Encompassing just over 2000 acres on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, Sampson State Park features camping and boating as the primary recreational activities. The park has a total of 309 campsites with 245 electric and 64 non-electric sites. The marina has just over 100 boat slips and a large multiple launch site. A key feature of the park is the beautiful view of the lake at its center, and the most picturesque sunsets in the Finger Lakes Region. Activities include tennis, horseshoes, basketball and volleyball, a sandy beach with guarded swimming, playgrounds, and a scenic lake trail. Other popular activities include fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, local golf, geocaching, and wildlife viewing and photography. Picnic shelters are available and may be reserved for events
South of the Park Entrance on Rt 96A is the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Current Water Quality - Beach Results
Household pets only; caged or on a leash not more than 6 feet. Mandatory Certificate of Rabies Vaccination for pets is required (metal tags will not be accepted). Household pets are not permitted in any buildings, playgrounds or swimming areas. Patrons must pick up after their pets. Two pet maximum per campsite.
Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.
The Empire Pass -- whether a card for $80 or a vehicle-affixed decal for $65 -- is your key to all-season enjoyment with unlimited day-use entry at most facilities operated by State Parks and the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation including forests, beaches, trails and more. Apply online or contact your favorite park for more information. Learn more about our Admission Programs including the Empire Pass.
Firewood source maps show a 50-mile radius from which untreated firewood may be moved to this campground. For more information see firewood restrictions.
Sampson State Park's 2,000 plus acres gently slope to the eastern shores of Seneca Lake, the largest of Central New York's' famous Finger Lakes. The Finger Lakes were created during the Ice Age by the formation and then retreat of the Pleistocene glaciers. The melting glaciers left behind a pristine lake we now call Seneca, to the depths of 630 feet, with 75 miles of shoreline, four miles of which are accessible and lie within Sampson's boundaries.
Sampson's story begins with the Sullivan Campaign of 1779, a major military offensive of the Revolutionary War initiated by General George Washington. Sullivan's troops entered the Indian village of Kendaia destroying as many as 30 longhouses, their crops, and fruit trees. Land between the lakes became bounty land and was set aside to compensate New York soldiers after their participation in the war. Evidence of these early settlers still exists in the park today by a preserved pioneer cemetery near one of the deep ravines.
A century and a half later, following the outbreak of WWII, quiet farm life gave way to the establishment of the second largest Naval training facility in the country, where an astounding 411,429 recruits were trained from 1942 – 1946. This facility was named in honor of William T. Sampson from Palmyra, NY. Sampson was renowned for his victory in the battle of Santiago during the Spanish-American War. Post WWII, a portion of the grounds were transformed into Sampson State College, educating our returning servicemen from 1946 – 1949. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Navy transferred ownership of the remaining land to the Air Force for the purpose of basic training Military Base which operated from 1950 to 1956. Ownership was again transferred in 1960 to the New York State Park System; and thus, the opening of Sampson State Park in 1963. In 1995 the Military Museum was opened within the park to share the history and to honor those Navy and Air Force servicemen that booted on Sampson's ground.
Many of the military buildings and roads have been removed or modified over the years in the transformation of the State Park. Heavy brush, pine and cedar thickets, and young growth wooded areas are slowly reclaiming the once cleared military land. Several steep ravines edged with old growth oak, hickory, ash, and maple traverse through the park land draining into Seneca Lake. This evolving landscape makes excellent habitat for songbirds, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, fox, coyote, raccoon, squirrel, rabbit, and other small mammals, as well as waterfowl and birds of prey including bald eagles and osprey.
Deer, turkey, small game, and waterfowl hunting is allowed at Sampson State Park by special permit only. Hunting dates and legal hunting implement will vary from the NYS DEC Hunting and Trapping Guide, but DEC rules of hunting will still apply. There are currently no antler restrictions in Sampson State Park.
2016 Spring Turkey
Zone specific for gun and bow. Reservations for zones start April 15, 2016; 8 a.m. Contact park office for details.
Fall Turkey (Bow Only)
Small Game (Only after all Big Game seasons end)
Waterfowl (Late Season Only)
2017 Spring Turkey
A special park hunting permit is required for all hunting at Sampson State Park along with blaze orange hat or vest while moving. Gun hunters should wear orange at all times.
All harvested deer must be recorded at the park office in person and bucks photographed by office staff
Safety zones and restricted areas are posted to ensure the safety of other park patrons and regional personnel. Signs will be posted at all parks during hunting season to notify patrons of this activity. Handguns will not be permitted in park. No trapping is allowed.
For additional information, please contact Sampson State Park at: (315) 585-6392.