RV camping is an excellent and interesting way to see New Jersey! You can visit many picturesque places along the shore, hit up some of New Jersey’s big cities, or even make the state your home base for a New York City adventure. However you spend your time in New Jersey, you’re sure to find places you love and to create new memories!
Of course, you’ll need to do some planning for a New Jersey RV camping trip! That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll cover everything you need to know – from what to pack, to where to camp, to what to do in New Jersey.
Let’s dive in!
Preparing for RV Camping
The first step to preparing for your RV camping trip to New Jersey is to make sure you have an RV! If you don’t own an RV, there are lots of New Jersey RV rental options available through RVshare. Once you have your RV set, you’ll need to figure out what to pack in it.
Choosing the right RV for your needs
When you’re looking into renting an RV for a trip, you’ll want to keep several things in mind. Begin by considering the size of your party. If you’re going alone or with one other person, a campervan or small trailer may be enough room. If you have a large group, you’ll want a Class A motorhome or a large fifth-wheel trailer. There are also models for every size in between, including Class C campers which are a great option for average-sized families.
You’ll also want to think about the amenities you want. Campervans tend to have fewer amenities, although you can find some that use space in ingenious ways to allow you many of the comforts of home. Larger rigs like Class A RVs can have even more perks like bathrooms, entertainment areas, and even laundry facilities.
Finally, think about how you’ll get around after you’ve set up camp. If you have a campervan, you can use that for sightseeing, then simply park it each night to sleep. Trailers mean that you can use your towing vehicle after you’ve unhitched. However, if you have a large Class C camper or a Class A motorhome, you may need to tow a separate vehicle behind you to use once you’ve set up to camp.
Packing essentials for a successful trip
After you’ve decided on your RV rental, you’ll need to decide what to pack for your trip. Packing an RV is an art form – you want to bring everything you need, but you don’t want to overload your motorhome with things you won’t use.
It might be helpful to make two lists – one for your personal items and one for the items you need in your RV for the trip.
On your personal packing list, you’ll want:
- Clothing appropriate for the weather and activities you’ve planned. Pack for the number of days you’ll be gone, or the number of days between laundry stops.
- First aid kit
- Bug spray or citronella candles
- Entertainment (books, games, movies)
- Outdoor gear (hiking boots, bathing suit, paddleboards, etc)
- Cold or warm weather gear as needed (heavy jacket, hat, mittens, sun hat, rain jacket)
- Extra batteries
- Electronics & chargers
- Pet supplies
- Quarters for showers or laundry
Before you make an RV packing list, you’ll want to check your rental listing. Different rentals include different items. Yours may include dishes, linens, or even camp chairs or paddleboards. But it also may not include any of those things.
- Pots & pans
- Utensils – don’t forget a can opener, bottle opener, spatula, set of knives, etc.
- Dish towels & sponges
- Sheets & pillows
- Bath Towels
- Tool kit
- Folding camp chairs
- RV leveling blocks
- Sewer hose and adapter
- Freshwater hose
- Surge protector
You might need to change up your list, depending on what time of year you’re camping and where you’re going. This is also a pretty basic list. You can consult this pre-travel checklist for a more thorough description of what to bring.
Considerations for Camping in New Jersey
Since you’ll be driving an RV in New Jersey, you’ll want to know the rules of the road there. Most states have similar RV road laws, but there can be some variations. You’ll want to look at New Jersey’s laws in particular to make sure you don’t get a ticket!
The maximum width for an RV in New Jersey is 96 inches, and the maximum length is 40 feet. RVs can be a maximum height of 13 1/2 feet. The combined length for two vehicles where one is towing the other can’t be more than 62 feet. Passengers are not allowed to ride in truck campers or trailers. Trailers over 3,000 lbs. must have trailer brakes, a breakaway switch, chains, and safety glass.
General New Jersey driving rules require that headlights be on when windshield wipers are on. A right turn is allowed on red unless posted otherwise. Seat belts are required for everyone in the front and back seats of a vehicle.
On the New Jersey Turnpike, a motorhome can tow a vehicle as long as all four wheels are on the ground. You may not use tow dollies. On the Garden State Parkway, a motorhome may tow another vehicle with a tow bar. Safety chains and emergency tail lights must be on both vehicles.
Researching campground options and making reservations
Once you’ve chosen your RV and decided how to pack it, it’s time to find some campgrounds! Fortunately, there are lots of websites that can help you narrow down your search. Campspot, The Dyrt, BookOutdoors, and RoverPass can all help you find campgrounds based on where you’re traveling in New Jersey and the amenities you want. You can even make reservations right online once you’ve found the perfect spot. Harvest Hosts and Hipcamp also have good options at interesting sites like wineries and farms.
There are lots of RV campgrounds in New Jersey for a variety of campers! You can stay in luxury campgrounds in the state where you’ll enjoy nature without giving up the comforts of home. You can also find rustic campgrounds with few amenities, or urban campgrounds in the middle of big Jersey cities.
Exploring public campgrounds in the state
We’ll first look at public campgrounds in New Jersey. Public campgrounds can be found inside national and state parks, national forests, and on other publicly-owned land. Public campgrounds tend to be cheaper than private campgrounds, but they also tend to be more primitive and have fewer amenities.
National Park Camping
New Jersey does not have any national parks. However, there are national trails, recreation areas, and other federal lands where you can camp. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail has lots of campgrounds along its route through the mountains. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has primitive river campsites, along with sites in the forests and other scenic areas of the Pocono Mountains.
State Park Camping
New Jersey has lots of state parks with campgrounds where you can stay! Swartswood State Park has Little Swartswood and Swartswood Lake, which were formed by glaciers. The lakes make this a popular place for fishing, hunting, boating, swimming, and much more outdoor fun. In winter, visitors can ice skate, cross-country ski, sled, or ice fish. Bass River State Park is just 25 miles north of Atlantic City and is home to Lake Absegami. There are lots of ways to enjoy the outdoors here, from fishing to boating to swimming in the lake. There are also lots of hiking trails. Jenny Jump State Forest is known for the boulders and outcroppings that are thought to be some of the oldest rocks on earth. You may spot raptors and numerous other birds in the area, along with deer, wild turkeys, and black bears. You can camp, hike, boat, fish, or stargaze in the forest clearings.
Exploring private campgrounds and RV parks
You can also choose to stay in private campgrounds when you go RV camping in New Jersey. Private campgrounds are more likely to have showers, laundry facilities, and even dump stations than public campgrounds. If you decide to go glamping in New Jersey, you’ll find campgrounds that are especially upscale. Beachcomber Camping Resort has six different pools for kids and adults, plus boating, fishing, and themed activities at the camp. Baker’s Acres Campgrounds has more than 300 sites in the New Jersey Pinelands. You can enjoy two pools, a ball field, and an arcade room. You’ll also be close to Long Beach Island and Atlantic City. Pleasant Acres Farm Campground has RV sites and vacation cottages to rent. You’ll have access to a fishing lake, an outdoor pool, and a mini golf course.
Boondocking in New Jersey
There aren’t a whole lot of boondocking options in New Jersey, because the state doesn’t have national forests or Bureau of Land Management lands where most people find boondocking. However, there are still a few options. There is dispersed camping at the Abbot Sawmill, The Pleasant Valley Lavender Farm, and the Belleplain State Forest, among other places.
Planning your itinerary
Now that you have an RV and a campground, it’s time to decide what to do while you’re in New Jersey! You’ll have plenty of activities to choose from. Whether you want to hike, swim, cross-country ski, or visit cities like Newark or Trenton, we’ll help you find things to do that you’ll enjoy.
Features and attractions in New Jersey
One of the best ways to get the lay of the land in New Jersey is by driving a scenic byway. There are several in the state to choose from, including the Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway which follows the shoreline of the Delaware Bay down to Cape May Point State Park in southern New Jersey where it heads inland. The Palisades Interstate Parkway is a 42-mile scenic drive from the George Washington Bridge to Bear Mountain State Park in New York. The Upper Freehold Historic Farmland Scenic Byway travels through farmlands and you’ll get lots of calming views of rolling green fields and white picket fences.
You’ll want to make time for some of New Jersey’s many landmarks! High Point Monument is a tower indicating the highest point in the state. You can climb the obelisk to see the view from the top, and the monument is dedicated to New Jersey’s veterans. The Hermitage is a fourteen-room Gothic Revival-style home where George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, the Marquis de Lafayette, and other important figures in American history have visited. The Great Falls of the Passaic are an impressive sight, and were also essential to early industrial development in New Jersey. The falls provided hydropower for one of the world’s first paper mills, and for other businesses.
New Jersey has many important national sites to visit as well! The Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange is on the site of Edison’s lab and home. Visitors can tour the property and learn about his many inventions. Although you’ll see the gardens, home, garage, and other parts of his home, the Edison laboratory is especially fascinating. Morristown National Historical Park commemorates where George Washington and his troops stayed from December 1779 to June 1780. You can visit the Statue of Liberty by taking a ferry from New Jersey as well. See one of the most recognizable U.S. icons and learn about the many people who immigrated to the country after passing her famous statue in the New York Harbor.
Festivals, fairs, and events in New Jersey
You may decide to visit New Jersey during one of the many events that take place in the state throughout the year. The New Jersey Beer & Food Festival takes place each June in Hamburg and is a great place to try new beers and cuisine. The New Jersey State Fair happens each August in Augusta and includes music, amazing food, and a showing of farm animals, produce, and many other offerings from local farmers and crafters.
Some New Jersey events have RV camping right on-site at the venue. In fact, many RV owners will set up your rented rig for you for a small fee. That way, you can arrive and get right to the festivities!
Exploring Outdoor Activities in New Jersey
New Jersey is a beautiful place to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air! From fishing to swimming to biking and hiking, you’re sure to find an outdoor activity that suits you here.
Hiking, biking, and nature trails
Hiking is a wonderful way to explore a new outdoor area! It’s an activity that can be tailored to the ages and abilities of everyone who goes. It’s also very inexpensive – usually it’s completely free. Here are a few of the best hiking trails in New Jersey to try:
If you prefer mountain biking to hiking, there are plenty of trails for that, too! Here are a few of our favorite mountain biking trails in New Jersey.
If none of these hikes suit you or your fellow hikers, AllTrails has a variety of hikes for all abilities!
Fishing, boating, and water activities
Along with hiking and biking, there are numerous ways to enjoy New Jersey’s lakes, streams, and other bodies of water!
There are lots of places to go fishing in New Jersey, for starters. Union Lake is one of the biggest reservoirs in New Jersey and has black crappie, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and other fish. The lake is mainly known as a spot to fish from small boats like kayaks or canoes. Lake Wawayanda is along the Appalachian Trail and is home to salmon, brown trout, smallmouth bass, catfish, sunfish, and other fish. Lake Wawayanda is a popular spot in New Jersey, so you’ll want to make camping reservations if you’re headed here. Bayshore Waterfront Park has tidal creeks, beaches, dunes, and beautiful water views. You can fish in Raritan Bay, and there is a fishing pier. You might catch flounder, bluefish, striped bass, or other fish when you’re there.
If you want to relax on the sand, New Jersey has plenty of amazing beaches as well! Cape May Beach in South New Jersey is two miles long and includes a historic lighthouse. It’s one of the more popular beaches in New Jersey and is a beautiful spot. The Beach at Avalon has a fascinating ecosystem and also has playgrounds, a great surfing area, and surf chairs that beachgoers can borrow. Ocean City is just south of Atlantic City and is a family-friendly beach with amusement park rides, restaurants, and amenities like restrooms and beach showers.
Finally, check out some of New Jersey’s gorgeous gushing waterfalls! Hemlock Falls in the South Mountain Reservation requires a hike to get there, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing views. Tillman Ravine Falls are in the Stokes State Forest, and you’ll follow a forest trail through Tillman Ravine to the charming waterfall.
Wildlife viewing and photography
You can also look for or photograph wildlife in New Jersey! The beaches mentioned above are excellent spots to watch for shorebirds and marine life. You can also look in state parks and natural areas for bears, deer, coyotes, woodchucks, and other wild animals. In fact, almost 90 different species of mammals live in New Jersey.
Family-friendly activities and attractions
Did you bring the family along on an RV camping trip in New Jersey? There are lots of family-friendly activities that are suitable for all ages! Along with hiking, biking, and water fun, you’ll find lots of historic sites, museums, amusement parks, and other interesting sites and entertaining attractions.
Historical sites and museums
Want to mix some fun in with some educational learning? New Jersey has several historical sites you can visit to learn more about the state and the people who lived there. The Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is home to the 77-foot-high Great Falls of the Passaic River. The falls were an important way to power factories.
New Jersey is also home to many museums! The Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg is at the site of the world’s richest zinc ore mine. You can even tour part of the mine at the museum. The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial in Camden lets guests tour “the world’s greatest battleship.” It was the largest battleship ever built, and there are lots of hands-on areas that help visitors get an idea of what life was like aboard the ship. The Liberty Science Center in Liberty State Park is a science museum with interactive exhibits to help kids and adults understand the natural world.
Amusement parks, zoos, and wildlife refuges
Another great way to spend the day together as a family is at a New Jersey amusement park! Nickelodeon Universe in East Rutherford has themed rides and stage shows. You can also meet and greet Nickelodeon characters who roam the park. This is one of the largest indoor theme parks in the country, so you can plan a visit any time of year. Dreamworks Water Park nearby is the largest indoor water park in North America. The park features DreamWorks characters and rides like Thrillagascar and Jungle Jammer. Kids can play in the Penguins Frozen Fun Zone or the Kungfu Panda Temple of Awesomeness.
If you want to spend a day at the zoo, check out the Cape May County Park & Zoo, which has free admission. You can see animals, ride a carousel, or hop on the train for a ride around the park. The Six Flags Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure is a 45-minute ride where visitors will see 1,200 animals including elephants, giraffes, and lions.
You can look for animals in the wild at New Jersey wildlife refuges. The Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge has several walking trails and includes part of the Appalachian Trail. You’ll find lots of birds here, and you may even see Great Blue Herons or Great Egrets. The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 13 species of duck and lots of different mammals that you may spot through the bird blinds.
Safety and Preparedness when RV Camping in New Jersey
New Jersey is an exciting place to travel on an RV camping trip! However, it’s a good idea to know about the weather and natural disaster risks so you can be prepared. You’ll want to keep a first aid kit close at hand for minor injuries and illnesses. Here are a few other things to be aware of.
Weather conditions and natural disaster preparedness
Some of the most common natural disasters in New Jersey are floods and hurricanes. If you are in New Jersey when there is the threat of a hurricane, the best thing you can do is to leave the area before the storm arrives. If you can’t leave, move to higher ground. Leave your RV and seek shelter in a stronger building – do not try to ride out a hurricane in an RV. Move away from the coast and stay away from areas where there could be landslides. Close curtains and stay away from windows to avoid broken glass.
If you are driving when there is flooding, keep in mind that water can be deceptive! People have gotten caught driving vehicles into flooded areas because the water did not look very deep. You can find more tips for dealing with extreme weather while RVing here.
An RV camping trip to New Jersey is a truly unique way to see the state! You can travel with flexibility, but still stop each night and have the comforts of home at hand. You’ll also make lifelong memories on a trip like this.
More Inspiration for Your New Jersey Travels
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