State Parks in New Jersey

State Parks in New Jersey
The New Jersey Division of State Parks and Forestry manages more than 375,000 acres of land, including 57 historic sites, 43 natural areas, 39 parks, 11 forests, three recreation areas and one golf course. The small state with a diverse geography features dense pine forests, wetlands, lakes, beaches, valleys and mountains. New Jersey state parks offer countless opportunities for a nature enthusiast to go hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, skiing, horseback riding or camping.

Ringwood State Park

Encompassing more than 4,000 acres in Bergen and Passaic Counties, the state park includes a visitor's center, formal gardens, Ringwood Manor, Skylands Manor and the Shepherd Lake Recreation area. Marked hiking trails are open to the public to explore, including several that connect the Ringwood and Skylands sections of the park. The Skylands area offers multi-use trails suitable for nature walks, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Winter activities on the trails include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and sledding. Shepherd Lake offers the opportunity to ride on the 7.5 mile mountain bike loop as well as to go fishing, swimming, picnicking and boating. Canoe and boat rentals are available and there is also a trailer launch area. Explore the 96-acres of the State Botanical Garden with its extensive variety of plants, evergreens and trees as well as terraced gardens, perennial and annual gardens and woodland paths. The gardens are open throughout the year and provide scenic views of the Ramapo Mountains. Although there is no entrance fee for park, there are sometimes fees for several of the activities, tours and attractions.

Ringwood State Park
1304 Sloatsburg Rd.
Ringwood, NJ 07456-1799
(973) 962-7031
state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/ringwood.html

Stokes State Forest

This Sussex County park includes the Sunrise Mountain scenic overlook, Tillman Ravine Natural Area and the Appalachian Trail. Go camping, swimming, picnicking and boating and fishing in lakes, ponds and the Flatbrook. In the winter, the park is a popular destination for ice skating, cross- country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. With panoramic views at more than 1,600 feet above sea level, the crest of Sunrise Mountain is one of the most frequently visited areas in the park. Hike past natural vegetation such as mountain laurel, wild blueberries, pitch pine and scrub oak on your way to the scenic overlook. If you do not want to hike, you can take a short drive to pavilion at the summit. The 525 acres of the Tillman Ravine Natural Area includes several trails that wander through the evergreen forest, alongside the Tillman Brook. Enjoy views of waterfalls, and possibly catch a glimpse of the threatened barred owl. If you enjoy camping, reserve a stay at one of the furnished cabins adjacent to Lake Ocquittunk. The cabins may be equipped with a wood stove, two single beds, one double-deck bunk, a kitchen, a refrigerator, electric stove and a half-bath with toilet and sink.

Stokes State Forest
1 Coursen Rd.
Branchville, NJ 07826
(973) 948-3820
state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/stokes.html

Liberty State Park

The only location in New Jersey offering ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the 1,212 acre park is situated in the middle of metropolitan northern New Jersey. Attractions in the park include the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (CRRNJ) and an outdoor performance area in the northern section of the park. The Liberty Science Center is in the western section and the eastern section features a picnic area, the Interpretive Center, the CRRNJ Terminal and Liberty Walk, a two-mile promenade with views of the Hudson River. The Interpretive Center is open year-round and the center displays exhibits focusing on the natural history and ecology of the Hudson River Estuary. Educational programs are available for the public, as well as for school and community groups. The state-of-the-art Liberty Science Center features the 20,000-square-foot Jennifer A. Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching and educational interactive displays. The park also contains a marina and miles of walkways suitable for walking, jogging, biking or rollerblading. Follow the trail along Freedom Way, enjoy birdwatching or bring the family for picnics and the playgrounds. Fishing, crabbing, boating and kayaking are also permitted.

Liberty State Park
1 Audrey Zapp Dr.
Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 915-3440
state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/liberty.html

Article Written By Betsy Bender

Betsy Bender is a media consultant with experience in publishing, event management, media relations, digital media and television production. Specializing in entertainment, travel and sports, Bender has worked with high-profile personalities, facilitated publicity campaigns for network television programs and traveled to more than 100 cities in eight countries, including Russia and Australia.

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