New Jersey Beach Camping: Where to Begin

Updated March 31, 2022
Unusual shot of a blurred Barnegat Lighthouse with sharp dune vegetation in the foreground

If you can't decide between the beach and the woods, a New Jersey beach camping trip can give you the best of both worlds. Instead of staying in an oceanfront hotel, you can stay at a campsite that is minutes away from the beach, yet gives you a completely different kind of vacation. New Jersey's coastal cities have strict regulations that do not allow people on the beach after a certain time of night, but once you step a short distance away from the beach, there are several campgrounds to consider.

Finding New Jersey Beach Camping

The campgrounds listed below are family-friendly campgrounds in close proximity to a Jersey Shore beach. All of the listed campgrounds are pet friendly and offer wireless internet, restroom facilities, and an on-site camp store. Most are open only during the warmer months between April and October. They can get very crowded during prime beach season, so it's very important to make a reservation far in advance. Some of the best options for camping near the beach in New Jersey include:

Adventure Bound Cape May

Bicycles in silhouette, propped by the edge of the boardwalk, against a backdrop of a crowded beach in summer.

Adventure Bound Cape May is the closest you can get to actually camping on Wildwood Beach in the Cape May area. This large, upscale campground offers more than 550 campsites, including full-hookup sites and ones that have only water and electricity. Some sites have 30-amp power only, while many offer 50-amp electricity.

This campground also has some tent sites with no hookups. They offer already set-up rental RVs and cabins. Amenities include a swimming pool, a skate park, a recreation hall, a playground, a movie-viewing area, and a bicycle path to town (and the beach). They have a designated game court, as well as a volleyball area and a place to play horseshoes. Contact the camp operators via the website for pricing.

Atlantic City North Family Campground

Atlantic City located on the Jersey shore

Located just outside Atlantic City, the Atlantic City North Family Campground is one of the few New Jersey campgrounds near the beach that is open year-round. It's just a 15-minute drive from the campground to Long Beach Island (LBI); guests can get LBI passes at the campground.

The campground has 150 sites, including full hookup sites with 50-amp power and sites with water and electricity only. The campground also offers tent sites with no hookups, as well as camping cabin and lodge rentals. Amenities include a dog park, swimming pool, game room, mini-golf course, game room, and playground. Sports activities include basketball, shuffleboard, volleyball, and horseshoes. Prices range from $55 a night for a tent site with no hookups, to RV sites with full hookups and 50-amp power for $78 a night.

Beachcomber Camping Resort

The Sunrise over the beach in Stone Harbor, NJ.

When you stay at Beachcomber Camping Resort, you can bike from the campground to the beach via the Cape May bike path. They offer full-hookup sites and sites that have electricity, water, and cable. Some larger sites have 50-amp power; others have 30-amp service.

They also rent teepees, cabins, tiny houses, and park model trailers. The 100-acre campground has a snack bar, an ice cream cabana, two swimming pools, a fitness center, a dog park, a playground, and a no-kids-allowed clubhouse. There are also two freshwater lakes, where guests can use their own or rented canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, or paddle boats. Golf cart rentals are also available. Outdoor activities include horseshoes, volleyball, shuffleboard, and basketball. Rates vary depending on the season and amenities. Contact site operators or check the resort's website for more information.

Ocean View Resort

Sand dunes, fence, and hotels around Wildwood, NJ

New Jersey's Ocean View Resort is a beautiful, 180-acre campground located between Wildwood and Atlantic City. The campground has more than 1,100 campsites and is just 3 miles from the beach. All of their sites have a fire ring and a picnic table, as well as full hookups.

Most sites have 20/30-amp electricity, though some do have 50-amp power. Most sites are back-in, though they do have some large pull-through sites. The campground has a fishing lake with its own beach and pavilion. Amenities include a splash pad, swimming pool, mini-golf course, multiple playgrounds, arcade games, paddleboat rentals, and more. Sports options include tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, volleyball, and softball. Campsite rates vary depending on season and amenities. Check rates at the operator's website.

Sun Retreats Avalon

A morning sunrise with the newly extended fishing pier in Avalon, NJ.

Formerly called Timber Lake Camping Resort, Sun Retreats Avalon is located near New Jersey's Avalon Beach. The family-oriented campground has tent and RV sites, as well as rental cabins. Most sites have full hookups, though some water/electricity sites are available.

Some sites have 30-amp power, while others offer 50-amp service. The campground has a lovely lake, with kayak and paddleboard rentals available on-site. Golf cart rentals are also available. Amenities include a snack bar, fenced pet area, swimming pool, arcade, and miniature golf course. Most RV site rates range from $66 to $73 per night, depending on amenities.

Sun Retreats Cape May

Cape May Fishing Fleet

There is also a Sun Retreats campground in Cape May. Sun Retreats Cape May has full hookup pull-through and back-in sites with 30- or 50-amp electricity. They also have back-in sites with water and electricity only that are perfect for pop-ups and other small campers or tents.

The campground has a snack bar and arcade, along with a swimming pool and a sand-bottomed lake that guests can swim in. The lake has water slides and a beach, where guests can lounge and relax. They often host special events by the lake, such as music or movies. There's even a mini-movie theater and a tennis court for guests to enjoy. Rates per night range from $56 to $58.

Packing for NJ Beach Camping

When preparing for your New Jersey beach camping trip, you should pack the usual camping supplies, such as your tent (unless you are traveling with an RV), sleeping bag, ice chest, and picnic dishes. However, there are also some extras you should bring to make sure your trip is enjoyable:

  • Bug spray - This is a good thing to have on any trip, especially when you are near the water. Where there is water, there tends to be a large concentration of mosquitoes.
  • Sunblock - Campgrounds near beaches may not have as much tree cover as traditional wooded campgrounds, which can reduce the amount of shade. Either way, you'll need sunblock when you go to the beach.
  • Beach gear - What's the point of camping near the beach if you're not going to the ocean? Bring your swimsuit, towel, sandals, a beach hat, and any other beach vacation camping list items you might need.
  • Clothesline - You'll want somewhere to hang those wet swimsuits and towels so that they don't stink up your tent or RV. Another option is a portable drying rack, or in a pinch, the roof of the car.

Enjoy Close-to-the-Beach Camping in NJ

You'll be hard-pressed to find an opportunity to camp directly on the beach in New Jersey unless you attend an event such as Beach Jam, where scouts gather on Wildwood Beach to camp and work on their oceanography merit badges. However, as you would expect in a state with 127 miles of coastline (plus offshore islands!), there are a number of great places to camp near the beach. If you're looking to take a beach trip to the Jersey Shore and you'd rather camp out in a tent or RV than stay in a hotel or rent a beach house, the campgrounds listed above are perfect options for you to consider. If they're all booked and you need to locate more options, contact the Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce.

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New Jersey Beach Camping: Where to Begin