Cheesequake State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Surrounded by lowlands and freshwater and saltwater marsh, Cheesequake State Park is an outdoor lover's dream. Cheesequake State Park spans across 1,610 acres of hills, a cedar swamp, and open fields. Located in Old Bridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey, this state park is a must for your next RV excursion. You'll enjoy endless outdoor recreation activities in a serene forest setting. From hiking and mountain biking to swimming and boating, Cheesquake State Park offers a diverse variety of outdoor adventures.

The sweeping forest views of Cheesequake State Park are amazing and offer a view of the mouth of Raritan Bay. You will love basking in the clean mountain air while being surrounded by Atlantic coastal pine barrens and the smell of fresh water from Hooks Creek Lake. The diverse plant species of northern and southern New Jersey will delight any botanist. History buffs will love learning about the history of the Native Americans of the area.

As soon as you've parked your camper at Cheesequake State Park, you can wander out on any of the five trails around the park. The White Trail is a multi-use trail for hiking and mountain biking. Trail lengths vary from 1.5 miles to 3.5 miles, with a range of trail difficulties.

There is one RV-friendly campground at Cheesequake State Park that is perfect for first time campers and experienced ones alike. You have the choice of 53 primitive sites that have flush toilets and showers within walking distance. Cheesequake State Park is perfect for your RV travels no matter what time you visit. The peak season is from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

RV Rentals in Cheesequake State Park

Transportation in Cheesequake State Park

Driving

Cheesequake State Park is located in Old Bridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey and is accessible from the Garden State Parkway by utilizing exit 120 and Route 34. There are state park signs posted at critical intersections along the way.

If you need to pick up some extra supplies before your adventure you can stop in at one of the towns located around the park. These include Laurence Harbor, Madison Park, and Cliffwood Beach. The closest city to Cheesequake State Park is Elizabeth, which is located just 21 miles to the north.

Please be aware that there is an 11-foot height restriction on RVs entering the campsites and group picnic area due to a low bridge. The Garden State Parkway runs through the state park close to exit 120, but there is no direct access. Underneath the parkway is a road that connects the northern and southern sides of the park. The 11-foot height restriction at the campsites and group picnic area is the only restriction for RVs and trailers within the park.

Parking

Parking should not be a problem for your RV or trailer, as there are several places to park. You will be able to park at the Nature Center, entrance to the trails, Hooks Creek Lake, and at the picnic areas. Of course, if you are staying over night, there is parking at the campgrounds.

Public Transport

There are many bus routes leaving from the city of Elizabeth if you want to take public transportation to visit the park. The trip can be anywhere from two hours to three hours depending on traffic and what time you leave.

Campgrounds and parking in Cheesequake State Park

Campsites in Cheesequake State Park

Reservations camping

Cheesequake State Park Campground

Cheesequake State Park showcases 53 sites for RVs and tents from April through October, some of which are pet-friendly Most sites offer partial shade, but they do not have water, electric, or sewer hookups.

However, you can enjoy access to a number of amenities at the family campsites, including a dump station, restrooms, and shower facilities. You'll also enjoy a playground nearby. Each family-friendly campsite has fire rings and picnic tables. There is an 11-foot height restriction for vehicles entering the campgrounds due to a low bridge. The campground is open from the beginning of April to the end of October.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First Served

There are no first-come, first served camping available at this state park. Make sure you book a reservation before your arrival.

Alternate camping

Gordon Field Group Area

If you are looking for some larger camping areas to share with your family and friends, you should check out the group camping sites at Cheesequake State Park Campground. There are six different group campsites, and each site has fire rings, upright grills, and picnic tables.

Other amenities in the Gordon Field Group Area include flush toilets and potable water. Please note that there are no hookups available, and all of your trash must be carried out. The group camping area is open from the beginning of May to the end of October.

Seasonal activities in Cheesequake State Park

In-Season

Birding

Cheesequake State Park is one of the best places near the city of Elizabeth to go birding. There are multiple osprey nesting platforms that attract the birds to the park, along with the lightly wooded area within the nature center. Here you may get the chance to see some of the local neighbors popping in for a feed, including woodpeckers, crows, and robins. If you feel like being nice you can even offer the birds some peanuts to get a real up close and personal look.

Boating

Cheesequake State Park offers boating recreation from the day after Labor Day through the day before Memorial Day weekend. Park your RV or another vehicle in the parking lot and be prepared to carry your canoe, kayak, or boat down to the lake, as there is no other launching available. New Jersey State Boating regulations are in effect for all that wish to go out and explore. There are no boat or canoe rental facilities here, so please bring your own or rent from a private business outside of the park boundaries if you wish to get out on the lake.

Picnicking

Cheesequake State Park has several picnic areas located throughout the park that are perfect for picnicking. The picnic areas are equipped with a table and chairs, and should you have a large group traveling with you, there are two picnic areas that are open to reservations. The Farry Point picnic area holds up to 150 people and provides a shelter and play fields. The group picnic area located at Spring Hill has a capacity of 100 people with play fields and playground equipment. Reservations are required for both locations. An 11-foot height restriction for vehicles and RVs entering the group picnic area is enforced due to a low bridge.

Swimming

If you are looking for a place to take a dip during your RV vacation to New Jersey, Hooks Creek Lake is a perfect spot. You can splash in the waves whenever a lifeguard in on duty. A beach complex is also conveniently located nearby offering restrooms, changing areas, and a concession stand. Even if you just want to suntan, Hooks Creek Lake is a beautiful spot offering a sandy beach with majestic views of the nearby forest. Fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are also permitted on this six-acre lake.

Off-Season

Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park

Located only 14 miles from Cheesequake State Park is the highly informative Thomas Edison Center. Developed to honor Thomas A. Edison and educate the public about his accomplishments, Mr. Edison worked from the site where the center now is way back in the 1870s. The two-room museum features include original artifacts and interpretive exhibits showcasing some of Edison’s major inventions that occurred in the area. You also have the option of walking the grounds to see the foundations of Edison’s office and library building. The Thomas Edison Center is open all year round.

Hiking

Those rugged hiking boots you decided to throw in the RV will come in handy along any of the five trails at Cheesequake State Park. They range from one-and-a-half miles to three-and-a-half miles and vary in their level of difficulty. The White Trial is a multi-use trial for both hiking and mountain biking and is two miles long. Other trail lengths in the park include the Yellow Trail, the Red Trail, the two-mile-long Blue Trail, and the three-mile-long Green Trail. Pets are not permitted on the trails.

Fishing

Cheesequake State Park is a great place to find those awesome freshwater fish. With trout, largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish abound, any enthusiastic fisherman will be in heaven here. New Jersey fishing guidelines do apply and a fishing license is required. These licenses may be purchased online. If you want to try something a little different you can also go crabbing by accessing the Crabbing Bridge near the lake's parking area.

Visiting the Nature Center

If you'd like to learn more about the park's history, park your rig at the Nature Center and check out the wildlife historical exhibits located throughout the center. You can walk around the exhibits and learn what three habitats call Cheesequake State Park their home. Plus, you can learn about the Native American and early colonization that took place in the area. The Nature Center is open seven days a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day. During the off-season, it's opening hours change to Wednesday through Sunday.

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