It’s fun to get exercise and fresh air while learning about the events, people and lifestyles that shaped New Jersey. Know what else New Jersey has plenty of? Open space and trails. In every region from High Point to Cape May, there are lots of great places to walk and hike:
• Morristown National Historic Park – You won’t find a park more steeped in Revolutionary War history than the site of Washington’s encampment during the extraordinarily frigid winter of 1779-80. Miles of trails wind through the park’s hilly terrain.
• Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park – One of the nicest places in the state to walk or bicycle is along the D&R Canal, which stretches 77 miles from New Brunswick to Trenton to Frenchtown.
• Batsto Village – Located within Wharton State Forest in the Pine Barrens, Batsto Village was established in 1766 as an iron making community. After Glassmaking also died out, but the village remains today a wonderful historic site with a mansion, iron furnace, general store, gristmill, sawmill and cottages.
• Washington’s Crossing State Park – This state park in Mercer County commemorates Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware River on Dec. 25, 1776 to surprise and overwhelm Hessian mercenary troops quartered in Trenton. Enjoy hikes on the park’s trails as you soak up history and river views.
• Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park – New Jersey’s most impressive falls, which once powered Paterson’s famous silk mills, are not to be missed. Although there are no trails directly connected to the historic park, Passaic County’s Garrett Mountain Reservation is just a short distance away.
• Monmouth Battlefield State Park – The park in Manalapan is located at the site of the Battle of Monmouth, fought on June 28, 1778. The park includes a historical museum, visitors center and a colonial rural landscape of orchards, fields, woods and wetlands with miles of trails.
• Allaire State Park – Today the Historic Village at Allaire is an interactive museum where visitors can experience history directly through hands-on activities. Several hiking trails are located in the park.
• Fort Mott State Park – in Salem County, this was part of the Harbor Defenses of the Delaware, a three-fort defense system designed for the Delaware River during the period following the American Civil War through the 1890s. The trails at the park are not long, but they offer splendid views of the river from the fortifications.
• Whitesbog Village – Part of Brendan Byrne State Forest, Whitesbog Village is a historic farm and town with old buildings, blueberry farm fields, cranberry bogs, hiking trails, reservoirs, streams, a picnic grove and the Elizabeth White Gardens.
• Millbrook Village – Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is best known for its spectacular trails, but it also includes Millbrook Village, a collection of historic buildings.
• Deserted Village of Feltsville – The Feltville Historic District, located in the Watchung Reservation in Union County. It is known locally as “Deserted Village,” as most buildings dating from the 18th century are abandoned and in need of repair. After seeing the village, enjoy the Watchung Reservation’s miles of spectacular trails.
• East Jersey Old Towne Villa – A collection of local historic structures that were disassembled and relocated to Johnson Park in Piscataway. It is a linear park running along the Raritan River, with walking paths, ballfields and a zoo.
• Liberty State Park – Located on the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City, it’s Jersey’s most popular state park, with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.