Summer in New Jersey just got a whole lot better. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, all entrance fees to New Jersey State Parks have been waived for all visitors.

"Presented in our FY2023 budget, the bold steps we have taken toward a more affordable Garden State will ensure access to our state parks for everyone — residents and visitors alike," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement. "While incentivizing tourism and economic activity in our local communities, the fee holiday also promotes access to green, open space; thriving waterways; and the many natural wonders that make us proud to call New Jersey our home."

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Delaware and Raritan State Canal Park, near Lambertville, New Jersey
Delaware and Raritan State Canal Park, near Lambertville, New Jersey © Jon Lovette / Getty

All state parks will be free for the summer and refunds for pass holders are coming

There are more than 50 sites in the New Jersey State Park System, which comprises 453,000 acres of forests, beaches, lakes and historic sites — they contribute greatly to the state's tourism economy. Typically, entry fees range from $2 to $10 for New Jersey residents and $3 to $20 for out-of-state visitors; all of those fees will be waived under this summer's program, regardless of a visitor's residence. On top of that, New Jersey will also be automatically refunding anyone who purchased an annual State Park Pass in 2022, which cost $50 for residents and $75 for non-residents.

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The picture-perfect Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Liberty State Park, Jersey City
The picture-perfect Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Liberty State Park, Jersey City © bloodua / Getty Images

Swim, hike, kayak, picnic and more at New Jersey's State Parks

“From High Point State Park in Sussex County to Cape May Point State Park in Cape May County, the state park system provides endless opportunities for recreation — from swimming, hiking, and kayaking, to picnicking, exploring nature and experiencing our rich history,” said New Jersey's Commissioner of Environmental Protection, Shawn M. LaTourette. “Whatever your passion or interest, there is a state park in New Jersey for you.”

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The best New Jersey State Parks to explore

Other parks of note include Island Beach State Park, a 10-mile barrier island known not only for its beaches but also for its great birdwatching (check out the state's largest osprey colony); High Point State Park, where you'll find a monument marking the highest point in New Jersey, as well as part of the Appalachian Trail; Washington Crossing State Park, where George Washington and the Continental Army famously crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776 during the Revolutionary War and Ringwood State Park, which is home to the Victorian-style Ringwood Manor, the English Jacobean–style Skylands Manor and the New Jersey Botanical Garden.

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Sunset at the monument in High Point State Park, New Jersey
Sunset at the monument in High Point, New Jersey © Bruce Goerlitz Photo / Shutterstock

There still may be some fees with your visit

But potential visitors to the New Jersey State Park sites should note that it's only the entrance fees that have been waived, while other fees still remain. Some of those additional fees include camping permits, fishing permits and guided tours.

Still, free park entry makes getting out into the best nature spots — or into some of New Jersey's top historic sites — available to a much wider audience. Just make sure to arrive early to find parking!

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