Where to RV or Tent Camp in New Jersey… Pilgrim Lake Campgrounds in New Gretna
This past Saturday we decided to take our new Citation on its second voyage somewhere not too far away for an overnight and chose Pilgrim Lake Campgrounds in New Gretna.
It was so close by ( less than 45 minutes away!) that we visited relatives on the way there!
Upon arrival, we checked in and met with Helen, half of the husband and wife team that owns, built and has run the campground since 1969. After paperwork and introductions, Helen called her husband, Scott, to come by and lead us to our campsite. The roads in a re dirt, or rather hard packed sand, as is pretty standard in NJ, and we were placed in a site very near the little beach to the lake. We had asked for a remote spot, but it seems that the campsites are all one next the other with only a few sparse pines between. Luckily, it was only maybe about 1/8th gull, so we had only to contend with the “seasonal folk”, who are lined up along the lake, and the very gregarious green headed flies and mosquitoes, who provided us with many itchy souvenirs! (Of course, this is New Jersey and the campground is not responsible for a run of 90+ degree days, high humidity and the veritable Insect Woodstock that ensues from such!).
The lake was already very warm and has a swimming area roped off for use. Please note that it is a cedar water lake, so , as any real Jersey Girl knows!, you don’t wear your best, or a light colored, bathing suit to swim in it, as cedar water stains (the water is tea brown. Not dirty at all, just colored from its contact with the Cedar trees!). The lake also has a dock or deck to swim to, which is not too far out and the water depth is posted there.
This is a campground that does not offer many “amenities” for families with children.. no game rooms, etc. But it is quiet, (I mean, after we parked witnessed by two seasonal ladies, we barely saw
another human emerge from neither camper nor tent the rest of the time!) if not a bit closely spaced. I’d recommend that you park and take a drive through to choose your own spot. We had not thought to do that, but its a good idea for future reference for campgrounds that do not supply a map of their sites!
There is a large bathhouse, if you should have need and a variety of sites to suit every need.. water, sewer and electric.
This campground may be best in cooler seasons, such as late Spring and Autumn, mostly due to the buginess. Take it form me, I was raised in Jersey next to a swamp. When I say it was buggy, it was buggy! Half a can of Deet, burning punks AND Citronella did not even phase them! Oh, and we were also wearing repellent bracelets!
Overall, though, not a bad campground. Clean and quiet, and literally next to Bass River State Park and close to Batsto Village ( which we always enjoy!), Atlantic City, The Tuckerton Seaport, including the Barnegat Bay Decoy and Baymen’s Museum, Renault Winery ( GREAT food! And even some Vegan selections!) and other south Jersey haunts!
We did not have time for much site seeing and may return int he Fall for that over a few nights, so the highlight of our 24 hour trip was the cookout.. Steak for the hubby and Homemade Vegan Sweet Italian Sausage for me!
One caution: We had a Heck of a time getting out! I mean, I had to walk us out and help navigate between trees, and even then there was one instance where we had ONE LITERAL INCH of clearance on the side with a tree limb touching the awning. Camper just cannot suck it in like we can! The roads out are “a bit narrow in places” and there are dog leg turns too! Our Citation is only 27′ and it was an adventure that caused my husband to, lets say,”speak in tongues” on more than one occasion. Be very, very careful if you have a big rig!
NOTES: Do bring your own BBQ grill, there are no cooking grates on their fire rings!