Scenic Cheesequake State Park is located in Old Bridge, NJ only 22 miles from Newark, 25 miles from New York City and 57 miles from Philadelphia.
Visitors enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, boating, swimming and more in this beautiful natural area not far from city life.
This 1,610 acre New Jersey state park highlights include hardwood forests, open fields, swamps, ponds, a lake and saltwater and freshwater marshland.
The park’s unique eco structure of northern hardwood forest and southern pine barrens create a bird lover’s and nature lover’s paradise.
During your visit to Cheesequake State Park you’ll find lots of activities to keep you entertained, whether you plan to stay for a few hours or several days.
Explore the trails, view nature and wildlife, have a picnic, enjoy the lake and more.
Discover more about the 3 habitats located within the park as well as early settlers and Native Americans at the Interpretive Center.
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Cheesequake State Park:
Boating at Cheesequake State Park
Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, small cartop boats and electric powered boats are allowed on Hooks Creek Lake. All boaters must wear the appropriate life vests while using the lake.
Swimming at Cheesequake State Park
Cheesequake State Park has a beach area and swimming is allowed between Memorial Day and Labor Day but only when there are lifeguards on duty.
Only US Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are permitted. The beach area also has changing rooms, bathrooms and a concession stand.
Hiking at Cheesequake State Park
There are 5 hiking trails at Cheesequake State Park, each varied from easy to moderate. Four trails are open to hikers only but the fifth (The White Trail) allows for mountain bikes in addition to hikers.
The park’s natural area containing woods, meadows, creeks, streams, saltmarshes and lake provide for a picturesque hike from spring to fall. And for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter.
Here is a brief description of each of the trails at Cheesequake State Park:
- The Yellow Trail – A moderate 0.75 loop through the hardwood forest area and along the lake and saltmarsh. This short scenic trail contains stairs, hills and some uneven terrain. Interpretive signs along the path highlight natural features, plants and other wildlife.
- The Red Trail – A moderate 1.3 mile loop through the pines and around Interval Pond. This trail also has steps, hilly sections and uneven terrain.
- The Blue Trail – Moderate 2.1 mile loop through forest, up to an elevated area overlooking the saltmarsh and along to a small bridge over freshwater wetlands. This trail is also uneven, hilly and has many roots along its pathway.
- The Green Trail – Another moderate trail of uneven terrain, hills and steps. This 3.1 mile loop starts with steps down a boardwalk and through the mixed hardwood forest of oak trees. A small bridge leads to the Nature Center or stay on the trail and hike along to the swamp area and a beautiful view.
- The White Trail – Moderate 2.7 mile loop that is also open for mountain bikers. This multi-use trail passes wetlands, the butterfly garden and through the forest. There are many elevation changes throughout this trail and sections with roots, rocks and other obstacles.
Fishing at Cheesequake State Park
Pack your fishing gear and plan for a quiet day’s fishing from the 6 acre Hooks Creek Lake. The lake, regularly stocked with trout, also contains catfish, largemouth bass and sunfish.
Blue Claw crabbing is also popular here and accessible by a crabbing bridge near the ADA accessible boardwalk. Be sure to check with NJ Fish & Wildlife and pick up a fishing license before your visit to the park.
Birding at Cheesequake State Park
You’ll discover and observe many types of bird species throughout the park’s varied landscape. Songbirds, such as chickadees and red-winged blackbirds may be heard among the pine and cedar trees and the blueberry bushes.
Bird blinds are located along a couple of the trails. They create an ideal viewing spot for bird and nature lovers.
Nature and Wildlife at Cheesequake State Park
Cheesequake State Park is full of life year round and a great place to observe nature in its varied habitats.
During the spring the butterfly gardens come alive with flowers and beautiful winged creatures, such as the black and orange colored monarch. The ponds and marsh areas come alive with frogs and tadpoles at this time as well.
Chipmunks, squirrels, deer, raccoon and occasionally a black bear may also be spotted throughout the park. If you do see a bear – keep your distance and stay calm, don’t run and especially do not feed!
Pets at Cheesequake State Park
Feel free to bring your dog and enjoy the park and trails. Remember all pets must be supervised and leashed (on a leash no more than 6’ long). And please clean up after your pet.
Camping at Cheesequake State Park
Spend the night inside Cheesequake State Park. The park’s 50 campsites can accommodate tents and trailers and is open from the first of April until the end of October each year.
All campsites have picnic tables and fire rings and are within walking distance to bathhouses with flush toilets and hot showers.
The Gordon Field Group Area has 4 group campsites and is open from May 1st through October 31st. Each of the 4 sites can accommodate up to 25 campers and has picnic tables, fire rings and grills.
Bathhouses are conveniently located nearby. No vehicles are allowed on the grounds of the group sites and this includes trailers and RVs.
Cheesequake State Park
300 Gordon Rd
Matawan, NJ 07747
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Cheesequake State Park: