Summer is the perfect time for some outdoor fun! From the Kittatinny Mountains up north to the southern Pinelands and our gorgeous shores (Delaware River to the west, Atlantic Ocean to the east), New Jersey has an abundance of natural beauty. I’ve covered many of our outdoor attractions over the years and there are just so many to see! If you’re not able to enjoy them all, see some of the best on this epic road trip through New Jersey nature! Attractions are a mix of natural and man-made, but all offer time spent in the great outdoors.
The trip comes in at under 6.5 hours of drive time and takes you to a wide range of eco-systems.
I'd make this a 3-day trip to really enjoy each destination. You'll want to hike, relax, and explore.
High Point State Park
Home to the highest point in the state of New Jersey, you can enjoy spectacular views of three states from the summit. The park also offers a variety of trails, several lakes, and activities including boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The massive monument is also a must-see. Another gem to be found at High Point State Park? The Atlantic white cedar swamp in the Dryden Kuser Natural Area is the highest elevation swamp of its kind in the world.
Towering at around 200 feet, this is the tallest waterfall in New Jersey. While not the most powerful (that would be the Great Falls in Paterson), you'll find peace and plenty of trails nearby. However, you don't need to hike to get here. The falls are very visible from a wheelchair-accessible lot. For a closer look, climb the viewing platform.
Lakota Wolf Preserve
Observe majestic wolves in a natural environment! Take a tour and learn about their lives or focus specifically on photographer. Whatever the reason for your visit, you won't be disappointed. This preserve also happens to be located just minutes from Worthington State Forest - a great place for a scenic detour.
Round Valley Reservoir
This gorgeous man-made lake was formed in 1960, following the creation of two dams. It is best known for its beautiful, clear blue hue and scuba diving opportunities. The largest reservoir in New Jersey, it comes in at a whopping 180 feet deep.
Grounds For Sculpture
This breathtaking 42-acre sculpture garden seamlessly blends art and nature, using each to enhance the other. You'll find an ever changing collection of the most outstanding artwork, hidden away behind trees, down bamboo pathways, alongside lakes, and more. You'll also appreciate the lush greenery in warmer weather, stunning autumn colors, and magic of the snow. There are also indoor exhibits and several dining spots including the romantic French bistro, Rat's Restaurant.
The former equestrian estate of heiress Doris Duke, this sprawling property offers gorgeous gardens, an orchid range, hiking trails, beautiful buildings, a lake system, tiered waterfall, and plenty of interesting activities. Visitors can adopt a tree or take part in a sustainability scavenger hunt!
Cooper River Park
This 346-acre urban oasis surrounds the Cooper River and runs through Pennsauken, Cherry Hill, Collingswood and Haddon Township. Each of these towns is worth a visit, but you'll definitely want to spend some time relaxing at the park first. Outdoor activities include a playground, ball fields, bike paths, mini golf, picnic areas, a lake for boating and fishing, a biofilter wetland, and more.
Wharton State Forest
The largest single tract of land in the New Jersey State Parks System, Wharton State Forest is one of the best places to get away from it all. Kayak on the Mullica River, hike for miles, climb fire towers, camp, explore abandoned villages, and learn about the past. Visitors can also enjoy swimming or cross-country skiing, depending on the season.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Any outdoor road trip in New Jersey has to include the beach. Stroll in the sand and look out at the ocean here. You can also explore the beautiful Barnegat Lighthouse, one of the most crucial "change of course" points for coastal vessels. If you prefer boardwalk fun, head north a bit to Seaside.
If you have an extra day, add Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown and the picturesque Palisades Cliffs. To check out the route, get detailed directions, or add to it,
click here. If you prefer scary over scenic, click here for New Jersey’s best haunted road trip.