Get out!

Morris and Essex counties are home to some of the best destinations for hiking, fishing, boating and more - so grab your gear and start enjoying the great outdoors!


Ditch the wheels and hit the water for a little fun and exercise. There are lots of places where canoe, rowboat or kayak owners can make a splash.


  • Silas Condict County Park 100 Kinnelon Rd., Kinnelon
  • Tourne County Park 83 Old Denville Rd., Boonton
  • Pequannock Valley Park Marvin Rd., Pompton Plains
  • Hopatcong State Park 260 Lakeside Blvd., Landing
  • Splitrock Reservoir Border of Rockaway Twp. and Kinnelon


  • South Mountain Reservation Cherry Ln., West Orange
  • Verona Park Bloomfield Ave. & Lakeside Ave., Verona
  • Essex County Environmental Center 621 Eagle Rock Ave., Roseland

Bird Watching

From hawks and herons to eagles and egrets, you can spot many a winged species. Just grab your binoculars and camera then head to one of these great places.


  • Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Pleasant Plains Rd., New Vernon
    This ornithological gem almost became an airport back in 1959, but 3,000 acres were instead preserved as a wildlife refuge—to the relief of local activists. Today, the reservation contains over 7,600 acres and is a bird-watcher’s paradise. In the Great Swamp’s cattail marshes and grasslands, a variety of state-endangered species (like the barred owl and red-shoulder hawk) can be viewed.
  • Frelinghuysen Arboretum 353 E. Hanover Ave., Morristown
    After local birds return from their winter migrations, they are known to lay eggs at the arboretum. Staff members put out seeds and natural supplies to help the birds build nests, and they take visitors on guided tours to around the grounds. Experienced bird-watchers are free to join or simply roam the property on their own.
  • Troy Meadows Wetlands New Edwards Rd., Parsippany-Troy Hills
    Troy Meadows is a large freshwater marsh home to a number of ordinary, threatened and endangered bird species. Bald eagles are known to nest at Troy Meadows, but other species like the Savannah sparrow, American bittern and black crown night heron call the marshlands their home.


  • Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary 324 Forest Dr. S, Short Hills
    Migrating birds are provided with refuge and food at the bird sanctuary during the spring and fall, and interested bird-watchers can learn more at the bird observatory. “Bird nerds” are encouraged to participate in Project FeederWatch and report on which species (like the scarlet tanager, shown below) they find at their feeders.
  • Hilltop Conservancy 283 Fairview Ave., Cedar Grove The conservancy is home to woodpeckers, warblers and thrushes that move to different locations on the acreage as the seasons change. On rare occasions, watchers have even noted seeing bald eagles, black-billed cuckoos and ruby-throated hummingbirds.


Whether you’re an average Joe or seasoned pro, you’ll find the counties’ golf courses and driving ranges equally fun and challenging. Here are some of the top facilities where you can swing for the greens.


  • Anchor Golf Center 21 Rte. 10 E. Whippany 973.887.0898
  • Berkshire Valley Golf Course 28 Cozy Lake Rd. Oak Ridge 973.208.0018
  • Flanders Valley Golf Course 81 Pleasant Hill Rd. Flanders 973.584.5382
  • Knoll Golf Club 990 Greenbank Rd. Boonton 973.263.7110
  • Meadows Golf Club 79 Two Bridges Rd. Lincoln Park 973.696.7212
  • Mt. Freedom Golf 1275 Sussex Tpk. Randolph Township 973.895.9898
  • Pinch Brook Golf Course 234 S. Ridgedale Ave. Florham Park 973.377.2039
  • Sunset Valley Golf Course 47 W. Sunset Rd. Pompton Plains 973.835.1515
  • Twin Willows Par 3 Golf 167 Ryerson Rd. Lincoln Park 973.692.0179


  • Cedar Hill Country Club 100 Walnut St. Livingston 973.992.4700
  • East Orange Golf Course 440 Parsonage Hill Rd. Short Hills 973.379.7190
  • Francis A. Byrne Golf Course 1100 Pleasant Valley Way West Orange 973.736.2306
  • Hendricks Field Golf Course 220 S. Franklin Ave. Belleville 973.751.0178
  • Weequahic Park Golf Course 1 Thomas Carmichael Dr. Newark 973.926.2520


Morris and Essex are home to some of New Jersey’s best open spaces, parks, preserves and lakes. No matter how you get some R&R—walking, biking, swimming, picnicking, kayaking, fishing—you’ll find a spot at one of these destinations. Plan to make a day of it.


  • Central Park 85 S. Jefferson Rd. Whippany
  • Central Park of Morris County 91 Central Ave. Morris Plains
  • Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge 32 Pleasant Plains Rd. Basking Ridge
  • Hacklebarney State Park 119 Hacklebarney Rd. Long Valley
  • Hedden Park 124 Reservoir Ave. Randolph
  • James Andrews Memorial County Park W. Hanover Ave. Randolph
  • Lewis Morris Park 270 Mendham Rd. Morristown
  • Loantaka Brook Reservation 468 South St. Morristown
  • Mahlon Dickerson Reservoir 995 Weldon Rd. Lake Hopatcong
  • Morristown National Historical Park 30 Washington Pl. Morristown
  • Tourne Park 89 Norris Rd. Denville


  • Branch Brook Park Lake St. & Park Ave. Newark
  • Craftsman Farms 2352 Rte. 10 Parsippany
  • Eagle Rock Reservation Eagle Rock Ave. & Prospect Ave. West Orange
  • Glenfield Park 115 Bloomfield Ave. Montclair
  • Grover Cleveland Park Brookside Ave. & Runnymede Rd. Essex
  • Fells Hilltop Reservation 255 Fairview Ave. Verona
  • Irvington Park Grove St. & Lyons Ave. Irvington
  • Kip’s Castle Park 22 Crestmont Rd. Verona
  • Mills Reservation Highland Ave. Cedar Grove
  • Orange Park S. Center St. & Harrison St. Orange
  • Smith Field Park Rte. 46 Parsippany
  • South Mountain Reservation W. South Orange Ave. & Cherry Ln. West Orange
  • Verona Park 411 Bloomfield Ave. Verona
  • Watsessing Park Bloomfield Ave. & Conger St. Bloomfield
  • Weequahic Park Elizabeth Ave. & Meeker Ave. Newark
  • West Essex Park Conservancy 621 Eagle Rock Ave. Roseland


The counties don’t have deep-sea fishing, but you can still hook a record-breaking catch in your local waterways.

You can go water-skiing, tubing and wakeboarding at Morris County’s Budd Lake, but the spot is best known for its schools of both small- and large-mouth bass just waiting to tug at your line. There’s also the 2,600-acre Lake Hopatcong, which boasts some of the state’s best freshwater fishing. You’ll be sure to reel in trout, hybrid stripers and catfish… to name a few. Over in Essex County, there are plenty of trout to catch at Verona Park Lake. This smaller body of water is great for amateur fishers and kids looking to cast a line from the shore.



Cyclists (and horseback riders, joggers and hikers), rejoice! The impressive 55-mile Patriots’ Path is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and extends across the entirety of Morris County, from East Hanover to Washington Township. The trail system is comprised of biking, hiking and equestrian paths, and includes plenty of open green spaces to enjoy. It links several watershed lands, historic sites and other points of interest in the area, and connects the Lenape Trail in Essex County to Allamuchy State Park in Sussex County.

Dog Parks

Max and Lucy will love a chance to socialize and exercise. And you might make a new friend too!


  • Cameron Park 129 South Beverwyck Rd. Parsippany
  • Central Park County Dog Park Collins Rd. Morris Plains
  • Happy Hound Playground Zeek Rd. Morris Plains
  • Long Valley Dog Park Rte. 517 Long Valley


  • Brookdale Dog Park W. Circuit Dr. Montclair
  • S. Mountain Dog Park Bear Ln. Maplewood

Flower Gardens

A stroll through these lush gardens, located on the sprawling acreage of the counties’ farms and historical estates, is the perfect way to connect with nature.


  • Frelinghuysen Arboretum 353 E. Hanover Ave. Morristown
  • Merchiston Farm 11 Longview Rd. Far Hills
  • Willowwood Arboretum 300 Longview Rd. Far Hills


  • Brookdale Park Rose Garden Watchung Ave. Bloomfield
  • Greenwood Gardens 274 Old Short Hills Rd. Short Hills
  • Presby Memorial Iris Gardens 474 Upper Mountain Ave. Montclair
  • Van Vleck House & Gardens 21 Van Vleck St. Montclair
Categories: Home & Style Features, Homepage Features, Morris/Essex Health & Life