With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, everyone in New Jersey is feeling the vibrations of summer. It’s time to start enjoying the beautiful weather, trying outdoor activities with your loved ones. There is so much scenery and community spirit to engage within Morris County NJ. Better yet, a lot of the activities available to you are free of charge! At no cost to you and your family, you can create endless summer days and nights of adventure and fun. Fill your family photo albums and scrapbooks with endless memories of days spent doing free activities in Morris County, NJ. Here are a few of our favorites!
Morristown National Historical Park
Four scenic areas come together to make Morristown National Historic Park. As a part of the United States National Park Service, this park is beautifully preserved and is home to a lot of important U.S. history. It is America’s first national historical park and encompasses 1,676 acres. This includes a three-mile tour road, 24 miles of hiking trails, a visitor center, an 18th-century farm, and several reconstructed soldier huts. Specifically, the park is home to General George Washington’s Headquarters and preserves the land where his armies took shelter during the winters of the Revolutionary War in 1777 and 1779-80. The park is open daily to visitors from sunrise to sunset. The park’s Fort Nonsense is closed in summer 2021.
Morristown and Beyond Walking Tour
This free activity in Morris County, NJ is unique. That is because this walking tour is entirely self-guided. Showcasing the history and beauty of Morristown, you use a specific cell phone application to learn a little more about the town and county as you go. Because of the nature of the tour, you can go at your own pace, take breaks to take in more scenery, and simply enjoy your day in the bustling little town. Specifically, the tour is a 27-stop self-guided driving or walking tour that covers about 1.5 miles through the downtown Morristown area and beyond. It will take around two hours, but budget for more so you can stop at all the lovely shops and restaurants!
Voted as New Jersey’s Favorite Public Garden, the arboretum features a collection of unique plants, trees, and flowers. You and your family can visit these 127 acres of beautiful New Jersey property and take in unbeatable scenery. Stroll through the “promising plants garden,” which has underused plants supplied by nurseries, growers, and breeders from New Jersey. Hands-on explorers can try the Braille Nature Trail or the one-mile trail known as Patriots Path. This is special because it links the Arboretum to Acorn Hall, an 1853 Gilded Age mansion that plays host to the Morris County Historical Society. The arboretum is open from 8 a.m. to dusk daily and is free for visitors.
Willowwood features 136 acres of rolling farmland in Chester. There are approximately 3,500 varieties of native and exotic plants; many of the plants featured here are rare plant species. The prize of the Willowwood Arboretum, however, is the ancient Redwood trees on the property. Standing over 100 feet tall, these woods make for a great game of family Hide-and-Seek! For a little extra NJ history, visit 1792 through The Tubbs House on the property. It is open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk and entry is free for visitors.
Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center
This fun-filled locale, located in Chester, New Jersey, is one part botanical garden and one part public park. There are numerous trails to hike that wind through the fields and along Bamboo Brook. The surrounding landscape includes rolling meadows and wooded areas, perfect for a family picnic. As a result, there is a wide variety of birds, butterflies, and other animal life in the area, too. Famous because of its previous owner, Martha Hutcheson, who was one of America’s first women landscape architects. Come and marvel at her work, open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area
Enjoy a wide range of geological and ecological experiences on this spectacular piece of nature known as Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area. 1,675 acres of untouched beauty offer rugged trails, fields, forests, rock outcroppings, and wetlands. Visitors come year-round to venture to the highest point in the park, which is 934 feet. Therefore, it provides a magnificent view of the New York City skyline. After the hike, try the Visitor Center for many interactive educational exhibits about the history and wildlife of the area. Your little ones can also enjoy observing the live insects and trying various crafts and games. The hiking trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset throughout the year and the Visitors Center is open daily, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Central Park Disc Golf Course
For a fun-filled day of competitive frisbee action, try Morristown Central Park. The Disc Golf Course is the first 18-hole disc golf course in Morris County, NJ. It is a beautiful course with a wide variety of shot options and elevation changes. So, whether you are just starting out throwing the disc or you are a practiced frisbee player, this course will make for a full day of entertainment. It is open daily from sunrise to sunset all year round.
Turkey Brook Park
This multifaceted public park has everything you can imagine for a day of outdoor recreation and activities. Situated on 267 picturesque acres of the New Jersey Highlands, Turkey Brook Park offers many upgraded amenities from its 2003 opening. Soccer, football, and baseball fields are available. Additionally, you will find tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. There are also hiking trails and a brand new playground for children. For those families with little furry friends, look no further! There is a one-and-a-half-acre dog park to entertain even the four-legged members of your family. Open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset.
Black River County Park
While this list certainly includes several free activities in Morris County NJ, this spot is an insider secret. This list also includes many locales for hiking trails, but this one is a fan favorite. Black River County Park features about seven miles of various trails, ranging in degree of difficulty and sites to see! You’ll be able to hike from the old Cooper Mill through the Black River Gorge and a pine forest, with a side trip to the ruins of Kay’s Cottage. These beautiful Morris County sites along the way offer an opportunity to learn a lot of New Jersey history and even a little folklore. Open daily from sunrise to sunset year-round.
Loantaka Brook Reservation
Four distinct areas make up Loantaka Brook Reservation. This includes Seaton Hackney Stables, South Street Recreation Area, Loantaka Brook Park at Kitchell Road and the Loantaka Way trail access area. The reservation has more than 570 acres and nearly five miles of trails. In addition, there are athletic fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds, fully accessible exercise stations and a lake. So, we recommend that you follow Loantaka Brook through the Helen Hartley Jenkins Woods, a natural woodland with serene trails. There you will see horses grazing in the adjacent pastures. Noted ecologists have called this area one of the finest untouched forests in the nation. Open daily from sunrise to sunset throughout the year.
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center sits on 45 acres on the eastern end of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. You can walk along two miles of flat trails and boardwalk, and enjoy the spectacular views of the swamp, marsh, meadow, pond, forest habitats, and wildlife. Next, venture into the Visitors Center! There you will find many interactive and educational exhibits depicting the natural history of the area. You can see the species of animals that inhabit the area and learn a little more about Lenape Native Americans. Unfortunately, The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center visitor center is currently closed. However, grounds, trails, and parking remain open from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Schooley’s Mountain County Park
Nestled among the hills of western Morris County, Schooley’s Mountain County Park offers visitors 823 acres of adventure. There are hiking trails, a picnic area and shelter, a play area near the lake picnic grove, and a natural amphitheater. The Falling Waters trail is about 2.4 miles and takes you to a beautiful gorge with waterfalls. Additionally, the property plays host to both a historic lodge and a boathouse overlooking the lake. For wondrous views, venture into these areas and snap a few memorable photos! Open daily from sunrise to sunset throughout the year.
So, these free activities in Morris County, NJ are a great opportunity to celebrate summer and engage with the community! Learn more about other events in historic Morris County.