We may not be known for major natural attractions like Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon, but we have our share of incredible natural wonders. From caves to waterfalls and rock formations, these are some of New Jersey’s most unique, beautiful natural wonders.
1. Lake Hopatcong
The largest freshwater lake in New Jersey, Lake Hopatcong was once a vacation resort for New Yorkers. It spans about four square miles alongside towns including Hopatcong and Mount Arlington. The lake has existed in some form for over 12,000 years, though it's been shaped by several dams.
2. Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1966. The eastern half of the refuge was designated as wilderness by Congress in 1968, making it the first wilderness area within the Department of the Interior. It is the last remnant of a once mighty glacial lake. The refuge occupies land in Chatham, Harding, and Long Hill.
3. Pinelands National Reserve
The country's first National Reserve, the Pinelands are a diverse mix of historic villages, berry farms, oak-pine forests (pine barrens), extensive wetlands, and diverse species of plants and animals. This massive reserve encompasses land in seven South Jersey counties.
4. Palisades Cliffs
North of Fort Lee, the Palisades are part of Palisades Interstate Park and are a National Natural Landmark. They reach nearly 550' at their highest point and provide excellent hiking opportunities.
5. Island Beach State Park
This Ocean County park is the largest reserve of undeveloped barrier island in New Jersey and one of the largest in the United States.
6. Great Falls
The Great Falls in Paterson makes for an amazing picnic spot and offers a footbridge for up-close viewing of the magnificent falls. Visit after a rain storm for a truly spectacular experience.
7. Sterling Hill Mine
This Ogdensburg mining museum offers a glowing display of fluorescent minerals. While the mine is man-made, the rare minerals are all natural.
8. Bio-luminescent Shores
Caused by an abundance of plankton, the Manasquan shores can be pretty surreal.
9. Nummy Island
This salt marsh near Stone Harbor is home to a diverse selection of wildlife and is a popular spot for bird watching.
10. Buttermilk Falls
These 200-foot falls are even more spectacular after a storm. Located in Sussex County, they're just a short hike from the Delaware Water Gap.
11. Tripod Rock
The mysterious balancing natural rock formation is located on Pyramid Mountain in Montville. It seems to line up with the sun during the summer solstice.
12. High Point
The highest point in New Jersey, High Point is part of the Kittatinny Mountain Range. The views are incredible on a clear day.
Whitesbog in Browns Mills is part of the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest and is listed on both the National and State Registers of Historic Sites. Whitesbog includes a historic village and the surrounding 3,000 acres of cranberry bogs, blueberry fields, reservoirs, sugar sand roads, and Pine Barrens forests.
14. The Delaware Water Gap
All of it! The rushing river and surrounding scenery are lovely all along New Jersey's western edge.
Which of these is your favorite? What other natural wonders in New Jersey would you add to this list?