Camping in… Wharton State Forest!


We absolutely love being outside. Any chance that we get to go for a hike (or even just a walk around the neighborhood), we take it! When asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, my immediate answer was “CAMPING! PLEEEAAASE!”

I drove right through this park a million times (twice a day!) on my hour and a half commute to my old job. I was always taken in by the beautiful trees and the gorgeous sunsets over Atsion Lake from Rt. 206. Ian and I hiked there a few times, but never really got enough time to go very far. So, we immediately knew which woods we wanted to spend two nights in.

We chose the Hawkins Bridge campground based mostly on the fact that it was next to water and only had 9 campsites- primitive style. We had never been there before and didn’t look at any pictures, but it seemed small and quiet!

The drive down the winding sand and dirt road was quiet. We didn’t see a single soul out there. Our first night was a Thursday night and we had the entire campground (and the surrounding woods) to ourselves!


We got in, set up camp, and went for a long hike. We didn’t see a single person. It was amazing! The park surrounding the campground was riddled with roadways and paths that don’t really go anywhere. We couldn’t find an actual marked trail, so we just set out taking whatever turns we felt like and leaving ourselves little arrows in the dirt so we could find our way back. We got back just in time for some dinner.

This is where things get interesting.

We were horribly under prepared for this trip.


We brought a cast iron pot and no cutlery. Stuff to make burgers, nothing to flip them with. We ended up having to flip them using a large knife Ian kept on his belt.

We also opted not to bring coats? It was 80 degrees during the day, but as soon as the sun started to set- holy crap! By night fall, we were freezing and could see our breath! I actually melted my slippers trying to get close enough to the fire to stay warm! Haha And my feet were still ice cubes!

Once the fire died down, we would run and jump under the blanket in the tent (because we didn’t actually have sleeping bags -faceplam-) and snuggle closely to stay warm. Couldn’t play card games because it was too cold out of the blankies! So we tried to fall asleep as quickly as possible.

We were awoken by the alarming sounds of what we think was a turkey call. I thought someone was being murdered somewhere off in the distance. We quickly tried to start a fire to get warm and make some breakfast (flipping eggs with a knife is a new skill Ian is proud to have).

We hiked again, for hours, and came back sweating. We were still all alone in the campground.

We brought along a tree identification book that I got Ian for his birthday (yeah, we’re nerdy- deal with it). He spent some time walking around and trying to figure things out while I sat at camp and read a book. And by read a book, I mean read a page and then watch the wildlife running about around me. We had the coolest birds hanging out at our site the second day. The male was all black except for a brown head and he and his mate made the coolest sounds back and forth. Their call sounds like metallic running water…if that makes sense. Look it up! We found out it was a Brown-headed Cowbird.


So, all in all this was an awesome trip. It was so relaxing being alone in the woods. Not thinking about work, not thinking about the big events coming up, no stress. We even had fun trying to figure out how to get by without all the things that we forgot to bring. With all of the trails around and beautiful sights to see, we will definitely be returning.


Hawkins Bridge Campground

Wharton State Forest

Hammonton, NJ

$3 per person, per night.



Until Next Time,

Be Kind and Live Purposely

Bowtie and the Bandit





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