Sarah Dipity


13 Middlesex County NJ Preserves and Conservation Areas to Check Out with the Family!

As a Middlesex County resident for the last 25 years there are plenty of outdoor places to explore with family & friends who love being outdoors! Here are 13 preserves or conservation areas worth exploring in Middlesex County, New Jersey!

1.Ambrose & Doty’s Brooks Park: Piscataway, NJ

218 acres of undeveloped conservation area along the Ambrose and Doty’s Brook’s providing floodplain protection. These greenways connect to the ninety acres occupied by the Raritan Landing Golf Course operated by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority.

2. Heathcote Meadows Preserve: South Brunswick, NJ

88 acres that provides wonderful opportunities for hiking, walking and wildlife viewing/photographing and offers a glimpse into the rich farm ing history of the area, the preserve creates a significant green-belt around the village of Kingston, provides stream protection for Heathcote Brook and Carter Brook. 

3. Ireland Brook Conservation Area: East Brunswick/ South Brunswick: NJ

520 acres ideal for hiking, photography, wildlife viewing and nature study. The trail meanders 1.1 miles along the banks of the Lawrence Brook and the shoreline of Farrington Lake, revealing spectacular views of the lake and unique rock formations found no where else in the county. Great blue herons, belted kingfishers, and great egrets are commons sights along the trail.

4. Jamesburg Park Conservation Area: East Brunswick/Helmetta/Spotswood/Monroe Twp., NJ

Several miles of tails perfect for hiking, you can find typical Pine Barrens species- pintch pine trees, blueberries, huckle berries, & post oaks. It is great for passive recreation activities such as hiking, photography and nature study, with ample wildlife viewing opportunities.  Launch your boat from the ramp at Helmeta Park and enjoy the self-guided, interpretive tour of this 5-acre pond.

5. John A. Phillips Preserve: Old Bridge, NJ

6.5 miles of marked hiking trails as well as 1.5 miles of self guided nature trail which offers interpretive brochures available at the trailhead. Amenities include parking area, playground, & restrooms.

6. Tamarack Hallow Preserve: East Brunswick, NJ

The gentle rolling terrain and variety of plants and animals makes the 2 miles of hiking trails make it a great destination for walking, hiking, bird watching & photography. With two miles of hiking trails, Tamarack Hollow is a great family destination during both summer and winter.

7. Thompson Park Conservation Area: Monroe Twp., NJ

Offers passive attractions on its nearly 9 miles of trails such as hiking, walking, bid watching and photography. The Gravel Hill Trail is accessed from the parking area at the Monroe Township Soccer Complex on Prospect Plains Road. Alternatively, hikers can park in Thompson Park and connect to the Gravel Hill Trail just south of Schoolhouse Road. Parking and portable restrooms are available at both trailheads.

8. Scott’s Corner Conservation Area: South Brunswick NJ

Half mile loop trail for hikers to enjoy a diversity of wildlife including songbirds and small mammals. Restrooms, picnic tables and a playground can be found at nearby Rowland Park. Environmental education programs and interpretive information can be found at the Plainsboro Preserve.

9. Plainsboro Preserve: Plainsboro, NJ

Over 1,000 acres of protected lands with McCormak Lake, hiking trains, and the NJ Audubon environmental education center. The Preserve is not only a gem for Plainsboro Township, but for surrounding communities as well. Residents and non-residents alike can enjoy this outdoor wonder. 

10. Pin Oak Forest: Carteret, NJ

97 Acres of protected land along Omar and Rahway Avenues. Woodbridge Township and the non-profit Woodbridge River Watch maintain the hiking trails, organize clean-ups and care for the butterfly garden.  Threatened and endangered species, such as the red-headed woodpecker and black-crowned night heron have been observed.

11. Deep Run Preserve: Old Bridge, NJ

850 acres of environmentally sensitive pinelands and wetlands. Locally rare plants and nesting bald eagles inhabit lands that are drained by the Deep Run and flow into tidal sections of the South River.

12. Matchaponix Forest: Monroe Twp., NJ

100 acres of protected land, the area consists of upland areas covered with pine, beech and oaks. A series of wetlands and streams drain the property, and flow into the nearby Matchaponix Brook

13. Van Dyke Farm: South Brunswick NJ

200 acres of preserved land, much of the property remains as farmland, but the eastern section of the property are wooded wetlands. A small gravel parking lot off Davidson’s Mill Road gives access to a nearly mile-long section of hiking trail. The Wood Road trail brings visitors through the sections filled with red maple and cat-brier. The Van Dyke Loop traverses a mature beech forest with views of vernal wetlands. Look for migrating songbirds in the spring and fall. Listen for calling amphibians in the early spring through summer.

Thank you for checking out my blog, if you have any other conservation areas or preserves in Middlesex County that I should add to this list please let me know in the comment section! I’m a fan of visiting outdoor locations such as these and scouting for new photography locations like this spot above! If you’re interested in booking a photo session in Middlesex County reach out to me today to get it scheduled! <3 Sarah

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