STAFF PHOTO / Hacklebarney State Park

NJ is called the Garden State for a reason, and its 30 state parks are a big reason why. We’ve highlighted some of our faves for every kind of kid. Visit New Jersey’s official site for more info on all of the following locations.

For the History Buff

Allaire State Park

Peek into Allaire State Park’s museum and Allaire Village, formerly known as the Howell Works, to see exhibits dating back to the 19th-century bog iron industry and historic buildings including a general store, blacksmith’s shop and carpenter’s shop.

4265 Atlantic Ave., Wall; 732-938-2371


Liberty State Park

In addition to kayak eco tours, this state park offers Empty Sky, a memorial featuring twin brushed stainless-steel walls, engraved with the names of the 749 people from NJ who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

200 Morris Pesin Drive, Jersey City; 201-915-3403

Monmouth Battlefield State Park

This 2,928-acre park focuses on the history of the Monmouth Campaign of 1778. Take a driving or walking tour of the battlefield, then hear a program about General Charles Lee or the role of black troops in the 18th-century battle. Along with the natural landmark, peek into the Craig House, a farmhouse from the 1800s that was the home of John and Ann Craig during the Battle of Monmouth.

16 Business Rte. 33, Manalapan; 732-462-0756

Princeton Battlefield State Park

This spot has plenty of special features for the kiddos to explore, like the Princeton Battlefield, the Clarke House Museum, Offspring, Mercer Oak and the Ionic Colonnade.

500 Mercer Rd., Princeton; 609-737-0623


Washington Crossing State Park

This historic park features an 18th-century gambrel roof farmhouse and a museum with more than 700 military-related artifacts from the 18th century, in addition to their hiking trails and wildlife habitats. If the kiddos love theatre, visit the Downtown Performing Arts Center of Lambertville, for periodical shows at their an open air theater.

355 Washington Crossing Pennington Rd., Titusville; 609-737-0623

For the Beach Bum

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Swing by Old Barney for summer walking trails, fishing spots and a picnic area. Scale the lighthouse, an iconic landmark on LBI for over 150 years. The lighthouse is closed for a restoration project and will remained closed through the spring. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park will continue to be open for fishing, hiking, birding and picnicking. The park office, fisherman’s walkway and trails also will remain open for guests to enjoy.

208 Broadway, Barnegat Light; 609-494-2016


Cape May Point State Park

Meander around ponds, coastal dunes, marshes and forest habitats along this beachy state park. Ditch the trails and run up the 157-foot high Cape May staple, one of New Jersey’s 11 unique lighthouses.

Lighthouse Ave., Cape May Point; 609-884-5404 

Island Beach State Park and Marina

Enjoy miles of white sandy beaches that are home to local wildlife. You are only allowed to swim in designated areas and when lifeguards are on duty. The installation of a new sewer line in the northbound lane from the park gatehouse to the nature center will take months, so be advised of intermittent lane closures. If you love the sound of the waves, log in to their OBA1 Beach Cam from home.

S Bayview Ave. & 24th Ave., Seaside Park; 800-852-7899

For the Nature Lover

Allamuchy Mountain State Park

With more than 14 miles of marked trails, there’s something for the beginners and expert hikers in your fam alike. Go for a horseback ride or try your hand at fishing at one of their many lakes and ponds. If you want to go rock climbing, secure a permit first. Campsites are open for families from April 1 through October.

Waterloo Rd., Stanhope; 908-852-3790

Cheesequake State Park

This state park features plenty of hiking trails and beautiful tree-lined paths. Stop in the Nature Center for exhibits about local wildlife and their habitats. You can also take a swim, but only in designated areas and when lifeguards are on duty.

300 Gordon Rd., Matawan; 732-566-2161

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park

Camp at Island Bull’s Recreation area for boating, fishing and more outdoor activities. Rent a canoe from the Griggstown or Princeton Canoe rental stations, for hours of water-filled fun.

2185 Daniel Bray Hwy. (Rte. 29), Stockton; 609-397-2949

Hacklebarney State Park

Along with miles of lush hiking trails and designated picnic areas with charcoal grills, visitors can fish year-round at Black River or hunt in over 620 acres of designated area. While dogs are allowed on leashes, no bikes are permitted on any trail. Be aware, the restrooms are currently closed.

119 Hacklebarney Rd., Long Valley; 908-638-8572


High Point State Park

Visit the High Point Monument, a 220-foot obelisk built in the early 20th century, during select times throughout the year, staff and weather permitting; currently, the interior is closed, but you can still visit the area. Sawmill and Park Ridge Road are currently closed. Entrance fees are charged per vehicle from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

1480 NJ-23, Sussex; 973-875-4800

Hopatcong State Park

Stretching from Bergen to Warren County, the Morris Canal was an engineering landmark that transported coal, iron ore, manufactured goods and agricultural produce. The area is known for fishing, picnic areas and plenty of hiking trails.

260 Lakeside Blvd, Landing; 973-398-7010

Jenny Jump State Forest

The kids will be jumping for Jenny Jump State Forest, which includes 21,000-year-old glaciers from the Wisconsin Ice Age. Hunting, fishing, boating, canoeing and picnic areas are also available for nature lovers of all ages. Be wary of black bears! Educational brochures are available at the park office.

330 State Park Rd, Hope; 908-459-4366

Ramapo Mountain State Forest

Hike along interior woodlands and rocky vistas with trails ranging from one to six miles. Bring along the mountain bikes or in the winter, try your hand at cross-country skiing. Designated areas are open for hunting, too.

253 Skyline Dr., Oakland; 973-962-7031

Round Valley Recreation Area

As one of the few parks open for wilderness camping, Round Valley features three marked trails and a fourth unmarked water trail. Munch on a snack at one of three picnic areas or take a dip at their designated swimming areas (when lifeguards are on duty). Waterfowl may be hunted at the recreation area on a seasonal basis.

1220 Stanton Lebanon Rd, Lebanon; 908-236-6355

Voorhees State Park

At Voorhees State Park, there’s more than just hiking available for wilderness explorers. Grills and picnic areas can be reserved. Campgrounds open annually from April through October.

251 County Rd. Route 513, Glen Gardner; 908-638-8572

More NJ State Parks

Abram S. Hewitt State Forest – West Milford Township

Atsion Recreation Area – Shamong Township

Bass River State Forest – Tuckerton

Belleplain State Forest – Woodbine

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest – New Lisbon

Corson’s Inlet State Park – Ocean City

Double Trouble State Park – Bayville

Senator Frank S. Farley State Marina – Atlantic City

Farny State Park – Rockaway Township

Forked River State Marina – Forked River

Fortescue State Marina – Fortescue

Fort Mott State Park – Pennsville

Hacklebarney State Park – Long Valley

Kittatinny Valley State Park – Andover Township

Leonardo State Marina – Leonardo

Liberty Landing Marina – Jersey City

Long Pond Ironworks State Park – Ringwood

Norvin Green State Forest – Ringwood

Parvin State Park – Pittsgrove Township

Penn State Forest – Chatsworth

Rancocas State Park – Hainesport

Ringwood State Park – Ringwood

Spruce Run Recreation Area – Clinton

Stephens State Park – Hackettstown

Stokes State Park – Sandyston

Swartswood State Park – Swartswood

Warren Grove Recreation Area – Barnegat

Washington Rock State Park – Green Brook Township

Wawayanda State Park – Hewitt

Wharton State Forest – Hammonton

Worthington State Forest – Columbia

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