The Top 20 Parks in North Jersey (2020 Updated List)

by Michelle Coneo
best parks in jersey

As the summer fades away, so do the week-long vacations with our loved ones. However, that doesn’t mean all the fun is gone. The Garden State comes with many spots where everyone can enjoy lovely picnics, beautiful landscapes and unforgettable memories. Here at The Digest, we narrowed down the list to the top 20 parks in North Jersey.

1. Liberty State Park 

Jersey City, NJ 

parks in north jersey

Views of Lower Manhattan from Liberty State Park | Photo by Jonathan Roger

Located on the Upper New York Bay, Liberty State Park is one of the best-known parks in New Jersey. Spanning over 1,200 acres, this park has been offering majestic views of New York City, Liberty Island and Ellis Island since 1976.

Besides delighting its visitors with the perfect scene for sunset pictures, Liberty State Park includes the Liberty Science Center, bike paths, the Freedom and Liberty Walkway, picnic facilities, monuments, memorials and a playground, among other amenities. This iconic green oasis is adjacent to Downtown Jersey City and is without a doubt one of the best parks in North Jersey. 

2. Hacklebarney State Park

Morris County, NJ

This year-round hiking destination borders the townships of Long Valley and Chester. Above all, apart from being known for glorious waterfalls flowing from the Black River, the soil of this park is also famous by the past inhabitants of Native American tribes.

Moreover, it contains multiple hiking trails, a playground and picnic tables throughout its 978 acres, in addition to a very rich fauna and flora. Overall, Hacklebarney State Park is an astonishing place to fish, picnic and enjoy quality time with friends and family. 

3. Palisades Interstate Park

Alpine/ Englewood Cliffs/ Fort Lee/ New York

parks in north nj

Managed by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, these grounds are the linear connection between over 100,000 acres of parks and historic sites. Starting from Alpine to Fort Lee in New Jersey, to adjacent sites in New York State. In fact, it presents its visitors with an unforgettable sightseeing experience of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge. It also provides more than 30 miles of hiking and ski trails, including national recreation trails, picnic spots and even a boat launching ramp. It bridges Allison Park, Englewood Picnic Area, Fort Lee Historic Park and the Greenbook Sanctuary.

4. Lincoln Park 

Jersey City, NJ

Originally known as West Side Park, Lincoln Park is a very unique urban park. It entails two segments divided by the U.S Route 1/9 highway, into East and West. The east side of the park includes tennis fields, recreational amenities and about 3 acres dedicated to a fishing area. On the west side, visitors can appreciate the wetlands and fields for sports such as soccer, softball and baseball. 

5. High Point State Park 

Sussex County, NJ

New Jersey State Parks Forests and Historic Sites

This park sits at the highest point of the Garden State at 1,804 feet. Alluding to its name, the High Point Monument holds rich history as the remembrance of honor of all war veterans. Without a doubt, this state park is one of a kind for history lovers. It provides interpretive programs, swimming, camping, boating, skiing, fishing, hunting and many hiking trails that allow everyone to enjoy breathtaking views.

6. Washington Lake Park 

Washington Township, NJ

This recreational site makes it into the best parks in North Jersey because it stands as the largest municipal park in the Garden State. It is equipped with three playground areas (two of them handicap-accessible). It is the meeting point of youth sports programs performed in various softball, baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields. Along with tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

In short, it is surrounded by three covered pavilions with reserve grills, a cedar lake for fishing and a pond. Also, it brings a recreation area that works through reservations for activities such as Futsal, Dodgeball and restroom facilities. The park includes a fenced-in dog park for your dogs to run off-leash. 

7. Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park

Princeton, NJ

Among New Jerseyans, this popular recreational canal is known for being an excellent place to practice many aquatic activities like canoeing, boating and fishing. With its linear 70 miles, this park allows its guests to practice horseback riding, jogging, running and cycling.

Here, you can closely connect with a great variety of species of birds and other wildlife. Its architecture and surrounding buildings are eye-catching to history fans, which makes this place not only a recreational outlet but an educational one as well. 

8. Branch Brook Park

Newark, NJ 

Famous for being the country’s first county park, it embodies 360 acres that include a vast amount of facilities: basketball courts, a children’s garden, an urban farm, ball fields, a bocce court, tennis courts and a greenhouse. In fact, it includes a senior citizen center, a fitness course, a jogging loop a roller rink and an annual Cherry Blossom Festival. 

9. Roosevelt Park 

Edison, NJ

Located in Middlesex County, this park offers a wide range of services and accommodations. It contains the Veterans Memorial, seven tennis courts, four basketball courts, a softball field, six reservable picnic groves, three playgrounds, bike paths, walkways and a lake noted for fishing. Also, it is home to programs such as Plays in the Park staged in the Stephen J. Capestro Theater and the Kiddie Keep Well summer camp. 

10. Mercer County Park

West Windsor Township, NJ

This park occupies over 2,500 acres covering three townships (West Windsor, Lawrence and Hamilton). In fact, it hosts many annual events such as the Freedom Festival, the Irish American Festival and summer concerts. Likewise, it holds many facilities: 17 athletic fields used for soccer, football, lacrosse, ice skating and picnics. Mercer County Park is a perfect place to go hiking, biking and jogging. 

11. Brookdale Park 

Bloomfield, NJ

The third-largest park in Essex County offers activities for everyone: a fitness course, synthetic running track, football field, soccer fields, softball fields. Families often come to enjoy the bike paths, tennis courts, the playground together with the formal rose garden and interpretive trail.

Certainly, my favorite features of this park are the archery field, the dog park and the series of summer concerts that are brought to the community every year. 

12. Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

Paterson, NJ

best parks in nj

Photo by @rthiemann

Not only is the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park among the top parks in North Jersey, but it is also recognized as a historic national park that encapsulates mesmerizing views and valuable historical landmarks all in one. 

Most importantly, it is open for the public to engage in passive activities like fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, hiking, walking, running or jogging, biking, birding and horseback riding. Also, it includes tours to the Paterson Museum, the Great Falls, the Hinchliffe Stadium, and other historical buildings. 

13. Overpeck County Park 

Bergen County, NJ 

Surrounding five municipalities (Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park, Englewood and Teaneck), Overpeck Park is Bergen County’s largest recreational site. It charms its visitors with athletic fields (available by permit only), a running track and five miles of paths for cycling, jogging and running. By their dock, model boating is practiced and canoeing, as well as fishing at the pier.

With no doubt, one of the most fascinating qualities of this site is the indoor/outdoor riding areas and boarding lessons that are offered throughout the year.

14. Saddle River County Park 

Bergen County, NJ

This site offers enchanting scenery, it connects five park areas: Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Paramus, Ridgewood, Rochelle Park and Saddle Brook. Saddle River Park is about 577 acres that consist of a multipurpose pathway for cycling, jogging and walking. It comes with tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, picnicking pavilions, ADA-accessible playgrounds, fishing, model boating, ice skating and an off-leash dog park area.

15. Round Valley State Park 

Clinton, NJ 

Containing the deepest lake in New Jersey of approximately 180 feet deep and over 2,000 acres, Round Valley State Park is the ideal venue for camping in the wilderness, fishing, hunting, picnicking, boating and one of the few scuba/skin diving places in New Jersey. In addition, it is pet-friendly while also offering trails for hiking surrounding the grounds of this reservoir. 

16. Kittatinny Valley State Park

Andover, NJ

Located in Sussex County, this park embarks every visitor on a journey through their eminent glacial lakes, hiking trails and limestone outcroppings. Beyond its rich history, Kittatinny Valley State Park also contains the Aeroflex-Andover Airport. 

Due to its rich fauna, it provides a gateway to geocaching, camping, hunting activities, horseback riding, fishing, boating and kayaking.  That is to say, the winter activities such as cross-country skiing and dog sledding are also prominent in the area. 

17. Wawayanda State Park

Vernon Township/ West Milford

The seducing views of this 34,350-acre park give everyone the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing experience. It embodies a swimming beach in the Wawayanda Lake, many trails including a 20-mile segment of the Appalachian Trail, an amazing view to the Wawayanda Mountain, besides diverse species of birds and the Barrett Farm Historic Site. It allows canoeing, cycling, fishing, hunting, picnicking, boating, horseback riding, skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling.

18. Stokes State Forest

Sussex County, NJ

This state park delights its visitors with a stunning view of the Sunrise Mountain and the Appalachian Trail. Like most of the best parks in North Jersey, this is a wonderful place for hiking lovers, campers and hunters. Also, canoeing and boating are allowed along with horseback riding. This site completes the experience of its visitors with the Tillman Ravine Natural Area and the perfect views of waterfalls and birdwatching. 

19. Ringwood State Park

Ringwood, NJ

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Ringwood, New Jersey

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Composed of 4,444 acres, this park offers many facilities for the entertainment of its guests. It includes a visitor center and formal gardens. Also, beautiful countryside lands, access to Shepherd Lake, the St. Luke’s Chapel, the Thunder Mountain Skeet Range that is accompanied by natural trails where horseback riding is carried out. Likewise, mountain biking, hiking, hunting. When it comes to water activities, Ringwood State Park is known for boating, canoeing, ice fishing, sledding and more. 

20. Cheesequake State Park

Old Bridge, NJ

This state park in Middlesex County comes with year-round accommodations: a nature center, hiking trails, campsites, fishing, picnicking areas, boating and swimming. Similarly, winter sports such as cross-country skiing are also practiced. This place has a very unique feature: its location. Cheesequake State Park was established in the center of the urban north and the suburban south. It lies in a medial zone between two different ecosystems that enrich its nature. 

Know more parks in North Jersey you want to see on the list? Drop us a line!

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Sela September 16, 2020 - 1:55 pm

Oh wow I love this! Some parks I have never even heard of that were so close to me! What a helpful article can’t wait to check these out!

Michelle Coneo September 18, 2020 - 9:30 pm

Glad you loved it and definitely, you should check them out!


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