Trip Over Life

Shrewsbury, NJ

Joined May 2018

Sara + Mike | Trip Over Life. We go places. Adventures in a 1988 Dodge Xplorer van called Camper Dan. More on our blog:

Dirty Campground

I'm not one to give bad reviews frequently. And hopefully things have changed. But, back in 2016, this was one of the worst and dirtiest campgrounds we have ever stayed at. It wasn't dirt like normal outdoor activity dirt. It was dirt like the bathroom hadn't been cleaned in a year.

One of the best, cleanest campgrounds ever

We stayed in 2016 and it was one of the best and cleanest state park campgrounds we've ever stayed at. Complete with free laundry!

peaceful camping with beach access

When I stayed here in April it was basically empty other than some fishermen. Peaceful and quiet. Easy beach access; maybe better suited to beach walks than swimming though. Free laundry too!

Walk-in tent sites amidst a beautiful large recreation area near beach

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.

State Forest camping with large sites on the Delaware River

There are two camping areas at Worthington State Forest - one area is tent only and the other area, separated by 3 group sites, has sites suitable for RVs and campervans. There are no hookups at any of the sites. Alcohol is not allowed. Facilities include plentiful single use bathrooms and showers.

Site 10 is a spacious, private tent site. Sites 36 and 37 are close together but would be great waterfront campervan sites.  Many tent sites are wooded. Ticks and rattlesnakes are present in the area. Additionally, store food properly as this is bear country.

Activities include water sports on the Delaware River as well as hiking. We formed a loop hike by combining the Douglas Trail (1.7 miles), a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, and the Garvey Springs Trail (1.2 miles). This route will climb about 1200 feet past Laurel Falls to a backpacker Appalachian Trail campsite, and onward along Kittatinny Ridge to Sunfish Pond - a 44 acre glacial lake designated as a World Heritage Site - before descending back down.

Ranger Review: humangear FlexiBowl and GoBites at Steam Mill Campground

Campground Review

Stokes State Forest has four campgrounds. The Steam Mill Camping Area is tucked out the of the way and is the most primitive. It is the smallest of the campgrounds with 27 sites only suitable for tents or small trailers/campervans. No pets or alcohol allowed.

The campground has a pit toilet and a well. Each large campsite has a picnic table, fire pit, and lantern hook. Some sites also have a tent platform. Many sites are a bit rocky.

We selected site T219. It was a solid choice: private but close to the toilet and water. Some sites located around the opposite side of the ring back up to a babbling brook. The rushing water will soothe you to sleep.

Remember, this is bear country so proper food storage is a must. Bear lockers are not provided. The area also has ticks and rattlesnakes.

Outdoor activities in the area abound. Go fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, and more. There are 21 marked trails that cover over 63 miles within the boundaries of Stokes State Forest. Twelve miles are part of the Appalachian Trail. Pick up a hiking map at the park office or download the Avenza Maps app.

This visit we hiked the Tillman Ravine trail (tip: make the trail a loop and visit both the ravine and the nearby old cemetery).

You can also drive or hike to Sunset Mountain Scenic Overlook for a view of High Point Monument. High Point Monument is the highest elevation in New Jersey and is located in High Point State Park which borders Stokes State Forest on the north. High Point State Park also offers camping, hiking, sightseeing opportunities. And, on the western border of Stokes State Forest is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. So, there is lots of outdoors to get out and explore!

Product Review

We camped at the Steam Mill Camping Area in Stokes State Forest in our campervan over a chilly autumn weekend. We had the opportunity to cook some soup on our stovetop and chill out by the campfire. And, as Rangers for The Dyrt, we get products to test from time to time so we were psyched to try out some new dinnerware and cutlery. This included the FlexiBowl and GoBites from humangear.

What made these humangear products pretty awesome? Well, the fun colors to start. I mean, seriously, my orange bowl rules. The FlexiBowl also has some neat features: it’s flexible - just like the name suggests - and foldable. The bowl can be squished and stuffed anywhere. And, the top section can be folded down to create a smaller bowl. The FlexiBowl is versatile yet durable. It held my hearty, warm soup just perfectly.

I paired the FlexiBowl with one of the GoBites utensils (the Uno model). The Uno model is my favorite - it has a fork on one side and a spoon on the other side. Very simple and convenient. The other GoBites models include the Duo (separate fork and spoon that can snap together) and the Trio (a fork, spoon, and knife - with bottle opener - in a case).

PRO TIP: I keep the Trio GoBites model in my travel pack at all times. It recently came in handy on a (non-camping) trip to Sardinia. The knife on the Trio allowed me to slice some delicious local cheese to pair with bread, jam, and wine that was purchased from the grocery store. YUM.

Campground with easy access to swimming, hiking, and waterfalls!

We spent two nights camping at Robert H. Treman State Park. The campground has an area with wooded sites, an area with sites in a large field (with hookups for RVs), and an area for the cabins (which looked very cool). All sites have fire rings and a picnic table. There are also flush toilets and free showers; these facilities were well-maintained and clean. We stayed in site 35 which is a wooded site located at the end of a loop. It was one of the larger, more private sites; reserve it if it is available.

The park contains nine miles of hiking trails. We hiked the Gorge Trail (2.12 miles) with a return on the Rim Trail (2.09 miles) to create a loop from the campground. The hike took us alongside the gorge of Enfield Glen and past twelve waterfalls. The route was a lot of up and down with terrain through wooded areas as well as on rocks next to the water. However, the stunning views and its variety did not disappoint. Unfortunately the swimming area was closed due to flooding but it would be a perfect ending to this hike on a warm summer day.

Overall, this park was great. The size was just right with on-site access to hiking and swimming. The nearby amenities of downtown Ithaca was a bonus!

Your Stay Supports a Non-Profit!

Your stay at Recompense Campground supports Wolfe’s Neck Farm - a working organic farm and non-profit organization. Wolfe’s Neck Farm is set on 626 acres with four miles of coastline and is the legacy of a local family farming operation. The family donated the land to the community based on their belief in useful preservation and protection of open spaces. The farm is now open to the public, free of charge every day and is committed to continuing and improving upon the long tradition of sustainable agriculture, recreation and education while preserving its open space.

The campground has oceanfront campsites as well as sites nestled in wooded areas. There are RV sites (some with hookups), tent sites, and even three oceanfront cabins. The farm also has a dump station as well as free showers. You can freely roam the farm (or hike in the adjacent Wolfe’s Neck State Park) or rent a kayak/canoe and explore Casco Bay. Definitely a unique experience and great educational opportunities for families with kids!

Amazing Campsites on Pawtuckaway Lake

Pawtuckaway State Park campground ranks extremely high on our list of favorite campgrounds. There are 192 sites in wooded areas; many have direct access to Pawtuckaway Lake. No hookups are available and there is not a dump station. There are old bathroom facilities with paid showers (paying mechanism is broken - donations are accepted).

The park includes a lake beach, fishing and boating opportunities, hiking trails, a marsh with wildlife sighting possibilities, and unique boulder fields containing glacial erratics (large boulders that were deposited when glacial ice melted).

After staying one night on the way to Maine we made a point to book another night on our return journey.  It’s super beautiful and tranquil. However, the campground is very popular in high season and it is reported that the beach will fill to capacity early in the morning.

TIP: Stay in site 43 or 44 on Horse Head Island. They are both large private sites with direct lake access.

State Forest camping near Monument Mountain

The campground has 3 sections, located on different tiers of a hill. The lower level has RV sites, middle has tent sites, and upper has a few yurts. Each level has a bath house (3 toilet stalls and 1 shower in the lower level; it was run-down but clean enough). Outside the entrance station (near the RV sites) is a HUGE power station that emits a hum constantly. Super annoying and an eyesore. You’ll see many vehicles drive-by with boats or ATVs in tow as the state forest also has areas suitable for their use. Accessible from the campground are a few hiking trails. Monument Mountain is a popular hiking spot about 20 minutes away and Bash Bish Falls State Park is about 45 minutes away. Note: Massachusetts does not allow alcohol in their parks.

Lakeside Vermont Campground

Another beautiful state park. There are approximately 50 campsites split across two areas. One section is heavily wooded and the other is an open grassy area near the shore of Lake Dunmore. We chose the open area and enjoyed a campfire and the spacious grounds that we shared with only one other RV. No hookups are available but there is a dump station and a bathroom facility with paid showers.

Beautiful spacious campsites in Vermont

This beautiful, small state park has a beach on the shores of Lake Elmore and a hiking trail to the fire tower atop Elmore Mountain. There are 45 spacious tent/RV sites. The campground was nearly empty during our stay so it felt extremely private. No hookups are available but there is a dump station and a bathroom facility with paid showers.

Camping in an International Dark Sky Park

The campground at Cherry Springs State Park has 30 sites and vault toilet restrooms. Pets are not permitted.

But don’t go for the camping. Cherry Springs State Park is an International Dark Sky Park and measures a 2 on the Bortle dark-sky scale. Go for the night skies - to see the stars and the Milky Way.

There are nearby state parks with daytime activities (try Lyman Run State Park for the swimming beach, hiking, and ATV trails).

Helpful Tips:

  • Astronomy field is only for serious amateur astronomers and must be reserved (observe from the public viewing area behind the campground)
  • Use red light even in the campground (free red cellophane available near the amphitheater)
  • Site 26 is the best for unobscured night sky viewing
  • Dress warmly (evenings are very cold, even in the summer)
  • Do not expect cell service (even within an hour driving radius)
  • Be prepared (nearest city of Williamsport is an hour away; firewood may be available at Lyman Run State Park concession stand)
Anza-Borrego campground with primitive cabins and tent sites

Tamarisk Grove Campground is about 20 minutes south of Borrego Springs. It sits next to the highway but there’s minimal traffic so it isn’t terribly loud. There are tent sites as well as primitive cabins. Each site has a fire ring and table. There are also flush toilets and paid showers. There is no potable water at this campground - be sure to bring your own. The cabins are simple structures with platforms for sleeping. There are no amenities in the cabins - no electric, no water, no mattress, no linens, etc.

The campground is across the street from both the Cactus Loop and Yaqui Well trail heads. We recommend the short Cactus Loop hike over the Yaqui Well hike. Go at sunset to catch the cholla cacti backlit by the sunset.

wooded campground in northern New Jersey

The campground at High Point State Park has 50 spacious tent sites, many with direct lake access, located in a wooded area surrounding Saw Mill Lake. Store food properly as there are bears in the area.

Swimming in the park, with a seasonal lifeguard, is a few miles away on Lake Marcia. A bathhouse with shower is also here (no shower or running water in the campground bathrooms). Show your campground receipt to avoid the entrance fee.

We also hiked Monument Trail (3.5 mile loop trail) from near Lake Marcia to High Point Monument and onward. The monument was erected in honor of war veterans and on weekends it is possible to ascend the staircase inside the 220-foot monument to ~1800 feet above sea level for mountain and valley views.

large family friendly campground with beach access

Hammonasset Beach State Park Campground is huge, family-friendly, and has direct beach access from the campground. There is no lifeguard on duty at the campground beach but lifeguards patrol the beach a mile or so north within the park. Smaller (car-top) boats can be launched from this area as well.

The campsites do NOT include a fire pit (or grill). You must bring your own or there are fire tub rentals available at the campground store.

The park includes a Nature Center complete with exhibits and activities, and hiking trails. Bald eagles can be seen on the nature reserve.

Expect long lines at the state park entrance fee station on the weekend if the weather is nice.