Here's a fun fact! Did you know that the Wharton State Forest is the LARGEST single tract of land within the entire State Park System of New Jersey? That's pretty impressive isn't it...and it's all there for families to explore and enjoy!
It also happens to be the site of the historic Batsto Village, which is a former glassmaking and bog iron center which was in operation from 1766 to 1867. You can imagine it has lots of stories to tell!
This site has 33 historic buildings for you to explore, which include the sawmill, Batsto Mansion, the gristmill, general store, the post office and even the workers homes. You can take the guided tour via your smart phone, which works well with the walking guide brochure. Great for educating everyone on the fascinating history right under your feet!
The tour takes you around 18 of the historic buildings and sites - and it's FREE!
What's also very cool is that the Blacksmith Shop is open for live demonstrations on the weekends during the year except for winter.
Wharton State Forest is perfect for those families who love the outdoors, love a bit of adventure, and LOVE being active! The park is FILLED with rivers and streams perfect for canoeing, which isn't a bad way to spend the day! There are miles of great unpaved roads which are great for mountain biking and horse riding, and of course hiking is a popular activity in the area.
With all the lakes and ponds, you can be sure to see some pretty cool wildlife - from those iconic bald eagles, to marsh hawks, great blue herons, screen owls, swans, bluebirds, hummingbirds, river otters, turkeys, deer, beavers...we could keep going and going!
Did we mention there's swimming at the Atsion Recreation Area? Better bring those swimmers!
Family fun out in the beautiful New Jersey nature ready and waiting at Wharton State Forest!
Free! The village has a charge Memorial Day to Labor Day
Same as adult
Help keep their forest clean with the carry in / carry out program, so all the park can be kept beautiful!
Take a picnic and enjoy it out in nature!
To take the guided cell phone tour, you just need a data plan and the QR code app to scan!
There certainly is history to be learnt! They have developed teaching resources with 10 lessons, where the topics range from the environment and early Pinelands industry to daily life in the village.
Make sure you have plenty of water.
The trails are unpaved so you might have difficulty. Give them call to discuss the access of the village.
There's a podcast tour you can download online that can tell you all about the historic tour of Harrisville! - a genuine ghost town of the late 1800s!