Located across the Hudson River from New York City, New Jersey has a rich history. The state hosted several battles during the American Revolution and also was a leader in the Industrial Revolution.
History aside, New Jersey is also home to a few national recreation areas, reserves, and scenic rivers that protect rare bird species and preserve the environment.
There are no National Parks in New Jersey. But there are 10 sites affiliated with the National Park Service.
New Jersey National Park Accredited Sites
- Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
- Ellis Island (part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument)
- Gateway National Recreation Area
- Great Egg Harbor River
- Lower Delaware National Wild And Scenic River
- Morristown National Historical Park
- New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve
- Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area
The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area covers 14 counties throughout New Jersey. Since 2006, the site has been an official heritage area.
Throughout this area are sites that were historically and culturally significant to the events of the American Revolution. These events include the Battle of Monmouth, the First Continental Congress, and many more.
These days, the Crossroads are a place of historical reenactments and education. These tours, museum exhibits, and other events seek to educate visitors about the occurrences of the American Revolution and how they shaped the culture of Early America as well as New Jersey.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area follows the Delaware River as it intersects the Appalachian Mountains. It is a popular spot for outdoor activities, including swimming, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and boating.
The area also encompasses Worthington State Forest and the famous Mt. Tammany. Hiking trails range in length and difficulty and offer beautiful views of the surrounding scenery.
The Water Gap is located near the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, which ranges from Maine to Georgia. The area is home to some protected species, including peregrine falcons, for which it is closed part of the year to provide safe nesting conditions.
The Statue of Liberty has been a national American monument since 1924. Ellis Island is now a part of that monument. Between the years of 1892 and 1954, 12 million immigrants from every corner of the world passed through customs there.
Now, the Ellis Island Museum tells the story of American immigration and the many people who came to start a new life. Visitors can take tours and view the exhibits in the museum, then travel to the Statue of Liberty itself. These national historic sites have been an important symbol for millions of people for more than a century.
Gateway National Recreation Area
Gateway National Recreation Area is one of the most well-known outdoor sites in New Jersey. The park’s 27,000 acres reach from Sandy Hook all the way to New York City.
Here, you can explore historical landmarks along the shore of the Atlantic. More than 10 million tourists visit Gateway every year, drawn away from the busy city. It is a popular place to enjoy beach activities as well as boating, hiking, camping, and more. You may even catch a sight of some species of rare bird. The park is also a special spot for Diamondback terrapins to lay eggs.
Great Egg Harbor River
Spanning 129 miles and passing through the south of New Jersey is Great Egg Harbor River. This river traverses the native Pinelands, where many rare species of bird, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons, are sheltered.
It is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and bird watching. But the river has also been an important site of cultural development from prehistoric times. In recent history, it was a site for colonials to shelter and forge ammunition during the Revolutionary War.
Nowadays, the wetlands are a protected area where you can find undisturbed plant life and endangered species like the Pine Barrens tree frog.
Lower Delaware National Wild And Scenic River
The Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River runs freely between New York and Philadelphia. It has been part of a National Park System since 2000. This river has long been a site of important cultural and historic events, including President Washington’s famous crossing during the Revolutionary War.
The beautiful surrounding landscape houses some of the most unique plant life in the region, including everything from arctic flora to prickly pear cactus. It is also the site of one of the largest waterfowl flight paths in North America, and an essential habitat for fish populations like the striped bass.
Morristown National Historical Park
Morristown National Historical Park preserves the sites of where the Continental Army, under the command of then-Gen. George Washington, camped throughout the brutal winter of 1779.
The park is home to museum exhibits depicting memorabilia from Washington’s life as well as the Revolutionary War and Colonial America. Its four connected sites are Jockey Hollow, Fort Nonsense, the Ford Mansion, and the New Jersey Brigade Encampment.
The park became the country’s first national historical park in 1933 under Pres. Herbert Hoover. In the decades since then, it has served to educate tourists and commemorate the events of the American Revolutionary War.
New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve
The New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve is a collection of historic homes and buildings lining the banks of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. These unique wetlands are a haven of animal and plant life, many of which are endangered.
Between farmland, woodland, and wetland, the area is one million acres. The Pinelands also hold the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, which holds 17 trillion tons of pure water. These days, the wetlands are a popular spot for hiking, canoeing, and visiting local nature centers. Many tourists also visit the nearby historic sites and museums, many of which are preserved in their original form.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
On the Passaic River is Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. This park is home to one of the country’s largest waterfalls, the Great Falls. At 77 feet high, the waterfall draws visitors year round. But it is more than just a beautiful landmark.
The Great Falls were also responsible for New Jersey’s development as a hub during the American Industrial Revolution. They powered many mills that began during the Colonial Era and brought workers flocking to the Eastern Seaboard. Since the Falls’ designation as a National Historical Park, they have been a protected area that draws many visitors each year.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park contains the preserved home and laboratories of Thomas Edison. Now a museum and educational site, the park exhibits the inventions that came from Edison’s laboratories, including motion pictures, batteries, sound recording, and more.
The site is composed of 12 professional buildings where Edison worked and studied as well as his personal home, Glenmont. In addition to exhibits, the park hosts learning events, tours, and other programs to learn about Edison and his inventions.
Modern musicians have also had the opportunity to record songs on one of Edison’s original sound recording devices, which are preserved to this day.
National Trails In New Jersey
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route