When you come to the 3,000-acre Allaire State Park on an RV road trip, you'll be stepping back in time. Located in Monmouth County, New Jersey, one of the best-known features of the park is its 19th-century living history iron-making town called Allaire Village. The original buildings of this historic town still stand today so you can visit the blacksmith, foreman's house, and general store. If you are traveling with kids, they will love exploring the interactive, hands-on exhibits and learning about what life was like more than 200 years ago.
You can also visit the Nature Interpretive Center to learn about the 200 species of flora and fauna that call the park home. You can even take a train ride and learn about the history of the railroad at the Pine Creek Railroad, which is located in the park. Allaire State Park is not just for history buffs, but nature lovers too!
The enchanting Manasquan River runs right through the park, which offers plenty of opportunities for fishing and canoeing. This beautiful state park boasts a wide network of trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. If you're feeling up for it, you can venture to the South Side of the park, which features 800 acres of unmarked trails and vast open spaces. From fishing to cross-country skiing, there is so much to do at the park that it is a must-see for your next RV vacation!
Allaire State Park is located off the Garden State Parkway, or Interstate 195, just 37 miles from Trenton and 44 miles from New Brunswick. In fact, you are only seven miles from Point Pleasant Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. And if you want to stop by Atlantic City while you are nearby, it is less than an hour away from the park.
Since the park is close to metropolitan areas, there are no road conditions to worry about if you are traveling in your RV or trailer. However, there can be a lot of traffic on Interstate 195 during rush hour on weekdays, and if there is any road construction going on, you will probably want to find a different route. It is best to check road conditions before heading out to make sure you will not run into any issues to bypass.
Once you're inside the park, it will be easy to navigate the local roads to get to anywhere you want to go. Route 524 runs right through the park and provides an easy way to head into nearby towns to get supplies if necessary. There is plenty of parking available for RVs and cars since there are lots all around the park. On the north side of the park, you can find parking near the campground, by the river, and off Hurley Pond Road. On the south side of the park, you can find plenty of parking near Allaire Village, the major trailheads, and the prime fishing spots.
The Allaire State Park Campground offers 45 tent and RV campsites that are open year-round. Each one has a picnic table and a fire ring, and the campground's amenities include several drinking water spigots, a restroom, shower area, and RV dump station. The Allaire Campground is a great spot to camp with children since a play area is within walking distance. A number of these campsites are also pet-friendly. Most of the sites offer the convenience of full shade.
There are no hookups available at this campground, but you'll still be close to all the action of the park from the historic village to the nature center. You will be a stone's throw from some of the area's best hiking trails and fishing spots. There are also six group sites available for rent if you are staying with a large party. You can make reservations up to 11 months in advance. There is a two-night minimum stay.
If you'd prefer to camp outside the RV, there are six cabin-like shelters and four yurts available from February to December. These shelters and yurts can sleep up to four people in two double bunk beds. You'll love staying cozy and warm by the woodstove. You will enjoy access to a fire ring and picnic table as well. The shelters offer a relaxing atmosphere where you can enjoy scenic forest views from the porch. The cabins are also ADA accessible and provide shelter from the weather if it gets rough.
The yurts are located near the entrance to the campground by campsites 1-8. There are two water spigots and an RV sanitation site in the loop, and the showers and restrooms are just past the playground near campsite 13. The cabins are located on the furthest campground loop by campsites 27-41, and there is access to several potable water spigots for drinking and cooking. There is also a playground nearby to keep the kids busy.
If you are not a skier, but still want to get out on the fresh powder, pack your snowshoes in the rig before heading out. The park has nine named trails that you can snowshoe through, totaling over 20 miles of varying landscape. The three-mile Mountain Laurel Trail is the most challenging as it has uneven terrain and soft spots along the way, similar to the longer 4.5-mile Pine Trail, which is a great workout for anyone. However, be sure you dress in layers and wear the appropriate snowshoes and outer gear to keep you warm because New Jersey has some cold winters.
Park rangers usually stock the Manasquan River in the fall, so that’s a good time to catch some sea-run brown trout. These fast-moving trout are difficult to catch, and they spook easily. The fishing is usually better upstream, but when the water gets warm, some trout move downstream to the estuary. Allaire State Park has three different fishing areas, and Mingamahone Brook may be the most popular. The waters here are usually clear, even when the rest of the Manasquan River turns muddy. Four-pound trout are not uncommon here. Anglers can also catch rainbow trout at this and other fishing areas.
If you're itching to go horseback riding, Allaire State Park is a prime equestrian destination. The south side of the park is the best spot for horseback riding, with 800 acres of open land and miles of multi-use trails. The three-mile Mountain Laurel Trail is one such beautiful trail that you can enjoy trotting on, offering lovely views of wildflowers and evergreens. Another popular equestrian trail is the 4.6-mile Pine Trail, which has the most varied terrain with sand, gravel, and grassy paths heading into the switchbacks and gorgeous views of the countryside.
Allaire State Park features two hunting areas totaling 1,276 of the park’s 3,278 acres. The hunting area in the southwest corner is for bow and arrow hunting only, but you can use guns or bow and arrow to hunt in the northwest corner of the park. Although there have not been many deer spotted or tagged here, there should be a few out there for you to hunt. These areas are open during daylight hours, and the state permits temporary tree stands. Hunting is generally restricted to deer only, although there are some exceptions. Check the New Jersey State Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife rules and regulations for more information.
If the weather is warm enough in the fall, you can enjoy a relaxing day of kayaking and canoeing when there are fewer people around in the park. You can enjoy the serene beauty of the Manasquan River while soaking in the solitude of nature. The river runs eastward through the park. Paddling is an excellent way to get some exercise during your RV trip to New Jersey. There should not be any rapids at this time of year, but it is best to check with the rangers, and as a safety precaution, always wear your life jacket.
When the snow has freshly fallen on the ground, Allaire State Park turns into a winter wonderland that is ripe for cross-country skiing. Once you park the camper, you can head out on about 20 miles of trails that turn into the perfect cross-country skiing terrain. The three easy trails, which include the 1.5-mile Nature Trail, 7.1-mile Capital to Coast Trail, and the 2.7-mile Canal Trail, are located right near Allaire Village. Just make sure you bundle up and get prepared to see the majestic evergreen forest and snow-filled fields.
Pack the family in the motorhome and head to Allaire State Park for a picnic or BBQ at any one of the picnic areas provided on the grounds. Whether you bring some hot dogs and burgers to BBQ on the grill or pack a picnic lunch, you will have plenty of room here to relax, eat, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Each picnic area has several picnic tables, BBQ pits, and a restroom with running water.
The original iron-making Howell Works is now a completely restored 19th-century reenactment village. Back in the day, blacksmiths produced cast iron and pig iron from nearby deposits of bog iron. The restored buildings you can visit include a blacksmith, general store, church, worker's house, and foreman's house. The workers’ home is now an interactive children’s museum, which is quite enjoyable. A separate nonprofit organization runs the village, so there is a small entrance fee. As a bonus, Allaire Village usually holds one or two special events a week, such as craft shows and flea markets.
The New Jersey Museum of Transportation operates this excursion railroad in the park. On weekends, a replica 19th-century steam locomotive and attached cars run on a half-mile loop through the park. The rail line was a former railroad spur for a defunct rug company. In the 1960s, the Monmouth County Board of Freehold generously sold the tracks and the land to the museum for one dollar. The whole family will enjoy taking a ride in something other than the RV for a change.
If you're bringing your bike in your rig, you can enjoy a ride on several multi-use trails that run through the park. You'll love coasting along with the enchanting views of wildflowers and thick forests. While there are several easier routes, if you're looking for a challenge, you can cycle on the nearly five-mile Pine Trail. This trail is perfect for experienced mountain bikers with steep terrain and rough sandy areas that offer a challenge. If you didn't bring your own bike, you don't have to worry. Bike rentals are available in the park.
Once you park the RV at your campsite, you might want to make the Nature Interpretive Center your first stop. A little knowledge dramatically enhances the hiking trails. The Nature Center can give you a good overview of the park. For example, the Manasquan River flood plain bisects the park, creating an environment for plants and flowers not found in other parts of New Jersey. The park is also a way station for migratory birds, so come in the spring or fall if birding is your thing.
This one-and-a-half-mile easy to moderate trail is generally flat and sandy. However, there is some uneven terrain, and there may be muddy parts, depending on the recent weather. The trail starts on a bridge and then goes through a marsh. Luckily, this part of the trail has boardwalks. Then, the Nature Trail winds through a forest of mixed sweetgum, oak, and maple trees. The wildflowers are pretty during the spring, as are the vernal water pools. Several other trails connect to the Nature Trail, so you could easily spend the whole day out here if you wanted to.