Sarah Dipity


7 Family Friendly Outdoor Locations to Visit in Somerset County, NJ

As a New Jersey mother of four I know it’s sometimes hard finding new fun family things to do with children locally. I’ve put together this list of 7 family friendly outdoor locations to visit in Somerset County, NJ. Let me know what you think & if you have any other locations you think I should add to this blog please let me know in the comments! Enjoy!

1. Colonial Park Gardens: 156 Mettlers Rd. Somerset, NJ 08873The Colonial Park Arboretum and

Colonial Park Gardens features a 144-acre Arboretum, a Rose Garden, sensory garden, Perennial Garden, Shrub Collection and much more. You can spend your entire day by wandering around the park and exploring thousands of species of plant and animal life that are the specialty of Colonial Park. Hike or bike the trails lined by beautiful trees and rivers. Bring your dog to run around rent a canoe or kayak for an adventurous afternoon. They are free to visit and provide year-round interest, boasting a wide diversity of plant genera, and an ever-changing palette of color, form, and texture.

Once you’re done in the gardens you can walk across Mettlers Road & visit the other side of the park where there is a play ground, splash pad (open in the summer), tennis courts, paddle boats & mini golf (opening seasonally) a well as more ponds & hiking trails around them, great spots to fish with the kids.

    2. Norz Hills Farms: 116 South Branch Road, Hillsborough Township, Somerset County, New Jersey 08844

    Norz Hill Farm is a family-friendly farm with numerous animals children can meet. Because many farmers in New Jersey have been retiring or moving out of the area recently, children do not have the same opportunities their parents or grandparents did, such as working with animals on a daily basis, living close to them, and seeing them in their natural environment. Norz Hill Farm makes it a point to educate new generations about farm life. While children learn about the animals on the farm, parents can enjoy the on-site farmer’s market and produce stand. Norz Hill Farm offers families some of the freshest produce the area has to offer. 

    3. Snyders Farm: 586 South Middlebush Road, Somerset, Somerset County, New Jersey 0887

    Snyder’s Farm is 80 acres of preserved farmland centrally located in beautiful Somerset, NJ. It is one of the few “Pick Your Own” farms in the area. Snyder’s Farm’s U Pick consists of GMO free strawberries in May/June, blueberries and veggies in June/July. When the picking season is over they open a Roadside stand to the community for fresh picked produce. The last hoorah for the season is Snyder’s Farm’s Annual Fall Festival, it’s fun for the whole family! Always call 732-496-0441 before you visit and check their phone message on picking availability. On fall festival weekends, complementary tastings are available in the farm store. Apple cider, their signature jar goods, hot sauce and local honey are all available to purchase. Want to celebrate your fall birthday at the farm? Go to the Snyder’s Farm website under Fall Parties for information. 

    4. Canoeing: 355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater, Somerset County, New Jersey 08807

    The Somerset County Park Commission offers a variety of canoeing opportunities at various park locations throughout the county. Come out for a guided canoe tour with one of Somerset County’s experienced and enthusiastic guides. They offer easy and relaxing tours for beginners, as well as more adventurous tours for experienced paddlers. Canoe programs are designed for adults and families. Attendance of the introductory programs is mandatory in order to participate in trips. Canoe trips are available from early May until late October! Visit the website for specific canoe trip locations, times and prices.

    5. Horse Back Riding at Lord Stirling Stable: 256 Maple Avenue, Basking Ridge, Somerset County, New Jersey 0883

    Lord Stirling Stable offers a wide variety of horseback riding activities at their facility in Basking Ridge, NJ for riders of most ages and abilities. Younger children and beginners can start with their Lead Line, which allows you to rent a pony or horse and walk around in their outdoor ring. A professional stable worker will supervise, lead and teach basic horseback riding techniques. For the more experienced riders, walk on horseback trail rides are available. Call ahead to make sure other programs are not interfering.

    For those who are seriously interested in horseback riding, Lord Stirling Stable offers private, semi-private and group lessons, as well as horse care workshops. Lord Stirling Stable can help you plan a memorable event. Pony Party birthdays are available for celebrating your child’s special day. Boy and Girl Scouts are welcome to come to the stables to learn equestrian skills. If you are looking for a fun outdoor group activity, Lord Stirling Stable has unique program options. Experience miles of beautiful trails on horseback or from the comfort of a tractor-pulled hay wagon.

    6. Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge: 241 Pleasant Plains Road, Basking Ridge, Somerset County, New Jersey 07980

    The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and its habitat. It represents the most comprehensive wildlife management program in the world, and it’s steeped in history. Located in Morris County, the refuge was established by an act of Congress on November 3, 1960. It consists of 7,600 acres of varied habitats and over the years, the refuge has become a resting and feeding area for more than 244 species of birds. Fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs and a wide variety of wildflowers and plants also call the refuge home.

    Wildlife management is the main focus at this outdoor laboratory where invasive species are controlled, and which provides a primitive experience to the general public. Permanent structures and motorized vehicles are not allowed. You can leisurely hike the nearly 8 miles of trails, and quietly observe the migration, nesting and feeding habitats which are safely preserved for the animals. People are encouraged to observe, study, photograph and walk with nature in designated public areas. The best times for observing wildlife are early in the morning and late afternoon. Look high in the trees to spot the birds, but don’t forget to look low! The tiny bugs skimming the water surfaces and crawling around the leaves are an integral part of the ecosystem, too! Visit the information center before you begin your hike to obtain a map of the trails. Here you can also pick up pamphlets and materials to learn about conservation and the wonderful programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    7. Wagner Farm Arboretum: 197 Mountain Avenue, Warren, Somerset County, New Jersey 07059

    Wagner Farm Arboretum sits on 96.6 beautiful acres of former daily farmland in the heart of Somerset County. The arboretum’s gardeners, volunteers, and members seek to enrich, educate and inspire the community by increasing environmental awareness and recreational opportunities.  

    The Children’s Garden is open from dawn to dusk year around, so you can see the effect of the different seasons on the plantings, most of which are native to New Jersey. This space is maintained entirely by volunteers. The garden has a high fence to keep out animals, but is always accessible to the public – just open the slide bar on the gate and be sure to close it when you leave. There’s plenty of room for children to roam freely in a fenced, safe area, where they can explore a small sensory garden and play our set of outdoor musical instruments.  Several benches are scattered throughout the space for seating and there’s a large covered gazebo to provide summertime shade. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, and listen to the sounds of nature as the birds and the bees do their hard work beautifying the garden plantings.  Before visiting, call the office to see if the garden will be  open for visitors. 

    Thank you for checking out these 7 outdoor family fun places to visit in Somerset County, NJ! If you get the chance to spend the day at any of them, let me know how it was & if I can include anything else to say about them. One of my personal favorites is #1 Colonial Park: most of the photos in this blog post were taken right there! If your looking for photos in Somerset County please reach out to me about booking a session, I love working with fun New Jersey families! <3 Sarah

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