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!
RV Rentals in Allaire State Park
Transportation in Allaire State Park
Allaire State Park is located off of the Garden State Parkway or Interstate 195. 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. 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 dotted around the park. On the north side of the park, you can find parking near the campground, by the river, and off of 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.
Campgrounds and parking in Allaire State Park
Campsites in Allaire State Park
Allaire State Park Campground
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. Amenities include several drinking water spigots, a restroom, shower area, and RV dump station. This 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.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds at this state park.
Shelters and Yurts
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 on two double bunk beds. You'll love staying cozy and warm by the wood stove. 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.
Seasonal activities in Allaire State Park
Exploring Allaire Village
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 for 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’ house 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.
Hiking the Nature Center Trail
This is a one-and-a-half mile easy to moderate trail is a generally flat and sandy. However, there is some uneven terrain and some muddy parts. 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. A number of other trails connect to the Nature Trail, so you could easily spend the whole day out here if you wanted to.
Visiting the Nature Interpretive Center
Once you park the RV you might want to make the Nature Interpretive Center your first stop. A little knowledge greatly enhances the hiking trails. The Nature Center can give you a good overview of the park. For example, the Manasquan River flood plain basically 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.
Discovering the Pine Creek Railroad
The New Jersey Museum of Transportation operates this excursion railroad that is located in the park. On weekends, a replica 19th-century steam locomotive and attached cars runs 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 a number of multi-use trails that run through the park. You'll love coasting along enchanting views of wildflowers and forest. 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 you own bike, you don't have to worry. Bike rentals are available in the park.
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 the Mingamahone Brook may be the most popular one. 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 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 Mountain Laurel Trail is one such beautiful trail that you can horseback on, offering lovely views of wildflowers and evergreens.
Allaire State Park features two hunting areas. The one in the southwest corner is for bow and arrow hunting only. The one in the northwest corner is basically a free-fire zone. Well, not really. These areas are open during daylight hours, and the state permits temporary tree stands. Hunting is generally restricted to deer only, although there are a number of exceptions.
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 onto miles of trails that turn into the perfect cross-country skiing terrain. Just made sure you bundle up and get prepared to see majestic evergreen forest and snow-filled fields.
Kayaking and Canoeing
If the weather is warm enough in the fall and spring you can enjoy a relaxing day of kayaking and canoeing when there are less 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. This is great way to get some exercise during your RV trip to New Jersey.