New Jersey is a northeastern U.S. state with around 130 miles (209 km) of the Atlantic coastline. Nicknamed the Garden State, New Jersey is one of the smallest states in America, but it has many unique places to visit. There are so many New Jersey state parks to enjoy. Whether you want to discover some New Jersey history or get out of the city and absorb yourself in nature, there’s a New Jersey state park. Here are 20 New Jersey state parks to tick off your to-visit list.
- State Parks In New Jersey
- 20 NJ State Parks To Explore
- 1- Allaire State Park
- 2- Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
- 3- Cape May Point State Park
- 4- Corson’s Inlet State Park
- 5- Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
- 6- Double Trouble State Park
- 7- Fort Mott State Park
- 8- Hacklebarney State Park
- 9- High Point State Park
- 10- Island Beach State Park
- 11- Kittatinny Valley State Park
- 12- Liberty State Park
- 13- Long Pond Ironworks State Park
- 14- Princeton Battlefield State Park
- 15- Ringwood State Park
- 16- Swartswood State Park
- 17- Voorhees State Park
- 18- Washington Rock State Park
- 19- Cheesequake State Park
- 20- Allamuchy Mountain State Park
- 20 NJ State Parks To Explore
State Parks In New Jersey
20 NJ State Parks To Explore
1- Allaire State Park
Located in eastern New Jersey, Allaire State Park is an excellent place for the whole family to explore.
This park is best known for its 19th-century historic ironmaking town, Allaire Village. There are also antique steam trains on the Pine Creek Railroad.
You can first head to the visitor centre with a museum and interpretive centre. It’s the perfect place to learn more about the park and the area’s history.
The Manasquan River winds through the park and is ideal for canoeists and fishermen. Hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers can enjoy the park’s many trails.
Allaire State Park is at 4265 Atlantic Ave, Wall Township, NJ 07727.
2- Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Another excellent New Jersey state park is Barnegat Lighthouse, which is protected by a state park and located on the barrier island of Long Beach.
From this state park, you will have a panoramic view of Long Beach Island, Island Beach and Barnegat Bay.
It is well worth first heading to the Interpretive Center to enjoy the ‘Story of Barnegat Lighthouse’ experience, where you can learn about the importance of Barnegat Lighthouse to the boats that went to and from New York along the New Jersey coastline.
This state park is gorgeous, the contrast between the striking 52 m red and white lighthouse, alongside a sandy shoreline and the water, makes for a lovely day out for all.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is at 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006.
3- Cape May Point State Park
Cape May Point State Park looks out over the Delaware Bay, and, yes you guessed it, the state of Delaware.
This 244-acre (99 ha) state park is a haven for anyone who loves bird watching.
It’s one of the most popular bird-watching locations in North America.
One of the reasons that birdlife is attracted to Cape May Point State Park is because it has a diverse landscape of freshwater meadows, forests, dunes, beaches and ponds.
One of the fun ways to explore the park is by renting bikes and cycling to Cape May.
There are plenty of things to see, including Cape May Lighthouse and the World War II Gun Battery 223, built as part of the Harbor Defence Project in 1942.
There are also some fantastic trails to allow you to enjoy the park.
The Red Trail is a 5-mile (8 km) trail that’s also wheelchair accessible and you will be able to hike around Lighthouse Pond.
The Blue Trail offers a 2-mile (3.2 km) meander through beautiful flora, along the beach and coastal dunes.
This is a fantastic New Jersey state park that the whole family, especially bird enthusiasts, can enjoy.
Cape May Point State Park is at Light House Ave, Cape May Point, NJ 08212.
4- Corson’s Inlet State Park
Another state park along New Jersey’s Atlantic coast is Corson’s Inlet State Park.
This park was established in 1969 to protect the last section of New Jersey’s undeveloped oceanfront land.
This state park is defined by its primary and secondary sand dunes and is a stunning place to visit.
This is the perfect state park if you want to get out into nature and escape city life.
The park is popular for fishing, boating, sunbathing, walking and crabbing but swimming is not allowed in the state park.
Corson’s Inlet State Park is at County Hwy 619, Ocean City, NJ 08214.
5- Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
This state park is actually a state park trail.
Also known as the D&R Canal State Park, this 70-mile park and trail is a super-popular recreational corridor in New Jersey.
In 1834, when this canal opened, it was a direct transportation link between New York City and Philadelphia, flowing through New Jersey.
Back then, canal boats, steam-powered boats, and recreational boats used to use the canalway.
Today the D&R park offers more than 70 miles (113 km) of pathways for cyclists, runners, walkers and nature lovers to utilise.
Some of the best areas to visit include:
- Abbott Marshlands (Burlington and Mercer Counties)
- Blackwells Mills (Somerset County)
- Bulls Island Recreation Area (Hunterdon County)
- Delaware River Loop Trails (Hunterdon and Mercer Counties)
6- Double Trouble State Park
The fun-named Double Trouble State Park is centred on Cedar Creek and a shining example of the Pine Barrens ecosystem.
The park protects 8000 acres (3237 ha) of recreational, natural and cultural resources.
The waters of Cedar Creek used to provide power to an old sawmill and cranberry operation in the company town of Double Trouble.
Enjoy canoeing and kayaking along the Cedar Creek waterways, horse riding, walking the trails, taking photographs and mountain biking.
Trails lead you through pine forests and the cedar swamps.
Double Trouble State Park is at 581 Pinewald Keswick Rd, Bayville, NJ 08721.
7- Fort Mott State Park
Fort Mott State Park is located on the Delaware River in western New Jersey in Pennsville, Salem County.
This fort was designed after the American Civil War and was part of a three-fort system that protected the Delaware River from future attacks.
Fort Mott was constructed in the 1890s but despite the efforts to complete it by the end of the World War, the fort was considered outdated.
Today, you can wander around the fort exploring the old gun batteries and reading the interpretive signs for more information about the history of Fort Mott.
A park museum also showcases the fort’s history and the technology used in its creation and defence.
Visiting Fort Mott State Park is a fun day out for the family, especially those with kids who love historical adventures.
Fort Mott State Park is at 454 Fort Mott Rd, Pennsville, NJ 08070.
8- Hacklebarney State Park
Hacklebarney State Park is a 50-minute drive along the 1-78 W from Newark.
This state park showcases the Black River gorge, two tributaries, Rinehart and Trout Brooks and the surrounding woodlands.
The park’s oak hardwood forest covers 465 acres (188 ha) and over 5 miles (8 km) of trails that wind through this woodland to provide a spectacular day of walking and exploring the river.
While you are there, look out for some of the 100 bird species that can be found in the park.
Hacklebarney State Park is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Hacklebarney State Park is at 119 Hacklebarney Rd, Long Valley, NJ 07853.
9- High Point State Park
High Point State Park sits in the northernmost part of New Jersey in the corner close to Pennsylvania and New York.
This park covers 15,413 acres (6237 ha) and, as the name suggests, stands at an elevated level of 1804 ft (550 metres).
This is the highest peak in New Jersey.
The most popular activity is visiting the tall monument at the park’s centre.
If you are visiting in spring, summer or autumn, you can take a scenic drive around the park, while in winter, when the snow hits the trails, the roads may be impassable.
A scenic 15-minute drive around the park will allow you to see the monument at a distance and offers some of the park’s best views.
High Point State Park hosts a section of the Appalachian Trail known as the White Trail.
You can also explore the Kuser Natural Area for a beautiful boardwalk trail.
High Point State Park is at 1480 NJ-23, Sussex, NJ 07461.
10- Island Beach State Park
Island Beach State Park is one of New Jersey’s most beautiful state parks.
The barrier island works to protect some of the natural shoreline and habitats that surround this geographical landform.
Visit Island Beach State Park, and you will be treated to 10 miles (16 km) of sandy beach.
If you are lucky, you will see ospreys and foxes that call the beach, dunes, forest and marshes home.
There are also more than 400 species of plants.
Most people visiting Island Beach State Park swim in the ocean, relax on the beach or surf fish.
Island Beach State Park is at Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734.
For more amazing US state parks to visit, read:
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- 7 South Dakota State Parks
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11- Kittatinny Valley State Park
Kittatinny Valley State Park is just outside of Newton in Andover Township.
This park has four lakes, including New Jersey’s deepest natural lake, Lake Aeroflex.
The park has limestone outcrops, old railroads and even a small airport.
As you wander around the park, you will be in with the chance of spotting whitetail deer, turkeys, beavers, muskrats and an assortment of birds.
This is a state park for people who live to be active.
There are canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding opportunities on the park’s lakes.
You can also turn a day trip into an overnight affair by bringing your tent and reserving a spot at the campsite.
There are also opportunities to join interpretive and educational programs, such as naturalist-led talks, nature hikes and bike rides.
Kittatinny Valley State Park is at 199 Goodale Rd, Newton, NJ 07860.
12- Liberty State Park
Though the Statue of Liberty is under the territorial jurisdiction of the State of New York, if you look on a map, you can clearly see that Liberty State Park and the Statue of Liberty technically lie within New Jersey.
Most visitors choose to visit Liberty State Park from New York but you can also visit it from New Jersey.
The views from Liberty State Park are stunning.
The Manhattan skyline is iconic and spectacular, then there’s also the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island too.
Within Liberty State Park, there are many places you can visit, including:
- The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
- Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial
- The Nature Center
- Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area
- Liberty Landing Marina
- Liberty Science Center
Liberty State Park is at 1 Audrey Zapp Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305.
13- Long Pond Ironworks State Park
This New Jersey state park in Hewitt, West Milford, reflects the local area’s industrial past.
This ironworking community used to produce iron for the Continental Army during the War of 1812 and the Union Army during the Civil War.
Again, this is another state park in New Jersey where you can go hiking, boating, fishing, and visit the historic interpretive and nature centre.
The state park’s historic district is right on the Wanaque River, making it a special place to explore.
One of the top attractions at this state park is fishing on Monksville Reservoir for trophy-size muskellunge, bass, trout and walleye.
Long Pond Ironworks State Park is at 1334 Greenwood Lake Turnpike Hewitt, NJ 07421.
14- Princeton Battlefield State Park
Princeton Battlefield State Park is the site of the Battle of Princeton, which occurred during the American Revolutionary War.
At this battlefield, American and British troops fought each other on 3 January 1777 for 10 days before the British surrendered.
At the battlefield state park, you can see the Clarke House owned by Quaker farmer Thomas Clarke.
In summer, wander across the park’s lawns and trails that meander through the Institute’s woods while use the same pathways to go cross-country skiing in winter.
Princeton Battlefield State Park is at 500 Mercer Rd, Princeton, NJ 08540.
15- Ringwood State Park
Ringwood State Park is a beautiful, tranquil New Jersey park with lovely natural scenery.
Some of the park’s highlights include the ponds and streams, gardens, the amazing trail system and a historic manor.
No visit to Ringwood State Park is complete without seeing the New Jersey Botanical Garden and Ringwood Manor. Ringwood Manor has around 200 years of history and is a 51-room mansion.
It was once the home of prominent ironmasters Ryerson and Cooper-Hewitt.
The botanical garden sits on a mountaintop with 96 acres of garden and thousands of acres of woodland.
Ringwood State Park is at 1304 Sloatsburg Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456.
16- Swartswood State Park
This New Jersey state park is in the north of the state in the Stillwater and Hampton townships.
If you are searching for a state park where you can spend some time outside enjoying nature, this is a great choice.
The main attraction at this state park is Swartswood Lake.
Only electric-motorised boats are allowed on the lake, and there’s an excellent beach where swimming is permitted when there is a lifeguard on duty.
There are also a couple of trails in the park, including the Spring Lake Trail.
This trail is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) long and takes you through slightly hilly terrain through the forest and past the peaceful Spring Lake.
Swartswood State Park is at 1091 E Shore Dr, Swartswood, NJ 07877.
17- Voorhees State Park
This Lebanon Township state park covers an area of 1,400 acres (567 ha).
Voorhees State Park is perfect for exploring the beautiful woodland and while you can visit year-round, the foliage is vibrantly red and orange in autumn.
This park played an important part in American history as the camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1933 and 1941.
Today people can enjoy the park’s scenic hiking trails and excellent campground.
If you visit for the day, it’s well worth packing a picnic as there are loads of picnic benches built by the CCC.
Voorhees State Park is at 251 County Rd 513, Glen Gardner, NJ 08826.
18- Washington Rock State Park
Washington Rock was once a lookout point during the American Revolution between 1775 and 1784.
General George Washington used this rock as a strategic lookout in June 1777 when the British Army was moving towards Westfield.
The Washington Rock State Park is less than 23 miles (a 30-minute drive) southwest of Newark.
This is one of New Jersey’s oldest state parks and is known for its scenic views.
Washington Rock State Park is at Green Brook Township, NJ 08812.
19- Cheesequake State Park
Cheesequake State Park is unique because it covers two different ecosystems.
There are open fields, freshwater and saltwater marshes, cedar swap, pine barrens and a hardwood forest.
It’s simply an ecologist’s dream!
There are a plethora of activities to enjoy at Cheesequake State Park, such as camping, kayaking tours, mountain biking and swimming.
You can explore the park knowing that this is the only state park where hardwood trees meet southern pine barrens.
Birdwatchers and nature lovers will revel in the flora and fauna at this New Jersey state park.
Cheesequake State Park is at 300 Gordon Rd, Matawan, NJ 07747.
20- Allamuchy Mountain State Park
The Allamuchy Mountain State Park is just over two miles outside Stanhope in Sussex County.
This state park has more than 14 miles of marked hiking, biking and horse riding trails.
There are walking trails and some excellent bodies of water waiting to be explored – Cranberry Lake, Jefferson Lake, Tilcon Lake and Deer Park Pond.
These lakes are stocked with trout, perch, pickerel, bass and sunfish.
Check out Waterloo Village, where there is the chance to go rock climbing.
Allamuchy Mountain State Park is at Waterloo Rd, Stanhope, NJ 07874.
If you love exploring national parks, you might like to read:
- Wyoming National Parks Guide
- Nevada National Parks Guide
- Michigan National Parks Guide
- 5 Maine National Parks
- New Hampshire National Parks Guide
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