As outdoor activities are the only thing not cancelled in 2020, I’ve rediscovered my love of camping. Enjoying the outdoors, all while staying the hell away from everyone else? Sign me up!
On my most recent trip, I went to Swartswood State Park in New Jersey, with the guys. This was a lovely park and campground, and it seems the secret’s out. Firstly, we didn’t go to our usual place because it was booked full, and most of the sites in Swartswood were also occupied. Nice to know I’m not the only person getting back to nature!
The sites in Swartswood are all together, and there isn’t much separation on the “shaded grass sites,” if you’re looking for a little seclusion, be sure to book a “fully wooded site” for your camping trip. There were a lot of kids there, and their voices carry far when there are no trees. The grass sites were very flat, I had no trouble hammering in the tent stakes. The fire rings were beautiful, flat stone, with a built-in grill and ring that was almost like new! That came in handy for grilling steaks!
The bathroom facility near the site we rented was fantastic. Running water, flush toilets, and showers, separated by gender. The extra touch is a center washing room with big stainless steel sinks and counters for washing your dishes and cookware! A huge improvement over some other facilities, where your choice is a bathroom sink, or bring your own buckets.
Because of the pandemic, most of the amenities are closed at Swartswood. There is a good sized lake, along with boat rentals, and usually swimming when there’s a lifeguard, assuming you’re not in the year 2020 where everything sucks. There’s also a few playgrounds, also all closed.
The real appeal for me when I go camping is hiking, and Swartswood has several trails to explore. A large cluster of trails is actually across a road, opposite the main entrance, so careful getting there, as traffic is sporadic, but fast! Unfortunately, the trails aren’t as well maintained as I had hoped. I came across several downed trees across the path, and certain parts were almost overgrown. If you’re not confident in your hiking prowess, I suggest trying elsewhere.
Overall, I enjoyed my weekend at Swartswood. The lake has several beautiful homes around it, so I’m clearly not the only one! The lake itself is a conservation project, and several informative plaques are posted nearby, explaining the health of the lake, and how it’s being helped. If you’re in the area, and looking for a day trip or an overnight, Swartswood is a pleasant way to spend some time.