There is no better way to enjoy a warm afternoon than a picnic with a scenic view. Pack a tasty charcuterie board, some refreshing white wine and enjoy nature’s beauty. Whether it’s in a wildflower field or on a sandy beach, picnicking is a fun activity for all ages—and of course, a great opportunity for a photoshoot too! Adventure to these enchanting NJ picnic spots perfect for an outing with family and friends.
Picnic Packing List
Before choosing your picnic destination, first you’re going to need to prep and pack in your favorite wicker basket. Here is a quick checklist of picnic essentials you are going to need.
- A blanket and/or chairs
- A cooler
- Plates for serving and eating
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Cups or glasses
- Food and drink of choice
- A bottle opener, if needed
- Paper towels
- Trash bags
13 NJ Picnic Spots
Here are 13 of the best picnicking spots in NJ. Find the perfect location near you and enjoy an afternoon surrounded by beautiful landscapes!
Palisades Interstate Park — Fort Lee, NJ
Located on the Hudson River waterfront, Palisades Interstate Park is home to gorgeous nature trails and scenic views. Open during all daylight hours, the park is 12 miles long and visitors can picnic basically anywhere and enjoy the view of the Hudson! Their “carry in, carry out” policy asks guests to carry out their trash to ensure the park is clean and enjoyed by everyone. If you are planning on grilling, there are four riverfront areas where it is allowed, picnic tables are available on site. It is important to note that there is a small fee upon entering the park. Check out the Palisades Interstate Park website for more specific picnicking information.
Cheesequake State Park — Cheesequake, NJ
Cheesequake State Park is one of New Jersey’s magical natural wonders. Open fields, salt and freshwater marshes, swamps, and thick wooden forests can all be found throughout the small park. Enjoy the captivating environment by lunching at one of the many small picnic areas with tables and grills. Large parties of more than 20 people are required to reserve picnic tables five days in advance. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is $5 for New Jersey residents to enter on weekdays, $10 on weekends.
Parvin State Park — Pittsgrove, NJ
Witness the blooming wildlife and charm of Parvin State Park. Located only 40 miles south of Philadelphia, PA, this beautiful park has views of Parvin Lake where guests can go swimming, and get access to hiking trails and campsites. From sunrise to sunset, picnickers can set up their feasts almost anywhere, but Parvin State Park offers several picnicking areas with tables and grills. Similar to Cheesequake, parties larger than 20 must reserve tables five days in advance. Park entry is only $2 for NJ residents.
Hacklebarney State Park — Long Valley, NJ
For a relaxing picnic spot, enjoy the peaceful sounds of the Black River gorge flowing through Hacklebarney State Park. Open sunrise to sunset, visitors can hike through the winding trails to find the beautiful river and falls throughout the park. Settle down near the gorge for a romantic picnicking experience. The park has no fee to enter, but remember to carry out any trash you bring in with you.
Liberty State Park — Jersey City, NJ
Bask in the sun and enjoy a sunset picnic while gazing at the New York City Skyline. Liberty State Park can be found right on the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City, NJ. This famous locale is popular for picturesque picnics. The park is open during daylight hours and free to enter. Some rules for picnickers to note – there is no alcohol allowed, no tents, and parties larger than 20 must notify the park five days in advance.
Cooper River Park — Cherry Hill, NJ
This riverside park runs through the towns of Cherry Hill, Pennsauken, Collingswood, and Haddon. Cooper River Park is a popular spot for locals to walk through, boat, and, of course, picnic! Enjoy your meal while watching rowers float along the scenic river. While visitors are welcome to set up their lunch almost anywhere, there are also four picnicking areas known as Wallenberg Gazebo, Armitage Pavilion, Hopkins House, and Subaru Gazebo. The park is open every day during daylight hours.
South Mountain Reservation — West Orange, NJ
South Mountain Reservation is a gorgeous Essex County attraction. The nature reserve is full of hiking trails, waterfalls, scenic views, and is the perfect environment to have an outdoor meal. Whether you choose to visit the historic Washington Rock overview, or the park near the Turtle Back Zoo, visitors are welcome to lay down their picnic blankets and enjoy food and nature. The park is free to enter and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sayen House and Gardens — Hamilton, NJ
Located in Hamilton Square, the enchanting Sayen House and Gardens is a sanctuary for garden enthusiasts. Frederick Sayen bought the property in 1912. After building his bungalow, Sayen took to planting his beautiful gardens and included various plant species from China, Japan, and England. Picnicking among the blooming botanicals of Sayen House Gardens truly feels as though you are living in another time period. Filled with history and gorgeous flora, this is the perfect spot for picnic lovers. The house and gardens are free to access and are open every day from dawn to dusk.
Lewis Morris County Park — Morris, NJ
This popular park located in Morris, NJ, is home to weddings, birthday parties, and events along the lovely Sunrise Lake. Lewis Morris County Park is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic, especially for locals nearby. Picnickers are able to make reservations online if you want to enjoy the grilling and table area. Fees vary depending on the table location you are booking for.
Cape May Point State Park — Cape May, NJ
This natural sanctuary located at the tip of New Jersey’s peninsula is the perfect spot to indulge in a delicious picnic while taking in the native wildlife. This park is one of the most popular bird watching spots in North America and is full of meadows, ponds, marshes, and beaches. Cape May Point is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and has no entrance fee. Visitors are welcome to picnic throughout the park and areas with tables and shelters are provided. Large parties of more than 20 people are required to reserve picnic tables five days in advance.
Grounds for Sculpture — Princeton, NJ
Looking for an elegant picnicking experience? At the Grounds for Sculpture in Princeton, NJ, you can picnic in a whimsical garden of artwork and flora. Guests at the Grounds for Sculpture can purchase a picnicking package from their popular eatery, Rat’s Restaurant. The $60 picnic pack comes in an insulated tote, a bottle of wine, tumblers, and delicious food. Enjoy classic French cuisine while being submerged in the culture of the park. Before visiting, guests must buy tickets online to enter. It is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, military, and healthcare workers, $10 for children 6 to 17 years old, while children younger are able to enter for free.
Princeton Battlefield State Park — Princeton, NJ
If you’re a history buff, Princeton Battlefield State Park is the perfect picnic spot for you. Dining here feels as though you are transported to another era. The historic atmosphere of the park emanates the stories of the revolutionary war in New Jersey. In these very fields, George Washington defeated the British Troops in the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. As you picnic, take in the historical significance of the park while also enjoying the natural environment around you. The park is free to enter and is open during daylight hours.
Holland Ridge Farm — Cream Ridge, NJ
Nothing is better than picnicking in the rolling golden fields of sunflowers during the summertime. After picking some sunflowers, settle down at a picnic table at Holland Ridge Farm to eat among the yellow giants and other colorful botanical beauties grown on the property. The farm is home to various food trucks filled with snacks and diverse meal options!
Main photo by Jennie Clavel
About the Author/s
Meg is studying magazine journalism and civic engagement at Syracuse University with a passion for writing and editing. She is a Jersey girl at heart and has a slight obsession with Chai Tea Lattes.