Let's Go Camping! Family-Friendly Campgrounds Near Philadelphia
Who's up for camping this summer? It's a wonderful way to make family memories and enjoy the outdoors together, and there is no shortage of great campgrounds within a quick drive from Philadelphia. Regardless of experience level -- first-timers or veterans, bare-bones campers or real-deal glampers -- the suggestions below have you covered.
Almost all of the campgrounds on the list are 2.5 hours or less from Center City, and they range from "primitive" (pretty much just a clearing in the woods with a fire pit) to moderate (campsite, fire pit, basic bathroom nearby) to "luxury" (campsite, fire pit, electric and water hook-ups, bathrooms and showers nearby, campground with amenities such as a pool, playground, even wifi). The good news is, you don't need to drive all day or sacrifice the basic comforts of home for a scenic, unforgettable camping adventure with your kids.
Note that campground openings and closures are changing frequently in the 2020 season. Information included in this post is accurate as of June 27, 2020; click through to the campground website for the most current information.
Campgrounds for Families in Delaware
1. Big Oaks Family Campground
35567 Big Oaks Lane
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Summer 2020 info: This location is open for business. Activities for 2020 are yet to be determined.
Less than three miles from the beach, families can embrace all this campground has to offer. Families can expect to stay active with both land and sea options. Modern conveniences are just a short drive away.
- Lodging: tent, trailer, RV, cabin, mobile home
- Amenities include fire ring, restrooms, picnic tables, basketball courts, laundromat, game room, playground, camp store, free wifi
- Family fun includes swimming, hiking, biking, basketball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, billards
2. Cape Henlopen State Park
15099 Cape Henlopen Drive
Summer 2020 info: Delaware State Park visitors 13 and older must wear masks to enter the park. When social distancing, masks are not needed. Capacity is limited to 50%-70% of the parking lot. There are no summer camps this year.
Cape Henlopen State Park is where the ocean meets the bay making for a great vacation destination. In addition to water fun, vacationers can expect hiking, history at Fort Miles Historic Site, and educational opportunities at Seaside Nature Center. The campground is situated in pine-covered dunes.
- Lodging: tent, RV, cabins
- Amenities include bait and tackle shop, picnic tables, playground, laundromat, guarded beach with bath house, pet area, umbrella rentals, observation tower, borrow-a-bike program
- Family fun includes swimming, fishing, biking, hiking, canoeing, disc golf, kayaking, summer camps
3. Delaware Seashore State Park
39415 Inlet Road
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Summer 2020 info: Being a Delaware State Park, this location asks visitors 13 and older to wear masks entering the park. Masks are not needed when social distancing.
This park is surrounded by water, the Atlantic Ocean, Rehoboth Bay, and Indian River. This makes for lots of refreshing fun for the family. Indian River Life-Saving Station Historic Site and Museum, Burton Island Nature Preserves, and Thompson Island Nature Preserves are located nearby.
- Lodging: tent, RV
- Amenities include beach, boat launch, picnic tables, pet area, umbrella rentals, equestrian trails, restrooms, showers, gift shop, restaurant
- Family fun includes hiking, biking, trails, swimming, crabbing, fishing, kayaking, hunting, clamming, wind surfing
4. Homestead Campground
25165 Prettyman Road
Summer 2020 info: This campground is open for business.
Take a break at this family friendly campground. With plenty of nearby attractions, guests can decide to whether to stay a night, a week, or the entire season. This is a preferred camping spot for Sports on the Beach patrons.
- Lodging: tent, RV, cabins
- Amenities include game room, 1 adult pool, 1 family pools, kids' sprinkler pad, playground, corn hole, horseshoe pits, laundry facilities, dog park, camp store, batting cages, community pavilion, wifi
- Family fun includes fishing, swimming, on site entertainment
5. Killens Pond State Park
5025 Killens Pond Road
Summer 2020 info: Guests over 13 should wear masks in common spaces. Masks are not needed if visitors are social distancing. Summer camp has been canceled. The water park is currently closed.
With a nature preserve and water park, there is no doubt that camping at Killens Pond State Park will be a vacation to remember. Families can enjoy the outdoors by watching wildlife, boating, hiking, and biking trails. There is even a conference center and meeting space for reunions, youth group trips, and the like.
- Lodging: tents, RV, cabins
- Amenities include baseball fields, disc golf course, food concessions, horseshoe pits, store, firewood sales, playground, picnic tables, restrooms, summer camps
- Family fun includes boating, fishing, geocaching, swimming, nature programs, birding
Campgrounds in Pennsylvania
1. Blue Rocks Family Campground
341 Sousley Road
Summer 2020 info: While the camp store is open, guests can not browse. Items are available upon request. Children are not permitted on all climb in/on equipment. Guests should bring their own ball to the basketball court. The pool is limited to 25 guests at a time.
This family spot offers fun for every age. From pools and fishing ponds to vintage cars and firetruck rides, Blue Rocks Family Campground provides a wide variety of activities. Situated on 100 acres, this spot is close to Hawk Mountain, Dorney Park, Crystal Cave, and the Crayola Factory.
- Lodging types:RV, tent, cabins, cottages
- Amenities include a rec hall, snack bar, propane station, fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms, general store filled with groceries, ice, fishing and camping supplies, laundromat services, golf carts
- Family activities include swimming pool, fishing pond, hiking trails, playground, game room, basketball, volleyball, gaga pit, horseshoes.
2. Gifford Pinchot State Park
2200 Rosstown Road
Summer 2020 info: The beaches and associated parking lots are at 50% capacity in yellow phase and 75% capacity in green phase. Masks should be worn in all offices and indoor spaces. It is recommended that only members of the same household camp together.
Situated in northern York county about 2 hours from Philly, Gifford Pinchot is one of the many parks that are part of the Pennsylvania State Park System. The Pennsylvania State Park System offers a First-time Camper Program, a program for anyone who has never camped in a state park. Included in the deal is two nights of camping, four person tent rental, four sleeping pads, four camp chairs, four hot dog roasting sticks, flashlight, and camp stove for $20. Gifford Pinchot is one of thirteen parks offering this deal.
- Lodging types: tent, modern cabins, yurts, camping cottages
- Amenities include 339 campsites with water and electric hook-ups, access to bathrooms and showers, outdoor amphitheater
- Family fun includes 18 miles of hiking trails, 4 miles of biking trails, Pinchot Lake for boating and swimming, beach, horseback riding, disc golf
Photo by author
3. Jim Thorpe Camping Resort
129 Lentz Trail
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Summer 2020 info: This camp is currently limiting the number of campsites available and group reservations can not exceed 10 people. Online prepayment is encouraged. Game room, pool, and other common spaces are closed.
Though not as private as state park camping can be, "full-service" campgrounds like the Jim Thorpe Camping Resort can be an excellent starting point for new campers and those with little ones. This family owned and operated location is just 90 minutes outside of Philly in the Poconos. Waterfalls, a butterfly sanctuary, boating, and historic railroads are all nearby.
- Lodging: tents, family cabins, camping cabins, RV
- Amenities include picnic tables, fire ring, free wifi, open air pavilion
- Family fun includes swimming, nearby whitewater rafting, playgrounds, wine and cheese tastings (with cookie and juice for kids)
4. Otter Lake Camp Resort
1639 Marshalls Creek Road
East Stroudsburg, PA
Summer 2020 info: The indoor pool and game room are currently closed. Guests must wear a mask when entering all public facilities. Campers must practice social distancing including having campfires with neighbors.
A year-round destination in the Poconos, Otter Lake Camp Resort offers all the bells and whistles and is located near many attractions such as Steamtown, Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, and National Canal Museum & The Emrick Technology Center.
- Lodging: tent camping, RV
- Amenities include boat rentals, church services, live entertainment
- Family fun includes indoor pool, outdoor pool, beach, tennis courts, racquetball courts, basketball court, bingo, horseshoe pit
5. Scenic Turtle Ridge
239 Hibernia Road
Summer 2020 info: Pennsylvania guests are currently able to camp at this spot. Out of town guests can make reservations once Pennsylvania enters the green phase.
Situated in Chester County and bordering the Brandywine River, Turtle Ridge provides a true retreat. Both French Creek State Park and Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site are within a short drive from the campground.
- Lodging: tent
- Amenities include picnic tables, wifi, potable water
- Family fun includes fishing, biking, hiking, wildlife watching
6. Tohickon Family Campground
8308 Covered Bridge Rd
Summer 2020 info: Reservations are being limited. The pool and playground are closed. To compensate, Tohickon Family Campground is lowering its rate to $38 a night.
Bucks County is home to Tohickon Family Campground which is located on 54 wooded acres nestled alongside Tohickon Creek. Sesame Place, Lost River Caverns, Dorney Park, and Peddler's Village are nearby.
- Lodging: tent camping
- Amenities include general store, gift shop, bathhouse, free wifi
- Family fun includes swimming, playground, game room
Campgrounds in New Jersey
1. Adventure Bound Camping Resort- Tall Pines
49 Beal Road
Elmer, New Jersey
Summer 2020 info: Adventure Bound Camping Resort is open for business.
Located on 113 acres, Adventure Bound Camping Resort offers families plenty of fun. This is one of many locations throughout the country including spots in Cape May, NJ, Oak Creek, PA and Robesonia, PA.
- Lodging: tent, RV, rustic cabins, deluxe cabins, lodges
- Amenities include playgrounds, sports courts, laundry, wifi, free cable television
- Family fun includes gaga pit, swimming pool with water slide, themed entertainment, fishing
2. Atsion Family Campground
Summer 2020 info: Atsion Recreation Area is currently closed. Masks should be worn in gatehouse, restrooms, and park building as they reopen.
This family campground is located in Wharton State Forest, the largest state forest in NJ with more than 125,000 acres. About an hour's drive from Philadelphia and 30 minutes from Atlantic City and nearby shore points, Wharton State Forest includes nine campgrounds varying in amenities and method of access. Atsion Family Campground is a good place to start, where campers can settle in one of 50 tent or trailer sites.
- Lodging: tent, trailer
- Amenities include fire pits, bathrooms, showers, picnic tables
- Family fun includes hiking, boating, recreation area, swimming, nearby historic village that features tour Atsion Mansion and Village
3. Butterfly Camping Resort
360 Butterfly Road
Summer 2020 info: Guests may only camp with household members. All amenities and special events are currently closed. Masks are recommended when near other campers. The pool and laundromat are open.
Families are sure to stay busy at Butterfly Camping Resort. Boasting over 20 amenities, this family-run business has been providing recreation and fun for 24 years. In addition to all that the campground offers, families can find excitement at nearby attractions such as Six Flags Great Adventure and the Butterfly Bogs State Refuge.
- Lodging: tents, trailers, RV, cabin, cottages
- Amenities include picnic tables, fire ring, wifi, full hook up, shaded lots, gift shop, laundromat
- Family fun includes fishing, swimming, mini golf, special activities including arts & crafts, themed weekend events
4. Four Seasons Family Campground
158 Woodstown-Daretown Road
Summer 2020 info: Guests do not have access to the playground, arcade, or indoor dining at Sundae Restaurant at this time. Masks are required when guests are indoors as well as certain special events.
As one may suspect from the name, this campground is open spring, summer, winter, and fall. Many attractions are nearby for vacations such as Cowtown, Fort Mott, and Finn's Point Lighthouse. Families can even bring Fido along for this trip.
- Lodging: tent, cabin, RVs
- Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, coinless laundry, camp store, Sundae Restaurant, free wifi hot spots, firewood, dog park
- Family fun includes swimming pool, sun deck, sand volleyball, playground, arcade, fishing
5. Ocean View Resort
2555 Route 9
Ocean View, NJ
Summer 2020 info: Indoor groups are limited to ten people. Social distancing is mandated at all times on the property. Currently the arcades, clubhouse, tram car, and playgrounds are closed. There is a virtual check-in procedure in place. Guests must bring their own chair to the pool since no public chairs will be available.
This camping spot can be found along the Jersey shore! Like the Pocono Mountains, the shore offers many family-friendly campgrounds with all the bells and whistles. Just inland from Sea Isle City and a little over an hour from Philly, the Ocean View Resort Campground is one of them. Ocean View is a glamper’s paradise so kids may not even realize they are camping.
- Lodging: tent, trailer, cabin, cottage
- Amenities include three playgrounds, two arcades, tennis courts, paddle boat rental, ATM, wifi, cafe, pavilion
- Family fun includes fishing pond, swimming pool, splash pad, beach, yoga, bingo, crafts, movies, musical entertainment
6. Sea Pirate Campground
148 Main Street
West Creek, NJ
Summer 2020 info: Guests can check- in online to limit contact. The game room is currently closed.
Another Jersey shore spot, Sea Pirate Campground provides families with tons of activities suitable for all ages. The beach is just a short drive away. Guests can download an app with all the latest information including an online check-in option.
- Lodging: tent, cabins, cottages
- Amenities include restrooms, hot showers, dog park, arcade, store, playground, activity hall
- Family fun includes crabbing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, bike rentals, swimming, volleyball, movies, bingo, crafts, hayrides
Places featured in this article:
Atsion Family Campground
Gifford Pinchot State Park
Jim Thorpe Camping Resort
Otter Creek Camp Resort
Ocean View Resort Campground
Blue Rocks Family Campground
Scenic Turtle Ridge
Tohickon Family Campground
Sea Pirate Campground
Four Seasons Family Campground
Adventure Bound Camping Resort- Tall Pines
Butterfly Camping Resort
Cape Henlopen State Park
Delaware Seashore State Park
Killens Pond State Park
Big Oaks Family Campground