Featuring 129 miles of protected waters and plenty of recreational activities, Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River is a must-see RV getaway destination. Starting as a trickle near Berlin New Jersey, the river is named after a bay between Atlantic and Cape May counties along the southern New Jersey coast known as Great Egg Harbor.
The history of the river dates back to when it was inhabited by the local indigenous people who were known as the Lenape. In 1614 Dutch explorer Cornelius Jacobsen Mey found and named the inlet as such due to the meadows being covered with shorebird and waterfowl eggs that he called "Eyren Haven" (which translates to Egg Harbor). The river was a popular place for sheltering private boats during the American Revolutionary War and the presence of bog iron along the river also provided material used in cannonballs. Until the 19th century the river was also home to blast furnaces and glass and brick factories thanks to the bog iron.
While there are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy in and around the river there is one that it is known for: birding. The diverse species and populations of birds are so great within the Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River that it is known as one of the best spots in North America for birding. This is in part due to the river through the Pinelands National Reserve, which is a national reserve that encompasses the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
The most recommended stretch of the river to visit is located near the town of Mays Landing. Here you will find the best paddling on the river and a state run RV campground that has a total of 18 sites on the banks of Lake Lenape. Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River is open all year round.
Getting to and from Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River depends greatly on where along the large river you would like to visit. Since it travels for 129 miles there are many small towns that are located along its banks that will give you direct access to its waters.
One of the most popular spots to check out the river is at Mays Landing where you can find a great marina that you can use to launch watercraft into the Great Egg River. Mays Landing is also the perfect place to stop and load up on supplies and amenities that you will need to enjoy your day out on the water. Other towns that you can drive to that will have access to the Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River include Wilson Landing, Somers Point, and Beesleys Point. At the Great Egg inlet to the Atlantic Ocean is Ocean City, which is the most populated place that is close to the river.
Getting to and from these towns should be fairly straightforward as there are serviced by sealed roads that feature no terrain that could damage your RV. Be aware that the river is prone to flooding after big rains so make sure that you check the weather forecast before you begin your journey.
There are plenty of parking options for RV's throughout the river's distance.
There are no public transportation options that will take you to Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River.
Since the Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River only encompasses the waterway there are no RV campgrounds available, however there is camping available at Lake Lenape West. The lake is located just north of May's Landing and it is a great spot to stay if you want to be close the widest part of the river at Mays Landing.
The campground is operated by Atlantic County and features 18 primitive sites that are located right on the banks of the lake. The sites are quite large and should fit most RV's, however if you have a big rig we recommend that you call the campground and confirm with them directly. The amenities at the campground include water collection points and portable toilets. You should be able to get cell phone reception on all major networks within the campground. Pets are not allowed at this campground.
If you would like to stay at Lake Lenape West please note that there are no reservations available and every site is operated on a first, come, first served basis only. The camping season runs from the beginning of April to the end of October.
If you love to go birding, the Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River should be on top of your must see lists. The park is known to be one of the best birding destinations in all of the United States thanks to the waterway being mostly protected by the Pinelands National Reserve.
The river drains from 304 square miles of pristine wetlands and provides habitat for many different bird species, including the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. It is one of the best spots to view raptors on the east coast and there are also plenty of warblers and other migrating birds to be seen in spring and fall. No matter where you choose to look out for birds along the river you will not be disappointed.
As you can imagine, The Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River is also a fantastic place for visitors who love to get out on the water and go paddling. The 129 miles of protected waters are great for beginners to the advanced and there are many spots where you can launch kayaks and canoes before the river opens out into the inlet at Ocean City.
Start Mays Landing as this is where the river is at its widest point and there will be private rentals available if you don't have your own watercraft.
Thanks to the many different nature reserves that are located along the banks of the Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River you have the chance to have a scenic picnic during your visit.
Check out Estell Manor Park which is around 3.5 miles south of Mays Landing and bordered to the east by the river. Here you will find some great picnic amenities, including grills, picnic tables, bathrooms, and pavilions that you can reserve for large events. For more information on the picnic area at Estell Manor Park check out their website.
If you are looking to learn more about the area, consider a visit to the Roundhouse Museum. Located within the Egg Harbor City, the Roundhouse Museum is operated by the Egg Harbor City Historical Society and is full of historical items that detail the founding and development of the area.
The displays at the museum are regularly changed and are known to be very informative and interesting. The Roundhouse Museum is open all year round but it is best to call ahead and confirm the opening hours if you want to pay a visit.
Once the weather starts to clear up the Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River is a great spot for fishing that attracts people from far and wide who are looking to catch the big one. There have been plenty of massive fish caught in the river over the years, including multiple striped bass that were over 50 pounds. If you are trying to catch big bass, stick to near the bottom of the river where it opens up into the inlet.
Once you have finished with the water activities there are many great hiking trails located around the river that you can explore. If you are wanting to do some hiking close to the wetlands near the river, try the trails at Estell Manor Park. Here you will find 20 miles of trails that take you through all types of habitats, including trails that will take you very close to the the river. All of the trails are on flat terrain so they will be suitable for hikers of all skill levels.