Return to Camping in NY/NJ - Where should I go?

I haven’t been camping since I was a kid. (Now in my 40’s)I want to start doing so again. Ive already got all the gear after researching all winter but for the life of me I’m petrified to actually go anywhere without getting some input. I live in NJ, however I’m only 35 minutes from Harriman State Park. Still that place is kind of intimidating if you don’t know where to go and when I go on a random Saturday to just walk around its way more crowded than I world prefer for roughing it in the woods.

I’m also currently slightly out of shape so I’m not ready to climb a mountain quite yet. And because I require the use of a CPAP to sleep I think I’m limited to car camping to start with all the extra gear (solar generator) I’d have to haul. (though I do plan on losing weight and backpacking based on comfort level)
I’m looking for secluded or semi secluded car camp sites. I understand people may be around but I just don’t want to deal with a crowd and people that may have other ideas of entertainment than myself which I then have to try and fall asleep to. I also have a low tolerance for screaming kids. (not all kids)

Any advice from season campers would be appreciated.

Hi Victor, welcome! We’re also in our 40s and live in central NJ (near Red Bank). We most often camp when roadtripping out of state but we have visited a few NJ campgrounds, especially in northern NJ. You can find our reviews of Sandy Hook (Gateway National Recreation Area), Worthington, Stokes, and High Point on our profile here:

Thanks so much. I actually went to Stokes as a kid with my school but I never thought of going there to camp out…LOL I checked out some of your other adventures and your website, the pictures are amazing. I certainly have campers envy and would kill to even have a fraction of your trips under my belt. I will look into the places you posted in NJ for sure.


Worthington State Park was our FAVORITE spot when we lived in NJ. Huge sites in the tent area (I can’t speak to RV area). It was dang gorgeous. Lots of places to hike, some easy, some not (but we didn’t hike anything that our kids couldn’t do, though they are tough kids)…Check it out! Good luck!

Hi Victor,

My partner Michael grew up in NJ and also visited Stokes as a kid! That was our impetus for checking it out. Have fun!

BTW, you mentioned a future interest in backpacking. I haven’t done this thru-hike yet but the Batona Trail in the Pine Barrens was going to be my first spring hike this year. It’s supposed to be quite flat and easy to navigate. However, the backcountry camping sites were still closed due to COVID so I bailed on that plan.


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Check out the Adirondacks in NY

As a New York City Advisor, I would recommend checking out the Catskill Mountains area for secluded car camping options. The Catskills offer a variety of campgrounds that cater to a range of needs, from primitive sites to ones with electricity and running water. Some popular options include the Mongaup Pond Campground and the Woodland Valley Campground. Additionally, the Catskills offer plenty of hiking trails that are accessible to those who are not in peak physical condition, such as the Ashokan Rail Trail and the Kaaterskill Falls trail. Just be sure to check the specific regulations of each campground, as some may have restrictions on using generators or other equipment. Happy camping!