National Geographic magazine called it “America in Miniature” because it is the most diverse state in the USA with mountains, forests, beaches, rivers, and lakes. New Jersey is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Here are 7 Fantastic Outdoor Activities to do in New Jersey.

#Go Fishing

Due to the geographical diversity of New Jersey, you have the choice of different types of fishing – ice fishing, deep-sea fishing, and freshwater fishing.

Before fishing in New Jersey, you must obtain a fishing license. Visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for more information on how to apply for a fishing license. Once you have your license, it is time to hit the fishing store to get some equipment. You will need an auger, a sled, an ice scoop, some ice rods, and a handful of jigs for ice fishing. For salt and freshwater fishing, you will need rods, reels, bait, knives, a storage box, and towels.

Some of the best places to go fishing in New Jersey include Delaware River, Round Valley Reservoir, Lake Hopatcong  and the Atlantic Highlands.

#Ride the Waves      

Another opportunity to get near the water is to participate in one of the many water sports available to New Jersey.  You can indulge in surfing, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing.

If you have always wanted to ride the waves, you can get surfing lessons at Ocean City, 51st street beach, and Asbury Park. The best time to surf in New Jersey is during the autumn months (peak of the hurricane season) when the swell improves, and the water is still warm, remaining at 50-68 degrees.

New Jersey has sixty-three recognized rivers and creeks, making it the ideal state for canoeing and kayaking. Whether you’re looking for a guided trip, canoe rentals, self-guided, day trip, multi-day trip, or anything in between, there’s a canoe or kayak trip in New Jersey for you.

Kayaking in New Jersey offers various scenic and wildlife experiences, with a range of water from easy flat water to the more intermediate, challenging rivers and beach areas. Popular areas to canoe and kayak are Cranberry Lake, Sussex County, Lake Hopatcong (New Jersey’s largest lake), and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area located in the northwest corner of New Jersey, and runs along 40 miles of the Delaware River, including where it cuts through a ridge in the Appalachian Mountains to form the famed “gap.” The park is a magnet for kayak enthusiasts.

#Take to the Skies

A great way to see New Jersey is from the sky. Take a hot air balloon ride with your family or a loved one and have champagne and a picnic as you marvel at sights such as farmland, wildlife, and lakes.   Hot air balloon rides usually cruise anywhere from 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground and typically last about one hour. New Jersey plays host to several hot air balloon festivals when hundreds of brightly colored balloons take to the sky.

Helicopter rides are a popular activity because you get incredible aerial views and can cover a great distance in a short space of time. Hop in a Robinson R44 helicopter and take off from Pittstown, New Jersey and tour the skyline of New York City, cruise along the Delaware River, or choose your route during your scenic flight.

#Saddle up!

If you want a way of seeing the New Jersey wilderness that is more at one with nature, consider horseback riding. According to the Encyclopaedia of New Jersey, New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other state. It’s no wonder, then, that the horse was named the official state animal in 1977. The state boasts many private and public stables that offer riding lessons, recreational trail rides, and other kids’ and parents’ opportunities to swing up into the saddle.

#Get Fruity

Food and agriculture are New Jersey’s third-largest industry, behind pharmaceuticals and tourism, bringing billions of dollars in revenue to the state.

Farmers in New Jersey produce more than 100 different kinds of fruits and vegetables for consumers to enjoy. Nationally, New Jersey is one of the top 10 producers of blueberries, cranberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, apples, spinach, squash, and asparagus. Take your family for a day out in the sun picking lots of lovely fresh fruit and vegetables. Afterward, you can enjoy making delicious dishes with your haul.

#Hit a Birdie

If you enjoy a round of golf, New Jersey has over 300 clubs and courses to choose from, including Pine Valley. Pine Valley in Southern Jersey has been perennially ranked as one of the top three courses in the U.S., if not the world.

There are loads of miniature golf and adventure golf courses such as Haunted Golf in Ocean City and Pirate Island Golf in Avalon for the kids.

#Animal Crackers

New Jersey is one of the most biologically diverse states in the US and home to over 1000 different species of animal wildlife. Its many different ecosystems of coastal marine areas, pine forests, upland hardwood forests, fresh and saltwater marshes, as well as 1000’s of lakes and rivers, provide ample habitat for its many critters. Look out for black bears, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, groundhogs, bald eagles, and black rat snakes.

New Jersey has twelve zoos, so if you are crackers about animals, this is the state to visit.

A great place to visit is Rizzo’s Wildlife World, a 4,700 square foot facility that houses over 100 animals. It is a hands-on, multi-sensory interactive experience for all the family.

The Popcorn Park Zoo, a small non-profit 7-acre zoo located in Forked River, New Jersey, within Lacey Township. It originally began as a shelter for sick, elderly, abandoned, abused, or injured wildlife. Now over 200 of these animals and birds call Popcorn Park Zoo their home.

An experience of a lifetime awaits you at Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, New Jersey. See wolves in their natural habitats and learn about their eating habits, social structure, and their impact on humans. The preserve also offers tours and photography sessions that include coming face to face with wolves!