We asked and you answered!

We took a poll from our facebook fans on what are people’s favorite NJ park to visit (with kids) for hiking, biking, running or exercising.  What a BIG response to this question, we knew a few favorites would come up but then there were a few new ones, we can’t wait to check out this Spring!

This is what they had to say….

Bergen County

Ramapo Reservation was the big hit with this crowd, one of the attractions was that it allows dogs, which makes it very pet friendly!  Joanna Sargent, our big winner of our AMC gift card giveaway said: “We love hiking in the Ramapo Reserve(ation)! It’s gorgeous, and my son loves collecting sticks and rocks, petting all of the dogs, and having picnics there!” Hoda M. agrees: “Multiple hiking/walking options. Can go around the lake or go up to the lake on top where the dogs play  or hike all the way up to the overlook where we have picnicked before while looking at the NYC skyline ”

From NY/NJ trails  conference website:

“”The Ramapo Reservation,” located in Mahwah, is a 3,313-acre Bergen County Park.  Challenging hiking is possible, but areas closest to the parking lot are primarily used for strolling, especially with one or more dogs.  Most visitors walk around Scarlet Oak Pond, a former gravel quarry, or climb on a wide, smooth-surface road to MacMillan Reservoir (which once supplied the Crocker Mansion on the far side of Ramapo Valley Road).  If you come at off-peak times, occasionally you may see Giants football players jogging up to the Reservoir during training season.  A short but strenuous hike to Hawk Rock via the Halifax Trail (green blaze) results in a picture-book panorama of suburban New Jersey, including Ramapo College. “  See more here from their complete description plus maps!

Van Saun Park was the next favorite, and we agree.  Although it doesn’t have the terrain for hiking, it does have a great 1.5 mile trail that is multi/use bike path/walkway.  What makes it enjoyable for the kids is the train, zoo, carousel and of course the playground.  You will do plenty of walking by taking the kids to the zoo, and checking out the animals.  Check out our full post with plenty of pictures here.

Van Saun Park Carousel

After checking out the zoo, relax for a carousel ride!

Saddle River County Park also makes the popular list, and growing up in Bergen County I have fond memories of attempting to roller blade in the massive trail they have perfect for bikes and skaters.  Arlene H. said it best -“There are ponds, playgrounds, and of course the bike trail along the river. 6 mile stretch across Bergen county. Bicyclists range in ability from tiny tykes in bike trailers (my kid) to pros. We love it. Great way to spend a Sunday in Bergen county”.  Check out our posts about each of the 3 playgrounds in Glen Rock,  Wild-Duck Pond- Ridgewood and the Otto Pehle area (Saddle Brook).  (Duck Pond was a specific favorite for a parent whose kid loves the ducks)


My sons enjoyed this park a lot. Pond is in the background if you look carefully

Honorable Mentions:

Ruckman Park in Closter was recommended to us by Rebecca L. :”has a circle that equals .4 miles so perfect for jogging and for the kids to ride bikes and trikes”

Votee Park in Teaneck was not touted but I’ve seen this beautiful park that is huge, and has plenty to do… Michele A says.-“you can ride bikes , scooters, skates they have built in exercise equipment playground, etc.”

The playground by the basketball courts at Votee.

The playground by the basketball courts at Votee.

Burlington County

Smithville Park in Burlington County was recommended by Janine A.: “great for walking, biking and easy access”.  The Burlington County website says: “Historic Smithville Park is the centerpiece of the
Burlington County Parks System. As the Smithville Historic District, the village is listed on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places.” Check out their website to learn more.

Ah well, I’m sorry to say we didn’t get much response about Burlington County, mostly cause most of our fans are from the northern parts of NJ.  But we would LOVE to hear from South Jersey folks about what they think are some favorites, and we’ll be happy to explore and cover them!  Just comment on the bottom of this post.

Essex County

Verona Park, in Verona is an amazing park perfect to visit for a playdate as well.  Great place to run too.  Janine agrees that it is also great for biking and it’s easy access. Another one that we’ve enjoyed just cause it is so pretty,(they also have some jogging walkways and lit tennis courts)is Grover Cleveland Park in Essex Fells.  The river running through the park is lovely.

Got more Essex County favorites? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear what you like and add it to our list!!!

Hudson County

I have to say my personal favorite in Hudson County has been Liberty State Park, it’s huge, and scenic.  There is also an “Interpretive Center” that I’ve heard great things about, but haven’t been able to get there yet.  Let us know how it is if you decide to go!

Jeanette S shared West Hudson County Park with us in Harrison NJ: ” A pond, lots of trees and the walking path has lots of inclines and declines. Good exercise and great for walking.” We haven’t covered this park yet, but found a great photo essay of it here. You can see in the pictures there is a spray park as well!

We’d love to find out more favorite parks so if you have one comment below!

Hunterdon County

Round Valley Reservoir was recommended to us by a fan, and is a personal favorite of a good friend and avid fisherman.  Although fishing isn’t exercise, it does have a 1.5 mile trail that I managed a while back! Check out our link about our experience.

Matt caught his first fish at Round Valley. *sigh* He is 7 now.  Love that boy!

Matt caught his first fish at Round Valley. *sigh* He is 7 now. Love that boy!

Again, not so much feedback on Hunterdon, so remember to comment below.

Monmouth County

Lots of feedback for Monmouth County! The favorites were:

Manasquan Reservoir in Howell- We got a sweet comment from dad, Matthew H.-“I can spend so many hours there, a 5 mile loop for biking/walking/running, TONS of fishing, playgrounds, an environmental center, boat rentals, and it is where I told my wife I love her for the first time”.  We haven’t covered this one yet, if you’d like to guest post, let me know, we can set you up with some free passes to Kid Netic in Montville or Hamilton! Leave a comment below, if you are interested.

Holmdel Park and Dorbrook in Colts Neck.  Shannon B.-“In Monmouth county there are a lot of great parks.  My kids 2 favorite are Holmdel park and Dorbrook park.  Holmdel has everything from 2 large playgrounds, plenty of open space for picnics, tennis courts, animals at historic Longstreet farm, and lots of trails to walk around.  It’s great that there is so much to do, so everytime you go you can see something different.  Dorbrook is another great park full of many activities for families.  They have a big splash ground, playground, soccer fields, open space and shady spots for picnics and great trails.  They also have lots of activities to sign up for that are held at this park.  Can’t wait for the nice weather to come and we can go to the park!! ”

Honorable Mentions:

Keansburg Water Park, where April L.  likes to do laps in Jacuzzi, and keep up after the kids which is quite impressive.

Henry Hudson Trail in Matawan is another one we have not checked out, there’s just so much to do in NJ isn’t there?

Morris County

Horseshoe Lake/Roxbury Imagination Station (in Ledgewood)was a clear favorite for many folks. We have received quite a few raves on other instances about this park. From Karen O.- “They are my very favorite spot to go with the kids or on my own, beautiful, with volleyball courts, basketball, and awesome park (imagination station) , and a beautiful lake with walking paths, bike paths, gazebo, stage with concerts in summer. Lots of places to explore, see wildlife (fish, frogs, even a few safe snakes)” Please note that beach section if for members only and their guests.

Park Lake in Rockaway was popular as well. Dawn I says it’s a “great stroll around the lake and the kids have a chance to play in the playground!” Lora S. adds “steps from home, a great off the road path for safe family biking”.

One of our biggest/best playgrounds got a lot of love, Montville Community Park is a great gem that has more than just a playground, check out our post about it. From Laura L.-“There are sidewalks and such that I let my daughter (5) learn to ride her bike and we can walk and see the gardens during the summer. There playground is HUGE and the people are friendly.” Russell- “Great enclosed area, plus bathrooms and snack bar are a short walk away”.

Honorable Mentions:

Loantaka in Morris Twp.- Deb M.-“Loantaka in Morristown is my favorite for biking, running, playing and picnics! Fun for the whole family!”

Lake Parsippany Park

Silas Condict Park in Kinnelon
Schooleys Mountain Park in Long Valley- described as “Beautiful” from Sheila A.

Passaic County

(Only got 1 submission for Passaic County, so if you’d like to add your favorite comment below!)
Park Lake in Ringwood Nearby is a Goldberg’s bagel shop that is within walking distance as well as the public library! Eva did an awesome guest post about this park here.

Somerset County

Duke Island Park tops our list for the Morris County area for a fun park to exercise with kids.  I’ve been there with mine and it’s great for first time bicyclists, who can go from biking straight to the playground.  It was a really nice road, and great for families.
Robyn A. says-“Has a playground, long walking path, river with small man made waterfall great place for boys to throw rocks in the water.”

Duke Estates or Duke Farms in Hillsborough- With new cyclists in the family, I will be taking advantage of the spring weather soon and finally getting us out to Duke Farms. I keep hearing about it from my friends and now I hear it from our fans too! Katie did a guest post for us about it here.

Sussex County

We got one recommendation for a brand spanking new playground in Vernon! Maple Grange Community just opened their playground a few weeks ago. We will be covering this playground in the coming weeks!

Need some more Sussex County recs, add them below in the comments section.

Union County

Having Union County as my home for almost 14 years, I have a few favorites myself (this is Sheila by the way)

First I have to go with Tamaques Park as the best place to go for loops. This shady park has a 0.8mi loop that is great for cyclists, joggers, walkers and pet owners. There are a couple playgrounds scattered so you can do a loop and hit a couple different ones. It has a wide loop where the road is divided in half, the left is for pedestrians and the cyclists share the road with the cars. There are also some paved walkways for the beginner bicyclists. I would meet on Saturday mornings here with the “I hate running” club. By the way, thanks Triwomen of Scotch Plains/Westfield and Fanwood, you guys have made an amazing difference in my life!

Heather D.-“Tamaquas park because its full of friendly people, kids and activities. The wide walking/running lane for pedestrians is great along with a good mix of sun and shade”

Next family favorite for us has been Nomahegan Park, where my son started learning to ride a bike, as well as a great 2 mile loop that I love.

Nomahegan Park- 2009 and 2014

Nomahegan Park- 2009 and 2014

Sandra M.- “Great trail, nice lake with a fountain, playground with public restrooms nearby (huge plus) and close to home! Can’t beat that.”

The playground is big and shady as well. The kids still enjoy it. You can learn about it here.

One that doesn’t have a playground, but recently repaved, and great for strollers is Briant Park in Summit NJ. It is a one mile! Jeniffer B.- “Is close and have exercise station. It has a lake also where some people go fishing as well”

Honorable Mentions

Esposito Park in Clark (has a skate park, and a gradual grassy hill for learning to ride a 2 wheeler)

Mohawk Park in Cranford

Wilson Park in Linden

Well that’s it for now!  If you have new parks that are favorites for getting the heart pumping, make sure you comment below.  We love to update our posts with your thoughts.

Want more?  Check these out:

Biggest/Best Playgrounds

Indoor Places to Play Map

Favorite Getaways (our Feb. post, but perfect for a rainy day)

Favorite places to eat and play



Happy Spring!

Sheila and Amy