TRENTON — Looking for something fun to do this summer in New Jersey that doesn’t cost you anything? Visit a state park.
Gov. Phil Murphy has announced that as of Memorial Day weekend, entry to all New Jersey state parks, forests, and recreation areas will be free of charge this summer.
Murphy had previously presented in the 2023 budget proposal that the one-year state parks fee holiday is one of several fee waivers and programs designed to advance affordability and opportunity in the Garden State.
The New Jersey State Park System is comprised of more than 50 sites and 453,000 acres, including Island Beach State Park, all of which draw in millions of visitors each year.
Park entrance fees will be waived for everyone, regardless of state residency. If anyone has already purchased a 2022 annual State Park Pass, don’t worry. They will automatically receive a full refund.
Other individual park fees remain in place including camping, interpretive programs, and mobile sportfishing permits.
“The fee holiday also promotes access to green, open space; thriving waterways, and the many natural wonders that make us proud to call New Jersey our home,” Murphy said.
Speaking during the annual State of the Shore event in Asbury Park, Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn LaTourette said the New Jersey state park system has something for everyone to enjoy: from swimming, hiking, and kayaking, to picnicking, and exploring nature.
These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.
Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.
If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.
You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: