Home » The 12 Best Hiking + Walking Trails at the Jersey Shore

The 12 Best Hiking + Walking Trails at the Jersey Shore

by Jessica Norton
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As the weather warms up, indoor fitness classes and walking pads can be swapped out for fresh air steps at some of the Jersey Shore’s best recreational parks and hiking trails. Hiking, or walking, at the Jersey Shore is unique because instead of rugged terrains and mountain trails, visitors will find serene paths and scenic overlooks that almost always lead to a sandy beach or picturesque shoreline. Monmouth and Ocean County’s recreation departments provide locals (and bennies) with well-maintained trails that wind through various habitats, including salt marshes, tidal estuaries, and maritime forests. These safe, family-friendly, and dog-friendly, coastal routes provide stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, not-so-faraway New York City, and local wildlife as well as opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, and picnicking. Keep reading to find out where to take a scenic walk or hike at the Jersey Shore.

Atlantic Highlands

Henry Hudson Trail /Popamora Point | 158 Bayside Drive


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Popamora Point is part of the northern section of the Henry Hudson Trail that begins close to Sandy Hook. The paved and level pathway hugs the coast alternating between gravel and dirt. The trail works well for walkers, runners, and cyclists looking to take on a waterside route. The easy trail has several entrances to the beach areas and ultimately leads to Harbor Park, or beyond, for those feeling adventurous.  This trail has a nice breeze, views of NYC, bathrooms, picnic tables, a parking lot, and a small dog park.


Maclearie Park | 905 NJ-35

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Maclearie Park is located on the Shark River in Belmar right off of Route 35. The easygoing riverside park has a walking trail made of gravel that can be followed all the way to Marina Grille and towards the boat docks. Maclearie Park has tennis courts, pickleball courts, a playground, a picnic area with tables and grills, and restrooms that are open during peak season. There is no fee to enter the park and parking, while limited, is also free. AG pro-tip:  Maclearie Park is also an ideal sunset-watching location.

Read More: Where to Take Fitness Classes in Asbury Park + Beyond


Brick Reservoir | 811 Herbertsville Road

The Brick Reservoir — which is a source of municipal water for towns in Ocean County — has a 1.6-mile loop trail that goes around its perimeter. The nicely paved pathway is a great choice for walking or running and is (leashed) dog-friendly. The Brick Reservoir is closed on Mondays and is not open on any Federal or State holidays. The reservoir has two parking lots: one located on the Brick side at 811 Herbertsville Road and another on the Wall side at 2429 Metedeconk Road.

Windward Beach Park | 265 Princeton Avenue

Windward Beach Park is a city-run park with playgrounds, volleyball nets, restrooms, fishing and crabbing piers, bocce courts, horseshoe pits, picnic tables, and a gazebo. The park has flat, easy walking paths and a pier that provides gorgeous views of the Metedeconk River. Admission to the Windward is free, but a beach badge is required for the bathing area. Beaches are staffed with lifeguards on weekends beginning Memorial Day weekend and then staffed seven days a week from mid-June through Labor Day.

Colts Neck

Dorbrook Recreation Area | 353 County Road 537

Dorbrook Recreation Area is a 535-acre green space featuring 2.3 miles of paved trails for walking, biking, and in-line skating, two swimming pools (for lessons only), a sprayground, an inline rink, basketball courts, and open fields. A paved trail winds its way around and through the north side of the park. The 2.3-mile trail has two different loops for visitors to choose to vary their trail experience. A bicycle repair station with a tire pump and tools can be found near the basketball courts. There is no fee to enter Dorbrook Recreation Area. The park opens at 7AM daily, year-round.


Manasquan Reservoir | 311 Windeler Road

The Manasquan Reservoir is a source of water for local municipalities and utilities, but it is also a well-maintained 1,204-acre park. The 5.1-mile perimeter trail offers panoramic views of the Reservoir and is a great trail experience for all visitors, whether they are planning to walk, run, or bike. The perimeter trail is a gravel and dirt path that loops all the way around the reservoir. It is designated as a moderate trail due to its length but does not feature any hills. Mileposts are clearly marked along the trail. The Reservoir includes both woods and wetland areas, fishing and boating areas, and a visitors center. The visitors center also has a bait shop, vending machines, restrooms, a fireplace, and program activity rooms. For those taking the reservoir on wheels, a bicycle repair station with a tire pump and tools has recently been added by the main trailhead kiosk near the main visitors center.

Point Pleasant

Beaver Dam Creek County Park | 3430 Bridge Avenue

Beaver Dam Creek County Park is an outdoor recreation area with six acres of soccer and softball fields, two tennis courts, a basketball court, two playgrounds, an open playfield, and a nature trail. The nature trail is a boardwalk and dirt path that goes through the Beaver Dam Creek and leads to an open play area, which is also used as an on-leash dog park. Beaver Dam Creek County Park opens at 7AM and closes at 8PM. There is no fee to visit or use the amenities of the park.

Riverfront Park | 2303 River Road

Point Pleasant has a hidden gem right on the Manasquan River. The Riverfront Park is a quaint and well-kept neighborhood park with a walking pier, short lap trail, bocce court, playground, open field area, benches, and a pavilion picnic area with charcoal grills. Pedestrians can get 10k steps in while walking along the water and take a rest to watch the boats go by. Visitors can anticipate a gorgeous sunset view from this location.

Spring Lake

Divine Park | 801 West Lake Drive

The aptly named Divine Park sits right in the middle of Spring Lake with its lush greenery, charming bridges, and beautiful, picturesque lake views. The park is picnic-friendly (with BBQ pits) and has ample opportunities for shade. The path around the lake is scattered with benches and provides opportunities to take in the native birds and fish. Dogs can walk around the park but only on leash. Unfortunately, there are no restrooms. Divine Park is close to the downtown shopping area of Spring Lake and just a few blocks away from the boardwalk.

Seaside Park

Island Beach State Park | 2401 Central Avenue

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Island Beach State Park has a total of eight hiking trails, each under one mile that are, for the most part, not difficult or strenuous. The park’s trails are designed to allow visitors to learn about all of the habitats associated with a barrier island with informative signs pointing out facts about the plants and wildlife. Visitors may choose to explore ten miles of pure white sand beaches on the ocean side by foot which leads to the southernmost point of the park and a stunning view of the Barnegat Lighthouse. Horseback riding is permitted at Island Beach State Park from October 1st through April 30th, but reservations are required. Dogs are permitted in the park but must be kept on a leash that is a maximum length of six feet. The main gate of Island Beach State Park typically opens at 8AM and closes at 8PM. During the summer — from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend — the park opens at 7AM. Visitors are required to pay an entry fee per vehicle when entering Island Beach State Park. Entry rates can be found on the Island Beach State Park website.

See More: Where to Go Hiking in the Montclair Area

Toms River

Cattus Island County Park | 1170 Cattus Island Boulevard

Cattus Island County Park in Toms River has nature trails, scenic boardwalks, birding, photography, a conservation area, environmental education workshops, cross-country skiing, a picnic area, a playground, scenic overlooks, and an accessible environmental center with restrooms. The quiet and relaxing park is nestled between Silver Bay and Barnegat Bay. There is a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk trail where visitors can bird watch and observe osprey nests. Plus, the entire park is dog-friendly. Cattus Island County Park opens at 7AM and closes at dusk. Admission to the park and the environmental center is free.


Allaire State Park | 4265 Atlantic Avenue

Allaire State Park is most known for its historic and restored 19th-century iron-making town, Allaire Village, and its antique steam trains on the Pine Creek Railroad. The buildings, which remain today, include a general store, blacksmith shop, carpenter’s shop, manager’s house, foreman’s house, and a church. A network of trails winds through the park providing opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. The park also features a visitor center and museum, a nature center, a camping area, fishing spots, picnic tables, a playground, a food concession, canoeing and kayaking opportunities, and birding. Pets are allowed at Allaire but must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and be cleaned up after. Throughout the year, Allaire Village hosts programs and events, including live history reenactments, antique shows, arts and craft shows, and flea markets. Allaire is open daily from 8PM to 4:30PM. A $5 General Admission entry fee is enforced on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from April through November.

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