As the summer gets hotter and the weather gets more beautiful many people may head to the beach. But a great option is heading either camping, hiking or tubing in the beautiful Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Run by the National Park Service, this recreation area spans over 70,000 acres which makes it easily accessible for most New Jersey residents.
Camping is a super popular reason that many people visit the park, and there is a campgrounds of all varieties near or in the park. Dingmans Campgrounds, Mohican Outdoor Center, and Worthington State Forest Campground are the park’s developed grounds with hundreds of campsites. Dingmans features wooded and riverside sites with room for large groups up to 40 people and has space for RVs. Mohican has not only multiple outdoor campsites, but also self-service cabins for campers who may not want to stay outdoors. Worthington offers a lot of primitive sites and is the only campground where visitors can gather firewood. For hikers on the Appalachian trail or paddlers with extended trips, the park offers the option to camp several nights.
If you want to go hiking, you’ll have over 150 miles of trails to choose from. The park separates its hiking trails into three different difficulties for all levels of hikers. Their hiking trails go through all kinds of features; from small beaches to historical villages from former inhabitants of the forest. Some of them include walking by the copper mine, Bushkill Falls, Hemlock Pond or other natural attractions.
If you prefer to ride down the water of the Delaware River instead of hiking in the woods, bring your own canoe or kayak (or rent one from a local shop) and head to the Middle River. On weekends, Monroe County Transit Authority offers free shuttle service for kayakers and people with canoes. Small boats are authorized to launch into the river in certain areas and travel downstream. Boaters must have a state permit. Children 12 and under are required to wear life jackets.
Swimming is allowed at many spots along the Delaware, but be warned, there are no lifeguards at any of the public beaches so swim at your own risk. MIlford Beach and Smithfield Beach are accessible from the Pennsylvania side and have restrooms, boat and canoe launches. Turtle Beach is on the New Jersey side, and is a grassy beach with picnic tables and restrooms and swimming access. The park service advises life jackets to be warn, and that no swimmers try and swim across the river. The currents can be very strong.
For those with fishing licenses, fishing is allowed on their state’s river side, meaning, if you have a NJ license, you can only fish from New Jersey shores and vice versa. If you are camping on the other side, you’ll need a Pennsylvania license along the river on the PA side. During hunting season, those with a hunting license are allowed as well. The forest and river are carefully regulated to keep it well-stocked with animals and fish.
For those looking for other activities, the park offers a calendar of events so you can plan ahead. The Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) often runs courses for the nature lovers in your family, allowing you to learn more about the local wildlife. Several of the historical sections of the park offer tours and demonstrations of past techniques used by natives and colonists. Millbrook Village, on weekends, opens to the public and volunteers act as guides throughout the buildings.
There are no entrance fees to most of the park, though some of the beaches and boat accesses may have amenity fees for parking.