The Jersey Shore’s Best Campsites

10 that are close to sun and sand

Illustration by Justin Renninger

Whether you’re a camper at heart and are looking for a change from the mountains or are seeking an active Shore weekend on the cheap, the Jersey Shore’s area campsites are a perfect way to spend a summer weekend. From the North Shore to the Jersey Cape, here are 10 campsites that are close to sun and sand, in a range that will satisfy everyone from the “no RVs allowed” minimalist to  the air-mattress-toting, “there had better be showers” family of four.

North Shore

Allaire State Park
Located 15 minutes from the boardwalks of Belmar and 20 minutes from Asbury Park, this campground offers a wide variety of trails, making it particularly attractive to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. The Manasquan River winds through Allaire State Park which makes fishing, canoeing and kayaking between beach trips easy. There are 45 tent and trailer sites complete with fire rings and picnic tables. Cabin and shelter rentals available.

$20 per night. Free modern restrooms with hot showers within walking distance. Alcohol and pets prohibited. Campsites open all year. 4265 Atlantic Avenue, Farmingdale, 732-938-2371.

Surf And Stream Campground
Situated 20 minutes from Seaside Heights, Surf and Stream Campground offers a small, wooded island on the outskirts of the campground that is devoted solely to walk-in tenters. Campers park their cars nearby and carry their gear across a narrow wooden footbridge. There are no designated campsites on this island, so you can opt for a social spot in an open area or take a secluded spot on the island’s edges. Within the campgrounds are a playground, swimming pool, laundromat, and convenience store. Cabin rentals  available.

Two-night stay, two adults, $93 (reservation necessary). Free modern restrooms with hot showers available. 1801 Ridgeway Road, Toms River, 732-349-8919.

Cedar Creek Campground
If you love to kayak or canoe as much as you love hitting the beach, Cedar Creek Campground is ideal. Within a 10-mile reach of Barnegat Bay, Cedar Creek also provides transportation for your personal canoe or kayak upstream to any of its regularly scheduled stops every hour. Cedar Creek houses tent sites, RV sites, cabins, and trailer rentals, complete with picnic table and fire ring at each site. They also offer canoe and kayak rentals. A swimming pool, convenience store, deli, recreation hall, and laundromat  are also available to all campers.

Two adults, $39.50 daily (no hookups), $49.95 (full hookup). Free modern restrooms with hot showers available. Pets allowed. Quiet hours from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. 1052 Atlantic City Boulevard, Bayville, 732-269-1413.

Long Beach

Timberline Lake Camping Resort
Only 20 minutes from Little Egg Harbor beaches, Timberline is great for campers who want to bring along furry friends, as pets are allowed. Enjoy fresh and saltwater fishing, swimming, boating, crabbing and hunting. There’s also a swimming pool, convenience store, recreation hall, and laundromat. RV and cabin rentals available.

Sites for 1-4 people, $40 daily (no hookups), $45 daily (full hookup). Bathhouses available. Pets allowed. Quiet Hours from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. 365 County Road 679, New Gretna, 609-296-7900

Bass River State Forrest Campground
Bass River State is perfect for the camper looking to stay active. Located on Lake Absegami, this campground offers boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the lake, as well as hiking trails and hunting opportunities. Just a short 20-minute ride away from the beaches of Manahawkin, the campground has 176 campsites, including six cabins, six huts, nine primitive shelters, and six group sites, all complete with fire rings and picnic tables.

$20 per night. Each site accommodates a maximum of six campers, two vehicles, and two tents. No hook-ups provided. Bathhouses available. Alcohol and pets prohibited. Campsites open all year. 762 Stage Road, Tuckerton, 609-296-1114.

Jersey Cape

Estell Manor Campground
Conveniently located close to Atlantic City and only a 35-minute drive to Strathmere beaches, this campground offers eight heavily wooded individual campsites and one group site, which can accommodate up to 20 people. With trails for mountain biking and hiking, pavilions for picnics, and fishing on the South River, it’s easy to stay active and enjoy the outdoors.

$17 per night for up to 6 people, $25 per night for up to 20 people. Port-A-John within walking distance available. Alcohol and pets prohibited. Limit of 2 parked vehicles per campsite. Quiet Hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. 109 Boulevard Route 50, Mays Landing, 609-625-8219.

Lake Lenape
For those campers looking to camp close to water, several campsites here are located on Lake Lenape itself, making this campground a hot spot for boaters and fishermen. Situated only 30 minutes from Atlantic City and Margate beach, Lake Lenape is one of those rare campgrounds that is solely open to tent campers. With 18 sites total, sites are spacious and level with towering woods offering plenty of shade. The Lake Lenape Campground is part of Atlantic County Park Facilities, and a boathouse, playground, picnic area, and gazebo are also available on site.

$17 per night for up to six people. Two Port-A-Johns and three portable water pumps available. Alcohol and pets prohibited. Limit of two parked vehicles per campsite. Quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. 6303 Harding Highway, Mays Landing, 609-625-8219.

Birch Grove Park Campground
Smack dab between AC and OC—it’s a 15-minute drive in either direction—Birch Grove Park is the perfect place for catch-and-release fishers, as there are more than 30 ponds to fish from and seven types of fish to be caught. While the 48 sites here have limited privacy from each other, groves of woods protect them from the outside world. Picnic tables and grill rentals are available.

$25 per day (no hookup), $30 per day (water & electric), $35 per day (full hookup). Bathhouses available. Pets permitted with trailers and RVs only. Limit of eight people and two tents per site. Quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. 1700 Burton Avenue, Northfield, 609-641-3778.

Frontier Campground
With 50 acres of secluded, wooded campsites, Frontier is built for the real woods camper. Sites are loaded with trees and private clearings to make this campground a peaceful and relaxing experience. This campground also offers a unique opportunity—you can camp in a tree house. In these rentals, campers can sleep closer to the stars, as they are lodged nearly 30 feet off the ground. Frontier Campground is also situated in a prime location, only five minutes to Sea Isle City beaches and 10 minutes to Ocean City boardwalks. A recreation hall, picnic tables, and playgrounds are also available.

Sites of 1-4 people, $35 daily (no hookups), $40 daily (water & electric), $45 daily (full hookup). Free modern restrooms with hot showers available. Pets prohibited. 84 Tyler Road, Ocean View, 609-390-0673.

Adventure Bound Camping Resort
Tent campers are given the respect they deserve here, as they are not shoved in amongst the RVs. Instead, this campground dedicates an entire loop to its tent campers, with lots of trees and shade.  Situated between Cape May and Wildwood, this campground is only four miles from Stone Harbor beaches, so you can be on the beach in less than 10 minutes. A swimming pool, game room, and laundry services are on site. Cabin rentals available.

Sites for 1-4 people, $37 daily (no hookups), $56 (full hookup). Free modern restrooms with hot showers available. Pets permitted. Limit of one vehicle per site. 240 West Shell Bay Avenue, Cape May Court House, 609-465-4440.