Our Introduction to the Pine Barrens (Hammonton, New Jersey)

Despite being a New Jersey resident, Camper Dan first camped in New Jersey just last year – at High Point State Park and on a Hipcamp assignment in Califon – in northern NJ. This past weekend we turned south to the Pine Barrens region of New Jersey.

Pine Barrens Overview

The Pine Barrens, also known as the Pinelands, is a vast forested region of a coastal plain in New Jersey. The region crosses seven counties, contains four state forests, and includes two national wild and scenic rivers. The Pine Barrens name refers to the sandy, acidic, nutrient-poor soil. In 1978 the region was designated as the nation’s first National Reserve – Pinelands National Reserve – and was also later designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We headed to the Hammonton area for a Hipcamp Field Scout assignment.

If you’re not familiar with Hipcamp, they are “committed to making getting outside fun and easy, as simple as selecting what, when and where you want your camping experience to be.” (from Hipcamp.com). They are a great resource for finding and booking campsites across the United States (unfortunately direct booking is not available for federal or state land). As a Field Scout, we visit properties to tell their story via photography and provide feedback to the private land owners.

The Pine Barren region is known for its history, legend of the Jersey Devil, and great outdoor activities. Hammonton is no exception and also has the distinction of being the “Blueberry Capital of the World”.

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Pine Barrens Accommodation

Pine Barrens Post

Our assignment was near Hammonton staying in Camper Dan on private property. Our review and photos of Pine Barrens Post can be found on the Hipcamp listing for Pine Barren Post or here:

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!

TIP: Try Hipcamp to discover campsites (or list your own land!). Use this link to sign-up and receive $10 in Hipcamp credit towards your first direct booking (not available for federal or state land)!

State Forest Camping

The Pinelands National Reserve includes four state forests, three of which allow camping. These state forests are:

Campsite reservations can be made here.

Hammonton Bed & Breakfast Accommodation

If you’d prefer to explore the Pine Barrens without camping, check out these bed and breakfast options in the Pinelands area.

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Hammonton Area Map with Local Points of Interest

There’s so much to do and see in the Hammonton area of the Pine Barrens.

This map of the greater Hammonton area highlights points of interest and attractions such as historic villages, hikes, water sports, and food/drink options. This map is not all-inclusive but includes items we’ve experienced firsthand or that were recommended to us by locals. Check out the links within the Information and Resources section below for other activities and events that may be of interest.

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Pine Barrens and Hammonton Area Information and Resources

May 31 – June 1, 2018

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