Quiet. Secluded. Dog Friendly. That’s the type of camping experience I was looking for last weekend when we reserved a spot at High Point State Park in New Jersey, and this park truly delivered!
Recently I went on a trip to High Point State Park with my two pups and a friend. We were looking for a camping spot that was close to NYC and CT so that my friend could make the drive. Fortunately, the only place with openings that allowed dogs was High Point State Park.
High Point required a 2-night reservation minimum so we had to drive out Friday night. It ended up being 11pm by the time we got to High Point, in a driving rain. What we didn’t know was that the camping area was not in the park proper. So we drove around getting increasingly frustrated until a Park Ranger in a red truck stopped us and directed us to our site, a few miles down the road! (note to anyone going to the campsite: Try to get there during daylight because the entrance to the park is not where the campsite is and its quite a ways down the road.) But once we got there, we were thrilled to find a very private site with a long drive up to a camping pad and fire pit (site 49).
Prior to our arrival, they had sent us an email with upcoming activities. Among the listings was a history walking tour of the park which sounded awesome. I emailed them to see if I could bring the dogs, and they were amicable to it, so at 10:30 am the next morning my husband, my friend, and the two dogs and I met with the naturalist and headed off on a free tour of the property that culminated at the High Point Monument. Along the way we learned about the flora and fauna of the park, as well as the history, with picture illustrations of the mansion on the property. We also learned that first cars had to go up the hill to the “highest point in New Jersey” backwards due to the lack of fuel injection back in the day. Crazy! We also stopped off at a lookout and met a guy who was hiking the Appalachian Trail as the park has a portion of the AT on it. He warned us “Don’t do it!” which had us all laughing!
Once we made it to the top, we got absolutely poured on, especially heading down from the monument. It was a bit slick, and of course I forgot to pack the dog’s rain jackets, so we had a bunch of wet smelly people and dogs in the van. It was a fun adventure nonetheless and we headed to Ruby Tuesday for endless salad bar and to dry out.
Later we went back to the campsite where we could barely see our neighbors (so awesome with dogs!). We knew they both had dogs, but because the sites were so far away from each other and secluded, it would have been the ideal setup for someone with a reactive dog to camp as well. We were also a good ways off the road. At night we had a campfire, guacamole and marshmallows.
We tried out our new Thermacell Mosquito Lantern and boy did it deliver! We had a 14-foot bug barrier around our picnic table and were able to hang out without getting bitten! No nasty bug spray required! As it revved up, we watched the mosquitos leave our vicinity. That purchase was well worth it! We went to bed happy and tired!
Facilities: This campsite has flush toilets, but no sinks in the bathroom and a water pump outside the bathrooms. No showers at the campsite. There are showers in the park proper near the swimming area. Dogs are not allowed in the swimming area or in any buildings but are allowed outside in the rest of the park. There are several covered picnic areas available throughout the park. There are also miles of trails, both open and easy, as well as more challenging. You can hike to the High Point Monument or take a car up and park nearby. You can also climb to the top of the monument which was built to honor all war veterans.
Wildlife: Just a note, there is quite a bit of wildlife our in this area, including of course many rodents, but also turtles. We came across a very large snapping turtle on our first day at the edge of the campsite next to ours. The park requires your dog be leashed, and this is the safest bet with the type of wildlife around the area, including frequent bear sightings.
Overall, it was a fabulous trip and a great location to get away from it all while having access to some neat historical sites with your pup!