First time camping? Check out these tips for an unforgettable experience. Now it’s time to choose a place. Consider the size of your party and the activities everyone’s interested in. Start at the website for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Camping in NJ Parks, or look into these local camping areas. Make a reservation for these parks at ReserveAmerica online or any of the links below. 

Allaire State Park
4265 Atlantic Ave., Farmingdale
$20-25 campsites; $48-60 shelters; $50-200 group campsites

While camping here, you can visit Historic Allaire Village, which includes blast from the past blacksmith and carpenter shops, a general store and church. There are craft shows and markets year-round, plus living history events. Go for a hike on the trail network, see the visitor center museum, canoe and more. 

Bass River State Forest
762 Stage Rd., Bass River Twp
$50-100 campsites, $75-85/night cabins

Stop by New Jersey’s first state forest that was established over a century ago! Find rare plants and animals or walk over 12 miles of trails. Bring your pet and have a picnic. Don’t leave without trying to locate birds like the bald eagle and eastern whip-poor-will.  

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Mile Marker 1, Highway Rt. 72 E., Woodland Twp.
Email for pricing

Hunt, go picnicking, grill, mountain bike and, of course, hike. There are gorgeous views along these trails due to the lowland forests and swamps. These forests are part of the famous NJ Pine Barrens. Don’t miss out on a trip to Whitesbog Village, a cranberry and blueberry community under restoration. 

Camp Glen Gray
200 Midvale Mountain Rd., Mahwah
$135-305/weekend cabins, $10/person campsites 

Test your fishing skills or ride a rowboat on the banks of Lake Vreeland. Try out the various trails or wander the neighborhood and you’ll find snow tubing and skiing. Bring your organized youth group for arctic and outdoor cooking competitions! 

Cheesequake State Park
300 Gordon Rd., Matawan
$20 campsites; $50-100 group campsites

Visit the nature center, hop in a canoe or go swimming and relax at the concession after! If you’re looking to break out your fishing pole, head to Hooks Creek freshwater lake for largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish and trout. 

High Point State Park
1480 State Rt. 23, Wantage
$20–25 campsites; $50-100 group campsites; $75-85/night cabin; $175-185/night group cabin

These trails are famous for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and horseback riding. Check out swamps, woods and wetlands with your family. Go for a dip in Lake Marcia, raft on the water or fish. 

Jellystone Park 
17 Coles Mill Rd., Williamstown
Check online for pricing

Spend an afternoon fishing, swimming, swinging off a rope and riding a boat in this resort’s 30-acre lake. Mine for gems with the family before attempting the obstacle course. Don’t forget all the outdoor games like volleyball and gaga ball! 

Parvin State Park
701 Almond Rd., Pittsgrove
$20-25 tent site, $50-100 group site, $55-65/night cabins

Home to hundreds of wildlife and plants, this state park is a must-visit. Pickerel and yellow perch run free in the three main bodies of water. Hit the water with canoes, kayaks, or boats. Discover wild azalea and magnolia amongst other plants as well as the barred owl. 

Round Valley Recreation Area
1220 Lebanon-Stanton Rd., Lebanon
$22-27 wilderness campsite; $50-100 group wilderness campsite

Do you love to scuba? Head to Round Valley Reservoir for some freshwater diving (must be certified). Swim with your crew, grill along the water or observe birds from the Pine Tree Trail!

Swartswood State Park
1091 County Rd. 619, Newton
$20-25 campsites; $40-80 group campsites; $48-60 shelters

Fish for bass, sunfish, catfish and more on Little Swartswood and Swartswood Lakes. If you’d rather hunt, find some white-tailed deer or ring-necked pheasant in the woods surrounding County Rt. 619. Go swimming and boating, too; lifeguards are on duty all summer long. 

Voorhees State Park
251 County Rd. Rte. 513, Glen Gardner
$20-25 tents/trailers; $60-200 group campsites; $48-60 shelters

Enjoy almost a dozen trails where you can mountain bike and ski in the winter. Have fun at the two public playgrounds, fish at Willoughby Brook or hunt for turkey. If you have a space lover in your crew, head to the observatory hosted by the New Jersey Astronomical Association. There’s a 26-inch Cassegrain reflector, one of the largest privately owned telescopes in the state.

Washington Crossing State Park
355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Rd., Titusville
$30-200/night group campsites

Travel back in time at the Johnson Ferry House, built circa-1740, where you can watch living history demonstrations on the weekends. The Washington Crossing Visitor Center Museum contains hundreds of artifacts from the American Revolution for all you history buffs out there. The nature interpretive center and open-air theater may also be available. 

Wawayanda State Park
885 Warwick Tpk., Hewitt
$20-140/night group campsites

Find beautiful views atop the Wawayanda Mountain or conquer a nineteen-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. Swim in the white sand beach and picnic along the shore of Wawayanda Lake with canoes and kayaks just a few steps away! 

Discover more places to go camping at New Jersey’s parks and forests here! Looking to camp with a little more flare? Try glamping at one of these locations!