Top Ten Camps in North America

Camp Convenient: Sawmill Lake, High Point SP, New Jersey

Sawmill Lake offers hike-in privacy, waterfront property, and the best part, it's less than 60 miles from the Times Square IRT station. While admittedly not deep wilderness, High Point comes surprisingly close. It offers 14,218 acres of dense hardwood forest, easy access to the Appalachian Trail, and the tallest peak in New Jersey (though, granted, it's only 1,803 feet high). And quiet reigns, even on holiday weekends, thanks to strict noise-regulation enforcement. Of Sawmill Lake's 50 sites, numbers 24-26 and 34-41 are the most coveted, the former for their prime north-shore location and the latter for their seclusion.

The Stuff

To get the complete To get the complete I-can't-believe-this-is-Jersey effect, hike from the visitor center to High Point Monument, a 220-foot war veterans' memorial with the following 360-degree view: Poconos to the west, Catskills to the north, Delaware Water Gap to the southwest. A peaceful 7.5-mile loop starts east of the visitor center on the AT and winds south through the forest to Iris Trail, which overlooks Lake Rutherford. (Iris is also open to bikes, as are several well-maintained paths in the park's 18-mile network.) You can cast for trout in stocked Sawmill or for a natural selection of bass and catfish in Lakes Marcia and Steenykill. Pick up a fishing license at the Wal-Mart in Franklin (route 23 about 15 miles south of High Point) and rent a canoe at Silver Canoe for a float down the Delaware.

Next Time Try

Whitewater Campground, Kettle Moraine State Forest, Wisconsin

Kettle Moraine's 25-mile network of mountain-bike trails, rife with namesake glacial obstacles and accessible from Whitewater, make this a top destination for urbanites looking for a Windy City reprieve. There is, after all, a reason that its fans call it the Moab of the Midwest.

Location: 65 miles north of Chicago

Details: 63 sites; pit toilets; $12 per night, plus $9.50 reservation fee and $10 vehicle permit

Prime Time: June to mid-October

Contact: 608-266-2181

Angel Island State Park, San Francisco Bay, California

Alcatraz views, minus the claustrophobia. For the lights of Fisherman's Wharf, request a site on the south side; to catch sunrise over the Berkeley hills, grab the east side. And to forget city life entirely, stick with the island's three shaded interior sites.

Location: five miles north of San Francisco

Details: nine campsites; pit toilet; $10 per night

Prime Time: April-October

Contact: 415-435-5390


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