Boondocking / Dry Camping, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in New Jersey. Amazing Hidden Gems You Shouldn’t Miss!

If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Off The Beaten Path series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else; however, there is just something incredible about discovering something unique and different. Our goals are to find the most unexplored places and take less traveled roads. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own off-the-beaten-path stories with us. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking/free camping area, with GPS coordinates. There are 1 or 2 states that are so small or have no true boondocking. Yes, only a couple! I have done my best to give a few very low-dollar suggestions in those cases. 

Awww … New Jersey! I’ve come to the conclusion that people either hate it or love it. And that there is just no in-between. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the ones who don’t like New Jersey are the ones that don’t like the big cities and crowds. Well, we have a solution. There is so much more to New Jersey than that! Let’s explore!

If you like creepy abandoned places, New Jersey is your place. There is a recently abandoned psych ward at the end of Sanatorium Road, in Glen Gardner. The abandoned Hagerdon Psychiatric Hospital is said to be pretty creepy. We’ve not been there! Have you?

Grounds for Sculpture

In Hamilton Township, A unique sculpture park that specializes in the huge and bizarre. You never know what you might find around the next corner at Grounds for Sculpture. Opened in 1992, the park draws visitors for its sculpture collection and exquisitely landscaped site, complete with more than 2,000 rose bushes, 1,000 trees, and other flower beds and shrubbery.

In addition to the outdoor sculpture park, Grounds for Sculpture also features exhibitions in six indoor galleries, several of which are housed in the original fairgrounds buildings. The welcome center building includes a cafe, gift shop, and museum. Rat’s is a gourmet restaurant that overlooks a Monet-inspired sculpture garden and serves lunch and dinner. If you have kids traveling with you, this is a fun place. It’s just different and unique enough to keep their interest. The bizarre story behind this park is unique in itself. I’ll save that for your adventure!

Buttermilk Falls

Located in Layton, an easy 1.4-mile hike to the falls. I think over the years it’s become more popular in the Summer, but definitely still worth a mention!

Van Slyke Castle Ruins

Located in Oakland. I think one of our favorite things is the little known parts of our US history lessons we learn. The bizarre stories give you a glance into how people lived and also give you that familiar family dynamics that still live in today’s families.

Built in the early 1900s, Van Slyke Castle (previously known as Foxcroft) transitioned through multiple owners until the final blow to the property came when vandals burned the mansion in 1959. Large portions of the castle, pool, and water tower can still be explored today (the pool and water tower are not too far from the castle ruins). Print out the trail map for Ramapo Mountain State Forest. The castle ruins and water tower are marked on the trail map and will guide you. Click Here For the PDF Map

Tripod Rock

Located in Boonton Township, this massive boulder is either a unique rock formation created by glacial melt or a magic energy vortex – We’ll let you decide! This is about a four and a half mile hike. Pretty easy, but really a very quiet, breathtaking hike you’ll enjoy!

Kayaking the Medford Canoe Trail

The two-mile Medford Canoe Trail on the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek begins in Medford Park and ends at historic Kirby’s Mill. It offers amazing scenery with tranquil waters. The two-mile Medford Canoe Trail on the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek begins in Medford Park and ends at historic Kirby’s Mill.

Most people go to New Jersey for the beaches. But they can become crowded and loud. Try Spring Lake Beach! This beach is an untouched piece of nature far away from crowds of people, and you can feel it in the undisturbed water and soft white sand. To get away from the loud crowds of people who inhabit other Jersey Shore beaches, this beach is a nice alternative, with all the beauty and none of the noise.


If you’re looking for true boondocking in New Jersey, this is another state you’re a bit out of luck in. There are several very inexpensive state forest areas, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything in the true sense of boondocking. In the Pinelands National Reserve, you will find some $3 to $5 a night places.  There is also a local Walmart in Hamilton Township, but please ask management.

If you’re looking for something fun! Check out this book! Really fun and unique information. You’ll find some local stories, history, and just things that make you kind of say “huh?”.

Have you ventured down some roads less traveled in New Jersey and discovered something you’d love to share? We’d love to hear about it!!

Looking for more fun and full-time RV information? Here are a few blogs we think you’ll love!

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2 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path in New Jersey. Amazing Hidden Gems You Shouldn’t Miss!”

  1. This is a really gorgeous guide. Great photos and tips. I grew up in NJ and whenever I bring a friend or partner back to my home state they’re amazed it has such natural beauty. Thank you for helping to spread the word.

    1. You made my day! Thank you so very much, NJ definitely has some incredible places that so many people just don’t know about. Thanks for your comment!

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