You know those days – when you set off to visit a popular location and everyone else has the same idea?
You can dig in your heels and insist on going forward with your plans in the crowds, or take a minute and regroup. One of the great things about Jersey Family Fun is with a quick search, we can tell you the fun places you can go when you need to regroup or change plans last minute.
This happened to me during spring break, when a certain amusement park was too crowded for comfort. On my places to go in Monmouth County list was Monmouth Battlefield State Park and since it was a beautiful day we headed there without hesitation. After a short, well-signed drive later, we arrived. As soon as we left the car we knew immediately we had made the right choice; it was so peaceful and silent I wondered if we transported to another state. From the lot at the visitor’s center we had an amazing view of a creek, apple orchards and fields and couldn’t wait to let the kids roam free. We were greeted by a large statue of General Steuben and a cannon, and the kids were ready to start learning!
The park offers over 1800 acres to explore, including hiking trails, a playground, and picnic areas. There are paved trails and footpaths, that follow in the actual footsteps of the soldiers who fought on these lands in June 1778. Pick up a map inside the visitor’s center and transport yourself back to those Revolutionary War days! It isn’t difficult to do in the untouched landscape. We didn’t walk far but imaginations were running wild pretending to be soldiers, and inspecting the creek for some wildlife (we saw a turtle swimming along but deeper into the park you’re sure to see a variety of birds). The playground and picnic tables are in a different area than the fields, but they are walkable.
What I was not expecting during my visit to the park was the extensive and informative visitor’s center/museum. What a great resource for not only learning about the Battle of Monmouth, but all of the Revolutionary War and the history of the region beyond the war. Learn about the Civil War boot camp Camp Vrendenburg, view a diorama of the battle, and explore various artifacts found in the region. Our favorite and most unexpected feature of the center is the 10-minute movie about the Battle of Monmouth. Head into the room which has a spectacular view of the battlefield, and watch it transform into a movie theater. It’s a must see – and stay to the breathtaking end!
We ended up spending just over an hour at the Monmouth Battlefield State Park and visitor center, but we could definitely have spent longer if we were prepared for a hike. The lack of bug spray and sunscreen sent us inside faster than we needed to, as it was a perfect spring day. If you visit on Sundays, you can join a walking tour or visit the Craig House, where the Craig family lived during the battle. If you’re there in the fall you can wander over to the Battleview Orchards for some apple picking. We’ve heard there’s even some fun sledding in the winter. Just outside the park entrance, there are a couple great local farmer’s markets that I recommend visiting as well, for the perfect apple cider donut snack for the ride home.
If You visit Monmouth Battlefield State Park:
- Parking is FREE and there’s no entrance fee at Monmouth Battlefield State Park!
- Need to charge your phone? There’s a phone charging station inside, but consider donating to “Molly’s Well,” should you use it.
- Restrooms are available inside the visitor’s center.
- Monmouth Battlefield State Park is carry in/carry out. Plan to take your trash back in your car with you.
- Check the calendar of events for any special events that may bring crowds to the park – or be of interest to you!
- Do you geocache? You’ll find spots within the park!
- The Friends of Monmouth Battlefield operate the gift shop, which is open Sundays 1-4 PM
- The park is a protected archaeological site – no metal detectors allowed! Keep your eyes open for artifacts but if you find something, you’ll need to tell a park employee.
For more photos from our visit to Monmouth Battlefield State Park see our Facebook Album.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park is located at 16 Business Route 33 in Manalapan, Monmouth County. There is no entrance fee. The visitor’s center is open daily from 9 AM – 4 PM, park hours vary seasonally.