Park It!

Give a gift of the outdoors—an annual park pass—and help support state parks.

New Jersey has more than 50 protected areas designated as state parks, state forests, recreation areas, and other properties, many of which are in South Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is offering discounted season passes just in time for a holiday gift for those outdoors enthusiasts.

Annual park passes are $50 for New Jersey residents, and $75 for those who live outside of the state. A second household pass may be purchased at a reduced price of $25 for New Jersey residents and $35 for out-of-state visitors, according to the department. To be eligible for the discount, both passes must be purchased at the same time. Prices are higher for owners of over-sized vehicles.

“New Jersey has a tremendous system of parks, forests and recreation areas,” Division of Parks and Forestry Director Olivia Glenn said in a press release. “An annual pass is a great way to share the gift of the great outdoors.”

Parks that charge in-season fees charge those fees per vehicle. Annual pass purchasers get a decal to affix to the window of a vehicle for entry to these parks. A second pass can come in handy if a family expects to use two vehicles to visit the parks.

An annual park pass provides entrance to those parks, forests and recreation areas that charge daily entrance fees. The passes are good only for entry, and not for other services, such as boat launches and camping.

At more than 450,000 acres, the state park system offers numerous opportunities for recreational activities such as camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, cycling, boating and kayaking, as well as providing a great way to connect with nature or learn about history.

Parks that charge entry fees do so between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with the exception of Island Beach State Park, which charges a reduced off-season fee in addition to in-season fees.

Residents who are age 62 or older and those who are totally disabled may obtain a pass entitling them to free admission and parking, as well as reduced campsite rates. To apply, visit state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/ or call the Division of Parks and Forestry at 800-843-6420 or 609-984-0370.

Earlier this year, the State Park Service partnered with YourPassNow.com to allow online purchases of the annual state park pass. Online orders are subject to a $3 per pass surcharge.

To learn more about New Jersey’s state parks, forests and historic sites, visit njparksandforests.org, and for a list of parks that charge in-season entrance fees, visit state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/feeschedule.htm.

SNJ Today staff at Hopeloft compiled this article.

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