Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco – Hardwick, New Jersey - Atlas Obscura
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Hardwick, New Jersey

Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco

This Boy Scout retreat acted as Friday the 13th's original Camp Crystal Lake. 

Maybe the most famous summer camp of all time is the deadly Camp Crystal Lake, the preferred hunting grounds of Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees (and yes, his mother). The very first camp to stand in for the Voorhees’ bloody kill zone? A still-active Boy Scout camp called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco.

The camp actually had a rich history well before Hollywood came calling. Located in the wilds of Blairstown, New Jersey, (the town is also featured in the movie) the camp was first established by the Boy Scouts in 1927 during their first season, which saw over 500 campers come to stay. Over the next few years permanent log cabins were built, and once established, the summer camp operated continuously throughout the 20th century, even during World War II. While the camp lost some of its acreage to a proposed dam project that fell through, the resulting national park land that was established instead gave them access to much more wilderness.

But it was in 1979 that the producers of the first Friday the 13th movie happened upon this camp purely by chance to film their slasher classic and forever change the way summer camps are seen. The film, designed to cash in on the popularity of John Carpenter’s Halloween, set the standard for tales of raunchy teens getting slaughtered, as (30+ year old spoiler alert) the mother of Jason Voorhees cuts a bloody swath through the camp. Other than a dream sequence scare at the end of the film, Jason himself is not actually introduced until the sequel (and doesn’t get his famous hockey mask until the third!), but Camp Crystal Lake was made immortal in the original. The Crystal Lake that Jason drowned in is actually known as Sand Pond. 

Know Before You Go

As the camp is still an active Boy Scout location, access for film buffs is exclusive to the tours. Check their website for details. The camp owners are enthused about the history, hosting a few exclusive tours a year for which the proceeds directly benefit the camp. They are very knowledgeable and friendly, and the tour is a must for any horror fan. Much of the camp is just as it was when they came to film in '79! The tour also includes meet-and-greets with actors from the movie too. You can check out their site (even buying souvenirs like lake water or dock shavings!) and enter the lottery for a chance to check out the filming location.

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