Please enjoy this feature about the Manasquan Reservoir from guest blogger, Rachel Buttner. Rachel Buttner is a writer and photographer for the Greater Philly travel blog, Daily Vacationer. She lives in Southern New Jersey with her husband, children, and two dogs.
Monmouth County, New Jersey is probably most known for its beaches. With a string of small shore towns like Belmar, Sea Girt, and Sandy Hook, the area is a popular destination for visitors. However, the county can boast much more than just sand and surf with an extensive park system located just a short distance from beach goers and day trippers. For those who like to mix things up a little during a vacation week or just love to explore the beautiful New Jersey nature, our top outdoor pick for that region is the Manasquan Reservoir.
The 770-acre Reservoir is the water source for local towns and utilities, but it’s also a recreational center for boating and fishing, surrounded by 1,200-acres of woods and wetlands with trails for walking, running, biking, and horseback riding, a wildlife themed playground, a Visitor Center, and a very family friendly Environmental Center. Rowboats, motored rowboats, and kayaks can all be rented on site and visitors are encouraged to launch their own electric motor boats, kayaks, canoes, and sailboats as well. The Reservoir is stocked year-round with large- and small-mouthed bass, tiger muskie, bullhead catfish, hybrid striped bass, and panfish for fishing on the water and from the shore (anglers ages 16-69 must have a NJ state fishing license). The Manasquan Reservoir remains open during the winter for ice-skating, ice-fishing, and ice-boating. Bait and snacks can also be purchased at the Visitor Center.
Manasquan Reservoir Trails
The various trails are all well marked and mapped out as either EASY, MODERATE, or CHALLENGING (those with younger children should stick to EASY though a lot of the MODERATE stretches closer to the main entrances aren’t difficult to attempt). One of our favorite stops along the perimeter trail is Chestnut Point with fantastic views of the Reservoir and a beach full of cool looking dead trees (due to changes in water levels). Little ones will love hopping around the trucks while older kids will either be fascinated by the science of the damage or love the breathtaking other worldly landscape. The Reservoir is the home to over 20 different mammals, 20 varieties of fish, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 200 types of birds, so keep your eyes open for many, many animal sightings
Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center
The place that scores the most points for kids is always the Environmental Center which is designed like a mini natural science and preservation museum complete with dioramas, live animal interactions, multi-media presentations, and fully interactive exhibits. Visitors can explore the Center to learn about local wildlife, ecology, and what they can do in their own lives to help protect the nature in New Jersey, Older ones will enjoy the various hands-on exhibit rooms while little ones will be delighted with the playroom – complete with puppets, puzzles, blocks, and books. Park Naturalists can be counted on to share their fun and interesting nature knowledge as well as lead scheduled boat tours, eagle viewings, pond studies, and other educational activities for families and groups.
The Manasquan Reservoir grounds, Visitor Center, and Environmental Center are all FREE.
Manasquan Reservoir Hours
Park opens daily at 7 a.m. November 1-March 31 and 6 a.m. April 1-October 31.
Closing time is 9:30 p.m. through July 17; 9 p.m. July 18-August 15; and 8:30 p.m. August 16-31.
Manasquan Reservoir Addresses and Phone Numbers
311 Windeler Road, Howell 07731
331 Georgia Tavern Road, Howell 07731
Ranger Station – 732-938-6760
For more information about the Manasquan Reservoir visit this page: https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page. aspx?ID=2531