For those of you who have forgotten, we are dubbed â€œThe Garden Stateâ€ for a reason. It may require some exploring, but there are still plenty of must see scenic spots left in New Jersey. Â If youâ€™re looking for a new weekend activity that wonâ€™t break the bank, get back in touch with nature. All of the sites below are free or nearly free to visit. So pack a lunch and set off to visit one or all of the places listed below.
Sunrise Mountain. Catch bald eagles soaring the skies from this vista located within Stokes State Forest in Sussex County. Turn off Route 206 and either drive or hike up to the 1,653 foot-tall peak. Hang out and relax for awhile in the stone pavilion while taking in the incredible views of the farmlands below. If youâ€™re still itching for more elevated scenery, take a short drive to High Point State Park to see what Jersey looks like from the highest spot in the state at High Point monument.
Sussex County Sunflower Maze (in season). Another Sussex County favorite, people come from all over the state to frolic and take pictures in 1.5 million flowers. As the east coastâ€™s largest sunflower field, it is the epitome of what it means to be â€œThe Garden Stateâ€. Located on Route 565 in Augusta, grab some Jersey fresh fruit and treats at Roselineâ€™s Farm and Bakery across the street.
Liberty State Park. For those who would like to stay in their urban comfort zone but still feel a sense of escape, Liberty State Park in Jersey City is the place for you. Lay out on a blanket, soak in the sun and views of the New York City skyline without experiencing the chaos that comes with it.
Pochuck Boardwalk/Suspension Bridge. Hiking the Appalachian Trail may not be suitable for everyone, but the Pochuck boardwalk portion in Vernon is easily accessible for anyone, no matter what age or fitness level. The mile long boardwalk leads to a 100 foot-long suspension bridge. Take in the mountainous landscape that surrounds you as you walk along the planks in a valley of high grass.
The Great Falls of the Passaic River. Designated as part of a National Historic Landmark, the massive falls formed after the last ice age 13,000 years ago. Today you can see the cascading water in Paterson from Haines Overlook Park or Mary Ellen Kramer Park. To get a quick view, drive by the falls on McBride Avenue.
Luna Parc. Located off the beaten path in the town of Sandyston, Luna Parc is an aspiring artistâ€™s paradise. Ricky Boscarino, owner of the home/studio has transformed his humble abode into a work of art. Featured in TLCâ€™s â€œFour Housesâ€ and Weird NJ, Luna Parc will make you feel like youâ€™re in a real life version of Alice in Wonderland. Boscarino transforms ordinary objects like glass bottles or walking crutches into psychedelic works of art. Every room offers a unique jaw dropping experience. However, Boscarino does like to maintain some privacy, so plan your trip during one of his bi-yearly open houses. The next open house will be Oct. 11-13.
Paulinskill Viaduct. Featured in Weird NJ magazine, the Paulinskill Viaduct is for the eager to adventure type. Located in Blairstown, the Paulinskill Viaduct is home to a variety of graffiti art, remote views, and spooky tales. From the road, the architecture alone will light up your eyes, but most visitors disregard the trespassing laws and walk along the out of service railroad on top of the structure or maneuver their way through the arches. From the top, you are above the tree line and can see the Paulinskill River gently floating 115 feet below you.