New Jersey may get a bad rap for its highways and a reality show shot on its famous shore, but there’s a reason it’s been dubbed The Garden State. About 22% of its land area is covered in pristine wilderness – in fact, it’s Pineland National Reserve was named an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations back in 1983. The tiny state, which is the most densely populated in the United States, has more than 50 protected areas spread throughout its mostly water-carved borders. So throw on your bathing suit or hiking boots and get ready to find the best camping in New Jersey.
The state’s gentle sand dunes have been attracting beach-goers for well over a century: one of the top destinations is Cape May, the oldest seaside resort in the entire country. Visiting nature-lovers head to Cape May Point State Park to hike the rambling trails and watch wildlife from the Hawk Watch platform. Those seeking some cardio climb the 199 steps to the top of fully restored 1859 Cape May Lighthouse, which offers prime views of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.
Although there is no coastal camping in New Jersey’s Cape May County, the area is home to nearly 50 campgrounds – more per square mile than other resort destination in the state – tucked away in the forests of the mainland areas.
For those who want to escape the often crowded campgrounds near the beach, Belleplain State Forest in the northern part of Cape May County offers some of the most stunning camping in New Jersey. It features idyllic sites set among the young pines, oak and Atlantic white cedar trees that are spread throughout the 21,000-acre preserve, a top pick for hikers, kayakers and swimmers, who prefer to get off the beaten tourist path. With the Dyrt, you can be sure to find the best camping in New Jersey, from the southern beaches to the northeastern Palisades.
This place was actually fantastic, I don't really have anything negative to say about it. The whole scene was exactly what I love about camping, a nice little remote campground in the mountains.
We actually only stayed here overnight to just get out and see the autumn colors before winter hit, so I wasn't really expecting much, but man was I impressed. The drive up to this place was so breathtaking the entire way. Adorable little mountain houses, with bridges that go over a stream to get to their front door. Made me quake with jealousy.
My husband said he would come back here just for the scenic drive to this campsite even, and I'd have to agree. We couldn't have picked a better time of the year too, the fall leaves were so vibrant. When we got to the campsite and checked in, there was a chicken right outside the camp office, which my dog seemed to appreciate most! We were kindly escorted to our site (a nice refreshing change from having to wander around to find the sites ourselves), which was the one farthest away from the entrance. We were able to just drive right up into our site and make ourselves at home for the day. The drive to our site had some inclines and was relatively rocky and some vehicles would surely struggle.
This place was just so calming and quiet, it was really just such a relaxing place to be. There was no irritation from loud, busy nearby roads, no city noise, no people yelling or stomping about. We set up camp and went for a little walk around to explore a bit. There were some open fields, some hunting trails with tree stands, and some remains of old structure foundations, chimneys, and farm equipment. Nothing super exciting but a nice way to walk the dog anyway.
Once it was time to turn in for the night, that's when the cool part happened. I've camped many times at multiple state parks, huge remote state forests, but I've never heard so much wildlife there as I did here. Only shortly after we settled into our tent did we hear foxes fighting right outside our tent, the snorts of deer, and there were bats right above us all night making noise! I guess if you don't like that kind of stuff you should avoid an area like this, but for some of us, this is what camping is all about. It was just so awesome to hear the sounds of wildlife all around you, and it's not something that's too easy to experience at a lot of NJ campgrounds, usually because the places aren't remote enough or campers are too rowdy. This place really delivers when it comes to spending some time in nature.
After a nice relaxing night out in the woods we packed up early in the morning (it was planned to rain the entire day) and headed out to the Cracker Barrel in Clinton to get a hot breakfast before heading home. Every moment was well worth it and the trip was just so rejuvenating despite how short it was. I will definitely be back next season.
Picnic tables and fire rings at each site. Fire ring had a grate for cooking.
Nice flat area for your tent. Our site was fully private (could not see or hear neighbors).
Beautifully secluded and quiet. Pretty rare for campgrounds in NJ.
Drive right up to your spot for your convenience. The drive up to the campsite was literally jaw-dropping the whole way up into the mountains. You pass through beautiful, quaint little towns and go over aged bridges, along mountain streams and though open valleys. The entire area is just gorgeous, open country.
Campsites are either in thick, wooded areas, or in open fields.
A playground for kids.
Porta-potties were super clean and…actually smelled good??? Maybe they were just cleaned or they are just really well cared for. Either way, it was unusual for a campsite.
Close to the Delaware River, Spruce Run Reservoir, and Round Valley Reservoir.
The free-range chickens by the office are a warm welcome.
Our site was on a hill and most likely not in a flood area.
Strict rules so that nature lovers can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about noisy neighbors or trash everywhere. Not a place you go to if you want to throw a rowdy party and just generally be a nuisance.
- Occasional, very minor traffic noise (mainly just from loud sports cars on the highway)
- The ground is moderately rocky, so there may be some slight troubles getting tent stakes in the ground.
- They do not allow you to gather your own firewood, but they do sell it in their camp store.
Points of interest nearby:
Spruce Run Reservoir and Round Valley Reservoir are nearby for all your fishing, boating, hiking, and swimming (even scuba diving) needs.
If you're looking for a scenic drive that makes you forget that you're in NJ, head on over to the Alpha Grasslands Preserve in Alpha, NJ.
The Delaware River is nearby with some great fishing spots.
Just past the Delaware River through Milford NJ, into PA, is a park called Ringing Rocks County Park. Some waterfalls to see and hiking to do. If you strike certain rocks with a metal hammer they ring, hence the name of the park!
I really could not figure any negatives to put for the review. The camping resort was clean and flawless. We stayed for the Halloween Weekend and loved it so much we are going part-time seasonal there next year. This is a place where kids can be kids!
Looking for a place to escape without having to drive out of your way to get to? Lower forge is the place. One if the few places in New Jersey you have to backpack into with access from either (Atsion 5+ miles in) or Batsto (7 miles) located right on the Basto River you’re even able to boat in. It’s one of my personal favorites to disappear for a weekend and great for beginners who you’re trying to break into backpacking. Located right off the Batona trail your bound for adventure.
This campground is a nice little hideaway not too far from the beaten path. You can hear some of the highway sounds from the campsites (especially the jake brake). The sites are hit or miss in terms of comfort, some have large, flat, clear spaces for multiple tents, some you have to wedge a tent to avoid rocks. Bathrooms were standard, compost toilets. The showers were free and generally quite hot.
You can drive to High Point monument that is 1803 feet above sea level and you get a spectacular panorama view. There are hiking trails and fresh water for kayaking. The campsite are ok , a little small and there is a pit toilet on site, but flush toilet and how showers are 5 min drive.
This is one of the best campsite I’ve been this year, clean bathrooms with very hot water and flushable toilet. The grounds are full of grass which makes my tent easy to pitch. Most campsite has a view of the Reservoir when sundown has amazing sunsets. Staff are friendly and helpful.
One of the best places in NJ to camp. If your into kayaking, boating, fishing, camping, hiking and much more then this is the place for you. You can either hike in to a site up to 7 miles or as we did, we loaded everything onto our kayaks and took the trip straight across. The view from the beach side sites are amazing, there is plenty of space in each site and plenty of space in between sites. I highly recommend this one to anyone who is trying to get away.
We camped here in almost mid October this year. Our first time in a NJ state park. The tent camping area was right along the river, some sites with direct access, some you'd have to walk a little more to the larger access areas. Our site, 15, had a direct path right down where you could be on the river. It was also very close to the bathroom/shower without actually being close enough that people bothered you, rarely even heard folks going to the restrooms. The camp site was level, huge, good table and had a lantern hook, too. Plenty of places for tent and shelter, plus tons more space. The bathrooms got the job done. Nothing fancy, but had hot water showers, large shower rooms and enough bathrooms as well. Biggest extra was a dishwashing sink which felt amazing after a summer of camping far from water and all the drama that entails. Its a "dry" campground, but I know for sure the sites around us did not follow that rule. No electric, or water at each site, just at the bathrooms. There's so much outdoor stuff to do in this area that honestly I'd go back a ton of times if I could. Hiking, fishing, Lakota Wolf Preserve, Pennsylvania…the list goes on. 100% recommend this area for camping!
This is a very nice KOA, just over the Delaware River from Philly. The park is clean, quiet, full of families. The staff are friendly and welcoming. It’s easy to navigate to the park from the interstate, and big rigs fit easily. I would definitely plan to stay here to visit Philly!
We went in Mid-October as a weekend shakedown trip for our new camper. As NJ locals were looking to test out this campground near the shore. While the campground has its perks, we were put off by the behavior of the seasonal campers. Overall, we will not be returning.
- Super friendly and helpful staff
- Clean facilities
- Proximity to Cape May \ Wildwood
- Activities for kids
- The golf carts were the absolute worst, people don’t obey the speed limit on these things (and there are a lot of them whizzing around…) Many were driven by underage kids (against rules, but clearly not enforced). Carts also frequently blasted inappropriate music.
- Unsupervised kids that misbehaved
- Our car and camper were egged (see point above) other non-seasonal campers around us were egged as well
- Very small camper spots
- Seasonal campers
A great place to camp for a good nature experience . There are trails that lead from the campground to many miles of wilderness hiking in the federal park and state forests . The Lakota Wolf Preserve is a must see while there and hearing the wolves howl at night while you are out at the fire is really cool . There are a lot of bears roaming the woods in this part of NJ so keep your coolers in the car and garbage in the trash cans . For hiking and a great outdoor and camping in the woods experience check this place out .
This was our first time camping with our new to us pop up trailer and we decided to stay local Incase we ran into any problems! We ended up pulling in after dark since we both ended up working late and took us about 1 1/2 hours to set up our water and electrical lines were short from where we parked and they lent us loaners for the weekend. Owners were extremely nice and helped us tremendously! They have kayaking and tubing available with their own transport 2,3 and 5 hour trips and you come right back down to the campsite!! Bring your own and just pay a small transport fee. We will go back and do the kayaking for sure!! We had a beautiful weekend and the camp activities were great for the kids!! Can’t wait to go back!!
This campsite has everything, several beaches, historic building and history, amazing sunsets ,shade trees and very long bike trails.
Stayed here once a year for the past three years but this is the first time I feel I need to write a review. I felt like I was bothering the front desk by checking in. The golf carts driven by minors speeding through the park. The water stank and was straight brown. The site itself was ok and it had a concrete pad The dirt/sand roads were horrible. The pool was heated
We've stayed here 2 years in a row. We returned due to all the activities the campground offers for the kids. A nice lake with a giant inflatable slide, floating trampoline, kayak and paddle board rentals. A decent pool that tends to get a bit crowded, but does the trick. We had a blast with a golf cart rental. The campground is rather large, so it felt like a necessity to have a secondary way of getting around easily as a family. Plus it made checking out the entire campground manageable. Bathhouses were clean and well maintained. The campground is a short 5 minute drive from Cape May. Which is also a big reason we've returned. Sunset Beach, The Open Air Mall, and the charm of victorian Cape May are all great reasons to visit.
Worthington State forest is right on the Delaware river. It is a beautiful place to camp. You can hike up Douglas trail and sit near the Sunfish Pond. This campground is great for families but not for groups going out to drink alcohol. Alcohol and cigarettes/vapes are not allowed.
This is our first stay at this Thousand Trails resort.
We had a reservation that we made using the App. The app did not allow us to book a stay starting on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday so we checked in on Sunday. The reason i mention this is that when set up in our site our neighbor told us that there were plenty of empty sites all the previous week - he stays here frequently and recommended calling rather than using the Thousand Trails app.
Next note - the resort did not reserve a particular site and suggested that we drive around and select the one we liked. That was ok and we got a nice level site with a concrete pad under the picnic table. Partially shaded. Consideration - As we have a class B unit we will be in and out of the site - we needed some way to designate that the site was taken if we went out. The resort did not plan for this ( see later note ) but they did come out and give us a length of caution tape to us to block the site.
This is a fairly large place. The sites are clean but small. Far and away this resort is used by seasonal and cabin campers. They only have a few ( maybe 25 or so) transient sites which they seem to allocate on on a first come first serve basis. If you have a class b and plan to go in an out i recommend you bring some sort of indicator to mark your site as occupied.
We came in late September so the pool was closed but the lake side beach was still open. The beach was clean and had beach chairs.
The camp store has limited offerings, was not open on Mon and Tue, and closed at 4. This may have been because we were late in the season.
First, it is a state park so it has many of the things you would expect like a beach area, picnic areas, playground, volley ball, pavilion, etc. We went out of season so there were no lifeguards, or anything “open” at the pavilion. We are always after campgrounds with as little going on as possible other than the nature so this would not be a place for us during the summer when I imagine it gets quite packed. There are about 50 camp sites but many of them, from 1 to 30ish are wide open with ZERO privacy. That said, it’s great for large groups that book a few sites next to each other. There were 3 groups during our stay. Which got pretty loud if you were in sites in the 30s. Starting there, sites get more separated and a wee bit secluded. There are only 4 dog friendly sites, which we need. They are 42-45. Be careful with site 44, no good place for a tent. The other are nice. There is one spot for showers and bathroom. They were really clean. Same for dishwashing facility. So depending on what you’re looking for, it has something for you. Like I mentioned, we like quiet spots so the fact that it has the potential to be too loud in peak times meant 4 starts from me.
There are 20 tent sites spread across four loops. There is NO beach access. Some sites have shelters, others do not. Pay attention when reserving. All sites have a fire pit and picnic table. Sites are walk-in (only about¼ mile) and carts are available to haul gear. Two water spigots and bathrooms with flush toilets are also on-premise. No electric, hook-ups, or showers. The nearby beaches have outdoor shower facilities though. The racoons are fierce. They will eat through your tent. Use the bear lockers provided to store anything scented.
Activities abound: hit the beaches for (non-motorized) water sports or sunbathing (Gunnison is the nude beach), learn about the military history of the area on an NPS tour, visit the oldest working lighthouse in the US, walk or bike the multi-use trails, go birding, and more! Nearby Hartshorne Woods Park (Monmouth County Park System) has great hiking and mountain bike trails too.
Tent site was fantastic, level, trees are well trimmed, but still with good coverage, sites are a nice size. Close enough to the bathroom and water options. Campground well appointed. Nice pool, clean showers, quarters for a shower. We paid $40 night in almost mid September. Its just faucets for water, no sinks for a dishwashing station. You are in a busier campground with lots of RVs, travel trailers and vacation rentals, so its not some peaceful small state campground. Only complaint really would be the folks who drove their golf carts like maniacs. Some enforcement from management would be good there.
Enjoyed a great weekend at Stokes State Forest. We stayed at the campsite at Lake Ocquittunk Area. Campsite was very spacious and had a platform where we were able to fit two tents. There was plenty of space on the site for more tents. Site came with bear proof bin for garbage and fire ring. Very comfortable site, quiet but still with plenty of amenities. Bathrooms and shower were all single stall and very clean, only a 5 min walk from our site. Two water sources nearby as well. We didn’t have direct views of the lake, but were within a minute walk to some quiet views of the lake. Also the location is amazing; there are trail heads near the campsites and longer trails, including access to the Appalachian Trail within a short 10-15 minute drive. You can also rent kayaks and SUP at the main office. Highly recommend Stokes.