State Park Profile: Allaire
There are state parks, and then there is Allaire, where you can explore the Garden State’s history along with an intriguing natural environment. This Monmouth County gem located in Farmingdale, and offers 3,000 acres of landscape and culture, as well as plenty of ways to enjoy it.
- Part of the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route, this park’s wilderness is a dream for hikers, bikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. Five trails ranging from a ½ mile to one 16.5-mile multi-use path appeals to both mere amblers and experts. The Edgar Felix Bikeway rail trail is perfect for cyclists, who can scope 200 species of flowers, trees and plants on their downtime.
- There’s a campsite set up for 45 tents and trailers along with four yurts and six cabins, in case you want to watch the sun go down.
- On the Manasquan River, take out a canoe or go fishing for trout (pick up a license first).
- Picnic sites with grills are in abundance here, and the playground is a must for young park-goers.
- For a lesson in all-things nature, stop by the park’s Nature Interpretive Center, which also offers explorer programs for kids.
- The park includes Historic Village at Allaire, 19th-century bog iron ore works that was once intended to be an autonomous community. This restored village is now a living history museum that features costumed interpreters in tinsmith, blacksmith and carpentry trades, as well as an old bakery serving up sweet treats, a general store and a church, alongside owner’s and foreman’s houses. Visit the herb and medicinal gardens for a fragrant tutorial in how people lived off the land. Group tours lead you through this interactive pre-Civil War village, where faithful reenactments bring the area’s industrial roots to life.
- For train enthusiasts young and old, there’s the New Jersey Museum of Transportation, established in 1952. Board an antique steam train on a ½ mile loop through the historic Pine Creek Railroad. Tour the shop and car barn and get a detailed history lesson all while you travel by way of one of the oldest narrow gauge railway exhibits in the USA.