Fall at Cheesequake State Park: Matawan, NJ

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We visited Hooks Creek Lake at Cheesequake State Park in the summer, but didn’t make it past the sand pit with our enthusiastic little diggers, so we were excited to explore more of the park last weekend. Autumn has most certainly arrived here, and the trees are dressed as stoplights, shining brightly in crimson, gold, and avocado. We played tag in an open field, found a lucky double acorn under the shade of a towering oak tree, discovered mossy undergrowth, dug in the sand, picnicked, and hiked the gorgeous 1.5 mile loop around the lake.

Along the trail, geese honked and flew in a “V” formation overhead eliciting joyful squeals and clapping from my 23 month old: “Mama, honk honk. Whoosh.” Scenic lookouts are prevalent throughout and offer nice stopping points to rest tired little legs as well as closer glimpses of still waters and the aquatic wildlife that call them home. While not stroller-friendly, this trail with its tree roots and small climbs offered just the right gym for our 4 year old and 23 month old.

We stopped by Cheesequake Farms (10 mins away) for pumpkin picking after our hike. We found the hayride too crowded for our comfort level, so we chose to purchase mini pumpkins at their cute little farmer’s stand and our little guys were delighted with their orange and white selections.

The Park Mama Tips:

  • Mosquitos live here. Pack bug spray.
  • No entrance fee until Memorial Day.
  • Play “I Spy” or create your own scavenger hunt to keep kids engaged while hiking. Be on the lookout for fall colored leaves, double acorns, and plenty of wildlife (geese, squirrels, chipmunks, etc.).
  • Swimming is closed, but the sand pit is open for digging!
  • Bathrooms are closed at the lake, but are open and clean throughout the picnic and hiking areas.

For more info:

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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: