Sussex County Winner: BYRAM TOWNSHIP

courtesy Byram Township

The Township of Lakes is a nature-loving family’s dream. “Our children loved to swim, boat, hike, bike and fish, and Byram offered all of this,” says Doris Flynn, the Sussex County town’s municipal clerk, mother of three and a resident for 24 years. Its bounty of hiking spots and scenic sights earned Byram Twp. another nickname: Gateway to New Jersey Trails (there are 11 in town). Sussex Branch Trail, a roughly 20-mile spread that spans Netcong to Branchville, is ideal for jogging, biking, horseback riding and more.

Cranberry Lake is one of 15 in town, and offers swimming, beaching, boating, summer events and a snack bar. Waterloo Village is also a favorite: The gem on the Morris Canal is a recreation of a Lenape village, and has buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, plus an operating gristmill and blacksmith shop.

Beyond the town’s natural beauty, parents rave about Byram Intermediate School, which was named a New Jersey School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. High schoolers attend Lenape Valley Regional High with students from Netcong and Stanhope.

Fun fact: Sussex Branch Trail follows the route that was once the county’s first railroad.

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