Best Camping in New Jersey

New Jersey, often underrated for its natural beauty, offers a diverse camping experience that surprises many with its scenic landscapes ranging from sandy beaches and dense forests to sprawling farmlands and tranquil lakes. Whether you're looking for a coastal getaway, a forest retreat, or a lakeside haven, New Jersey's state parks and forests provide a variety of settings for campers seeking adventure and relaxation.

For beach lovers, the Jersey Shore offers several camping options, with Island Beach State Park standing out for its pristine, undeveloped beaches. The park, a narrow barrier island, is known for its powdery sand dunes, coastal marshes, and pine forests, offering a serene beach camping experience. While overnight camping isn't allowed directly on the beach, nearby campgrounds provide easy access to the park's ten miles of spectacular shoreline, along with opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and bird watching.

In the heart of the Pine Barrens, Wharton State Forest offers a different kind of outdoor adventure. As the largest single tract of land within the New Jersey State Park System, it features vast stretches of pine forests crisscrossed by rivers and streams. The Batsto Village, a historic site within the forest, adds a touch of history to your camping trip. Campgrounds like Atsion Recreation Area offer facilities for tents and RVs, providing a base to explore the area's hiking trails, canoeing routes, and the unique ecosystem of the Pine Barrens.

For those drawn to the tranquility of freshwater lakes, the Spruce Run Recreation Area in the state's northwest provides a picturesque camping setting. Located along the shores of Spruce Run Reservoir, New Jersey's third-largest reservoir, the park is popular for boating, fishing, and swimming. The campground offers sites with scenic views of the water, making it a perfect spot for families looking to enjoy water activities and outdoor picnics.

In the northern part of the state, High Point State Park offers camping with breathtaking views. As the highest point in New Jersey, the park provides panoramic vistas of the surrounding farmland and forest from the High Point Monument. The park's campgrounds cater to both tent and RV campers, with easy access to trails that lead through dense forests and past serene lakes, offering a peaceful retreat amidst the beauty of the Skylands region.

A few tips for camping in New Jersey: Always check ahead for any specific park regulations, especially regarding beach access and fishing licenses. The state's diverse climates mean weather can vary significantly between regions, so pack accordingly. And, given the variety of ecosystems, from beaches to forests, practicing Leave No Trace principles is crucial to preserving New Jersey's natural beauty for future generations.

New Jersey's camping destinations offer a window into the state's surprising natural diversity. Whether you're exploring the coastal beauty of the Jersey Shore, the unique wilderness of the Pine Barrens, the recreational havens of its lakes, or the elevated vistas of the Skylands, camping in New Jersey is an invitation to discover the Garden State's hidden natural wonders.