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August 07, 2018

Three hiking destinations around the Jersey Shore

Fitness Hiking

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Deers on a Trail in the Pine Barrens Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Lounging on the beach during the summer months is undoubtedly relaxing. But the great state of New Jersey has much more to offer than just sun and sand. Take in the natural beauty of the surrounding area by hiking one of the region’s many scenic trails.

Hiking is a phenomenal way to stay in shape and burn calories. When you incorporate hiking into your exercise routine, you can improve your cardiovascular health, tone your whole body, and even lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels over time. But before you hit one of the three trails we suggest below, be sure you’re prepared for the day by bringing a water bottle, applying plenty of sunscreen, and wearing the proper attire and footwear to ensure you have a fun, safe adventure.

1. Red Trail (Pine Barrens, NJ)

The Red Trail is located in the Pine Barrens, a heavily forested region of Southern New Jersey known for its beautiful evergreen trees and diverse wildlife. Embarking on a walk through this nature-filled landscape is sure to both relax your mind and get your blood pumping.

Perfectly secluded, this 6-mile trail winds through expansive pinelands, open meadows, and charming cranberry bogs. With mostly flat and sandy terrain, as well as slight hills in several places, the loop makes for an enjoyable workout. Best of all, there’s an awesome suspension bridge over the Wading River that’ll give you a unique perspective of the peaceful body of water and surrounding woods. Far removed from any hint of traffic, this trail is great for reflection, solitude, and appreciation of the environment.

2. Cape May Point Trail (Cape May Point State Park, NJ)

This trail is a 1.6-mile moderately trafficked loop located within the Cape May Point State Park. The terrain is flat and the route is short, making this a great hike for adventurers of all ages and skill levels. Stretches of boardwalk have been constructed over marshy areas, allowing hikers to immerse themselves in natural beauty without getting wet and muddy.

Wildflowers abound on this trail, which weaves through woods, beach, and marshlands, offering nature lovers an exciting assortment of views and scenic lookouts. Keep your eyes to the sky as you walk this trail, as there are many species of birds that inhabit this part of New Jersey. After your hike, you could even visit the Cape May Bird Observatory to learn more about the winged creatures that call Cape May home.

3. Estlow Green Trail (Wells Mills County Park, NJ)

The Estlow Green Trail, located in Ocean County’s Wells Mills Park, offers a serene escape from the crowded shore. Much of the park is dense with oak and pine trees, which provide some much-needed shade on hot summer days. Gorgeous orange mushrooms dot the forest floor and, if you’re lucky, you may even spot a white-tailed deer, timber rattler, or the endangered Pine Barrens tree frog.

When your hike is over, explore the rest of what Wells Mills Park has to offer. The nature center provides nature enthusiasts with a plethora of information, and includes a library and third floor observation deck. Pack a healthy lunch and enjoy a picnic or take advantage of the park’s canoe rentals and admire the lake from a whole new perspective!

New Jersey might be known for its acclaimed family-friendly beaches during the summer months, but its forests provide the tranquility and solitude you just can’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re after a muscle-toning workout or a break from the rat race, you’ll be impressed by the stunning scenery, diverse landscapes, and thriving wildlife New Jersey’s hiking trails have to offer.