Best Camping in Northern New Jersey
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA) has always been a bit of an enigma to me. In spite of its size (it spans over 70,000 acres in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania along the Delaware River), its extensive natural scenery, and its vast array of outdoor activities, the availability of public campgrounds around the gap is pretty much limited to two—one on each side of the river. Luckily, both of them are really nice campgrounds that are especially well-suited to tent camping. In Pennsylvania, you’ll find Dingmans Campground on US 209 just south of Dingmans Ferry (featured in my new book Best Tent Camping: Pennsylvania). On the New Jersey side of the river, you’ll find the Worthington State Forest Campground.
Although technically not part of the DWGNRA, Worthington State Forest is bordered to the north and south by the DWGNRA and to the west by the Delaware River (technically also part of the recreation area). So staying at the Worthington Campground provides easy access to many of the natural and historical sites in the DWGNRA on the New Jersey side of the river. I visited the campground just a couple of weeks ago at the height of fall color, and I was really impressed by what I found there.
At 82 sites, the campground is not massive. It does, however, cover quite a bit of terrain along the banks of the Delaware. I would estimate a couple of miles at least. The campground is divided into two main family camping areas, in addition to an area of three group sites. The sites that are most suitable for tent camping are numbers 1 to 23, which are designated as tent only. These are located along the campground access road, south from the Worthington Forest Office where you’ll register for the sites. With little exception, these sites are huge and quite private. Many are located riverside. With the exception of sites 1-4, which open on the second Friday in May, the rest of the sites open on the second Friday in April. All of them close on October 31.
The camping at these sites is rather primitive in terms of amenities, with pit toilets and no showers. But there is drinking water available, and the location is great. The rest of the campground is located north from the forest office, and the sites there are all distributed around a large grass field. Although the sites are all very large, they don’t offer as much privacy as the tent camping sites. But this part of the campground does have showers, ADA accessible restrooms, a playground, and lots of room to run around. This part of the campground is suitable for RVs, and it is worth noting that there are no electric hook-ups, so you may encounter a fair share of generator noise.
Reservations can be made online for the campground at www.reserveamerica.com. The cost of camping is $20 for New Jersey residents and $25 for non-residents.