NJ Playgrounds Worth Traveling To
Bored with your local swingset? Here are a few amazing New Jersey playgrounds worth driving to.
If you've been to your neighborhood playground so many times that the monkey bars have lost their thrill, it's time for a change. Next time your kids are in the mood for some swinging and sliding, pile everyone in the car and head to one of these amazing playgrounds—they’re worth the trip!
Beautiful Overpeck County Park (spread out over four towns) includes five miles of walking paths, several fields, fishing and even kayaking spots—but by far our favorite hangout is the playground inside the Ridgefield Park section. We love that it has a ton of climbing walls (which means no waiting), plus shaky bridges and wobbly tables to surf on and so many twisting ladders and spinning monkey bars you’ll be grateful for the shady gazebo area.
Don’t Miss: Kids will love the massive spider web climbing structure, which soars up to 15 feet high (and has a trampoline in the middle!). Should anyone tumble, the mulch-covered ground below protects against bumpy landings.
Channel your inner Tarzan at this spacious playground filled with giant one-of-a-kind climbing structures like big wooden cars, planes and ships—all built by local volunteers out of wood and tires. The fenced in area for tinier tots means little kids can’t get lost on the big jungle gyms and the mini obstacle course filled with balance beams and rubberized wobbly bridges will keep the big kids happy. Daredevils of all ages will careen down the zipline in over and over.
Don’t Miss: Check out the tire swing—it’s part climbing-structure, part wiggly thrill ride and big enough for the whole family pile on.
Regatta is one of newest playgrounds in the state and already one of our very favorites—nestled in the giant South Mountain Reservation complex right near the Turtle Back Zoo next to the swan-boat-filled Orange reservoir. The play area takes inspiration from its waterside location with an enormous ship centerpiece, complete with huge “rock” outcroppings that make for excellent climbing. There’s a mini boat for toddlers, a dragonfly seesaw, mushroom obstacle courses, cushy surfaces all around to prevent scrapes and plenty of nautical-inspired Adirondack chairs perfect for parent lounging.
Don’t Miss: We love the massive boat structure (named “Lion’s Pride after the Essex County mascot) which features telescopes, climbing walls and slides.
Not one, but three separate play structures, a cute zoo, pony rides for the kids, a huge carousel, some beautiful shady walking paths and a fabulous train ride (that gets an awesome haunted makeover in the fall) are all reasons to plan a day-long visit. Inside the playground, there’s a newly built toddler area designed around a sweet animal theme (we love the little owls and pine trees that decorate it), plus tall climbing towers, lots of wobbly balance beams, slides and rock walls galore. What’s more—most of the playgrounds here are ADA accessible, which means kids of all abilities have room to play.
Don’t Miss: Check out the brand-new marsh-themed splash pad where kids can cool off and then get right back to play.
Play “farmer” all day at this park devoted to tractors and barns—there’s even a really tall slide made to look like a big grain silo—great for pretend play. If you sit in the elevated gazebo in the center of the play space you can keep an eye on the big kids as they run around in. In warmer months, pack a dinner and stay for an evening concert or movie at the amphitheater.
Don’t Miss: This playground is particularly great for toddlers and preschoolers, with a big section devoted to age-appropriate climbing walls and slides.
The playground here takes advantage of its urban Newport neighborhood setting, offering jaw-dropping, unobstructed views of the NYC skyline. This is a neighborhood with a lot of recent construction, and the playground is new and modern too—blending into its surroundings with a silver and dark blue color scheme. Kids will ignore the view and have a blast climbing up the funky cargo nets, spinning around in the stand-up merry-go-round and then dashing off to cool down in the big splash area.
Don’t Miss: The beach! There’s an actual beachfront here where kids can bring their beach toys and dip their toes in the sand. Not quite the Jersey Shore (since there’s no ocean to play in), but it’s a great nearby alternative and with the sprayground just steps away, they can still get wet.
Near 659 Madison Hill Rd., Clark
This fenced-in playground has a spongy, less-likely-your-kid-will-get-hurt ground, and is also right next to tennis courts, a huge rock climbing wall and (don't forget the helmets) a great skating area with lots of ramps. If skating isn't for your family, take a stroll on the half-mile walking path around the freshwater wetland.
Roxbury Imagination Station
78 Eyland Ave., Succasunna
This spot's rocketship and sea vessel will definitely be a hit with your astronaut-in-training or pirate-to-be, but it's the beautiful murals and painted peekholes that really set this fenced-in playground apart from the rest!
Ross Dock at Fort Lee
Henry Hudson Dr., Palisades Interstate Park System
While your kids are busy climbing tall towers and scooting down slides, you'll be amazed by the incredible view! This Palisades Interstate Park playground sits right next to the Hudson River, just a short ride from the George Washington Bridge. (Travel tip: There's a super scenic spot filled with urban art right under the bridge, so if you drive through on your way to the park, don't forget the camera!)
Perrineville Rd., Jamesburg
Thompson park has all the playground staples, but it's also home to a mini zoo! Stop by the fenced-in wildlife area to visit the deer and feed the ducks. (Note: NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife strongly discourages feeding wild deer.)
Which playgrounds do you love? Let us know of any great ones we might have missed!