Well, today this lil’ ol’ blog turns 7 years old… Happy Birthday to us! Where did the time go? Why are any of you still reading this big, dumb blog after all of these years?
In honor of our birthday, we’ll be releasing a series of SEVEN posts this week, starting with seven of our favorite county parks in South Jersey! This isn’t anywhere close to all the great county parks in South Jersey, let along all the great parks owned by any group in South Jersey (for more those, check out our over 200 reviews of trails in South Jersey organized by county and town). Feel free to leave your own favorite county parks (maybe even your own top 7!) in the comments at the bottom of the page!
Without further ado, and in no particular order, our favorite county parks in South Jersey! Click on the name of any park for our full review with address, trail maps, pictures, whether dogs are allowed or not, facilities information, and more!
Ocean County does an AMAZING job with their county parks, and it’s going to be tough not to make almost this whole list just parks in Ocean County. Wells Mills is special though. Whether its a short hike along the water through the beautiful cedar swamp or tackling the 8.4 mile Penns Hill Trail in it’s wide loop through this park, this park is WELL worth a visit. It’s a jewel of the pine barrens, don’t miss it!
Want to visit a place where there are ruins of factories (including factories that made bicycles)? What about a place people rode to work on a bicycle railroad? What about a place where the slightly crazy owner had a carriage pulled by a moose? What about a place with an old mansion that you can tour and workers houses and a museum about the Underground Railroad? What about a place with a FLOATING TRAIL? Lots of flowers and butterflies in the Spring? What if all of those places WERE THE EXACT SAME PLACE!? Welcome to Historic Smithville Park. We love this place.
Burlington County has a series of beautiful parks along each side of Rancocas Creek, all of which are lovely to explore. Amico Island is the very last of these parks, located where Rancocas Creek dumps into the Delaware River. It has two lovely miles of trails filled with beautiful views of the river and lots and lots of birds to check out!
This park has 20 MILES OF TRAILS! I mean, that’s amazing by itself. They also offer bike rentals, playgrounds, and even a youth group campground. But what makes this trail really amazing is that it’s located where, just over 100 years ago, there was the massive Bethlehem Loading Company munitions factory was built to supply armaments for the allies during the Great War. The company is long gone, but there are tons of ruins in the woods to be discovered while hiking these trails, a surprise potentially waiting around each corner. Our favorite trail here is the Swamp Trail, as we are giant suckers for boardwalks!
The shortest trail system to make this list, I love this little 1 1/4 mile of trails. This area was used for sand mining, then became a hunting reserve, before becoming a park. Lots of birds, lilipads, and places to sit and take in the nature around you (including swinging benches). Just minutes from the southern part of Ocean City, this is a beautiful spot to take a hike.
Another of Ocean Counties beautiful parks, this one juts out into the bay. Any tidal zone is a bonanza of life and Cattus Island is no different, which makes it fascinating to explore. Wander the woods, marshes, and boardwalks. See what birds and wildlife that you can spot. Enjoy a wonderful day by the water.
If my five year old was making a list, this would be at the top – its his favorite place to hike. This old horse ranch now hosts a paved loop trail through a field, miles of dirt trails through the woods, a lovely little pond, some views of Timber Creek, and a huge fenced in off leash dog park! It’s wild popular with dog walkers in particular, but it’s a great place for anyone to go for a nice hike.
That’s it, our 7 favorite county parks in South Jersey! There are some AMAZING ones that are not on this list (looking particularly sadly at you being left on the outside of the list Jakes Branch Park and Cloverdale Farm County Park)