The first European settlement formed around 1681, and it was unofficially dubbed Prigmore’s Swamp. Though the source of “Prigmore” is unknown, local historians suspect it was one of the first settlers’ surname. Later, after a wave of German immigrants arrived, the settlement was renamed New Brunswick in the early 1700s. Brunswick may be an anglicization of “Braunschweig," the name of a town in Germany. The name may have been a nod to the Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, who became King George I of Great Britain. The town is the site of one of the first colleges in Colonial America, The Trustees of Queen’s College which was established in 1766. This college later became Rutgers University in 1945.
New Brunswick gained some notoriety in the 1800s for both being a Underground Railroad hub and for slave hunters. The hunters knew that escaped slaves were being routed through this town, and as such, frequently would beeline to it in an attempt to find their fugitives.
Today, New Brunswick is mainly known for its resident college, Rutgers University, and for the site of Johnson and Johnson’s headquarters.
The Great Outdoors
Although the suburban sprawl has largely overtaken northern New Jersey, there are several small wilderness parks and forests dotting the state. Booking an RV in New Brunswick will grant you the opportunity to explore the last vestiges of wilderness in the area. The Sourland Mountain Preserve, near Somerville, is one of the largest parks in this part of state. A modest 4,000-acre park, there are several miles of multi-use trails, and horseback riding is allowed on several. The giant boulders, dropped by a massive glacier as it carved its way north 50,000 years ago, are strewn across this little mountain. Rock climbers frequently are spotting scaling its ancient limestone surface. As an added bonus, this park is one of the few that allows model planes, RC, and drone flying, and a portion of a meadow near the North Branch parking has been designated a launching/landing spot.
New Jersey’s residents are diligently working on returning some regions to its former wild state. The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is one such instance. A former 19th-century canal that was used to transport coal and lumber, it’s now a narrow but long park with over 70 miles of multi-use trails that parallels the canal. The man-made waterway has been transformed into a babbling creek lined by mature oaks and maples that blaze yellow, orange and red in autumns. Kayaking, tubing, and canoeing are popular. The creek is slowly showing signs of water plant life, and many species of fish are flourishing, including trout, smallmouth, largemouth, and striped bass, tiger muskies, and a few species of catfish. Heads-up: this park (and many other New Jersey parks, also) are prone to ticks and mosquitoes. Dress accordingly. Park your New Brunswick camper rental here, and it will be waiting for you after a long day.
When you search for an RV rental in New Brunswick, don’t forget to plan for where you’ll park it overnight while you explore New Jersey. Because of the dense suburban neighborhoods and covenants in place, RV-friendly campgrounds are few and far in between. There are a few options down south, near Jackson, NJ. The Timberland Lake Campground offers a woodlands setting, a large pool, and a fishing pond. It’s also very close to the Six Flags Great Adventure. Book well in advance, particularly during the summer months.
Alternatively, head across the border into Pennsylvania. There are several campgrounds around Allentown, PA. One candidate might be Mountainview Campground, which is a rustic facility, though it does offer 15, 30, and 50 amps hookups. Guests can choose from deep woods to open meadows and enjoy the laid-back campgrounds.
There are about a dozen different Walmart stores within 10 miles of New Brunswick. Should you need to make an unplanned stop overnight, one of the nearby stores may be amenable. Be sure to ask the store manager for permission beforehand.
Exploring the City
This close to the dazzling, high-octane New York City, there’s plenty of things to do and places to see. A luxury motorhome rental will make it easy to get around the town and explore all the options. Right in New Brunswick is a world-class art museum/gallery: the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. One of the largest university-based museums in the country, this museum has a wide array of art ranging from historical to modern abstracts. Zimmerli is open to the public, and admission is free.
On the same campus, the Rutgers Geology Museum features paleontology (fossils), geology, mineralogy, and anthropology collections from around the country and the world. See a mastodon’s skeleton, a dinosaur’s skull, and meteorites that are millions - perhaps billions - of years old that once roamed the galaxies before this planetary system ever formed. Check online for the schedule; it can vary depending on the time of year.
Beat the crowds and check out the local theaters instead. The Crossroads Theater Company has won a number of awards, including the prestigious Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Or hit the Broadway shows right in New Brunswick: the George Street Playhouse regularly performs Broadway and off-broadway acts.
Being a college town, there are nightclubs, bars, and pubs a-plenty. One, in particular, stands out: the Ale ‘n Wich Pub, which is one of the oldest bars in the town. Many notable entertainers, singers, and bands have frequented this pub over the years, like Jerry Garcia, Phish, and James Gandolfini from Sopranos, to name a few. It’s a popular spot to see local cover bands and up-and-coming entertainers, too.
Of course, the proximity to the Big Apple is a big draw for renting a motorhome in New Brunswick. It’s a challenge to navigate the city in an unfamiliar rental RV. Most visitors find it easier to take mass transit into the city, and there are a few options to choose from. The easiest is to ride the NJ Transit’s “Northeast Corridor” train into the Penn Station. From there, visitors can use the world-famous subway system to get around the city.
Whether you’re after an outdoor adventure or the dazzling urban scene, there’s something for everyone. Rent an RV in New Brunswick, NJ, and go exploring!