A Nature Lovers Guide

Sage Watterworth

Filed Under: Region

Home to the pine barrens and a variety of unique waterways including pristine beaches, rivers, lakes, creeks and the Barnegat Bay; it’s not a surprise that people from all over choose to visit and vacation in the LBI region. With a myriad of ecosystems, comes a huge quantity of remarkable flora and fauna including many endangered species. It’s no wonder that our area has become a top destination for nature lovers. The region boasts some of the most extensive outdoor nature activities of anywhere in the nation! From canoeing, paddleboarding or kayaking to birding, hiking and bike trails, swimming, fishing, lounging at the beach and more; there’s so much to see and do in the LBI region!

Public Parks, Hiking Trails and Nature Reserves

Paul King County Park – Manahawkin

Situated on the beautiful Manahawkin Lake, this park is located in the heart of Stafford Township. The park offers a children’s playground, a large picnic area, a guarded swimming area (during the summer), picnic areas, a basketball court, fishing, a horseshoe pit and handicap-accessible restrooms.

Barnegat Branch Trail

This “rail-to-trail” project follows the abandoned Barnegat Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Once completed, the trail will stretch 15.6 miles from Barnegat to Toms River.

Eno’s Pond County Park – Lacey

Eno’s Pond has a long and colorful history dating to the Colonial period. The observation decks overlook Eno’s Pond, which is the ideal vantage point for viewing some of the pond’s wildlife. Eno’s also has a variety of nature trails, picnic area/grills, a playground, restrooms and volleyball court.

Cloverdale Farm County Park – Barnegat

Cloverdale Farm County Park is a beautifully restored Cranberry Farm. Besides cranberries, the bogs are home to a large variety of birds, making it an ideal birding destination as well as many wildflowers and other wildlife. The 1.4 mile self-guided nature trail strolls through the farm into undisturbed woodlands that offer an escape from everyday life.

Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve – Tuckerton

The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR) encompasses approximately 116,000 acres in southeastern New Jersey, including a great variety of terrestrial, wetland and aquatic habitats within the Mullica River-Great Bay ecosystem. If you are interested in local wildlife, the reserve offers excellent programs and presentations throughout the year on a variety of wildlife and bay related topics. They also have a hiking trail that overlooks the wetlands.

Wells Mills County Park – Waretown

Wells Mills Lake is one of the most scenic Pine Barrens lakes. You may bring your own boat (no gas motors) and launch at the Conrad-Oakley Cabin, or rent a canoe at the Nature Center when in season. Fishermen are required to have a valid fishing license.

There are also miles of hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty, including a “VIP” (Visually Impaired Persons) Trail. The three-story Nature Center showcases a display floor, a library and the third floor observation deck.

Freedom Fields County Park – Little Egg Harbor

Active recreation is the theme at this park with soccer, softball, little league and baseball fields as well as picnic areas, hiking trails and ADA accessible restrooms.
“Tip” Seaman County Park – Tuckerton
Many sports areas including little league and softball fields, basketball, tennis and pickleball courts. There are also picnic and open play areas, fishing, a playground, a small boat launch, walking paths and ADA accessible restrooms.

Lochiel Creek Trail Map – Barnegat

This hidden treasure covers over 177 acres of forests and wetlands. The entrance to the park winds among pines and blueberries into a quiet and pristine setting.
Amenities include a comfort station with restrooms, ample parking, and a 1.75 mile marked nature trail. The trail highlights the park’s diversity as it meanders through rolling hills that are relic sand dunes from a time when the area was a prehistoric beach. The trail also crosses Lochiel Creek, the park’s namesake, which harbors populations of federally threatened wildflowers and strange carnivorous plants. Along with native orchids and wetland shrubs, there are plenty of wildflowers to see throughout the growing season.

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is home to our infamous landmark, the Barnegat Lighthouse! Climb all 217 steps, enjoy trails, fishing, bird watching, picnics and more!

Public Boat Ramps

Perfect for launching your kayak, canoe or paddle board, the LBI region has many public boat ramps.

Beach Haven

A great launch site for the bay, where water vehicles can enjoy calmer waters and a scenic view of LBI. The ramp is located on 9th Street and Boat Ramp Drive near Bay Village.

Barnegat Light

Located at 10th street and Bayview Avenue.

Ship Bottom

Located just south of the Causeway bridge.

The Surf City Boat Ramp

Located on Division Avenue.

Barnegat Township Municipal Ramp

Located on E Bay Ave.

Cedar Run Dock Road

Located at the end of Cedar Run Dock Road in West Creek, adjacent to Antoinetta’s Restaurant. The ramp provides easy access to the bay.