11 National Parks to Visit in New Jersey

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After experiencing an unprecedented spring and summer we are headed into another season of unpredictability. Luckily, the views aren’t bad from one of the Garden State’s many national parks. Work out the frustration of being limited this year with miles and miles of hiking path and biking trails. Trade local views for natural outlooks and switch online history lessons for the chance to stand where historical figures lived, invented, and survived their own troubling times. Here’s a guide to national parks to visit in New Jersey.

national parks new jersey

{Photo credit: @delwatergapnps}

Disclaimer: All parks have access points in New Jersey. Given the expansive nature of National Parks, the addresses listed may not be in New Jersey. However, trailheads, visitor centers, or marinas are accessible within state borders.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail {1480 NJ-23, Sussex}

Completed in 1937, this footpath spans more than 2,100 miles and crosses through 14 states on the east coast. Avid hikers in New Jersey can test their skills with 72 miles running through the northwestern part of the state. The trail is open year-round from Maine to Georgia.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area {1978 River Road, Bushkill, PA}

The park’s headquarters are technically located in Pennsylvania but with more than 70,000 total acres there is more than enough of the park situated closer to home in New Jersey. Enjoy the great outdoors without traveling too far by paddling down the river, fishing from the shore, or hiking through the ridges and hills.

Ellis Island {Ellis Island, Jersey City}

Hear the stories of the 12 million people who passed through Ellis Island at this close-to-home national park. Audio tours are available to enhance the visitor experience. The museum is limited to 25% capacity and advanced tickets are recommended. Parking is available at 30 Audrey Zapp Drive in Jersey City where visitors then go through airport-level security to take a ferry to Liberty or Ellis Island.

Read More: 8 Alpaca Farms to Visit in New Jersey

Morristown National Historical Park {30 Washington Place, Morristown}

History and war buffs will find this spot intriguing. Consisting of several sites, this national park commemorates General Washington and the Continental Army’s winter encampment of December 1779. The park maintains a museum and library collection related to the encampments and Revolutionary-era America. The sites include the museum, the information center at Jockey Hollow, the Wick House, and the Penn Line huts.

Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River {355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville}

Nestled between New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the Delaware River is the largest free-flowing river in the eastern United States. This unit of the National Park System was formed in 2000, consisting of key segments of the lower Delaware River. Enjoy paths for walking, hiking, and biking. Surrounding towns offer guests the opportunity to step into the past with historical houses and vintage shops open for shopping and tours. Enter at the Washington Crossing State Park for easy access to the rest of the national park.

Great Egg Harbor River {Mays Landing Marina Route 617, Mays Landing}

With more than 120 miles of the river system, the Great Egg Harbor River winds through the Pinelands National Reserve. According to nps.gov the best stretch for canoeing is the 22 miles between Penny Pot County Park and Atlantic County Park at Lake Lenape. Boats are available for rent at the marina in Mays Landing for beginners and experienced river enthusiasts.

Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area {Sandy Hook}

Encompassing Sandy Hook, NJ, and Jamaica Bay, NY this park cover 27,000 acres of beaches, wildlife, and outdoor recreation space. Join the more than 9 million annual visitors in exploring historic structures and cultural landscapes. With such a high influx of visitors, Sandy Hook is the 4th most visited national park in the country and is easily accessible by car, ferry, bus, or train.

New Jersey Pinelands {15 Springfield Road, New Lisbon}

Hiking in the New Jersey Pinelands will afford great lookout points to see the sprawling forests of the Garden State. Classified as a United States Biosphere Reserve since 1978, this National Reserve would make for a great biology expedition for young minds wanting to expand remote learning. Discover over one-million acres of farms, forests, and wetlands with all the natural inhabitants to go with it.

Great Falls National Historic Park {72 McBride Avenue, Paterson}

Established in 1792 as America’s first industrial city, Paterson has continued to stay popular thanks to its proximity to the Great Falls of the Passaic River. A trip to this national park would include history, hiking trails, and inspiring waterfall views. The grounds are open but the welcome center remains temporarily closed. Guests can take historic mill tours and stories of founding father Alexander Hamilton.

See More: Museums to Visit in North Jersey

Thomas Edison National Historical Park {211 Main Street, West Orange}

Take a step back in time when visiting the estate where modern America was invented. Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory have been preserved as a historical location of significance where visitors can get a feel for what life would have been like for the renowned inventor and businessman. Glenmont Estate is opening in phases, currently with the laboratory courtyard open to visitors, but when the full estate is open ranger-led tours of the house and grounds are available.

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route {101 Barrack Street, Trenton}

This historic trail runs through 10 of the eastern states, one of them being New Jersey. One-stop along the route in New Jersey is the Old Barracks, which were originally built during the French and Indian War but were later used by Washington and his armies during the Revolutionary War. The park is made up of approximately 2,155 square miles in New Jersey, including 212 municipalities in 14 counties. The building is open for tours with advanced tickets reserved online.

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Originally from North Carolina, Ainsley became a proud Hoboken Girl years ago. As a freelance journalist she has written about everything under the sun for the past six years. She works from her home office in uptown Hoboken or sometimes from Choc-o-Pain, because nothing says “freelancer” like working from a café with a fresh croissant nearby. As the mother of one very fast toddler, she has a passion for self-care, parenting hacks, and discovering all the fun things the Mile Square has to offer.