New Jersey State Parks Activities
With its sprawling natural landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and well-maintained campgrounds, New Jersey is every outdoor lover’s dream for camping! High Point State Park has over 50 sites scattered around Sawmill Lake with modern amenities including flushing toilets, showers, and laundry facilities. For those who can’t do away with creature comforts, this park is definitely one of you!
Parvin State Park is also a favorite camping destination, especially for those who wish to experience the peaceful beauty of south New Jersey. Here, there are over 56 tent and trailer sites located on the south shore of Parvin Lake.
The more than 21,000-acre Belleplain State Park is one of the best camping spots in New Jersey, boasting of over 169 developed sites situated amid lush woodlands. This park is perfect for those who want a rustic camping experience with breathtaking views. Check out our camping checklist.
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Those taking on the trails found at Hacklebarney State Park will marvel at the sprawling, gorgeous park that features the Black River as its centerpiece. This park offers views that can’t be found anywhere else and is a favorite for hiking enthusiasts!
The Green Trail at Cheesequake State Park will take guests on a pleasant hike through rolling hills and beautiful marshlands. This beginner-friendly trail is a favorite among visiting families, especially those accompanied by young kids.
For an awesome viewpoint that will let you catch a glimpse of the stunning New York City skyline, head over to the Otter Hole Loop at High Point State Park. This moderately-difficult hike is made for inexperienced hikers looking to take their skills to the next level.
At Wawayanda State Park, hikers love taking on the Terrace Pond Loop, which meanders through a forest and features several small challenges, such as rocky scrambles and rough terrain. Incredible views of Terrace Pond can be found here.
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Wharton State Forest is a backpacker’s paradise, thanks to its miles and miles of unpaved roads that are begging to be explored. It has over 50 miles of trails, including an interconnection system between the Bryne and Bass River State Forests. Those wishing for an adventure like no other should take on these trails!
Home to the beautiful Musconetcong River, Allamuchy State Park offers unforgettable views, as well as a scenic backpacking adventure. The park features over 50 miles of hiking trails that are especially amazing during the autumn season.
The largest lake in New Jersey, Lake Hopatcong at Hopatcong State Park is regularly stocked with huge amounts of trout, making it the perfect destination for avid anglers. Over 9,720 trout are released into this nine-mile long river annually so there’s plenty enough for everyone to enjoy.
At Stephens State Park, guests love fishing in the tranquil waters of the Musconetcong River, famous for its large populations of trout. For a guaranteed catch, cast your line here!
The swamps of Cheesequake State Park are the perfect spot for geocaching enthusiasts, as long as they don’t mind getting a bit wet or muddy! An amazing multicache here called “Melvin’s Multiple Madness” will take participants between three to four hours to complete; since the park closes at dusk, make sure you have plenty of time to complete this! A word of advice – taking on this cache is best done during low tide.
Day Use Areas
At Hacklebarney State Park, take in your meal on rustic picnic tables shaded by towering hemlock trees. Keep an eye out for the many diverse wildlife that have their home within the park, including bears, deer, and foxes. This rocky yet scenic park is a favorite among families, both residents and tourists alike.
High Point State Park offers panoramic views of the New Jersey landscape. After your meal, feel free to explore the many nature trails found within. Those looking for more adventurous activities should try their hand at boating in one of the park’s two lakes.
For phenomenal views of the Hudson River, the New York City skyline, and the Statue of Liberty, check out the picnic spots situated at Liberty State Park. This park does tend to get a little crowded, though, so don’t be shocked by the hordes of people found here.
Bikers looking for a long, challenging, and scenic adventure will love the 238-mile route that will take them from New Jersey’s northernmost corner in High Point State Park to its southernmost spot at Cape May Point. This trail is rather arduous, though, and should only be taken on by the most experienced of riders.
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park features a nearly 70-mile biking trail that offers picturesque views of nature, as well as the small towns that dot New Jersey’s landscape. Those looking to explore the very best of New Jersey would do well to take this trail on. Cycling is a great outdoor activity to help you stay fit.
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The best boating destination in New Jersey is Lake Hopatcong in Hopatcong State Park. A popular summer destination, the park offers a number of facilities ideal for boating enthusiasts.
Cape May State Park is renowned all over the United States for its legendary fall migration where a wide variety of bird species, including massive raptors, may be observed. The park’s Hawk Watch is also a beloved activity, drawing in hundreds of avid Birders with their binoculars every year.
Encompassing over 3,000 acres of nearly undeveloped barrier island, Island Beach State Park boasts of a lengthy bird list, thanks to its unique habitats. Here, the Great Cormorant and the Northern Gannet may be spotted year-round while rare species are often observed during the migration season. With several walking trails and massive observation decks, this park is undoubtedly a prime Birding spot.
Another incredible bird watching destination in New Jersey is High Point State Park, famous for its nesting species. Breeding species found here include the Brown Creeper, the Worm-eating Warbler, the Common Raven, and more.
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Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is known all over New Jersey for its incredible beach, as well as its massive boardwalk. After spending a day on the water, make sure to explore the many restaurants and bars found throughout. Those visiting the Garden State should definitely stop by! As always, we encourage people to bring a beach umbrella to help protect you from the sun while on the sand.
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Rock Climbing and Mountaineering
Known as the best climbing area in New Jersey, Allamuchy State Park draws in thousands of climbing enthusiasts every year. While the park is more popular for rope climbing, bouldering opportunities on its many towering rock formations can be taken on by guests.
A cliff located on the southwest corner of High Point State Park is a favorite climbing destination; at 80 feet long and 40 feet long, this is undoubtedly a challenge that you shouldn’t pass up on!
Situated in Warren County, Jenny Jump State Forest features both rope climbing and bouldering to interested guests..
Recreational Equipment Rentals
Those looking to rent some kayaks for a day out on the water should head over to Cheesequake State Park, where rentals may be availed of by guests.
For an unforgettable caving experience, check out the series of small caves found within Jenny Jump State Forest. Don’t forget to explore the 15-foot deep Faery Hole Cave where pottery pieces, mammal bones, and the tooth of a giant beaver have been uncovered.
Restaurants and Dining
There are plenty of incredible dining options around the 1,200-acre Liberty State Park. For instance, Liberty House Restaurant offers waterfront dining with spectacular views of Manhattan. Boasting of organic food using only the freshest of ingredients, the menu features a wide variety of sushi, pasta, and meat dishes.
Those who want to experience dining at a sidewalk cafe would do well to check out Amelia’s Bistro, famous for homey American classics like macaroni and cheese. Diners will also enjoy the restaurant’s homemade pasta and bread, as well as their mouth-watering seafood fare.
If you’re in the mood for some casual bar food, then Maritime Parc situated within the park is your best bet. With great views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Skyline, and the Hudson River, this is a dining experience that you won’t get anywhere else.
Within Liberty State Park lies the Liberty Science Center, a state-of-the art science museum enjoyed by kids of all ages. With more than a hundred galleries, as well as an IMAX theater that allows guests to explore the inner depths of the galaxies, this museum is definitely a must-visit!
Zoom down a snow-covered hill at Fort Mott State Park whose steep embankments provide the perfect opportunity to catch some speed. Those looking to do some sledding should also check out the Ringwood Manor section of Ringwood State Park.
For the best cross-country skiing trails in New Jersey, head over to Wawayanda State Park, which boasts of more than 60 miles of well-marked trails to explore.
If you prefer a quiet, more peaceful winter activity, though, then try your hand at ice fishing at Hopatcong State Park. Lake Hopatcong is renowned for having ice reaching at least four inches and the lake is full of largemouth bass, crappie, yellow perch, and more that are waiting to be reeled in!
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Island Beach State Park offers several spots ideal for scuba diving. Keep in mind, though, that the park requires a valid diving certificate, as well as the use of the buddy system.