There are lots of ways for New Jersey families to experience the great outdoors. From scenic parks, playgrounds, and trails to inviting beaches and lakes, the state offers plenty of places to get some fresh air. But if you really want to get the kids unplugged and at one with nature, it might be time to plan a camping trip. To be sure, camping with little ones isn't always easy; but luckily, there are campgrounds throughout the state that make the experience comfortable and fun for even the youngest campers.
Read on for a dozen campgrounds that offer everything from tent camping to fully appointed cabins, along with a host of family-style entertainment and amenities.
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The heated pool and kiddie pool at the Delaware River Family Campground will keep the whole family cool.
Northern New Jersey
Delaware River Family Campground – Columbia
Nestled alongside the Delaware River, the Delaware River Family Campground is a relaxing family retreat. Open from April 1 through October 31, the campground offers a variety of camping sites as well as both rustic and modern cabin rentals. Amenities include a heated swimming pool and kiddie pool, game room, boat and tubing rentals (and river excursions), mini-golf, and basketball courts. There are also scheduled activities including arts & crafts and family movie nights.
High Point State Park – Sussex
The park's camping facilities include 50 tent sites along Sawmill lake, six-person furnished cabins that include fully functioning kitchens and bathrooms (complete with hot and cold running water and electricity), and a large-group cabin that can accommodate up to 28 people. Families can enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, and lake swimming during the summer and cross-country skiing in winter. The park is home to the High Point Cross Country Ski Center, where skis and other winter sports equipment are available for rent. Reservations can be made online.
Enjoy paddle boats, fishing, and swimming at Harmony Ridge Campground.
Harmony Ridge Campground – Branchville
Located in the heart of the Kittatinny Mountains, Harmony Ridge is a 160-acre campground that is open year-round. Family owned since 1963, this great retreat offers both cabin rentals and scenic campsites. There are also plenty of amenities, including a swimming pool, playground, basketball court, paddle boats, and a recently added hockey rink and gaga ball court. There is also a snack bar that serves breakfast daily. Visit the website for more information, including current rates.
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Spend a weekend or a week in nature at Kymer's Camping Resort.
Kymer's Camping Resort – Branchville
There's no excuse for boredom at this North Jersey camping resort, which features a full slate of daily and weekly entertainment. Families can get into friendly competition with basketball, foosball, miniature golf, ping pong, tennis, volleyball and more. Prefer to relax? Check out the swimming pool, paddle a kayak, or make a craft. Nighttime brings outdoor movies, DJ dance parties, campfires with marshmallow roasting, paint-and-sip parties for parents, and other fun. If that isn't enough, Kymer's is close to the New Jersey State Fair, High Point State Park, Wild West City, the Land of Make Believe, golf courses, flea markets, and more. Tent, trailer, and cabin sites are available for rental April 1 through October 31.
Pleasant Acres Farm Campground – Sussex
Located on a real working farm, Pleasant Acres Farm Campground offers horse-drawn hayrides, baby animal petting, cow milking, sheep shearing, and pig chases. Amenities include a swimming pool, miniature golf course, sports fields, and a lake for fishing. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy free meals scheduled on many weeknights, along with a wide range of entertainment, including live bands, DJs, line dancing, and painting parties. Families can stay in the campground's full-size, air-conditioned cabins featuring bathrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, large outdoor decks, and a flat-screened TV. There are also pet-friendly cottages with similar amenities as well as tent and RV campsites.
Central New Jersey
Allaire State Park – Howell
Best known for its historic 19th-century iron-making village and the Pine Creek Railroad, featuring a working antique steam train, Allaire State Park is the perfect site for a family camping trip. The park is home to plenty of easy trails for hiking (perfect for little legs) as well as access to the Manasquan Reservoir, which provides both fishing and boating opportunities. Allaire's camping facilities include 45 tent campsites and 10 cabin-like shelters that include beds and a wood stove for heat. Each site also includes a fire ring and picnic table. Flush toilets and shower facilities are within walking distance. Reservations can be made online.
Butterfly Camping Resort hosts lots of fun nighttime activities.
Butterfly Camping Resort – Jackson
For more than 20 years, the owner's of Jackson's Butterfly Camping Resort have been dedicated to providing great hospitality and clean facilities to camping families. Seasonal fun includes pony and wagon rides, outdoor movie nights, bingo, and arts & crafts. The grounds include a large swimming pool, miniature golf course, sports fields, playgrounds, and an arcade. Additionally, the resort is located right on the cranberry bogs and has a great pond where kids can go fishing. The camp offers both regular campsites as well as a variety of comfortable cabins and cottages. An added bonus, Butterfly Camping Resort is located just minutes from Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari.
Turkey Swamp Park – Freehold
This beautiful wooded park was developed by the Monmouth County Park System with campers in mind. The park is home to a 17-acre lake that can be used for fishing, boating, and ice-skating. The park also features an archery range, playgrounds, and miles of trails. The family campground features wooded campsites for both tent camping and travel trailers, with fire rings and picnic tables. There are also three basic cabins that come with both heating and air conditioning.
Southern New Jersey
Four Seasons Family Campground – Pilesgrove
Open all year, Four Seasons Family Campground is located in the Delaware River Region of Southern New Jersey. This summer the popular destination will open a new swimming pool with a 10-inch-deep children's area. Other recreational facilities include swimming on a sandy beach, a fully equipped game room, playgrounds, fishing, and sports fields and equipment. Visitors can enjoy themed weekends during the summer months. This pet-friendly destination also has an off-leash dog park. Both rustic and deluxe cabins are available, as well as tent and RV sites.
RELATED: Kid-Friendly Hikes, Swimming at Jersey's Cheesequake State Park
Ocean View Resort Campground offers a splash pad, swimming pool, mini-golf, and lots more.
Ocean View Resort Campground – Ocean View
Just three miles from Sea Isle City, Ocean View Resort is New Jersey's largest privately owned campground. Kids can keep busy with a new splash pad (opened 2017), swimming pool, stocked fishing pond, fresh water lake for swimming and boating, three playgrounds, two arcades, miniature golf course, and ball fields. A campground store sells food, along with fishing and camping supplies. In addition, a cafe and lake pavilion sell sandwiches, pizza, treats, and more. Rent a campsite for tent camping or a fully appointed cabin or trailer. Open from mid-April through mid-October.
Sea Pirate Campground – West Creek
Just minutes from Long Beach Island, this Jersey Shore campground provides plenty of water-related recreational activities, including crabbing, fresh and saltwater fishing, and canoe and kayak rentals. There's also a swimming pool, playgrounds, sports fields, and a full schedule of family activities. The campground offers sites for tent camping as well as a variety of cabins and cottages that come with all the comforts of home. Open from the end of April until mid-October.
Enjoy the comforts of home in the great outdoors at Jellystone Park Campground.
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Campground – Elmer
Situated in southwestern New Jersey on 113 wooded acres, Jellystone Park Campground at Tall Pines is a family-oriented camping resort that offers the adventure of the outdoors without sacrificing the comforts of home. The campground, open from April through October, boasts a pool, splash pad, event-themed weekends, and kid-friendly activities. Visitors can reserve sites for tent camping as well as a variety of cabins and RVs. The campground is pet-friendly.
Top photo: Ocean View Resort. All photos courtesy of the campgrounds
Updated April 2018.