Spanning 4 towns (Peapack, Gladstone, Far Hills, and Bedminster), Natirar Park is HUGE and traverses hundreds of acres of fields, meadows, and woodlands, offering river access, paved and gravel walking trails, and plenty of space for running, biking, scooting, ball playing, and picnics while socially distancing with ease.
Fun facts: Natirar is the reverse spelling of Raritan, the river that runs through this park. Natirar is also home to Ninety Acres, a philanthropic mansion turned Moroccan King’s home, turned present day farm-to-table restaurant, cooking school, and wedding venue with majestic views.
We picnicked in the shade, made makeshift goalposts out of sticks, played a lively game of soccer, and *think* we spotted a bear cub in the distance. After debating whether it was a cub or a big dog, we continued our hike along the gravel nature trail, and admired wildflowers. On our descent, we noticed a barn where, to our delight, we discovered a DOZEN bird’s nests. The sweet sounds of chirping hatchlings echoed all around us as one after another after another popped its little head out to take a peak at where mama was with lunch. Our preschooler just studied birds in depth a couple of months prior, so this was such a treat to show him the mama birds swooping through, feeding worms to their open mouthed babies. I’ve never seen this many nests, and think it’s terrific that the park is taking special precaution not to disturb them.
The Park Mama Tips:
- Natirar Park is in active bear country. While our probable cub sighting was very far away and totally harmless, you should know and review bear safety tips with your children before hiking.
- No bathrooms here, but porta potties are available.
- It’s a little buggy, so pack bug spray.
For more info: