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.
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.
Stayed here in our RV. It was the closest campground to Philly so we called a Lyft to get us into the city. The staff was super friendly and helpful. We also filled our propane tank here The restrooms were immaculate compared to most campgrounds.
Round Valley is certainly a must see for any type of outdoors person, or someone who appreciates relaxation in a gorgeous landscape. It is a semi-mountainous, forested setting with a very large "lake", which is really a man-made reservoir in the middle of a valley. The crystal-clear water is home to huge lake trout and the forests are bursting with wildlife. The sunsets across the lake are to die for. You will have to look very hard to find a more beautiful camping scene in New Jersey. Also, it's dog friendly!
There is no car access to these campsites, you must keep your vehicle overnight in their south parking lot. If you have a camping registration you do not have to pay the fee to enter the park after you check in to the office. The only way to get to the campsites which are located on the other side of the reservoir deep in the woods, are by boating in, backpacking in, or biking in. If you are boating, kayaking, or canoeing to your site, be very careful and watch the wind warnings. If the wind-warning strobe lights go off you should get off of the water asap because the waters can get very rough and this place is nicknamed the Bermuda Triangle of NJ. We were originally going to boat in for a quick overnight, but at the last minute we decided we wanted a challenge. We backpacked 5.5 miles in on an August morning to site #52. The trail was mountainous, rocky, hilly, but for the most part in the shade. This is definitely not a walk through the park easy trail, pack light and don't bring coolers or wagons if you are hiking it. The first three miles are very rocky, with some larger rocks protruding from the ground, but from there on the trail turns into smooth asphalt to allow for ranger and emergency vehicles and it gets a lot easier. We were a bit sore the next day with a couple of mild blisters but we were still able to easily do the 5.5 mile hike back in the afternoon. Someone who does a lot of hiking and backpacking will find the trail easy, but with little to no experience you may struggle. My dog is a 7 year old retriever with minor joint issues and the trail was a piece of cake to her (she even carried all of her own gear).
These are truly primitive sites with only a few drinking water pumps scattered about and some primitive outhouses, however, you never feel completely alone here because the campsites are not spaced too far apart. My honest opinion: filter or purify your water right from the reservoir if you have the option, because you may be far from a pump, or it may be temporarily closed, and the reservoir water tastes good and is cold. I also opt to skip the outhouses too because they are never clean and always stink unbearably no matter where they are. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. Alcohol and smoking are not permitted. If you must bring alchohol, bring a little in a subtle container and do not bother the other campers. Swimming is also technically not permitted but there were many people swimming and we swam also and no one was bothered.
Now onto our campsite. Site 52 was nearly perfect. The views were to die for. We were able to clearly see the water past the trees from our tent and from our picnic table. The trip to the water was just a few yards away by a footpath carved through tall grass. Unfortunately, the guests before us were very dirty and there was fresh trash scattered about our spot, so we had some cleaning to do when we arrived. The other downside to this spot is you could just barely see site 53 from your spot, which wasn't a huge deal but it wasn't total privacy. Since the surrounding campsites are just barely spaced out to give enough privacy, you can clearly hear your neighbors if they are being noisy. Keep that in mind if you are being the noisy one too. The park strictly enforces its rules and if you are being a nuisance you will be escorted off the property. We saw it first hand on our overnight trip. Our neighbors were college-age, very loud and rowdy, chugging beers and smoking (both are not permitted so don't make it obvious if you are doing either). Suddenly it got quiet and we look over and there are 3 cops at their site arresting them. We were thankful that it got quiet after that, but it was short lived, right before the sun set our other neighbors boat in and start playing music loudly and chopping wood, this continued until around 1am. We would have complained but we were just too tired and kept just falling back asleep. But seriously please don't be that guy.
Onto the the tl;dr!
- Breathtaking scenery
- Gorgeous crystal-clear water
- Sites are in a beautiful wooded area
- Sites have a picnic table and nice fire rings
- You can boat, kayak, or canoe right into your spot if you have a water-access site, site numbers are posted to help you find your spot
- Great spot to watch wildlife
- Amazing spot for water sports, fishing, swimming, etc
- Beautiful, scenic trails to hike or bike
- Can confirm the sunsets are gorgeous
- Every site is dog friendly!
- There is a lot of variety with the sites (water access or more into the mountain, full shade, partial, or no shade, how far they are spaced apart, etc) so you will be able to find the site that is perfect for you
- Paths that allow for emergency vehicles, police, and rangers keep the place safe and fun while giving you the remote feeling of a campsite
- Lots of tinder and firewood available to gather
- Our site had a couple clotheslines hung already
- Each outhouse had bear-proof trash cans, very handy
- Our site was left littered
- Noisy, disruptive neighbors
- Not full privacy (depending on the site)
- Outhouses smelled like death and were terribly dirty and dark
- Only 2 water pumps were working when we went, and they were both way too far, we brought a water filter and pumped our own water straight out of the reservoir
- The trail had a surprising amount of litter, mainly tinfoil and cigarette butts scattered along the trail. Perhaps the rangers could be more strict about littering
- Mild boat noise at water-front sites
THINGS TO DO AT ROUND VALLEY
- Great fishing
- Beautiful hiking trails
- Wildlife/bird watching
- Mountain biking
Wharton Forest has several campgrounds.
We tent camped at Atsion in 2015: had flush toilets and was close to the checkin station/store as well as the beach on the lake. Some sites were right on the water and the sites were very big.
We wanted a more rustic experience and tent camped at Bodine campground in 2018. Our site was right on Wading River and we launched our kayaks right at the site! Our tent is has a full view of the sky and at night it was like a planetarium as we admired the sky from our cots. Pit toilets, pump water, fire ring, nice big site. Road in is sandy but it is the pine barrens. Although we were there on Friday the 13th, sadly neither Jason or the Jersey Devil stopped by for s’mores.
Electric and water hookups, no sewer but there’s a dump station on the way out. Wooded and delightfully devoid of golf carts. Saw wild turkeys and deer in the morning. The wolf preserve at the same location was just amazing - we learned so much and could hear the wolves howl from the campsite. Hiked to Mt. Tammany from the campsite for the best view in NJ (9 miles round trip). Close to all the Pocono/Stroudsburg attractions - we shopped and toured the Frazetta museum. Will definitely stay there again.
My daughter and I have made Camp Taylor our annual spot for the past 4-5 years and it just keeps getting better. Hiking to the Wolf Preserve, paddleboats, mini golf, swimming in the lake . . . There are so many things to do, and they keep all of the facilities updated and in great shape. Plus, unlike many other campgrounds we’ve been to, they are very good about actually enforcing the quiet hours at night, so you can have an actual peaceful and quiet night around the campfire.
Enjoyed the rustic setting. In the sparse woods of the northern pine barrens. Nicely manicured sand roads and sites. Stay in the outer loops if you like more privacy.
The campgrounds were just okay. If bringing your RV, the safest bet is to reserve a spot with no shade as the other spots often times have very low hanging tree limbs.
It was very loud and rowdy into the late night. There were campers making lots of noise, arming/disarming their car alarms, slamming doors, cars driving in/out, bright lights flashing, etc. all PASSED 2am!!
Otherwise, the overall park itself is very nice during the day.