11 New Jersey State Parks You Cannot Miss Visiting (2023)
Some days it feels better while the time is spent amidst the peaceful vibes of Nature. And if this is your exact mood right now, then there isn’t a better place than visiting the State Parks in New Jersey. The Garden State is home to over 50 protected areas that include some mind-blowing State parks as well. Given the fact that New Jersey is one of the smallest U.S. States, natural areas and State Parks here are extensive and in large numbers that you even might have a hard time planning for the one.
The diverse range of new Jersey State Parks offers numerous ways of engagement and entertainment to the visitors. From scenic natural views to hiking trails, picnic spots, campgrounds, and historical stops, options for an excursion here are endless and in some of the best ways. Even if it is the largest single tract land region, Warton State Park, or the prominent Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, there is so much to explore when in New Jersey. So, if outdoor attractions excite you the most and Nature is your first love.
11 New Jersey State Parks You Cannot Miss Visiting
Make Sure You Add Some of the Below State Parks to the Itinerary for New Jersey.
1. Corson’s Inlet State Park
The Corson’s Inlet State Park protects one of the last undeveloped tracts of beachfront in New Jersey. The Park is known for its scenic natural beauty along with wildlife & bird viewing opportunities. Fishing, crabbing, boating, and sunbathing are extremely popular here, though swimming is prohibited due to the unprotected beaches. Beaches here are only open during the summer season as the other half of the year is dedicated to nesting. Trails at Corson’s take the visitors from woodlands to the beach, opening up the panoramic views to capture.
2. Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
Located in Central New Jersey, the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is all about the authentic forested experience. The Park is home to 70 miles of multipurpose trails that passes through several counties forming New Jersey’s largest completed trail system. The D & R canal state park offers several other natural preserves on its own, including the Six Mile Run, Horseshoe Bend Preserve, and Cook Natural Area. Visitors often choose the State Park for forested hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
3. Hacklebarney State Park
A must-visit State Park in New Jersey, the Hacklebarney State Park is worthy of all reaching efforts. It is located in Morris County and is known for being a year-round hiking destination. The 978 acres park is home to multiple hiking trails, of which some run through massive boulders, some run through the Black River, and some between the epic natural scenery. The Black River is full of massive rocks, which makes several waterfall impressions that can be noticed from the nearby trails. Hacklebarney is home to over 100 picnic tables, 100s of birds, and several species of wildlife that make sure visitors have something or other to seek during their excursion. Image Source:
4. Cheesequake State Park
Known for its unique geographical location, the Cheesequake State Park cannot be missed when in New Jersey. The State Park sits somewhere in the middle of the suburban south and the urban north right in the transitional zone of two exact opposite ecosystems. The Park is home to 5 well-marked trails that pass through the wooded hills and are ideal for mountain biking and hiking. There are several camping grounds, though for using them, reservation is a must. It is also home to Hooks Creek Lake that from Memorial Day through Labour Day allows for swimming and boating, whereas in winters snowshoeing, shedding, and cross-country skiing are popular here.
5. Washington Rock State Park
Washington Rock State Park is the oldest State Park in New Jersey, and thus, it has been a prominent part of several historical events. It is the site where during the American revolutionary war, General Washington viewed the British troupes. The State Park sits atop of the panoramic Watchung mountain and thus offers a scenic 360-degree overview of New Jersey and New York. On a clear day, you can capture miles-long views, though the charm will not decrease a bit even if it is cloudy. Even though most of the State Park region is woodland, wanderers, and hikers can still walk or bike through the trail and enjoy the vistas around.
6. Ringwood State Park
Encompassing 4,444 acres of land and water, the Ringwood State Park is one of the most popular State Parks to visit when in New Jersey. The Park is home to several notable tourism attractions, including the historic Ringwood manor, the New Jersey botanical garden at Skylands, the forty-four-room English Jacobean mansion, and the Shepherd Lake Recreation Area. From hiking, biking, horseback riding to mountain climbing, there’s so much to do on the lands here. However, if you are a water enthusiast, you can visit Shepherd Lake to swim, boat, and fish. Ringwood State Park displays an astounding color palette of Nature, though to view that, plan your trip here in the Spring season.
7. Wharton State Park
New Jersey’s largest single tract of land, the Wharton State Park, covers nearly 122,880 acres of the Pinelands. The State Park is home to the historic Batsto village that was once the most popular glass and iron manufacturing site. Here you can also explore the age-old Atsion Mansion or hike through the Apple Pie hill. While you reach the top of the hill, the impressive panoramic views of the nearby pineland look no less than a reward. Visitors can camp at over 50 tent and trailer sites within the Park, all supplied with the required amenities. Visitors here can launch their boats or canoe on the Mullica River and enjoy some adventurous hours.
8. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is an important spot for New Jersey and stands prominent for the neighboring State, New York. The Park is home to the (once) most important ship navigational point, (to and from) the New York Harbour. Barnegat Lighthouse then was responsible for avoiding the shoals extending from the shoreline. Today from Memorial Day through Labour Day, the lighthouse stands as one of the popular attractions in New Jersey. While you climb atop the lighthouse, you can grab the most scenic overviews of the Island Beach, Barnegat Bay, and Long Beach Island.
9. Kittatinny Valley State Park
Kittatinny Valley State Park is by far one of the most scenic State Parks in New Jersey. Spread over 5,656-acre, the State Park is home to a small airport, limestone outcroppings, former railroads, few glacial lakes and a variety of wildlife. Nature enthusiasts can explore 20 miles of hiking, horseback riding, biking, dog sledding, and cross-country skiing trails. Visitors can head towards the four glacial lakes and try fishing, ice fishing, boating, kayaking, and dipping. Even though it isn’t marked as dangerous, swimming here is still not recommended. In some specific areas, you can even hunt, though only after having a permit and while following all rules and regulations.
10. Liberty State Park
Unlike any other State Park in New Jersey, the Liberty State Park is more of an urban settlement. The Park is located in the waterfront’s renaissance and is notedly one of the most-visited State Park and tourism attractions in New Jersey. The Park is home to several prominent tourism attractions, including the Liberty Science Centre, Liberty walkway (Statue of Liberty overlook), and various memorials and monuments. Science enthusiasts can head towards the IMAX dome theatre, the western hemisphere’s largest planetarium, and earn one worthy experience for life. No matter what time of the year it is, there’s one or the other performance, festivals, and events going here all the time.
11. Cape May Point State Park
A day-use state park in New Jersey, the Cape May Point State Park is a must-visit when in the State. It is spread over 224 acres and is notedly the best place to view the Fall bird migration to the south in entire North America. Every year during the fall season, visitors from all the corners of the United States gather here in a huge number and indulge in bird watching and wildlife photography. The Park is also home to three well-marked hiking trails, all designated with specific colors ideal for hikers of all fitness levels. If interested, you can also visit the World War I and World War II bunkers and can view the old guns mounted nearby.
Note: Although not all the State Parks in New Jersey require a separate admission fee, visitors still have to acquire State Park Passes before heading towards one. Old age citizens (Above 62) or especially abled individuals from New Jersey are eligible for free passes. The annual permit for non-residents is $75, and for residents, it is $50. In contrast, the monthly permit for both Non-residents and residents is $25.