New Jersey is home to a wide range of destinations for campers to choose from. Many of these options are on or near the iconic Jersey Shore, but there are also a wide variety of State Parks and State Forests that have grounds for those wanting a more traditional camping experience.
Whether you’re wanting to get cozy around a campfire or watch the sunset on the ocean from a hot tub, the Garden State has plenty of destinations for campers to choose from. Here are eight of the best camping spots to consider for your next retreat.
1. Beachcomber Camping Resort
As you can probably guess from it being called a “camping resort,” Beachcomber is closer to the glamping side of the spectrum. This private resort campground is only a short drive away from the famous Cape May, and the Cape May State Park.
With everything from a lighted dog park to an adults-only lounge, a wine selection to an ice-cream cabana, Beachcomber promises something to do for the whole family. You can do some laps in one of their three swimming pool complexes, each equipped with a free WiFi hotspot — though you can pay a little extra for park-wide WiFi.
If freshwater is more your speed, the resort has two freshwater lakes with sandy beaches. The lakes are open to swimming, kayaking, and even fishing. Beachcomber even stocks the lake with plenty of live fish, though they are strict on catch and release fishing only, and they do not permit barbed hooks of any kind.
If you’re a parent looking to teach your kids how to fish, Beachcomber is the perfect place to do so, and be sure to check out this list of fishing knots perfect for beginners.
With all the amenities here, you might be surprised by how tent camping friendly the resort is. The policies are a bit particular as to where you can put your tents, but the campsite goes out of its way to ensure that its tent campers are comfortable. They have on-site trailer storage and a variety of sites with access to water, electricity, and even cable. Whichever site suits your fancy, each one comes with a fire ring, picnic table, and one-car parking space.
If you’re looking for a family campground for your next vacation, Beachcomber Camping Resort is the place to go.
2. High Point State Park
Home to the High Point Monument, this State Park is perfect for the campers interested in an easygoing camping experience.
High Point’s campsite surrounds Sawmill Lake and is near a few mountains, so it is an ideal camping spot for both freshwater fans and hiking enthusiasts alike. The lake is on the smaller side, so you’re better off keeping it to canoeing or a relaxing kayak outing. The trails have quite a bit to offer, though.
High Point features a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, and its own unique attraction, the Cedar Swamp Trail. The 1.5-mile loop takes campers up to an Atlantic White Cedar swamp that sits at 1,500 feet above sea level, making it the highest elevation swamp of its kind. For the slightly more thrill-seeking campers, High Point also has several trails dedicated specifically to horseback riding and mountain biking.
The real star of the park is the monument. The platform of the monument is at 1,803 feet above sea level, meaning attendants have a spectacular view of the surrounding farmlands, lakes, and forests. On a clear day, you’ll be able to spot the Delaware River that divides New Jersey from Pennsylvania. During the warmer months, park goers will be able to climb the 220 foot tall High Point monument, but after Labor Day this can only be done on weekends.
Sawmill Lake has fifty regular wooden platform tent sites, and two group campsites for groups of up to 25 and 35. A few of the regular tent sights are directly lakeside, so be on the lookout for availability on those. The park as a whole is pet friendly, though you’ll need some paperwork, and pets are only allowed to stay overnight in a few specific tent sites. Pets are not allowed in the lake areas whatsoever, unfortunately.
If you’re a fan of secluded camping sites with plenty of hiking and boating opportunities and some local history to learn, then High Point State Park will be right for you.
3. Woodland Trails Campground and RV Park
Another private campground, though this one if much more on the simple side. It has all the basic amenities you can expect from a modern campsite, along with wifi and cable hookups at their RV sites.
At only seventy-five acres, this campground certainly feels like a much more cozy destination than your normal private sites. The thirty-five sights available at Woodland trails are open and basic. Campfires are allowed, but there are few pre-determined fire rings, so you’re gonna want to bring a fire starting kit to make things easy on yourself.
The activities are pretty standard: fishing, a game room, a few biking trails. They do have paddle boats for rent, which is a fun activity that not all campsites allow. The grounds themselves aren’t the biggest reason to come here, to be honest.
Woodland Trails is phenomenal as far as location goes. Campers are a short drive from both Sussex, New Jersey, and the New York state border. There are tons of attractions that are nearby as well, including several State Parks, a golf course, some waterparks, and a drive-in movie theatre. Whatever fun suits your taste, if Woodland Trails doesn’t have it, you can bet they’re at least close by it.
People that are hoping for a relaxing retreat in nature probably aren’t going to be too thrilled by this location. But, if you’re in the market for a lowkey and casual campsite to serve as a base-camp for your exploration of the many attractions around New Jersey State, Woodland Trails Campground and RV Park is the place for you.
4. Wharton State Forest
Wharton State Forest is one of the largest properties in the entire New Jersey State Parks system. As such, it has several mid-sized campgrounds to choose from. The largest of these is Atsion Campground, with fifty tent and/or trailer sites, each with a picnic table and fire ring. For those interested, the Atsion Campground also has a few cabin rentals available. The main attractions to this park are the Atsion Lake area and the historical sights.
Atsion Lake has all the activities you come to expect from a freshwater recreation spot. It even has a sandy beach and a couple of handicap accessible trails. There are also a few horseback riding trails near the lake. If none of that sounds too interesting, then you can take a hiking trail up to the Batsto Village area.
Once a major bog iron and glass production center, Batsto Village is a snapshot of life in the late 19th century. There are over thirty historical buildings in the village, including Batsto Mansion, and a blacksmith shop with live demonstrations. Park-goers have the option to wander, schedule tours, or take a self-paced guided tour with their smartphones. Batsto Village is also the main hub for the many hiking and biking trails that run through Wharton State Forest
One of these trails is the fifty-three-mile Batona Trail. Campers that tackle this hike will be treated to a circuit that takes them through a great deal of Wharton, as well as the nearby Brendan T. Byrne State Forest and Bass River State forest. For anyone wanting to experience the New Jersey Pinelands in all their glory, the Batona Trail is not one to skip.
5. Belleplain State Forest
This destination is another sizable part of the New Jersey State Park system. It has 169 tent/trailer sites spread out across three campgrounds, all conveniently situated around the Lake Nummy Day Use Area. If you’ve ever wanted to try out a yurt, the Meisle Campground has a few for rent.
The Lake Nummy Day Use Area is a popular recreational site for locals and park goers. The lake itself has plenty of space to swim, a concession-stand right on the shoreline, and an athletic field right across the parking lot. Lake Nummy is also surrounded by several walking trails, the longest of which is seven miles and takes campers up to and around the East Creek Pond. Belleplain is also unique in the fact that there are quite a few car driving trails accessible throughout the park.
The campsites themselves are all fairly standard with a campfire ring and picnic table, though there are a few cabin-style shelters with bunk beds and wood stoves for people looking to live out a mountain man fantasy. If you’re looking to host a large group, there are a handful of group tent sites and a group cabin up by East Creek Pond. If you want to camp in a bit more style, the deluxe cabin hosts up to thirty people and features every amenity you can think of, including a private boat dock and ballfield.
Belleplain State Forest is the perfect New Jersey campsite for anyone wanting a nice blend between the modern and natural lifestyles.
6. Jellystone Park in Elmer, New Jersey
Inspired by the beloved classic cartoon, The Yogi Bear Show, this camping resort is sure to please the whole family.
The park has tons of amenities and activities that kids will love. Hayrides, minigolf, a kiddie train, pedal karts, playgrounds, a jump pad, and even gem panning are all available to campers. Unfortunately for the adults, most of these are designed with children in mind first, so they might not be allowed on some of the attractions.
Jellystone even has an on-grounds water park, complete with water slides, water grounds, and pools. If you prefer your bodies of water on the natural side, there is a lake for freshwater activities such as fishing and riding paddle boats.
The signature feature of Jellystone is the appearance of the many mascots. Yogi, Boo Boo, Cindy, and Ranger Smith all make daily appearances at the park, though this is only during certain seasons. You can even have Yogi read your kids a bedtime story.
Each of the tent camping sights comes with a fire ring and a picnic table. Campers have the option for a tent site with access to electricity, and the park even has tents for rent.
If you have kids that love adventure and are looking for a healthy dose of nostalgia, look no further for your next camping adventure than Jellystone park.
7. Ocean View Resort Campground
Only a short drive away from the Jersey Shore, this campsite provides all the modern amenities you could want from a resort vacation spot, while still allowing for a rustic camping experience.
Whether you are looking for a nice day of fishing or some games of shuffleboard, to take a paddle boat around the lake, or play a game of tennis, Ocean View has plenty of spaces to get in any activity that suits your fancy. Kids are sure to enjoy multiple arcades and playgrounds.
There are plenty of water activities around the campground, but the real star is their new Buccaneer Bay Splash Pad. Located in a kiddie pool adjacent to Ocean View regular pool, Buccaneer Bay features a large pirate ship with mounted water cannons and water slides. Next to the pirate ship is a series of waterspouts shaped like a crab, crocodile, and treasure chest. Every so often, the large water bucket will drench anyone below it.
All of the tent rental sites are trailer friendly and feature natural earth cover. Despite all the attractions on the campgrounds, the area that houses the campsites has plenty of trees and vegetation, helping it feel like being properly outdoors. The camp has also gone to great lengths to make as many of their facilities as accessible as possible, and there is a huge camp store stocked with anything you could ever need during a camping trip.
If you end up liking Ocean View enough to want to come back regularly, they offer seasonal rates on campsites, as well as their cottages and deluxe cabins.
Ocean View resort Campground is the ideal pick for a modern vacation spot that still has that outdoorsy feel and will please the whole family.
8. Allaire State Park
This is a smaller State Park near the northeast coast of New Jersey. Like Wharton State, this park also has a preserved historic village. Though it is smaller, Allaire village offers more opportunities to learn about the crafts. With eighty annual programs ranging from educational showcases to flea markets, it will be easy to take home a piece of history from your camping trip.
Speaking of history, Allaire is right next to the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. Park-goers can enjoy learning about the peak of the railroad industry, as well as ride on a functional steam engine on the Pine Creek Railroad
The park is also a spectacular wildlife reserve, featuring over 200 species of wild plants, many of which aren’t usually found near the Jersey Shore region. The many multi-purpose trails that wander through the park are a perfect way to catch a glimpse of this wildly diverse wildlife. For the sportsman, there is also some season deer hunting allowed on the park grounds with the proper registration.
Allaire State Park has forty-five total tent sites, and only a select few of them are pet friendly. Each one has a pit for campfires and a picnic table. The campsite is remote and cozy, perfect for anyone searching for some quiet time alone in nature.
If you prefer a lowkey campsite with plenty of opportunities to learn, Allaire State Park is the perfect destination for your next tent camping trip.
There’s a lot to the Garden State beside the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City. There are plenty of State Parks and State Forests with relaxing campsites and plenty of local history. Hardcore hiking fans have more than enough trails to pick from, and there are more fishing and boating spots than anyone could ever need.
Don’t overlook the camping resorts either. They might seem a bit over the top at a glance, but many of them go out of the way to provide the natural camping experience people are looking for. Besides, who doesn’t love a trip down a waterslide every once in a while?
There are hundreds of places in New Jersey for tent campers to choose from, so you can get easily overwhelmed when trying to decide on a destination. For all those indecisive campers out there, any of the destinations on this list are sure to impress.
Bonus tip: If you happen to enjoy mountain biking in addition to camping, check out this video on mountain biking in Allaire State Park!