At NJMOM, we’re all about starting the New Year off on the right foot with a fun, family-friendly hike. Every New Year’s Day, the New Jersey State Park Service hosts 27 guided hikes, 2 mountain bike rides, and 1 horseback ride in state parks, forests, and historic sites as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes program. From Liberty State Park to Island Beach State Park, these free First Day Hikes offer a fun incentive to get outside, explore, exercise, enjoy nature, and celebrate the New Year with family and friends in one of New Jersey’s state parks.
Here are a few of our favorite hikes around New Jersey:
Liberty State Park: First Day Hike to Caven Point Beach
New Year’s Day, 10AM – 12PM
Join the Liberty State Park staff on a walk from US Flag Plaza to the Caven Point Beach. The walk will explore the man-made and natural shoreline of the Upper NY Bay while remaining in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and the unique features of Caven Point Beach. Parking is free and there are restrooms located at the park office.
Level: Easy to moderate
Meeting Location: US Flag Plaza / Park Office in Jersey City, NJ
Registration & Cancellation: Register via email with name, email, phone number, and number of people to LSPNatureCenter@dep.nj.gov.
Island Beach State Park: New Year’s Day Beach Hike
New Year’s Day, 2PM – 3:30PM
Join the Friends of Island Beach State Park for a hike across the barrier island. This scenic beach hike is approximately 1.5 miles and will be accompanied by naturalists who will be able to point out the flora and fauna present in the area. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the beach environment in the winter.
Meeting Location: Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park, NJ
Registration & Cancellation: Registration required
Wharton State Forest: First Day Hike in Batsto Village
New Year’s Day, 10:30AM – 12PM
Enjoy a stroll through the beautiful Batsto village with your family.
Meeting Location: Batsto Historic Village Visitor Center in Hammonton, NJ
Registration & Cancellation: Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 561-0024
Twin Lights Historic Site: Lighthouse Open House
New Year’s Day, 10AM – 2PM
Not your average hike through a forest or garden. The Twin Lights Historic Site will be open on New Year’s Day so you and your family can celebrate history with a self-guided walk up 64 steps to amazing views in the lighthouse. The tower is not heated.
Meeting Location: Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands, NJ
Registration & Cancellation: Hike is canceled in the chance of inclement weather, but museum and gift shop will remain open.
Ringwood State Park: New Jersey State Botanical Garden
New Year’s Day, 1PM – 2PM
This is a self-guided family-friendly hike in the State Park woodlands of the New Jersey State Botanical Garden. When you arrive, you will be provided with a map and hike directions before you begin the hike.
Meeting Location: Carriage House Visitor Center at the New Jersey State Botanical Garden
Registration & Cancellation: To check on the status of the hike, call (609) 218-3532.
For a full list of First Day Hikes, please visit NJDEP.
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