The Bridgewater area has some lovely parks to visit when you want to spend time in nature. The Bridgewater Parks system comprises 18 township parks, three county parks, and one county athletic complex, encompassing around 1,420 acres to enjoy. So, whether you’re looking to hike, participate in sports, or find a peaceful spot for a relaxing picnic, you’ll find it around Bridgewater. Spending time in nature is a healthy stress reliever and is a great activity to share with your family. Our Crème de la Crème staff invites you to explore six fantastic parks near Bridgewater.

Colonial Park

Goldfish swimming in Colonial Park near Bridgewater, NJ

Made up of 685 scenic acres, Colonial Park at 156 Mettlers Road in Somerset has many features to appeal to all outdoor enthusiasts. This pristine natural setting includes broad lawns, meadows, and ponds. Colonial Park Gardens is a collection of botanical displays located in the western area of Colonial Park. The gardens are a flora lover’s dream and feature the following horticulture displays:

  • Perennial Garden.
  • Fragrance and Sensory Garden.
  • Award-winning Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden.
  • Nationally accredited Arboretum.
  • Various ornamental grasses and shrubs.

Recreational features include sports fields, tennis courts, bocce courts, mini golf, nature trails, fitness trails, workout stations, and many walking paths. The park also includes Spooky Brook Golf Course, an 18-hole championship course with a wide open layout offering spacious fairways and greens. You can also go fishing, paddle boating, and canoeing on Powder Mill Pond.

From late June to early September, a 6,500-square-foot seasonal spray park on 1.6 acres is the perfect spot for children to cool off and play when accompanied by parents. Nearby, you’ll find a newly upgraded playground as well as a dog park so your furry friend can be included on a day out with the family. In addition, there are multiple picnic groves with tables to enjoy a picnic lunch in the park.

Chimney Rock Park 

Spanning 24 acres, Chimney Rock Park, located at 736 Chimney Rock Road in Martinsville, has a variety of amenities to enjoy. It provides hikers and bikers with an excellent starting point for venturing into Somerset County parklands to both the east and the west. The park has tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, nature trails, a walking path, a roller hockey rink, and public restrooms. There’s also a large playground that’s popular with the kids.

Chimney Rock Park is home to a cricket field, a rare find in public parks and the only one in Bridgewater. Another unique feature is the park’s disc golf course, one of four courses in Somerset County and the only one found in Bridgewater. The course is notable for its unusual features, including long holes in the field for distance and shorter ones with significant changes in topography and obstacles for finesse.

Gene King Park

The 30-acre Gene King Park at 34 Frohlin Drive in Basking Ridge provides delightful forest walking paths and hiking trails that connect the neighborhoods of South Shore Drive, Frohlin Drive, and Papen Road. The park also has a covered picnic area and a challenging uphill trail, including a pedestrian bridge — the highest in Bridgewater. The sidewalks on Papen Road and Wishnow Way will connect to the Middle Brook Trail system. By taking a stroll on the street around the park, you can enjoy a view of Sunset Lake.

Harry Ally Memorial Park

Named for one of the township’s beloved residents, the 12-acre Harry Ally Memorial Park on Grand Boulevard in Bridgewater has recreation facilities and a parkland area. Harry Ally served on the Township Recreation Commission and was instrumental in developing a recreation program for the township. The park offers tennis courts, basketball courts, lacrosse fields, football fields, a roller hockey rink, walking paths, and a playground. Parking is available at the end of Grand Boulevard, with pedestrian access to the park from Finderne Avenue via the Peoplecare Center and Pearl Street.

Duke Island Park 

Acquired in 1958, 343-acre Duke Island Park is located at 191 Old York Road in Bridgewater and offers various amenities and recreational experiences. This site of rich beauty is truly an “island” park, as it’s traversed by the historic Raritan Power Canal. The Raritan River is stocked by the New Jersey Department of Fish, Game, and Wildlife and offers prime fishing locations for beginner and expert anglers alike. It’s also perfect for picnicking and includes seven picnic areas, some with pavilions that can be reserved for special celebrations.

Other popular park features include the playground, softball field, and the Summer Concert Series, where visitors can enjoy live music each Sunday evening from July to August. In addition, hikers, bikers, and birdwatchers can take advantage of the trails that wind along the river and pass through extensive wooded areas.

Washington Valley Park

Consisting of approximately 719 acres, Washington Valley Park can be accessed from Vosseller Avenue at Millers Lane as well as at Newmans Lane. The park is full of recreational activities in an undisturbed natural setting. Some of the ecological features you’ll encounter include:

  • A 21-acre reservoir.
  • Open freshwater wetland marshes.
  • Dramatic rock outcroppings.
  • Pine and hemlock forests.

Within this serene setting lies 7 miles of hiking trails and some of the best mountain biking in the state. If you want to fish, the reservoir is the place to be, as it provides opportunities to catch bluegill, largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, pumpkinseed, and more.

One highlight of the park is the Washington Valley Park Hawk Watch Area, which is particularly active from August through November. Thousands of migrating hawks, falcons, and eagles fly overhead — sometimes just over the treetops — and delight hawk watchers who travel from all over the country. It’s the perfect time for enthusiasts to count and identify the birds as they journey to Central and South America for the season. Endangered and threatened birds, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and ospreys, are some of the most noteworthy birds viewed within the park, especially when weather conditions are just right.

Visit These Awesome Parks Near Bridgewater

The Crème de la Crème of Bridgewater team hopes you’re inspired to get out and enjoy the beauty of nature in one of our local parks. Spend time hiking, biking, picnicking, or simply soaking up the sun. Appreciating nature and staying active are two values we instill in children attending our preschool as well as those in our child care and day care programs. To learn more, contact us at 908-741-4790 to speak to a team member or request a tour of our facility. One visit and you’ll know that Crème de la Crème is perfect for your child.

Goldfish Pond, Colonial Park, New Jersey by Bogdan Migulski is licensed with CC BY 2.0