The Top 5 Dog-Friendly Campsites in South Jersey

If you’re a dog-lover and hate to leave your dog while you go on vacation, here’s a vacation idea you might love!

       As part of Absecon Veterinary Hospital’s summer outreach program, we visit various businesses to promote our Emergency Services for pets who may need help while being away from their primary veterinarian. This year we visited a total of 27 dog-friendly, seasonal trailer parks and campsites across the Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties. We dropped off hospital brochures, goody bags, and established relationships with the site managers. During our visits, we found some amazing dog- friendly vacation spots we wanted to share.

      We based our top picks on the beauty of the site, cleanliness, amenities, human activities, and dog- friendly activities. Here are our top five picks. They are all great, so we didn’t rank them. It depends on your specific preferences for a campsite. Some people like a little more activity and social aspect, while others like a quieter, more relaxing site. Both spectrums are represented in this list.

      Located within 4 miles of Victorian Cape May Beaches and the famous Wildwood Boardwalk. This site appeared to be busy. We arrived at about 4 pm and the place was hopping! They had a Craft Show that day and the site entrance (near the store) was buzzing with people. It looked upbeat, fun, and highly interactive.

      If you like a camping spot with a strong social aspect, this might be the place for you. Beachcomber Camping Resort features 3 pools, boat rentals, 2 large spring-fed fishing lakes, a playground, and an Adult Club House equipped with a fireplace, TV, and full kitchen. In addition to RVs, this site offers teepees, cabins, and tiny house rentals. So, even if you don’t own an RV, you can still enjoy camping at its best at this location. Most of the teepees and cabins are dog friendly. In general, campsites charge a small fee for each dog vacationing with you. Other amenities include billiards, darts, shuffleboard, an arcade, fitness center, golf cart rentals, and an ice cream cabana! Prices are comparable with other high-quality campsites in the area. 

     The Beachcomber Resort’s schedule also has some fun theme weekends for your entertainment pleasure. Some of this year’s themes include Barnyard Bonanza, Jurassic Camp Dino Quest, Transformers/Rise of Mr. Potato Head, Haunted Mansion, Pinocchio’s Pity Party & Sock Hop, Jammin’ Jaws Under the Sea, The Croods New Age Carnival, Lola Boa & The Enchanted Forest, and Dog Night, doggie games and crafts, puppy power bonfires, and a Cocktail & Color Party. They also offer lots of giveaways and ways to win free stays!

                   Another impressive aspect of this site is that they donate all event proceeds to the local animal shelter.

The Sea Pirate is a 36-acre campground located about 8 miles from Long Beach Island. The property is surrounded by the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, so there are many species of birds, turtles, and other critters to watch. The grounds are beautiful, clean, and well-maintained. They offer golf cart rentals so that campers don’t have to drive around in their vehicles to get to amenities and activities.

Their amenities include kayaking and canoeing, a pool, ball field, campfire rings, a playground for the kiddies, an arcade, an activity hall, and a dog park. The Sea Pirate offers lots of activities that guests can do on their own and in social groups; fishing, crabbing, special dinners in their Queen Ann Gallery, live music at the heated pool and the campfire ring, bingo, ceramics classes, movie nights, and lots of special themed weekends. A few of the themes that impressed us the most were Craft Beer & Chili Cook-off, Pirate Weekend, Dinosaur Dig Weekend, Wild West Weekend, Superhero Weekend, and Pet Weekend. The pet weekend includes getting a buy one get one free night and pet swim. They close the pool to humans and schedule a “DOG ONLY” swim!

The Sea Pirate also offers a variety of affordable tents and cabins available for rent. So, if you don’t have a camper, you can still enjoy all this campground has to offer.

In addition to RV spots, this site offers a variety of cabins for rent as do some of the other great picks. The Ocean View Resort is huge with a gigantic camp store, children’s water park, 3 playgrounds, catch and release fishing pond, a large lake, and beach area, a full miniature golf course, shuffleboard, movies on the beach, paddle boats, pickleball/tennis/basketball courts, 2 arcades, a large pool and splash pad, beach volleyball and softball field, a tramcar for transportation, DJ dance parties, yoga classes, live music, kids’ candy bingo. There are a few theme weekends; however, this site offers many activities and events regularly throughout the camping experience. They do not have a specific pet weekend or dog park.

Lake & Shore RV Resort is a cozy wooded site, located at the new Wildwood Boardwalk. Guests are permitted to bring pets in their RV’s and they offer one pet-friendly cabin rental option. This site has lots of amenities: volleyball, horseshoes, basketball, bocci ball, fitness room, large pool adjacent to the beach, beautiful lakefront beach, fishing, hiking, miniature golf, shuffleboard, billiards, kids’ water park, and a very impressive clubhouse. Theme weekends include Board Game Weekend, Sports Fun, Carnival, Wild West, Witch Craft & Wizardry, Chocolate & Coffee Lovers. Lake & Shore does feature a Pet Lovers Weekend with a parade and Best Trick Contest. 

Though this site is lovely, it appeared to be more laid back in comparison to some of the other “busier” sites we visited. If you are seeking R&R in a calming nature setting, this might be the place for you! River Beach Resort appeared very clean and well-kept. Rentals include yurts and cabins, in addition to RV spots. River Beach features a beautiful marina with boat slips, pool, clubhouse, lovely guest center, and easy access to kayaking and water sports. Theme weekends and activities include Chili Cook-off, Pot Luck Dinners and DJ Dance Parties in the huge Club House, corn hole on the beach, Sip & Paint Party, beer tastings, and craft activities. River Beach offers a Pet Lover’s weekend with a pet parade and costume contest. If you own a boat and are seeking a spot for relaxation and fun with your pet, this is the one!

If you’re planning a trip to any of these campgrounds or any of the other pet-friendly ones in South Jersey, they have our contact information readily available, so kick back, relax and have a doggone good summer!