-top camping experience, Summit tents start at $450 per night, and each comes with its own private en-suite bathroom with rain shower, spacious deck with Adirondack chairs, and other amenities like Yeti coolers. Breakfast is also included in the Summit tent rates and can be brought directly to your bed for an extra fee.


The Three Peaks dining tent is open to the public while the ferries are running.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Is it open to the public? While the tent areas are restricted to overnight guests, public visitors who take the ferry over to Governors Island can relax on the great lawn and eat at the Three Peaks dining tent at the center of Collective Governors Island during the day. Guests and visitors can choose between a set menu or à la carte offerings at the restaurant, which include short-rib ragu pasta and a pan-roasted catch of the day. There’s also a BBQ-in-a-Box option for those who want to do some of their own grilling out on the lawn.

Collective Governors Island hasn’t secured a liquor license yet, but those who wish to enjoy beer, wine, or something a little stronger can make the five-minute walk to Island Oyster, the cocktail and oyster bar run by the same team as Manhattan’s Grand Banks, which stays open until the last ferry leaves Governors Island at 6 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on summer weekends.

After that, those paying to stay at Collective Governors Island will have the entire campsite to themselves for late-night s’mores around the campfire. However, for safety reasons, they will also be asked to stay inside the campground until 7 a.m., when they’ll be allowed to explore the entire island as they choose before everyone else arrives on the first ferries at 10 a.m.

>> Next: The Best Places to Go Glamping Right Now

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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