by Karan Kauchhur, September 2011
Cape May ©Photo Copyright:Karan Kauchhur
New Jersey has “One of Each” -- and by that I mean it has everything right from unique beaches to hills to rivers and forests. Also, it has a wide variety of wildlife. There are over 400 species of birds recorded in New Jersey--that’s great if you are into bird watching. There are Red and Grey foxes, multiple varieties of snakes, turtles, frogs, and many other species. Depending on which part of the state you are in, you can experience the wide diversity that the state has to offer.
New Jersey probably is not one of the top destinations for professional landscape and nature photographers. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing great to photograph here. Initially, when I moved to New Jersey in 2010, I had the same pre-conceived notions shared by many. But over the last year, my perception of the state has changed. The more I explore, the more I find. Every part of New Jersey has something unique to offer. I have a list of must-visit places based on my own research and will share that with you all here.
In the northern part of New Jersey, some of the most beautiful locations are:
1. Delaware Water Gap: This is a must visit location. The Delaware River flows along between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you are into fishing or canoeing, that’s the place you want to visit. There are a bunch of trails leading to many waterfalls available to the public and a few hidden gems. The river goes through Frenchtown (in Central Jersey) and then into the Delaware Bay. The drive from Trenton to Frenchtown is vouched by National Geographic as one of the best scenic drives.
2. High Point State Park: I would recommend going here during the fall season because it is the highest point in New Jersey and offers a beautiful overlook of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. At the summit, there is monument built in the honor of the war heroes.
Memorial at High Point State Park ©Photo Copyright:Karan Kauchhur
3. Great Swamps: Check this place out, if you want to see deer, fish, frogs, birds, insects, snakes, and turtles all in one place.
Then you have Central and South Jersey giving you a whole set of new experiences.
1.Cheesequake Park comes first on my list, especially for small trails, biking, and bird watching. If you get lucky you might find some Red Foxes too.
Cheesequake State Park ©Photo Copyright:Karan Kauchhur
2. Shores: All along the coastline you have 130 miles of unique beaches. My favorite being the Sandy Hook Beach, which is a huge sandpit that extends north toward New York City. On a nice clear day, you can see the city's skyline. Next on my list is Asbury Park, which is south of Sandy Hook and has one of the oldest and longest boardwalks. Further south is the Barnegat Township north of Atlantic City. The southernmost tip is Cape May, which has beautiful beaches that open up into the Delaware Bay. There are lighthouses - one in Sandy Hook and one in Cape May too.
Sandy Hook ©Photo Copyright:Karan Kauchhur
Barnegat Lighthouse ©Photo Copyright:Karan Kauchhur
3. South Mountain Reservation: This location has a beautiful wilderness trail that leads to a not so extravagant but beautiful waterfall called the Hemlock Falls.
©Photo Copyright:Karan Kauchhur
4. Lake Absegami: is the center of the Bass River State Forest, ideal for canoeing and trails. It features a man-made beach.
5. Wharton State Park: Throughout this park, you will find rivers and streams ideal for canoeing, as well as many hiking trails. Keep a look-out for deer, raccoons, and gray squirrels.
Red Winged Black Bird ©Photo Copyright:Karan Kauchhur
So if you are in New Jersey, either visiting or resident, depending on which part of the state you are in, do check out these places I have mentioned. I can guarantee that it will change your perception about The Garden State.
About Karan Kauchhur:
Karan is a hobby photographer from Edison,NJ. He enjoys hiking on the trails and loves to photograph the beauty of nature. He got into digital photography when he bought his first DSLR in 2008. More of Karan's work can be seen on his Photoblog (http://lightandnature.wordpress.com).