This forest is a camper’s paradise with hiking and nature trails, softball fields and swimming at Lake Nummy.
Belleplain State Forest was established in 1928 for recreation, wildlife management, timber production and water conservation. In 1933, three camps were set up by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Reforestation Relief Act, supplying labor to the forest for over an eight-year period. Located within the Pinelands National Reserve, the forest contains the greatest variety of habitats anywhere in New Jersey, including saltwater marsh, Atlantic white cedar swamp, mixed hardwood swamp and oak-hickory forest. There are over forty miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Other activities include hunting, fishing, camping, stargazing and swimming at Lake Nummy. Belleplain is a well-known birding spot, especially during the spring migration.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was created during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "The Hundred Days," the beginning of FDR's first term, and a time of massive legislative efforts to deal with the paralyzing effects of the Great Depression. The CCC put needy young men to work and sent a large portion of their pay back to their families. The fact that only 37 days elapsed between FDR's swearing in and the induction of the first CCC enrollee on April 7, 1933, reflects the importance of this program.
Between 1933 and 1942, three different and separate camps were formed. The first camp, S-53 was housed in nearby Woodbine until 1936. Another Camp, S-63 was formed the following year and was housed in buildings within Belleplain State Forest. The third and final camp, S-80 closed before the CCC officially ceased in June 1942.
The CCC camp at Belleplain State Forest converted Meisle Cranberry Bog into Lake Nummy, a popular swimming, boating and fishing area. They also constructed the original forest headquarters, maintenance building, a road system, bridges and dams.
Online reservations can be made at camping.nj.gov.
There are 169 tent and trailer sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Flush toilets, showers and laundry facilities are within walking distance of all sites. No hook-ups provided. Each site accommodates a maximum of six campers, two vehicles (including trailers) and two tents. Trailer sanitary station is open March 1 through November 30. Campsites open all year.
There are two group campsites with fire rings, picnic tables, water and chemical toilets. Each site accommodates up to 50 people. Open all year. We highly recommend that group leaders carefully estimate their group size so not to over estimate because refunds cannot be made later.
The East Creek cabin is located on East Creek Lake and is close to the East Creek Trail. The cabin contains a furnished living room with fireplace, full kitchen, two bunkrooms with double bunks, bathrooms, showers and outdoor campfire rings. This cabin accommodates up to 30 people. There is a picnic grove, boat dock and ball field. Cabin is open year-round.
There are fourteen lean-tos with propane heaters. Each accommodates a maximum of six people. There is an outdoor picnic table, fire ring and grill. Flush toilets, showers and laundry facilities are nearby. All lean-tos are ADA accessible. Open all year. Heat is provided November through March
Pet Friendly Camping:
The Meisle Field and CCC campgrounds are designated pet friendly. There is an additional charge of $5 per night to utilize the pet friendly campsites. Pet friendly camping is limited to domestic dogs and cats, with a maximum of two pets per camping permit. A Pet Registration and Certification form is required during the check-in process which will be retained in the area files. Dogs and cats must have current rabies vaccinations. Written proof of the pet's current rabies/ and license (if a license is required by the resident's State) must be provided during the check-in process.
Small boats and personal craft (canoes, kayaks, paddleboards) or canoes may be launched near a floating dock on Lake Nummy and from a boat launch ramp at East Creek Pond. Powered boats are limited to electric motors only. A canoe concession is operated at Lake Nummy during the summer.
Fishing is permitted in Lake Nummy, East Creek Pond, Holly Lake and Cedar Lake and is subject to New Jersey's Fish and Wildlife Laws (link is external). Freshwater species are mainly pickerel, sunfish and catfish.
Parts of Belleplain State Forest are open for hunting. Deer, beaver, wild turkey, waterfowl, woodcock and small game, including rabbit, squirrel and fox may be harvested during approved seasons. Hunting is subject to New Jersey's Fish and Wildlife Laws (link is external).
Swimming is permitted in Lake Nummy from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day in the designated swimming area while lifeguards are on duty. Visitors will find a beach complex containing changing area, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station, playground equipment and a concession building offering refreshments, novelties and beach supplies. Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Only U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFD/lifejackets) are permitted. Pets are prohibited on the beach.
Two self-guided interpretive trails provide visitors the opportunity to view many birds and wildlife native to the area. Signs of deer, coyote, bobcat, fox, rabbit, opossum, raccoon, red and gray flying squirrels, muskrat, beaver and several kinds of smaller rodents.
Family picnic facilities are attractively placed in a shaded area near the beach. Charcoal grills, tables and restroom facilities are available. An athletic field is located nearby and is ideal for softball games, kite flying and various field sports. Two reservable group pavilions offer secluded settings, parking and are ADA accessible.
Groups of 20 or more people need to reserve picnic facilities at least five days in advance. Such group use is not permitted on holidays except as authorized by the superintendent. Reservations for picnic areas are handled directly by the individual park area offices.
Reservations can be made over the telephone using a credit card or by mail using the Group Picnic Reservation form. Payment in full of the appropriate group picnicking fee must accompany the application.
Many varied special events, such as weddings, enduros, astronomy viewing, triathlons, volunteer efforts, etc., are scheduled throughout the year. Groups seeking information and permission to conduct similar gatherings must contact the superintendent for proper planning.
Access for Persons with Disabilities
The Atsion Recreation Area recreational and historic facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at 609-268-0444 for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]
State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]
Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Keep Your Park Clean and Green Protect plants and animals and care for your park by taking your trash with you. Unless you're camping, whatever you carry into the park, plan on carrying it out too. It’s like crowdsourcing trash management! Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles in this park. Thank you!
Swimming is permitted, while lifeguards are on duty, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The beach area includes changing rooms, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station and a concession building where food and beach supplies may be purchased. Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Only U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are allowed.
Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.
Be Bear Aware
Black bears are found throughout New Jersey. Do not approach or attract bears by making food available. Feeding bears is dangerous and illegal. Never run from a bear! To report an aggressive bear, call 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337) immediately. Please report any damage or nuisance behavior to the park office. Visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife at www.njfishandwildlife.com for additional information on bear safety.
1 Henkinsifkin road
Woodbine, NJ 08270
County Route 550
P.O. Box 450
Woodbine, NJ 08270
Gate Open daily 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Park Office Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Entrance fees are charged per vehicle from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.