Don’t let a mantle of snow give you a case of cabin fever; New Jersey’s great outdoors is still calling. With a clutch of year-around campsites available and a collection of activities and scenic vistas, enjoy the real New Jersey minus the summer crowds.
New Jersey’s Great Northwest is home to state parks and forests that welcome outdoor enthusiasts. Ten parks host the hardiest of campers in tent, pop up and group sites with no hook ups. For travelers with larger units – or those seeking more creature comforts – make your home base Harmony Ridge Campground in Branchville, N.J. The welcome mat is out year-round and tranquility is the order of the day. From Branchville the winter wonders of Stokes State Forest, Delaware Water Gap and the Kittatinny Mountain area are less than 30 miles away.
Just four miles from Branchville, Stokes State Forest is a 15,000 acres winter wonderland of beautiful vistas and adventures for all level of outdoor enthusiasts. There are scenic hikes as well as ice fishing, skating, sledding, and cross-country skiing.
Along the Kittatinny Ridge, a 9.3 mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail cuts through the forest. The Appalachian Trail runs along the ridge of Sunrise Mountain, one of the most poplar sites in Stokes State Forest. From the crest at 1,653 feet above sea level, see a winter panorama of farmland and forest.
A little more than 20 miles south of Branchville in the Delaware Water Gap is the Appalachian Mountain Club Mohican Outdoor Center. The Mohican Center is situated on a beautiful glacial lake. The Center and Lodge is only ¼ mile from the Appalachian Trail, making it a great starting point for many outdoor activities.
Strap on your snowshoes for winter treks for all experience levels. Trails and treks range from family friendly four-mile loops to a more difficult trek of 5.8 miles. Winter hikes are also available from the center. If your snowshoe skills aren’t winter ready, the Mohican Center offers winter retreats with the emphasis on learning. Courses offered include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and mind and body renewal.
For the more adventuresome, the nearby Shawnee Mt. Ski Resort offers gentle slops for beginning to intermediate skiers and snowboarders. For family fun, the park also offers a snow-tubing park.
Head for the Shore
If braving unplowed roads for scenic, snowy vistas isn’t right for you, head to the shore, where a clear day can yield beautiful views of the ocean and breathtaking sunsets. With fewer tourists, there’s sure to be a table available for you even at the most popular of restaurants, and most wine-tasting venues remain open throughout the winter. From Sandy Hook on the North Shore to Cape May in the south, enjoy your favorite beaches, restaurants and shops, minus the tourists. A handful of top-notch RV campsites convenient to the ocean remain open year around for hardy winter campers.
Atlantic City Boardwalk
Don’t think Atlantic City is just open for summer visitors. The Atlantic City boardwalk still delivers visitors to fabulous hotels and casinos in the coldest of months. Even on a chilly day, visitors can enjoy ocean views and the boardwalk’s famous attractions. Escape the cold in some of Atlantic City’s museums from Ripley’s Believe it or Not to Atlantic City’s Historical Museum. The Absecon Lighthouse, the third tallest lighthouse in the country is open in the winter on every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Escape even the winter hustle and bustle of Atlantic City in nearby year around campgrounds. Chips Folly Family Campground in New Gretna, N.J., and Arrowhead Campground in Egg Harbor, N.J., offers year around RV camping less than a half hour from Atlantic City.
The City Lights
Get the best of New York City from the comfort of your travel trailer or RV with a trip to Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park on the New York Waterway in Jersey City. Year around camping is available in the closest RV park to New York City. While not a rural, tree-lined environment, this trip is all about location: catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty from Liberty Harbor, or just enjoy the view from your front porch. Take a bus tour into Manhattan from Liberty Harbor RV office front porch or catch the light rail into New York City at the station a block away.
Get ready for winter!
Before heading out on your winter trek in New Jersey, make sure your travel trailer or fifth wheel is winterized with a visit to the service department at Crossroads Trailers. For an extended winter stay, consider upgrading to a spacious new fifth wheel trailer.