Duke Farms: Hillsborough, NJ

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love to drive. Fresh out of college, I took a job as a road warrior recruiting high school seniors across a 7 state territory for my alma mater. Armed with MapQuest directions (remember when that was a thing?) and keys to a state owned minivan, New Jersey was my first and longest assignment. Little did I know that I would later call the Garden State home, and traverse these same roads with 2 of my own little adventure buddies in tow.

I typically aim for 30 minute or less drives when traveling solo with my little guys, and reserve longer treks for when my hubby can join us on the weekends, but Duke Farms is currently only open on weekdays and had such raving reviews that I decided to pack a picnic lunch and hit the road.

I’ve discovered that long drives feel shorter when timed with naps and paired with good tunes and conversation. Our favorite jam is below for inspiration.

Located in beautiful Somerset County, Duke Farms is a self-proclaimed “nature lover’s oasis” and it certainly lives up to its name. 18 miles of flat, wide, paved trails are perfection for scooter, stroller, and bike riding with interesting sights to take in – wildflowers, sculpture, and water features abound. We had a blast doing scooter vs. stroller races and bonded with another preschool family (at an appropriate social distance) about scooters and dinosaurs. We even spotted 3 eagles soaring overhead – a real treat! Open and clean restrooms helped this mama make a longer trek with kiddos doable.

Our visit was poorly timed during peak sunlight and on one of the hottest days of the year, so we didn’t stay nearly as long as we would have liked. We cooled off in the shade and threw rocks in the pond before heading back to the car. We’ll revisit this expansive property again and again, and I’m sure each experience will reveal something new.

The Park Mama Tips:

  • Due to COVID, Duke Farms is currently open on weekdays only – closed on weekends.
  • Parking is at 50% capacity to allow for social distancing.
  • While there are some shady spots, a lot of the trail we ventured down was in direct sunlight. Sunscreen is a must.
  • Bring your bikes and scooters!
  • If you’re looking for a similar bike riding haven open on weekends, check out Holmdel Park.

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Published by TheParkMama

Hi, I'm Janet, a city dwelling nature lover and mama bear of toddler and preschool aged explorers. We love discovering uncrowded green spaces within a short drive of Hoboken, NJ that are little kid-friendly - from botanical gardens and nature preserves to arboretums and parks - there's something magical about adventuring together.

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