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ScottyMcGeester's avatar

Good places to camp in North Jersey?

Asked by ScottyMcGeester (1014 points ) June 6th, 2014

Scoping out places for my girlfriend’s bday weekend to camp. She’s an outdoorsy person. I’ve never legitimately gone camping so I feel kind of nervous that we’re going to get eaten by bears or whatever haha. Not really. (Maybe).

I took ornithology and we went on a field trip to a really cool trail/camping area on the Appalachian Trail I think. I can’t remember where it was, but it’s a spot for bird-watching too at the tip. Something like Raccoon Ridge?

And as for a range, well, we’ll be leaving from Morristown area, just to give you some idea of where we are.

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12 Answers

hearkat's avatar

The Delaware Water Gap is easily reached from Morristown, but I can’t specifically recommend any campgrounds there. You could go canoeing or tubing on the Delaware if her birthday is when the weather and water will be warmer. I recommend visiting the Lakota Wolf Preserve, which is on the grounds of a campground, but run completely independently.

If you want to head towards the shore (about 90 minutes' drive into Central NJ), Allaire State Park has less challenging trails than the Water Gap, and I think you can bike on them, too. There’s the historic village and railroad there, also; and you’re not too far from the beaches at Belmar and nearby towns.

wildpotato's avatar

I second the Delaware Water Gap. I have camped there several times and it is always lovely. You can camp along the AT if you hike during the day and the day after (makes you count as a thru-hiker), or along the Delaware. There are a few designated campsites but often we bushwhacked it and camped off the grid, which is usually much nicer and more private if you don’t mind being without an outhouse.

My favorite camping spots in the Gap are on the islands in the middle of the Delaware. The water is so shallow around some of them you can walk across to them from the shore. PM me if you’re interested and I’ll dig out the GPS coordinates.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I grew up camping in Northern Jersey. My favorite spots would have to be Cedar Ridge Campground or Rockview Campground. Both are in Montague, NJ (liquor store and shoprite are very close) and are directly across the street from Silver Canoe, which does long and short raft/canoe/kayak trips along the Delaware. If those campgrounds do not work out, there are no shortage of campgrounds in the area, and some even have cabin rentals.

If you or your girlfriend like hiking and outdoors, you will not be disappointed. Aside from the Delaware River, you also have High Point State Park (highest point in NJ) nearby, as well as Kittatinny Canoes, which offers canoeing, paintball, and ziplining.

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me a message. I live not far from either campground and should be able to answer many of the questions you may have.
Have a great time!

janbb's avatar

Stokes State Forest in Sussex County has very nice campsites, hiking trails and a lake. They also have lovely but simple cabins that you can rent if you don’t want to do tent camping.

hearkat's avatar

@marinelife – That link is to the CNBC home page. Also, The OP asked about North Jersey, and the Pine Barrens are in South Jersey – at least 2 hours from where the OP lives. I grew up in the northern tip of the Pine Barrens, and I never considered it a place anyone would want to visit, so I am curious about what site you were linking to. Perhaps if it’s something especially cool, they’ll deem it worth the trip.

I was even pushing it with the Central Jersey suggestion, but I figured the activities on site and beaches nearby might make it a worthwhile consideration for them.

marinelife's avatar

@hearKat Oops, sorry, that was an article about the Pine Barrens. We used to drive there from Philadelphia. We went to a lake and went swimming and were able to pick blueberries along the shore. It was very lovely. I didn’t think two hours to a camping spot was that long a drive.

hearkat's avatar

@marinelife – if it’s just a weekend trip, it might be a bit too far; but as mentioned, the activities available may make the longer trip worth it. Could you please post the link to the article, since the one above is not the right link? I admit I’m asking for myself as much as for the OP’s benefit.

marinelife's avatar

Try this link for some useful information.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

I’m a bit confused as I look at these links. Again, I never went camping before so I don’t know this. But do you have to actually pay to go to a campground even if you don’t rent anything at all? You don’t, right? You can just walk in and pitch your tent and do your own thing?

janbb's avatar

@ScottyMcGeester No – you always have to pay something to “rent” the campsite. More at a commercial, private campsite; less at a state or national park. In many places, you have to reserve a campsite before going, some are first come first served.

hearkat's avatar

You’re renting the plot on which you setup camp, and the facilities and the upkeep of the place. Prices and amenities vary greatly.

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