7 Ways to Enjoy New Jersey’s State Parks for the Winter
Get outdoors and reconnect with nature (yes, even during the winter!) with these fun things to do at state parks throughout New Jersey. From sledding to skiing, you’ll find plenty of ways to keep winter doldrums away.
1. Sled down the hill at Ringwood State Park or Fort Mott State Park.
We dare you to zoom down a snow-covered hill and not have a huge smile on your face. There’s a reason sledding is a go-to childhood pastime, and it’s because it’s just so much fun. Grab a sled from your garage or attic, and make your way to Fort Mott State Park in Pennsville, where the steep embankments provide the perfect angle for catching some speed. Or, if you’re in northern New Jersey make your way to the Ringwood Manor section of Ringwood State Park for sledding.
2. Glide along on cross-country skis at Wawayanda State Park.
Featuring a glittering blue lake nestled among wooded hillsides, Wawayanda State Park in Hewitt is rich in natural beauty. Enjoy a little peace and quiet with a cross-country skiing adventure, and take your pick from more than 60 miles of well-marked trails to explore.
3. Snowshoe the trails at Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.
In Woodland Township, bring your snowshoes to Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, where the Batona Trail was designed for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoes. This 50-mile trail connects Brendan T. Byrne, Wharton and Bass River State Forests, offering plenty of options for an outdoor expedition.
4. Go ice fishing at Hopatcong State Park.
Anglers don’t have to give up their favorite hobby once winter rolls in—that just means it’s time for ice fishing. Weather dependent, January is an ideal time to go ice fishing at Hopatcong State Park in Landing. As soon as the ice reaches four inches at Lake Hopatcong, you can try your luck at reeling in chain pickerel, yellow perch, largemouth bass and crappie. *Note: The park is currently under a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Watch and consuming fish is not recommended at this time. Please check the website for status updates before going fishing.
5. Ice skating at Allamuchy Mountain State Park.
Can you remember the last time you went ice skating on a real pond? Freezing temperatures in the midst of winter mean thick ice and old school–style skating. Bring your skates to Deer Park Pond at Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Andover—a popular spot for ice fishing during winter months—and test your best moves on the glassy surface.
6. Go birding at Cape May Point State Park.
Sure, Cape May Point State Park is a birder’s paradise during fall and spring migration times, but even during winter, it’s home to wintering shorebirds, gulls and waterfowl. Bring your binoculars, and keep your eyes open for great cormorant, purple sandpiper and harlequin ducks.
7. Learn about the American Revolution at Washington Crossing State Park.
Imagine what it must have been like for General George Washington and the Continental Army troops when they crossed the icy waters of the Delaware River in the winter of 1776 during the American Revolution. Learn all about this important time period at Washington Crossing State Park, where you can view the historic buildings and walk the trails to trace Washington’s steps.
For tips on how to safely enjoy New Jersey’s state parks during the pandemic, please watch this helpful video.