We live in New Jersey and apparently have been missing out on the best kept secret in our own backyard - the Pinelands! The Pinelands was the country’s first National Reserve and is also a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve.
The Pine Barrens Post is the perfect place to camp during your visit to the Pinelands. Lauren is a fantastic host: her professionalism and attention to detail shines! Upon arrival, we were given a tour of the property, laminated information on area attractions, dining options, etc., and a customized calendar with local events, weather, and tides during the weekend of our visit.
After the tour of the property, we did not want to leave! There are three separate private campsites: Pitch Pines (wooded tent site), Gravel Base (camper/RV site), and Riverside (waterfront tent site). A camping toilet is located within a privacy tent.
All three campsites have use of the water and water sport equipment is available to rent. Jump in for a swim or get out on the water in a kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or tube. Or, chill out on the dock with a fishing pole or yoga mat. We opted for the kayak and enjoyed paddling around the peaceful Mullica River.
In addition to the AMAZING WATERFRONT, Lauren also has a burgeoning farm with a garden, chickens, and bees. Definitely purchase some firewood and fresh free-range eggs to cook up for breakfast. Yum.
We eventually decided to venture out. We wandered around nearby Batsto Village - 33 historic buildings including a mansion, gristmill, general store, and workers’ homes - and dropped by the Visitor Center for a history lesson. The Visitor Center also serves as the trailhead for a number of Wharton State Forest hiking trails.
We also checked out the nearby town of Hammonton, “Blueberry Capital of the World”. Hammonton has a cute downtown, multiple wineries and breweries, as well as a homemade ice cream shop.
We’d love to come back for more splashing on the river as well as some blueberry picking!
Joseph was an amazing and delightful host and his property is top-notch. You definitely won’t be roughing it here.
You’ll wake up to sounds of nature on this tranquil property in the Catskills. The Hidden Chalet Campground is secluded yet it is only a few minutes away from downtown Roscoe, NY. Roscoe offers dining options, a museum, and even a brewery. This area of the Catskills is also well-known for its fantastic fly-fishing opportunities. Ask Joseph about fly-fishing lessons on the on-site pond. And enjoy a campfire in the evening.
You’ll most definitely have a hard time deciding which “campsite” to book. On the lower level, close to the pond and nicely appointed outhouse, there’s a full hookup site (a.k.a. The Hookup) for a camper (or a tent). The upper level, overlooking the pond, has three super unique sites and a fantastic shower room with toilet. There’s a re-purposed box truck (a.k.a. The Ravens Nest) with electric and hot water. The truck has bunk-beds, a kitchenette (with sink, stove, coffee maker, propane grill), breakfast bar, living area, and deck. There’s also a one-room chalet (a.k.a. The Secret Chalet) that was under construction when we visited. The chalet will definitely be my choice on a return visit! Check out the photos to see its unique charm and super cool architecture. Lastly, there’s a completely refurbished 1965 Scotty camper (a.k.a. The Cupola). This is where we stayed. It’s got all the bells and whistles - water, electric, stove, sink, fridge, microwave, and TV - and is decorated in a jungle theme. See if you can find all the monkeys!
Joseph’s attention to design and detail shines through in every part of his property. He’s a true craftsman. This is a perfect romantic weekend getaway location.
If you’re interested in an immersive educational adventure in off-the-grid living then Camp Haven is for you! Haven for Humanity is a non-profit with a mission to inspire harmony with nature through educational projects.
It’s a good spot for someone who is interested in an introduction to off-the-grid living and to enjoy a weekend on 40 acres of backcountry woods. Pitch a tent or park, as we did, a self-contained camper van on the property. A stream can be used for bathing in the warmer months.
Be sure to take the guided tour of the property with Sam. The tour will take an hour (or more if you have lots of questions like we did!). The amount of research and design that has gone into the sustainable engineering and building is fascinating. There’s a geodesic dome with a passive solar design. This will be the future home of a kitchen and bathroom. Our favorite building was the greenhouse. It’s a design that illustrates aquaponics and, in the future, will produce biogas via anaerobic digestion to sustain the property on renewable energy.
We’d suggest you get in touch with Sam to understand the on-site options available during your stay. You can also choose to stay awhile and get involved in the on-going projects on-site. The Haven for Humanity website has details on current projects.
The closest town, Livingston Manor, is a short drive away and offers a grocery store, cafe, outdoor shop, trout hatchery, and brewery. This area of the Catskills is also well-known for its fantastic fly-fishing opportunities.
Pine Bush, NY is less than 2 hours outside of Manhattan making it an ideal weekend getaway. Your host, Rich, offers tent camping on his property - including some great group campsite locations - and also has a pool house for those who aren’t interested in roughing it.
The pool house is perfect if you’re looking to be surrounded by forty acres of woods but not quite ready to pitch a tent or give up the comforts of home. In fact, it’s quite luxurious! The pool house sleeps two, has a kitchen with a fridge and sink, and a bathroom with toilet and shower. All water in the pool house is sulphur water, believed to be great for the skin, but you may want to bring your own drinking water.
You’ll want to spend time outside the pool house as well. You’ll enjoy the saltwater pool complete with a diving board, a water slide, and night lighting. If you go for a night swim, consider drying off around the nearby large bonfire pit and roasting some s’mores. Rich prefers you don’t bring outside firewood onto his forested property and offers ample firewood for purchase on-site.
Be sure to also spend time exploring the wooded property, playing with his friendly border collies, or hiking Sam’s Point in nearby Minnewaska State Park for beautiful views and waterfalls in the Shawangunk Mountains.
Kate and Dan are pro farm stay hosts. Seriously. They’ve been hosting farm stays at Stony Creek Farmstead in the Catskills for nine years.
There’s plenty of land to pitch your own tent but you’d be missing out on the unique platform tent accommodation. The platform tents have a wood floor and can sleep six people. There’s a room with a king-size bed, a cabinet bed for two, and another room with a bunk bed. The tent also includes a flush toilet and a kitchen with cold running water, a cooler, and a wood cookstove. Hot showers can be taken in the nearby shower house.
Although there’s plenty to do in the Catskills region - hiking, antiquing, and exploring small towns - you probably won’t want to leave the farm. Disconnect and enjoy the lack of electricity or get out and explore the pastures and gardens. You’ll find cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens galore. There’s even a pond for swimming on hot summer days. Kate is also an educator and this farm stay will allow you to watch the daily milking and join the Saturday farm tour.
You won’t go hungry. The farm store stocks their own meat, eggs, and vegetables as well as other products such as pancake mix, syrup, yogurt, soup, dish soap, t-shirts, yarn, and more. Don’t miss picking up the morning farm basket chock full of fresh baked bread, eggs, bacon, and vegetables; then head back to your platform tent to cook up a fantastic breakfast. And, on Saturday nights you can mingle with other guests at a wood-fired brick oven pizza night.
Live in the greater Philadelphia area but love the country and farm life? Interested in camping at Nockamixon State Park but prefer more privacy? This Bucks County private organic farm is a special getaway less than an hour away from Philadelphia and about 20 minutes from Nockamixon State Park.
Park your self-contained RV or camper in the fields across the street from the working farm and enjoy the peace and quiet. When you’re ready for dinner, head over to the farm store to purchase meat from Bucks County’s only certified organic farm - Hershberger Heritage Farm - offering pasture raised meat and eggs. Your dinner can be paired with beer from Free Will Brewing Co. in the neighboring town of Perkasie.
When you’re not chowing down, pursue outdoor activities - hiking, biking, boating, and more - at nearby Green Lane Reservoir Park or Nockamixon State Park. Or, stay put on the farm and enjoy the environment that your hosts, Shelah and Nathan, have nurtured over the past four years. You’ll see the pasture raised cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens and have a newfound appreciation for farming at its finest.
Wake up to the sounds of nature on this serene, private property spanning 50 acres in the gorgeous Finger Lakes region of New York.
Woodsedge Retreat offers seclusion yet it is only a minute from the hamlet of Honeoye and 30 miles from the city of Rochester, NY. Sandy Bottom Park/Beach and Nature Trail is just down the road and offers fishing and swimming on the shores of Honeoye Lake.
You’ll have a hard time deciding whether to pitch your tent on the rolling fields or sleep in the rustic cabin - called the Love Shack - tucked into a corner near the pond. We chose the cute cabin and dreamt of our own future tiny house. Although it was only the two of us, this would be a great spot for large group camping.
We spent most of our time wandering the property, and sitting around and cooking over the campfire (there is also a propane grill available for use). The birch pergola also caught our attention as we imagined a celebrating an event in this peaceful setting. It’s an added bonus that the helpful and friendly host, Kip, is an officiant!
Go back to basics, take delight in the lack of electricity and the use of an outhouse (porta-potty), and just get away from it all.
Live in NYC or the surrounding urban area but love the country and farm life? Sunshine Daydreams Sanctuary is a great getaway about an hour from NYC.
Pitch your tent, request set-up of a glamping tent, or park your camper in one of the unused pastures behind the family home. Bathrooms are overrated - you'll have access to water from a spigot and endless peace and quiet!
Frolick in the fields, enjoy the faint naying of horses in the surrounding equestrian properties, and marvel at the super cute baby goats and pigs located on-site! Who knows, maybe goat yoga will be a future offering as your host Caitlin pursues her dream of turning the property into an animal therapy retreat.
Pursue outdoor activities at nearby Vorhees State Park or Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife Management Area. Visit the Red Mill Museum or Hunterdon Art Museum in the historic town of Clinton. Or, stay put on Sunshine Daydreams Sanctuary to simply relax in the shadow of the barn reminiscent of the T.A. Moulton Barn in Grand Teton National Park.
Nice, spacious campground. It is necessary to go on a ranger-guided tour to gain access to Wind Cave. Reservations are only accepted for two specialty tours so arrive early (first-come, first-served) to purchase tickets. Don't miss out on the more beautiful (IMHO) cave - Jewel Cave - nearby.