If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fan of the great outdoors and you’re on the lookout for the best places to pitch your tent or park your RV. Well, you’re in luck because I’m about to take you on a virtual tour of some of the most stunning campsites that the Garden State has to offer. Yes, you guessed it right – I’ll be exploring the best campsites in NJ, New Jersey!
New Jersey, with its diverse landscapes ranging from sandy beaches to verdant forests and majestic mountains, is a camper’s paradise. It’s not just about the beautiful scenery, though that is a big part of it. Camping in New Jersey also means immersing yourself in a state rich in history and full of exciting activities for everyone.
In this post, I’ll be your guide, pointing out the must-visit spots, detailing the unique features that make each campsite special, and sharing a few tips and tricks along the way. So, whether you’re an experienced camper, a novice, or simply someone who loves to explore, keep reading. Your next outdoor adventure in New Jersey awaits!
Why You Should Come Camping in NJ
Now, you might be wondering, “Why should I choose New Jersey for my camping trip?” Well, let me share a few reasons why this delightful state is a fantastic choice for your next outdoor adventure.
Firstly, diversity is the name of the game when it comes to NJ’s landscape. From the serene beaches of the Jersey Shore to the rolling hills of the Skylands, from the pine forests of the Pine Barrens to the bustling urban parks near the cities, New Jersey has something for every kind of camper. Whether you want to fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves, wake up to breathtaking mountain views, or stargaze in lush, secluded woods, camping in NJ has got you covered.
Secondly, let’s not forget about the convenience factor. New Jersey’s compact size and proximity to major cities like New York and Philadelphia mean you don’t have to travel far to get away from it all. Imagine escaping the city’s hustle and bustle and, within a couple of hours, sitting by a peaceful lake, toasting marshmallows over a crackling fire. Sounds dreamy, right?
Last but definitely not least, camping in NJ is an experience that caters to everyone. Are you a family with kids looking for a fun-filled vacation? There are plenty of campsites with great facilities and activities for children. Or perhaps you’re a couple seeking a romantic getaway? You’ll find beautiful, secluded spots perfect for a cosy retreat. Even if you’re a solo traveler wanting to connect with nature, New Jersey’s camping destinations will offer you a tranquil and rejuvenating escape.
In short, NJ’s camping scene is diverse, accessible, and absolutely exciting.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Campsite in NJ
Great, so you’re now considering New Jersey as your camping destination. But how do you choose the right campsite for you? There are a few crucial factors to keep in mind when selecting the perfect spot for your camping adventure in NJ.
- Type of Camping: The first thing to consider is the type of camping you prefer. Are you looking for a traditional tent camping experience, complete with a campfire and sleeping bags? Or do you prefer the comforts of an RV? Perhaps you’d like to try out ‘glamping’ in a furnished cabin? New Jersey offers a wide range of campsites to suit every camping style.
- Accessibility: How easy is it to reach the campsite? Some campgrounds in NJ are conveniently located near highways, while others are more remote and may require a bit of a hike or a 4-wheel drive to access. Be sure to consider the logistics of getting there, and ensure it aligns with your travel plans and comfort level.
- Facilities: Check what facilities are available at the campsite. Are there restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities? Is there a designated fire pit or grill, or will you need to bring your own? Some campsites even have convenience stores, swimming pools, and other recreational amenities.
- Local Attractions: Do some research on what the area around the campsite has to offer. Perhaps there are hiking trails, lakes for fishing, historical sites, or wildlife reserves. A great camping trip isn’t just about where you sleep – it’s also about the activities and experiences you can enjoy during the day.
- Pet Friendliness: If you’re planning on bringing your furry friend along, make sure the campsite is pet-friendly. Some campsites have specific areas designated for campers with pets and may have rules and regulations you’ll need to adhere to.
- Season and Weather: Different campsites shine at different times of the year. Some are perfect for a summer beach getaway, while others are more suited for fall foliage viewing. Check the climate and weather forecast before you go, and plan your gear and activities accordingly.
By keeping these points in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect campsite for your NJ adventure! Remember, the key to a great camping trip is planning and preparation.
Top 10 Best Campsites in New Jersey
Now that you’re equipped with the essentials of choosing a campsite in NJ, let’s get down to the fun part – exploring the top 10 best campsites in New Jersey. Each one has a unique charm, offering a different experience to cater to the diverse tastes of campers. So, buckle up and get ready to jot down some options for your camping wishlist.
- High Point State Park: The highest elevation in NJ, this campsite offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes. With hiking trails, a lake for swimming and fishing, and a monument marking the state’s highest point, this is a must-visit for nature lovers.
- Wharton State Forest: Home to the largest single tract of land within the New Jersey State Park System, this campsite offers a raw and immersive camping experience. You’ll love the kayaking and canoeing opportunities on the Mullica River.
- Jenny Jump State Forest: If you’re a stargazing enthusiast, this is the campsite for you. Jenny Jump is home to an astronomical observatory. Besides, the hiking trails are just fantastic, offering views of the Delaware Water Gap and the Pequest Valley.
- Cape May KOA: Looking for a family-friendly campsite? This place offers cabins, tent sites, and RV sites, along with a swimming pool, fishing pond, and even a dog park. It’s also close to the beach, giving you the best of both worlds!
- Cheesequake State Park: Conveniently located between New York City and Philadelphia, Cheesequake offers diverse ecosystems to explore, including a hardwood forest, saltwater, and freshwater marshes, a white cedar swamp, and even a six-acre lake for fishing and boating.
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: This campsite offers a plethora of outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and rafting. With beautiful waterfalls and a chance to see wildlife, it’s an ideal spot for the adventurous camper.
- Belleplain State Forest: Nestled in the Pine Barrens, this campsite has several lakes, perfect for fishing, swimming, or boating. And with cabins available, it’s a comfortable choice for families or those new to camping.
- Liberty Harbor RV Park: Want to camp with a view of the Statue of Liberty? This urban campsite offers exactly that! Though amenities are basic, the location is unbeatable – it’s just a quick ferry ride away from New York City.
- Round Valley Recreation Area: For the true wilderness enthusiast, this campsite offers remote wilderness camping. Accessible only by hiking or boating, it’s a great place to disconnect and immerse yourself in nature.
- Island Beach State Park: If you love beach camping, this is your spot. Known for its beautiful white sandy beach, it’s perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and fishing.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to camping. Each of these sites offers something unique, so think about what you’re looking for in your camping experience, and pick the one that suits your taste.
Camping Checklist for NJ Campsites
Now you’ve got some of the best campsites in NJ on your radar. But wait, before you head out, you’ll want to make sure you’re properly prepared. Here’s a handy checklist of camping essentials you might need for your New Jersey camping trip:
- Tent/RV/Cabin Supplies: Depending on your accommodation choice, you might need a tent with stakes and a rainfly, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and pillows. For RV campers, don’t forget to pack RV essentials and to check all systems before heading out. Cabin campers, though you may have basic facilities, extra blankets or sleeping bags can’t hurt!
- Clothing and Personal Items: Always pack for the weather. Bring warm clothing for chilly nights, rain gear for unexpected showers, and comfortable hiking shoes. Don’t forget your toiletries, towels, and a first aid kit.
- Camp Kitchen: This might include a camping stove, fuel, lighter, cooler, pots and pans, utensils, plates, cups, and a water filter or treatment tablets. Also, remember to pack enough food and drinks for your stay.
- Outdoor Gear: Depending on your activities, you might need fishing gear, hiking poles, beach toys, bicycles, or water sports equipment. A good map of the area could be handy, too.
- Camping Extras: These include camp chairs, lanterns or flashlights, extra batteries, multi-tool, camping mat, insect repellent, sunscreen, and binoculars for wildlife spotting or stargazing.
- Leave No Trace Supplies: To keep NJ beautiful, pack garbage bags to carry out your trash, use biodegradable soaps, and avoid disposable items if possible.
- Pet Supplies: If you’re bringing a pet, don’t forget their leash, food, water bowl, and waste bags. Make sure to check the campsite’s rules regarding pets.
And last but not least, don’t forget the marshmallows for toasting around the campfire. This list should cover most camping situations, but remember to adjust based on your personal needs, the campsite amenities, and the season.
Other Outdoor Activities in NJ
You’re all set for camping, but that’s just part of the fun. New Jersey offers a wide array of other outdoor activities to round out your camping trip. Here are 8 must-try adventures you can enjoy while exploring NJ:
- Hiking: New Jersey has countless hiking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging climbs. Check out the Appalachian Trail, which cuts through the state, or the scenic paths in the Delaware Water Gap. (Check these dog-friendly hiking trails in NJ.)
- Biking: Whether you’re into road cycling or mountain biking, NJ has got you covered. The 70-mile Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail and the challenging trails of Allaire State Park are worth exploring.
- Fishing and Boating: NJ is a paradise for water lovers. Try your hand at fishing in one of the state’s many rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Or, rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and take to the water for some scenic exercise.
- Birdwatching: With its diverse habitats, NJ is home to a variety of bird species. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars to spots like Cape May Bird Observatory or the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
- Beach Activities: Of course, no visit to NJ is complete without some beach time. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, surfing, or even clamming on the Jersey Shore.
- Exploring History: NJ is rich in history. Visit historical sites and monuments, like Washington’s Crossing State Park, or explore the many lighthouses dotting the coastline.
- Winery and Brewery Tours: For the adults in the group, NJ boasts numerous wineries and craft breweries. Consider a tour for a taste of local flavors.
- Wildlife Spotting: New Jersey’s diverse ecosystems are home to a wide range of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, foxes, and even bears in the forests.
Whatever outdoor activity you choose, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories. Just remember to respect the natural environment and follow all rules and regulations.
And just like that, our journey through the great outdoors of New Jersey comes to an end. Together, you’ve traversed the state’s awe-inspiring terrain, picked out ten of the best camping destinations, and equipped yourself with some invaluable camping tips to make the most of your adventure. you’ve also unlocked a treasure chest of outdoor activities that New Jersey has on offer.
The beauty of camping in NJ is that it has something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of sandy beaches or pine-covered forests, whether hiking trails call your name or historical sites to pique your interest, New Jersey promises a camping experience that is truly unforgettable.
So, it’s time to step out of the virtual realm, folks! Choose a campsite that appeals to your wanderlust spirit, gather your gear, and set off on a journey to experience firsthand the charm of the Garden State. New Jersey’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and thrilling outdoor activities are ready to welcome you.
Thank you for embarking on this digital expedition with me. I hope this guide sparks an urge to explore and equips you with the knowledge to plan your own NJ camping adventure. Here’s to many memorable experiences under the New Jersey sky!