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.
I highly recommend this campground as a place to get out and camp out on the water. You can hike in by foot but if you have camp gear and tent equipment my recommendation is to canoe your belongings in! There’s usually a couple of campfires at each site and you’ll book with the rangers when you drive in or by phone to get your permit. The sunsets here are incredible and I’ve camped in Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota!
We stayed here in April. This was a nice campground. The RV sites were nice. there were no elctric/water/ sewer hookups. Our site was across from a water station. There was a dump station at the campgrond. Bathrooms were clean. The campground is not far from the popular shore towns. Diners in Woodbine are close as well. Cell service with Spint/ Verizon was good. Our camp site on the outer loop was large. Some sites in other areas were smaller.
Great little campground close to NY. Friendly people, attentive to you needs/ concerns. A lot of Family activities. we have stayed here a few times before and always had a great time. This was a last minute trip so our site was ok. the W loop is by far our favorite!!!!
My husband and I Tent camped in #34 with our dog. The space was reasonably priced, but we did have to pay an extra $5/day for our dog. However, we didn’t mind as it was so private we felt like we had the entire Park to ourselves. The bathroom/shower was only a few steps away which was convenient and clean. The only problem we encountered was that there wasn’t a store close by for ice or other essentials, although the main office does sell firewood. They close at 4pm, though, so be sure to get there before then!
Not a family friendly place; people skinny dipping in the lake, people smoking in public places, people cursing up a storm right next to our 3 and 4 year old, etc etc. On top of that there was trash everywhere and the laundromat was closed for the entire week we were there. Only saving grace for the place was the wonderful amenities in the area which meant we could spend as little time as possible in the “resort”
We went to Round Valley Resevoir on 6/21-6/22/19. When hit the water around Noon and after paddling for about 15 minutes the wind really kicked up and the water got pretty rough. We originally were supposed to camp at site 83, but the water was too rough to continue that far. The strobe lights were activated and we pulled off of the water. After about 30 minutes I called the ranger station and requested a new camp site because the water was too rough, and the strobe system was activated. The person I spoke to said that the strobes didnt mean to get off the water, but just to stay close to the coast and continue paddling. I told the person that it was not safe to paddle and we got reassigned to another site. (It should be noted that in the ranger station as well as on the literature they give you when checking in says to get off of the water if the stobes are turnd on). We ended up at site 40. The site itself was ok, but not really level. We were a little over a mile to the nearest water point. It was nice to see bathrooms along the trail with trash cans. However the bathrooms were really dirty and unmaintained. I understand it is a wilderness camping spot, but the one bathroom actually had feces covering the floor. The trash cans were nice though.
The wind died down early on 6/22 and we hit the water, paddling back to the boat launch in about an hour in calm water. Over all the site was not too bad, with a great view of the water. The staff was not very friendly , saftey concious or helpful. I felt the advice to just keep paddling close to coast while th strobe alert system was activated was not very wise. We will probably visit again, but will hike in so we do not have to deal with the unpredictable wind ans water conditions. Also his is an active Bear area , so bring bear spray. Also , there was no cell servce by the ranger station , but our phones worked well when out on the water and at the camp site.
Loved camping here last year. Close to home for my family to be able to do multiple trips. We especially enjoyed being able to leave our trailer on the site for the week and return the following weekend and having everything set up and ready to go. You can no longer do that. We also enjoyed the breakfast(pancakes or French toast)on Saturday mornings. It was a great way to start the day and meet other campers. They no longer do that either. The store closes to early for a weekend and they no longer have the yummy variety of soft serve ice cream(my children think this is the worse thing they did). Hopefully they will bring some of these things back.
This is a great spot with views of Manhattan, Statue of Liberty, etc. Expect to pay pretty good to be gear, but from here you can pretty much easily get anywhere in NYC. Service is great and friendly. Checking in was easy, and they accommodated our needs. Expect to pay between $35-50 for a Lyft to get to Brooklynn.
I haven't seen a review since 2017 and that should have been my first clue. Let me start by saying the check in area was nearly 12 miles away from the site. At the site there were no bathrooms. One outhouse which smelled like death for the entire camp site. I would say there had to be about 60 people using one outhouse NO FLUSHING! Ewwwwwwwwwwwww Camp sites were one on top of the other. There were no clearly marked roads and several cars got stuck in the sand area, one car even drove through our site during the night. Luckily we werent run over. There were no picnic tables either. If you didnt have a table and/or chair you stood all weekend. The road leading to the actual site was full of twists and turns and we nearly smashed into a tree coming out of a turn doing about 20 mph. The police patrolled at 730 pm, 930 and then 1130. THERE WAS NO INTERNET, CELLULAR SERVICE. That didnt bother me but the fact that if there was an emergency there was no way to contact police was pretty alarming. I honestly didnt think the mosquitos or bug situation was bad. There was a questionable tick but didnt see much more than spiders and ants. The lake/beach area also 12 miles away was really nice. You could rent a paddle board, canoe or kayak for a reasonable fee. We will not be back because of the unkempt roads, no running water.(Hey if you want only port a potties ok but put enough to be sanitary for the 60 or so people you jam in on top of each other.) and no way to reach the outside world in an emergency.
I absolutely love this place and has become my go to for quick spur of the moment trips in Jersey. It’s about a 3mi hike to campsites #1 & #2 and 6mi to the last sites #84 & #85. The hike is not terrible in my opinion just lots of ups and downs for the first 3mi. Once you get to the campground trail it’s pretty easy going on asphalt surface. You also have the option to boat into a lot of the sites but will warn you that the winds pick up out of nowhere on the reservoir and can make paddling a bit taxing at points…. so check the forecast and be prepared. Only reason for a 1 star loss is, like others have mentioned, these sites are hit or miss. I’ve gotten beautiful sites with ample space and great lake access to pads that can barely hold a tent, have way too many sharp rocks to put a tent on or covered in 6 inches of mud. Would just do your research before reserving and if possible scout out a few of your favorites beforehand. Also make sure to take a look at the water situation. Was out there this weekend (6/22/19) and because they are installing a new filtration system only two water pumps are working and depending on which site you get you can be up to 1.5mi away from the nearest one.
Campground Review: This is one of my absolute favorite camping areas I have ever been. Namanock Island is only accessible by water and is roughly 4 miles down the Delaware River if you leave from Milford Beach in Milford, PA. There is a ten dollar fee per day to park your car so bring cash as the parking area is not always manned and you’ll have to leave the fee in an envelope that is available just past the entrance. These sites are canoe, kayak, or(in my case) packraft accessible. The sites are maintained by the NPS and are available on a first come first served basis. Also there is no cost to camp on the river save the parking fees you paid in Milford! This was my first time making the trip with a friend and it was awesome to have some company. We stayed at site 13 (marked by a small square sign). Once at the tip of the island you will want to stay to the right on the river and close to the shore of the island(on your left hand side) as the site comes up relatively quickly and you won’t want to shoot past it. It’s a steep climb up the shore so be prepared for that. You have a small piece of shoreline that is mostly rocks. It’s a great spot to sit and enjoy the sun, sounds of nature, and have yourself a cold beer. You are limited to one night on the island. They are primitive campsites which include a fire ring and a primitive toilet. The sites are in excellent shape! This was my first time venturing to the island on a weekend(Friday) night but we had the place to ourselves so that was awesome. I’ve read that if you are going on a weekend that it’s advisable to go earlier in the day. We were on the island by 3 and had no problem securing our site, granted it was early June so your mileage may vary if you are going during the peak of the summer. It's a rare thing to camp on an island and Namanock is so serene and peaceful, you’ll hear the water flowing gently all night, perfection! We had ourselves a nice fire and made hot dogs and s’mores. The next morning we packed up and set off for another site about 8 miles down the river. After camping at the next site we packed up and hiked back along the McDade Recreation Trail to Dingmans Ferry access where we caught the River Runner Shuttle(a free shuttle that runs along the river on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer free of charge) back to the car in Milford. We were pressed for time otherwise we would have made the full 12 mile hike, instead we hiked slightly more than 4 miles. I’ll keep going back to this site as often as I can and can’t recommend it enough. In order to be prepared for the river camping experience
I would recommend purchasing the National Geographic map of the Delaware Water Gap and/or the DWG map set sold by the NYNJ Trail Conference as they have all of the sites outlined.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. At Namanock Island, I got to test out the Gregory Zulu 55 pack. This pack comes loaded with features. It fit all of my gear (sleeping bag, tent, food sleeping pad, backpacking chair, packraft, paddle, clothes, etc with absolutely no problem. I am 5’7’’ and weigh about 145 lbs, the small/medium pack fit me perfectly. I really loaded this thing up with my rafting gear for our 4 mile hike back to the parking area and never once felt like I had a hot spot or any discomfort whatsoever. The Zulu features Gregory’s FreeFloat suspension technology designed to move with your body and I’d say mission accomplished, it really felt like it responded well to my movements and never once did it feel uncomfortable! The Zulu comes loaded with pockets both external and internal as well as multiple lashing points which perfectly suited my needs for my packrafting trip as I was able to secure it easily to my raft and lash extra gear externally. The fact that they include a rain cover is a nice bonus! The only issue I had was with my water bladder. I use a platypus big zip 3L which perfectly fit in the sleeve provided for a water bladder however it did not clip in well to the clip provided as it is designed for Gregory’s hydro reservoir. This is far from a deal breaker but worth mentioning. I have a few packs and the Gregory Zulu 55 is 100% going to be my go to for overnights and multi-day efforts!
For more information and to purchase one for yourself check out the pack at Gregory’s site here: https://www.gregorypacks.com/packs-bags/backpacking-packs/zulu-55-1115ZUL55.html
Great fun. 8 guys from our Bible study group. Lots of firewood available to gather. Clean site. Well behaved neighbors. Definitely will go there again.
Campsites are nice and large, can hold multiple tents. They request the purchase of another site if you have more then two tents, but then you can put all tents on one site and cook and hang out in the other. We have a beautiful site along the creek, perfect white noise to get a great night sleep. Very woodsy so you definitely are in the woods. The camp ground is connected to the wolf preserve so you can hear them howl if you listen. Only bad thing is their general store is more of a gift shop and does not really cater to the needs of a camper. I prefer if I forget something like creamer for my coffee or cups that are not styrofoam I would prefer to walk into the camp store note have to go to Walmart. I’m camping getting away from that. Anyway I highly recommend this campground for a relaxing kick back and enjoyable, peaceful time! You have to buy their wood you can’t bring any in, they are trying to keep the lantern flies away. $5 bundle for 7 pieces.
This campground is conveniently located near six flags (5min), Sesame Place (40 min) and Philadelphia (60 min). Campground has friendly staff and plenty of activities for children of all ages. Play ground, basket ball, beautiful pool and for an extra fee beach access. Now for the down side: it appears that the office and camp store (which offers a lot) has overgrown the facilities. There are many seasonal campsites many have let there sites go with clutter. The campsites themselves could use some TLC but most of all the roads need some work. There are many pot holes that need gravel. Over all will not rule this campground out in the future but will look for other campgrounds first.
We arrived at our site later than the check in time, had a bit of trouble finding it but once wr did it was easy enough. Careful on the roads to the campsite, they're a bit on the bumpy side. Defo smaller roads than your usual ones. We have a minivan so we had to take our time on all the pot holes. Campsite was lovely though, and were the only people there! Great hot showers and chilled vibes. Very quiet and serene. They warn for black bears so obvs practice safe routines and leave no trace!
By reading the reviews some people love the place while others hated it. We we're somewhere in the middle. My reaction was"meh". We stayed on premium site number 54 from Wednesday until Sunday at a total of$343. At that price, I was expecting MUCH more. The place is very quiet until Friday but noise is no issue to us as we love being in the middle of the action. Most people also respected quiet time. The entire campground is sand and gets very dusty and messy. This was the dirtiest campground we've stayed at, meaning the trailer and truck needed a full bath once we got home. The activities were cute and the pool and splash pad was really the only main attraction. Site was gravel with a small concrete patio and decently sized. All hookups worked as required so no complaints there. Make sure you bring everything you need with you, because this place is literally in the middle of nowhere and a minimum 15 minutes ride to any type of civilization. Don't plan on arriving after dark as there is no type of lighting other than what the other campers have lit up. Overall we had a decent time, but for the price, we've stayed at much nicer places and most likely won't be coming back.