The more I live here and the more I travel, the more I realize that we live in a truly unique and beautiful region of the world. With the Delaware River winding up alongside the PA border, and the Atlantic Ocean along the coast, there are endless possibilities for outdoor fun in New Jersey.
One of my favorite spring pastimes is picnicking. It combines my love for food with my love for being outdoors and active. Over the years we have explored some new spots, but we always keep coming back to our favorites, like Baldpate Mountain and Washington Crossing State Park. But if you’ve never packed a picnic lunch and headed out to explore, you can’t go wrong with any of these spots on my list.
This is #1 on my list. Just a few minutes down the road from our home, Baldpate Mountain in Titusville, NJ is the highest point in Mercer County! It offers a spectacular view of the river and the Pennsylvania countryside. The hike up is fun, with some rock formations that make it a just a little bit of a challenge. At the top, there are picnic benches. On our most recent hike though, we enjoyed lunch at the tables at the Strawberry Hill Mansion, a beautiful refurbished (now) event space.
- Nearby Food Stop: It’s Nutts. You can’t go wrong with their friend chicken.
Walking distance from our home is the Washington Crossing State Park, where you will find more than 500 acres of American history. If you didn’t already know, the park preserves the site where George Washington crossed the Delaware River and turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. With incredible views of the Delaware River, you can barbecue and picnic in the shade in between the river and the Delaware & Raritan canal.
- Nearby Food Stop:Colonial Farms. Their carrot, kale & chickpea quinoa salad is my favorite, but they also will make you sandwiches. If you choose to grill instead of picnic, they also have a full meat and produce section.
Boardwalks aren’t just for the beach: The are hiking trails throughout the Sourland Mountain Preserve that have wooden slats to make taking a stroll easier for you. But this is no basic walk in the park. There are a few bouldering areas and “roaring rocks” where you can sit and unpack your picnic lunch.
- Nearby Food Stop:Brick Farm Market. They have everything from your farm fresh prepared salads and sandwiches to cold-pressed juice and local cheese & crackers.
It’s no longer a little secret that Goat Hill Overlook has some of the best views in the state. Though technically part of the Washington Crossing State Park, it has a much smaller area for picnicking. So get here early, because if it’s a nice day, you’ll have a hard time even finding a place to park!
- Nearby Food Stop:You have your pick of all the places in Lambertville. A Middle Eastern spread from Marhaba Restaurant with hummus and tabouleh sounds great to me!
Mercer County Park is HUGE and offers a variety of activities to locals looking to get out of the house. The picnic facilities by the Boathouse/Marina are very nice, and you can really make a day out of it with their volleyball courts and aquatic activities. Kayaks and rowboats are available for rent.
- Nearby Food Stop: It depends on which direction you’re coming from! Drive in any direction for 15 minutes and you’re bound to find a great local café with sandwiches and picnic foods.
P.S. Bucks County, PA also has beautiful parks and places to picnic throughout. We love exploring that side of the river, too. From taking a stroll thought the Washington Crossing Park in Washington Crossing, PA to doing a canoe-picnic on Lake Luxembourg, in Core Creek Park, just get in the car and start driving and you’ll find your perfect spot.