With summer well under way, your local pool may seem less exciting than it did that first sunny day in June. Or worse, maybe you're on the dreaded wait list and are still hoping for that coveted pool membership. Here are a few great places to take a dip somewhere new—and don't worry, everyone is welcome.
Bass River State Park (Tuckerton): In addition to swimming, canoeing, and boating, there's a beach, nature trails, and even campsites. Fees are by vehicle: $5 on weekdays and $10 on weekends; $2 for walkers and bicyclists.
Darlington County Park (Mahwah): With three lakes, two for swimming and one for fishing, there's plenty to do. Not to mention the new children's playground, sandy beach, picnic area, handball and tennis courts, and camping sites nearby. Rates are per person, and vary based on age and residential status.
Hopatcong State Park (Landing): The highlight here is a large freshwater lake, making it a perfect place for swimming as well as fishing and boating. Fees are by vehicle, $6 on weekdays and $10 on weekends; $3 for walkers and bicyclists.
Lewis Morris Park/Sunrise Lake (Morristown): This park has more than 1,000 acres featuring swimming in Sunrise Lake, as well as a Parcourse Exercise Circuit, ball fields, and camping. There's a fantastic new playground, too. Lake fees vary by activity.
Tomahawk Lake (Sparta): Not only does this spot feature a 20-acre lake, but it has New Jersey's largest white sand beach as well. There are also plenty of other attractions to choose from including water slides, rides, boats (swan, paddle, bumper, and duck), and non-aquatic activities like mini-golf, horseshoes, and volleyball. Entry costs are by person, and vary with day of week and activities.
Wawayanda State Park (Hewitt): Featuring more than 40 miles of hiking trails, this park is perfect for those who want to combine a swim with a climb—the views from the top of Wawayanda Mountain are well worth the trek. In addition to swimming, the lake offers boating, fishing, picnicking, and camping. Fees are by vehicle, $5 on weekdays and $10 on weekends.