New Jersey is a beautiful state with stunning landscapes, picturesque mountains, scenic waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails. Nature lovers are lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy these amazing views.
During your visit, make sure to explore the best parks in New Jersey for a relaxing and fun time outdoors!
Cape May Point State Park
A state park that boasts a variety of wildlife habitat, Cape May Point State Park is perfect for birding and hiking. Three different trails weave through ponds, coastal dunes and marsh lands making this an excellent place for nature lovers to spend a day.
Located on the southern tip of New Jersey, this state park features dunes, freshwater coastal marshes and ponds, forested uplands and beaches. Its varied habitat is home to migratory birds, raptors and pollinators like bumblebees and monarch butterflies.
The park also offers hiking, fishing and a World War II bunker on the beach that visitors can visit for free. The 157 foot lighthouse tower is the top attraction at the park, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the entire peninsula.
The Harriet Tubman Museum is another must-visit destination, with exhibits that educate on the famed abolitionist and her time in Cape May County. This historic complex includes a colonial-style room filled with antique furniture, a genealogical library and many more interesting exhibits that will have you coming back to this Cape May landmark.
Allaire State Park
There are many things to do at Allaire State Park, from hiking and biking to fishing and kayaking. During warmer weather, this Central NJ park is also known for its wildflower display.
Allaire State Park has 20 miles of multi-use trails, including a 2.5-mile green loop that’s ideal for families with kids. There are also several other color-coded paths, suitable for more advanced hikers and bikers.
The Manasquan River flows through the park, providing canoeing and fishing opportunities. There are also tent and trailer sites, as well as rental cabins.
Aside from its 3,000 acres of natural beauty, Allaire State Park has a historic village and many fun activities and seasonal events. You can take your family on a train ride on the Pine Creek Railroad, or visit historic Allaire Village where you can see 19th-century iron making factories and shops.
There’s also a Nature Interpretive Center with information on 200 species of plants and trees that call the park home. Bird watchers can find a wide variety of birds throughout the park, including blue jays, Carolina chickadees and great blue herons.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is an excellent choice if you are looking for an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean. It is also a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the landscape.
Located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island, the park offers a wide range of activities for all ages. You can picnic, fish, walk the trails, birdwatch, and climb the lighthouse.
The park also has an interpretive center that features displays about maritime history, the lighthouse and its role in the community. There are also a number of nature trails that lead through the maritime forest.
Visitors can climb 217 steps to the top of the historic lighthouse, also known as “Ole Barney.” The 172 foot tall tower light was commissioned on January 1, 1859 and remained an official aid to navigation until 1927 when it was replaced with a gas blinker.
Today, Old Barney still serves as an important navigational aid for sailor and has become a landmark in New Jersey. The park is open for fishing, hiking and birdwatching from Memorial Day to Labor Day (weather permitting). It is also a maritime site on the New Jersey Heritage Trail Route.
Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
The fresh scent of pine greets you when you visit this beautiful state park located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. This 34,000-acre forest is home to iron rich streams, acres of cranberry bogs and swampland, and dense stands of Atlantic White Cedar.
The forest offers camping, hiking, mountain biking, birding and hunting opportunities. History enthusiasts will also enjoy returning to the early 20th-century by visiting the historic village of Whitesbog where the first cultivated blueberry was developed.
A 50-mile network of long, flat sandy trails and roads crisscrosses this forest. The Batona Trail is a favorite among hikers, stretching from Ong’s Hat to Pakim Pond and then through Wharton State Forest to Bass River.
Getting around the forest is fairly easy, although there are some unpaved roads that can be challenging for drivers who do not have four-wheel drive vehicles. It is also possible to get stuck in the mud, so it is best to bring a spare tire and phone with you.
Bass River State Forest
Bass River State Forest is a great place to go camping if you are looking for a peaceful spot near the water. It has a 67-acre lake and plenty of recreational activities to enjoy.
The 176 campsites are well maintained and open year-round, with some hookups available. There are also group campsites and a handful of lean-to shelters.
Located along Stage Road, the campground is about a mile west of the Garden State Parkway. There are restrooms, showers and laundry facilities.
There are 176 tent and trailer sites, as well as six group campsites and a few cabins. Each site includes a picnic table and campfire ring.
It is a good location for first-time campers, as it provides basic amenities like sanitary toilets and showers.
Hikers can explore over 12 miles of trails at Bass River State Forest, including one that winds through the remnants of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and memorial. There is also a short trail through a cedar swamp in the Lake Absegami Natural Area and a segment of the 50-mile Batona Trail.
Belleplain State Forest
If you’re looking for a quiet, serene state park near Atlantic City and Ocean City, Belleplain State Forest is a great choice. This 21,320-acre forest has a great mix of habitats including pine forests, oak forests and Atlantic white cedar.
This state park is a popular destination for outdoor lovers who enjoy hiking, camping and horseback riding. It also has two lakes that offer fishing, swimming and canoeing.
Spring: This is a great time to visit the forest because animals are active, plants are emerging and birds and other wildlife are mating and raising their young. It’s also a good time to check out the nature center at Lake Nummy and see the displays of animals that live in the area.
If you’re planning a trip to Belleplain, make sure to book a campsite and bring your dog along. There is also a guided hike for humans and dogs on New Year’s Day! Tea, hot chocolate and homemade treats will be served after the hike. So pack up the family and get out there!
Double Trouble State Park
Located in Lacey and Berkeley Townships, Double Trouble State Park is a portion of Pinelands National Reserve. The park is a window to southern New Jersey’s natural and cultural heritage, and the wilderness in this area is a representative part of the Pine Barrens ecosystem.
Aside from its wildlife habitats, the 7881 acre park also includes productive cranberry bogs and a restored village that is an excellent historic window into the Pinelands industry. Inside the village, you’ll find a sawmill, pickers’ cottages, a cranberry sorting and packaging house, and a schoolhouse.
The park is a great place to visit with the family, especially if you’re looking for an easy hike. There’s a one and a half mile self-guided loop trail that will give you the chance to see both historical and natural objects.
The park is located in Bayville, New Jersey and can be easily reached by taking exit 77 off the Garden State Parkway. From there, you’ll go a quarter of a mile south on Double Trouble Road to the park’s entrance.
Corson’s Inlet State Park
Corson’s Inlet State Park is one of the most popular spots in southern New Jersey, thanks to its diverse natural habitat that includes sand dunes, breathtaking shoreline, estuaries and upland areas where wildlife thrive. Established in 1969, the state park protects one of the last undeveloped tracts of land along our waterfront.
Located just a few miles south of Ocean City, the state park features a beach that offers some of the Garden State’s best fishing opportunities for blue fish, kingfish and striped bass. There are also some good hiking and nature trails for those who want to spend some time outdoors.
The beach at Corson’s Inlet State Park can be accessed by beach buggy permits, which allow permit holders to drive their all-wheel-drive vehicle on the sands for a day of fishing. Weekday only permits are also available from May 22 through September 30, and are recommended for those who plan on fishing at the beach during these times.