Some days, it feels good to get away from it all and spend time in nature—so what’s better than going to a park with miles of trails and rugged landscapes? Affectionately named ‘The Garden State,’ our state is home to diverse NJ State Parks filled with activities for all ages. From the promenade at Liberty State Park to seeing history up close at Princeton Battlefield to spending time in the sand at a historic lighthouse at Cape May Point, there’s an NJ State Park that will wow your family. Head to one or cross all 34 off your bucket list—read on to find one near you (plus, for summer 2023, all entry fees for NJ state parks, forest, and recreation areas are free). And for more info on parks in NJ, check out our guides to hiking and biking trails. (featured photo credit: iStock.com/pkujiahe)
NJ State Parks Worth Visiting
Wharton State Forest
Spanning three counties, the Wharton State Forest is the most significant stretch of land in the NJ State Parks system. Not only can families enjoy trails, camping, hunting, and playgrounds, but you can also find Batsto and Atsion Villages here. In the winter, cross-country skiing is allowed at Wharton.
31 Batsto Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037
Ringwood State Park
You can find endless areas to explore at this NJ state park (once a former estate). Head any season to see the flowering plants, shrubs, deciduous trees, and evergreens in the NJ Botanical Gardens, and check out Skylands Manor. At Shepard Lake Recreation Area, you can picnic and fish along the lake shores, as well as discover the trails for hiking and mountain biking.
1304 Sloatsburg Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456
Bass River State Forest
Technically located in Burlington and Ocean Counties, the Bass River State Forest is over 29,000 acres, including the Absegami Natural Area and West Pine Plains Natural Area. With eight walking trails, families can spend the day soaking up the sights and sounds of nature.
762 Stage Rd, Tuckerton, NJ 08087
Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Whitesbog Village, once a thriving blueberry and cranberry-producing area, is one of the many things to see at the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. Families can also find picnic areas, playgrounds, and 25 miles of trails.
Mile Marker 1, Highway Route 72 East, Woodland Township, NJ 08088
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park
Stretching through Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties, this park includes a Six Mile Run, Horseshoe Bend Preserve, and Cook Natural Area. Horseback riding and mountain biking are just some fun activities for families.
145 Mapleton Road, Princeton, NJ 08540
Rancocas State Park
The Rancocas State Park is an idyllic setting with trails for hiking and biking. There’s also a nature center where your family can partake in interactive programs and events.
794 Rancocas Mt Holly Road, Westampton, NJ 08060
Cape May County
Belleplain State Forest
Established in 1928 for wildlife management, recreation, timber production, and conservation, Belleplain State Forest has something for everyone, including 40 miles of hiking, biking, and riding trails.
1 Henkinsifkin Road, Woodbine, NJ 08270
Cape May Point State Park
Plan to spend an entire day exploring Cape May Point State Park. The main attraction is the Cape May Lighthouse which is 157 feet tall and 199 steps to the top. Once you take in the breathtaking view from on top of the Lighthouse, enjoy bird watching, picnicking, or hiking.
303 County Hwy 629, Cape May, NJ 08204
Corson’s Inlet State Park
One of the last undeveloped beachfront, Corson’s Inlet State Park, was established in the 1960s to preserve the area. Boating and fishing are two of the most popular activities at the Park, with families also enjoying hiking and interpretive tours.
Bay Ave., County Hwy 619, Ocean City, NJ 08226
Tall Pines State Preserve
In June 2016, Tall Pines became Gloucester County’s First NJ State Park with a unique history. A former golf course, the park was unmaintained for ten years, allowing plants and trees to grow naturally, erasing any signs of the former golf course. Today, there are two marked trails to enjoy.
1705 Glassboro Road, Sewell, NJ 08080
Liberty State Park
You can’t visit Liberty State Park without stopping to take in the breathtaking Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, the official New Jersey memorial honoring those lives lost on September 11, 2001. The names of those lost are etched into the two stainless steel walls that make up the memorial. Liberty Science Center is also a must-see at the Park, boasting endless opportunities for discovery.
1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Voorhees State Park
Located in the picturesque Hunterdon County, Voorhees State Park is home to seven trails for hiking, walking, and biking. Camping, fishing, hunting, and a playground area are some activities families can enjoy at the park.
251 County Road Route 513, Glen Gardner, NJ 08826
Princeton Battlefield State Park
For the history buffs in your family, a stone patio signifies the grave of 21 British and 15 American soldiers who died during the Battle of Princeton. Alfred Noyes wrote a poem about the site known as the “fiercest fight of its size.”
500 Mercer Road, Princeton, NJ 08540
Washington Crossing State Park
On Christmas Day in 1776, General George Washington and the Continental Army landed on the spot now known as Washington Crossing State Park during the American Revolution. There is a museum commemorating that fateful day so long ago and a theater with live plays and musicals.
355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Rd, Titusville, NJ 08560
Cheesequake State Park
Situated in the state’s middle, the Cheesequake State Park has five walking, running, or biking trails. There is also a Nature Center with wildlife exhibits and historical information about the early colonization of the area.
300 Gordon Road, Matawan, NJ 07747
Allaire State Park
With over 3,000 acres to enjoy, Allaire State Park has something for everyone. From fishing and hiking to picnicking and bird watching, the Park is filled with the beauty of nature and is open to the public daily. Take a pit stop at the Historic Allaire Village before heading home for a little dose of history.
4265 Atlantic Ave., Farmingdale, NJ 07727
Monmouth Battlefield State Park
In June, take the whole family to the Monmouth Battlefield State Park and enjoy a little taste of history with the Battle of Monmouth reenactments. After you travel back in time, take a walk around the grounds, enjoy the beautiful scenery and plaques about Revolutionary War history, and check out what they are growing at Battlefield Orchards.
16 Route 33, Manalapan, NJ 07726
Farny State Park
With almost 5,000 acres of land, visiting Farny State Park is a beautiful way for families to revel in the outdoors and spend the day together. Hiking, birdwatching, fishing, and hunting can all be found at the park.
1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456
Hacklebarney State Park
The Black River is filled with trout in spring and fall at Hacklebarney State Park, providing an excellent place to catch fish. Children can run and play on the playground at the Park and have a picnic when they are tired out. You can also enjoy hiking and hunting at the Park.
119 Hacklebarney Rd, Long Valley, NJ 07853
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Found on the northern tip of the picturesque beach town of Long Beach Island, the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is home to the historic Barnegat Lighthouse. After visiting the Lighthouse and the Interpretive Center, families can have a picnic or other fun activities at the park.
208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
Double Trouble State Park
The name says it all—Double Trouble Park is the home to Cranberry Bogs and Double Trouble Village. Here you can enjoy hunting, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
581 Pinewald Keswick Road, Bayville, NJ 08721
Island Beach State Park
Ten miles of white sand is the perfect backdrop for swimmers, surfers, and sunbathers. Families can take guided kayak or canoe tours in the summer along Barnegat Bay or spend the day having a picnic at one of the picnic areas.
2401 Central Ave., Seaside Park, NJ 08752
Abram S. Hewitt State Park
Located in an undisturbed and relatively untouched area, this Park is a hiking fan’s dream. With 11 trails to traverse, including the Appalachian Trail and Bearfort Ridge, the land is categorized by scenic views and marshy areas.
885 Warwick Turnpike, Hewitt, NJ 07421
Long Pond Ironworks State Park
Spend the day fishing with the family at Long Pond Park’s bodies of water, Green Turtle Pond, and Monksville Reservoir. There are also guided tours through the Ironworks Historic District, where the furnace area is still open to visitors.
1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ 0745
Wawayanda State Park
Wawayanda State Park is one of the quietest and most peaceful places to go and enjoy a day with the family. With some of the most beautiful views, the Park is perfect for hiking, camping, special events, or playing.
885 Warwick Turnpike, Hewitt, NJ 0742
Fort Mott State Park
Used as a military reservation in the late 1800s, Fort Mott State Park was opened to the public as a Park in 1951. Today, families can enjoy the many trails, picnic areas, and interpretive programs.
454 Fort Mott Road, Pennsville, NJ 08070
Parvin State Park
A lifeguarded swimming area is designated at the Park for families to cool off during the dog days of summer. You can also find camping, boating, canoeing, and fishing at the Park.
701 Almond Road, Pittsgrove, NJ 08318
Washington Rock State Park
Bought in 1913, Washington Rock State Park is one of the oldest parks in New Jersey. Picnicking and spending time in awe of the break taking views and nature is one of the most popular reasons families visit the Park.
355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
High Point State Park
With amazing views of the Pocono Mountains, the High Point Monument is one of the most popular attractions at High Point State Park. Families can also take in the Catskills and Wallkill River Valley from the top of the Monument. On a hot summer day, cool off in Lake Marcia.
1480 Route 23, Sussex, NJ 07461
Hopatcong State Park
With three bodies of water at Hopatcong Park, families can enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating or canoeing. There are also two playgrounds for children to run around and enjoy nature or play soccer on the open field.
260 Lakeside Blvd., Landing, NJ 07850
Kittatinny Valley State Park
Take a walk through Waterloo Village, a Lenape Indian Village dating back to the early 19th century. After visiting the Village, venture to the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden or partake in Geocaching at the Park.
199 Goodale Road, Newton, NJ 07860
Swartswood State Park
There are four trails for walking, running, or biking at Swartswood State Park for the outdoor lovers in your family.
1091 E. Shore Road, Swartswood, NJ 07877
Allamuchy Mountain State Park
Rock climbing is a unique activity that you can find at Allamuchy Mountain State Park. Visitors can also go fishing, boating, canoeing, or hunting.
800 Willow Grove St. Hackettstown, NJ 0784
Jenny Jump State Forest
This NJ State Park is located along the Jenny Jump Mountain Range in Warren County. View the Highlands, Great Meadows, and the Kittatinny Mountains and Valley while walking on this rolling terrain.
330 State Park Road, Hope, NJ 07844
What are your favorite NJ State Parks? Let us know!
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