What to do in Cheesequake State Park

Information provided by New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry

Not only is it situated in the middle of the urban north and the suburban south, it lies in a transitional zone between two different ecosystems. Open fields, saltwater and freshwater marshes, a white cedar swamp, Pine Barrens, and a northeastern hardwood forest are the main characteristics of the park.

Cheesequake Natural Area (386 acres) A striking example of vegetation change along a gradient from coastal salt marsh habitat to upland forests can be observed from the various trails running through the natural area. The natural area displays a diversity of plant species and community types characteristic of both northern and southern New Jersey.

Interpretive Center The Interpretive Center is located a short distance from the trailhead parking area on the Red/ Green/ Blue trail. Visitors are welcome to view the wildlife historical exhibits throughout the Center. Visitors can learn about the three habitats located within Cheesequake State Park. The Center also provides information on the Native American and early colonization of the area.

The center is open from Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and seven days a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The Interpretive Center provides free weekly interpretive programming focusing on a variety of seasonal topics.

Recreation
Trails

There are five designated trails at the park. The Red, Yellow, Green and Blue pathways are for hiking and walking use. The White Trail (multi-use) is designated for hiking and mountain biking. Trail lengths range from 1.5 to 3.5 miles. Trail difficulty ranges from easy to moderate with inclines.

Campsites: 53 tent and trailer sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Flush toilets and shower facilities are within walking distance. Trailer sanitary station available. There is an 11-foot height restriction for vehicles entering the camping area. Open April 1st through October 31.

Group campsites: The Gordon Field group area has fire rings, upright grills and picnic tables. There are six individual sites accommodating up to 25 campers each. The area facilities include flush toilets and potable water. Trash must be carried out. Open May 1st through October 31st.

Fishing -The six-acre Hooks Creek Lake offers an opportunity for freshwater fishing. Trout, Largemouth Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish provide the angler with a variety of freshwater species.

Picnicking-Several picnic areas with table and grills are located throughout the Park. For larger groups, we also offer two reservable picnic areas. The group picnic area at Farny Point holds a capacity of 150 people, provides shelter and playfields. The group picnic area at Spring Hill holds a capacity of 100 people and provides playfields and playground equipment. Reservable picnic areas are not available on weekends from memorial day through labor day. Group picnicking reservations are required for weekday events. A party of 20 or more people constitutes a group.

Boating/Canoeing

Permitted the day after Labor Day through the day before Memorial Day weekend. Canoeing, kayaking and boating with facilities for car top boat launching only. Boaters must comply with all NJ State Boating regulations. Electronic motors only. No boat/canoe rental facilities

Swimming-Swimming is permitted in Hooks Creek Lake from Memorial day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Certified lifeguards monitor this bathing area. Concession and Bathhouse facilities are available.

Winter Activities-Sledding is permitted on the hill adjacent to the Hooks Creek Lake parking area. Cross-country skiing is permitted on the roadways and field areas. Snow shoeing is permitted throughout the Park.

Location
From the GSP: Make a right at the end of the exit ramp and follow to the first light. Make a right. At the next light make a right and follow road into the Park.

From Route 34 South: Make a left turn onto Disbrow Road which is the light immediately south of the Marketplace Shopping Plaza. Make a right at the end of Disbrow Road. Make a left at the first light and follow into the Park.

From Route 34 North: Make a right turn onto Disbrow Road which is the light immediately north of the Berg Animal Hospital. Make a right at the end of Disbrow Road. Make a left at the first light and follow into the Park.

Climate
The temperatures in New Jersey vary slightly, with the southern area being the warmest. Winter weather can start by October and is in full force by November, temperatures average 20 to 40 degrees. Spring can begin in mid March and brings temperatures of 50 degrees F, by April temperatures can reach 65 degrees F. Summer weather can extend from late May to mid September, and temperatures often reach 95 degrees during this season with nighttime lows near 65 degrees. Fall weather has temperatures between 65 and 45 degrees F. Precipitation levels in New Jersey are highest from March through August.

Address
300 Gordon Road
Matawan, NJ 07747

Phone: 732-566-2161

Email: Michele.buckley@dep.state.nj.us
  • Cheesequake State Park Travel Q&A

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