Boasting 130 miles of rugged coastline and beautiful landscapes, New Jersey is home to many distinct places and experiences and is well worth taking the time to explore. From picturesque mountains in northern New Jersey to dense forests, spectacular waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails further inland, the Garden State provides nature lovers with an array of things to see and do. New Jersey’s spectacular landscapes are protected and preserved by numerous state and national parks, which not only features breathtaking scenery but also provide a myriad of fun things to do.

1. Allaire State Park

Allaire State Park
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Allaire State Park is a national park that is famous for being home to the historic 19th-century ironmaking town, Allaire Village and beautifully restored and maintained antique steam trains which trundle up and down the Pine Creek Railroad. The Manasquan River winds through the park and provides a wealth of outdoor and recreational activities such as boating, canoeing, fishing, and kayaking. The river's floodplain boasts a flourishing habitat for a wide variety and fauna and flora, including over 200 species of wildflowers, plants and trees, as well birds and other wildlife. Other activities that can be enjoyed in the park range from hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding to picnicking and camping and amenities at the park include a visitor’s center with exhibits, a nature center, picnic tables, a playground, and food concession stands.

4265 Atlantic Avenue, Farmingdale, NJ 07727, Phone: 732-938-2371

2. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
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Located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island in Ocean County, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is famous for preserving the Barnegat Lighthouse, which was once the most important navigational points for ships bound to and from New York Harbor. Operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, the park has several features including the Barnegat Lighthouse and the Barnegat Lighthouse Interpretive Center. The park is included as a maritime site on the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail and activities in the park include saltwater fishing, hiking, picnicking, birdwatching.

208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006, Phone: 609-494-2016

3. Bass River State Forest

Bass River State Forest
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Based around the 67-acre Lake Absegami, Bass River State Forest is a beautiful natural area in New Jersey that provides a wide range of recreational activities from hiking and mountain biking to swimming, boating, canoeing, and camping. Acquired by the state of New Jersey in 1905 for public enjoyment and use, the forest features six lakefront cabins along the north shore of Lake Absegami for overnight camping, 176 tent and trailer sites, six group campsites with water and pit toilets, and nine handicap accessible lean-tos with hardwood floors and outdoor picnic tables. There are also six lakeside shelters with bunk beds and flush toilets and shower facilities nearby. More romantic getaways in New Jersey

762 Stage Rd, Tuckerton, New Jersey, 08087, Phone: 609-296-1114

4. Belleplain State Forest

Belleplain State Forest
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Belleplain State Forest is a 21,320-acre state forest in northern Cape May County that is home to a wealth of young pine, oak, and Atlantic white cedar trees, and beautiful natural landscapes. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) converted the Meisle Cranberry Bog into Lake Nummy in 1928 when the state park was established, along with the original forest headquarters, a road system, and several bridges Belleplain State Forest offers a variety of recreational activities and facilities for boating, camping, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, swimming and over 40 miles of hiking trails.

1 Henkinsifkin Road, Woodbine, NJ 08270, Phone: 609-861-2404

5. Brendan T. Byrne State Forest

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
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Formerly known as Lebanon State Forest, the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest is a 37,242 acres state forest in the New Jersey Pine Barren between Burlington and Ocean Counties. Famous for its vast acres of beautiful pine trees, the forest, which was once barren, cleared land in the 1800s, is now a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with miles of sandy trails and roads for hiking and mountain biking, glistening streams flowing through acres of swampy land and tranquil bodies of water for boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and swimming.

Highway Route 72 East, New Lisbon, NJ 08064, Phone: 609-726-1191

6. Cape May Point State Park

Cape May Point State Park
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Cape May Point State Park is a 244-acre day-use state park in Cape May Point that offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, boating, swimming, and beach-combing. Operated by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, the Cape May Point State Park is one of the best places in the country to see the annual Fall migration of birds to the south. There are three areas in the park where birds can be watched – the beach for shorebirds, hawk watching platforms for birds of prey, and several hiking trails for songbirds. Visitors can also enjoy hiking in the park on three trails and see the remnants of a gun battery that were based at the Cape May Military Reservation during World War I and World War II. Jersey Shore beaches

Light House Ave, Cape May Point, NJ 08212, Phone: 609-884-2159

7. Corson's Inlet State Park

Corson's Inlet State Park
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Corson's Inlet State Park borders the Corson Inlet and protects and preserves one of the last undeveloped tracts of oceanfront land. Located just south of Ocean City in Cape May County, the 341-acre state park is home to pristine, untouched landscapes and natural habitats ranging from dune systems, marine estuaries, shoreline overwash, and upland areas. Teeming with fauna and flora, the park boasts a multitude of migratory and residential wildlife species, including least terns, black skimmers, sandpipers, herons, gulls, sanderlings, ducks. The park also features a protected nesting site for the endangered piping plover and protects the endangered seabeach amaranth. Activities in the park include visiting the beach in the summer months, boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming.

County Hwy 619, Ocean City, NJ 08214, Phone: 609-861-2404

8. Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
© Erin Cadigan/

The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is set along the along the Delaware and Raritan Canal and features beautiful natural scenery and a wealth of recreational activities for outdoor lovers. Operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, the park has a 77-mile recreational trail made up of three segments that transverse three counties and is popular with walkers, runners, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The trail crosses five bridges that cross the Delaware River, offering lovely views of the surrounding landscapes.

Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset Counties, New Jersey

9. Double Trouble State Park

Double Trouble State Park
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Spanning the Lacey and Berkeley Townships in Ocean County, the Double Trouble State Park is a pristine wilderness that is home to a unique Pine Barrens ecosystem. Offering a window into the Pine Barrens history, the park protects over 8000 acres of forest, which boasts significant natural, cultural, and recreational resources. It also provides an introduction for both locals and visitors similar to southern New Jersey's rich natural and cultural heritage. In addition to a high-quality Pine Barrens watershed, the park also features a well-preserved historic village that is involved with the local industries of logging, milling, and cranberry agriculture.

581 Pinewald Keswick Rd, Bayville, NJ 08721, Phone: 732-341-4098

10. Fort Mott State Park

Fort Mott State Park
© Fort Mott State Park

Located in Pennsville, Salem County, Fort Mott State Park that was once part of a three-fort coastal defense system known as the Harbor Defenses of the Delaware, which was designed for the Delaware River in the late 1800s. Erected in 1896, the fortifications were constructed in anticipation of the Spanish-American War, and today, visitors can explore the old batteries and learn more about the history of the fort. The Delaware River lies just beyond the Fort Mott State Park and is an excellent spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, jogging, dog-walking, and picnicking. The NJ Coastal Heritage Trail Welcome Center features a variety of displays and exhibits that tell the story of the fort and the surrounding ecosystems.

454 Fort Mott Rd, Pennsville, NJ 08070, Phone: 856-935-3218

11. Hacklebarney State Park

Hacklebarney State Park
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Hacklebarney State Park is located between Chester and the Long Valley in Morris County and a renowned year-round hiking destination. Maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, the 978-acre park is bisected by the Black River, which is fed by the Trout and Rinehart brooks and flanked by impressive boulders. The park features several hiking trails that wind through spectacular scenery, past tranquil ponds, and majestic waterfalls, and is home to a variety of fauna and flora species, including the black bear, fox, deer, squirrels, and woodchuck. The park is open daily from dawn until dusk and features picnic tables, charcoal grills, playgrounds, and modern restrooms.

119 Hacklebarney Rd, Long Valley, NJ 07853, Phone: 908-638-8572

12. High Point State Park

High Point State Park
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Straddling the border of Wantage Township and Montague Township in Sussex County, High Point State Park is a 15,413-acre state park that rests at 1,803 feet above sea level and is home to a rich landscape of lush valleys, rolling hills, bucolic farmlands, dense forests, and the beautiful Lake Marcia that span three counties. High Point State Park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, and picnicking. Facilities and activities in the park include a modern visitor’s center, a cross-country ski center, picnic shelters with picnic tables, food concessions, watersports equipment rental, and multiple hiking trails. There is also a bathhouse, a cartop launch, a trailer launch, and self-guided nature trails.

1480 NJ-23, Sussex, NJ 07461, Phone: 973-875-4800

13. Island Beach State Park

Island Beach State Park
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Island Beach State Park encompasses the former borough of Island Beach on the Barnegat Peninsula just south of Seaside Park in Ocean County. The park is the largest reserve of an undeveloped barrier island in New Jersey and is divided into two areas, namely, the Island Beach Northern Natural Area, which covers 659 acres, and the broader Southern Natural Area at 1,237 acres. The park also includes the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone, which spans 1,600 acres and is home to a variety of watery landscapes such as creeks, ponds, tidal marshes, and open water, as well as dunes, maritime forests, grasses, and reeds. The park offers excellent bird-watching, swimming, fishing, and kayaking, and other activities such as hiking trails, summer programs, canoeing, picnicking, scuba diving, sailboarding and surfing, and interpretive programs.

Rt. 35 S., Seaside Park, NJ 08752, Phone: 732-793-0506

14. Kittatinny Valley State Park

Kittatinny Valley State Park
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Located near Andover, Kittatinny Valley State Park features spectacular natural landscapes including pristine glacial lakes and impressive limestone outcroppings. The state park is home to Lake Aeroflex and Gardner's Pond, which are fed from the Pequest River and offer an array of activities including boating, fishing, swimming, and canoeing. Other activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and seasonal hunting, and the park is home to a wealth of wildlife such as wild turkey, beaver, whitetail deer, muskrats, and several species of songbirds. More romantic getaways in New Jersey

199 Goodale Rd, Newton, NJ 07860, Phone: 973-786-6445

15. Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park
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Located opposite Liberty Island and Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay, Liberty State Park is a 1,212-acre park in Jersey City that was opened in 1976 to coincide with bicentennial celebrations. Surrounded by water, the park is bordered by the Upper New York Bay on the south and east sides, and the Morris Canal Big Basin on the north side. Boasting unparalleled views of Manhattan's skyline, the park features the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, which played an essential role in New Jersey's transportation history. The Liberty Walk is a two-mile walkway that links a pleasant picnic area with the old terminal and interpretive center, where visitors can learn about the history of the terminal and enjoy sweeping views of the Hudson River and Manhattan.

200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305, Phone: 201-915-3403

16. Long Pond Ironworks State Park

Long Pond Ironworks State Park
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Long Pond Ironworks State Park features the remnants of buildings from the once industrious ironworking community that settled in the area. Located in the community of Hewitt in West Milford, the park rests on the banks of the swiftly flowing Wanaque River and has several structures dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, including furnaces, old stone walls, casting house ruins, waterwheels, ice houses, and charging areas. The waterwheel and the Old Country Store have been lovingly restored to their former glory and now house the Long Pond Ironworks Museum. Facilities and activities in the park include birding, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Ringwood, NJ 07456, Phone: 973-962-7031

17. New Jersey Pinelands

New Jersey Pinelands
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New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve (also known as Pinelands National Reserve) is a unique ecosystem that spans 1.1 million acres and encompasses the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Pinelands features a variety of landscapes, ranging from historic villages and berry farms to extensive wetlands and vast oak-pine forests, including Bass River State Forest, Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, Penn State Forest, and Wharton State Forest. The Atlantic coastal pine barrens ecoregion is home to a diverse range of rare fauna and flora, and the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system.

New Jersey Pinelands Commission, 15 Springfield Road, New Lisbon, NJ 08064, Phone: 609-894-7300

18. Norvin Green State Forest

Norvin Green State Forest
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Norvin Green State Forest is a 5,416-acre state forest near the Wanaque Reservoir in Bloomingdale that is part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion and Wyanokie Wilderness Area. The park forest is accessible by foot only and features an extensive trail system of old logging roads and hiking trails, which climb up to 1,300 feet and provide spectacular views of Burnt Meadow Brook, Lake Sonoma, the Wanaque Reservoir, and the Manhattan skyline. Operated by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, the land was donated to the state by Norvin Hewitt Green in 1946 and consists of two geographically distinct sections, namely South of West Brook Road and North of West Brook Road.

150 Snake Den Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456-1021, Phone: 973-962-7031

19. Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
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Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is home to one of the nation's largest waterfalls, the Great Falls of the Passaic River. Set on the Passaic River in the city of Paterson in Passaic County, the 77-foot high waterfall and surrounding area is protected by the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. The 119-acre park is designated as a National Historic Landmark District and also preserves Paterson Great Falls, America's first planned industrial city which was considered to be ‘The Cradle of American Industry.’ The Paterson district joins the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (NRA), the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway NRA, and the Morristown National Historic Park. The park’s Welcome Center hours are seasonal and open from Monday through Sunday.

72 McBride Ave, Paterson, NJ 07522, Phone: 973-523-2210

20. Princeton Battlefield State Park

Princeton Battlefield State Park
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The Princeton Battlefield State Park honors the troops that fell during the 1777 Battle of Princeton during the American Revolutionary War. Part of the battlefield is now a state park which features peaceful winter fields and verdant woods of the Princeton Battlefield, commemorating the battle which ended when the British soldiers in Nassau Hall surrendered. Features in the park include the famous Clarke House, which was built by Thomas Clarke in 1772 and served as a sanctuary for General Mercer. Today, the house is open as a museum and is filled with period furniture and Revolutionary War exhibits.

500 Mercer Rd, Princeton, NJ 08540, Phone: 609-921-0074

21. Ringwood State Park

Ringwood State Park
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Located in the heart of the Ramapo Mountains, Ringwood State Park is a 4,444-acre state park in Passaic County that is home to pristine forests that are part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion. The park has several features including the Shepherd Lake Recreation Area, the historic Ringwood Manor, and the New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skylands. The Skylands Manor and Botanical Gardens boast a 44-bedroom English Jacobean mansion that was designed in the 1920s by John Russell Pope and 96 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and grounds with evergreens, deciduous trees, flowering plants, and shrubs. The Shepherd Lake Recreation Area is centered around the 74-acre, spring-fed Shepherd Lake which offers boating, fishing, camping, and swimming.

1304 Sloatsburg Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456, Phone: 973-962-7031

More ideas: Things to do in Hackensack

22. Swartswood State Park

Swartswood State Park
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Established in 1915 by the Forest Park Reservation Commission, Swartswood State Park is a 3,460-acre protected area in Sussex County that is home to the state’s third largest freshwater lake. Nestled in the Swartswood section of Stillwater and Hampton townships, the park’s main feature is the 502-acre Swartswood Lake, a glacial lake in the Kittatinny Valley that offers a wealth of water-based activities such as boating, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. Land-based activities in the park range from hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, bird-watching, and seasonal hunting.

1091 E Shore Rd, Swartswood, NJ 07877, Phone: 973-383-5230

23. Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Thomas Edison National Historical Park
© NPS Photo

The Thomas Edison National Historical Park honors the life and works of Thomas Edison. Located in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, the park preserves Thomas Edison's laboratory and residence which were designed by Henry Hudson Holly in 1887. The laboratory had a significant impact on the lives of people worldwide for more than 40 years with major inventions like sound recordings, the motion picture camera, silent and sound movies, and improved phonographs. The laboratory was designated as Edison Laboratory National Monument in 1956 and features a small, two-room museum with an impressive collection of Edison memorabilia such as dynamos, historic light bulbs, phonographs, and portions of Edison's electric train test track. Guided tours of the museum are available for free.

211 Main St, West Orange, NJ 07052-5612, Phone: 973-736-0550

24. Voorhees State Park

Voorhees State Park
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Voorhees State Park is a 1,400-acre state park in the Lebanon Township that once served as a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Managed by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, Voorhees State Park was established in 1929 when the former governor of New Jersey, Foster M. Voorhees, donated his 325-acre farm to New Jersey. The park boasts breathtaking views of the Round Valley and Spruce Run Reservoir and offers amenities and activities such as camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, and star-gazing at an observatory built by the New Jersey Astronomical Association in 1965.

251 County Road Route 513, Glen Gardner, NJ 08826, Phone: 908-638-8572

25. Washington Rock State Park

Washington Rock State Park
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Set on the top of the first Watchung Mountain in Green Brook and boasting 30 miles of spectacular panoramic views over the eastern plains of New Jersey, Washington Rock State Park features 52 acres of beautiful landscapes. One of the oldest state parks in New Jersey, the park is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry and commemorates the historical events of 1777, in which General George Washington monitored British troops moving toward Westfield under General William Howe. The scenic state park is a popular site for picnicking, hiking, camping, and relaxing.

Green Brook Township, NJ 08812, Phone: 908-722-1200

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