It’s now officially the dog days of summer and once again it seems like we have been visiting the same few places over and over again. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with all of the kids home from school, wanting to be entertained at every turn. We gathered up five great places to visit in Monmouth County – which also happen to be free of charge! – so your family can try something new before heading back to school.
5 FREE Places to Visit in Monmouth County this Summer
1. Go on a fossil hunt
The Poricy Brook Fossil Beds are well known to fossil collectors in the Northeast. The fossils are from the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, 145 to 65 million years ago. During the Cretaceous period, the area of Poricy Brook and the rest of the Atlantic Coastal Plain was a shallow ocean. When the ocean animals died, they were buried in the bottom.
Although fossils of many animals have been found in the Poricy Brook Fossil Beds, most are of shellfish. Families are welcome to come seven days a week to experience the fossil beds from April through October. Renting equipment through Poricy Park has a charge but families may bring their own equipment for free.
The Poricy Park Fossil Beds are located on Middletown-Lincroft Road in Middletown, across from Crawford Road. There is a large dark red sign at the parking lot entrance. There is no access to the Fossil Beds from the main entrance to Poricy Park on Oak Hill Road.
2. Visit a Monmouth County Sprayground
The sprayground at Dorbrook is fun and FREE!
Did you know that there are many free spraygrounds/spray parks in Monmouth County? Three of our favorites are the sprayground at Dorbrook Park in Colts Neck (read our review here), the splash pad at Michael J. Tighe Park in Freehold, and the Splash Pad at Thompson Grove Park in Manalapan are all free and open to the public. Schedule your visit soon, because most of these spraygrounds and splash pads close for the season around Labor Day!
- The Sprayground at Dorbook Park is located at 209 County Route 537 East in Colts Neck, NJ 07722.
- The Splash Pad at Michael J. Tighe Park is located at 65 Georgia Road in Freehold, NJ 07728.
- The Splash Pad at Thompson Grove Park is located at Thompson Park Road in Manalapan, NJ 07726.
3. Make a day of it at Holmdel Park
In my opinion, there is no better place to visit than Holmdel Park. Longstreet Farm is a blast for kids, who will see everything from animals to old-fashioned farm equipment to workers dressed in traditional garb. (see our review here) The park itself features multiple playgrounds, fishing ponds, hiking trails, and picnic areas to keep your family outdoors and busy for an entire day.
Holmdel Park is located at 44 Longstreet Road in Holmdel, NJ 07733.
4. Visit a free Monmouth County beach
Yes, we know, New Jersey is one of the only places to charge for beach access. Grumble grumble. However, to locals like us, we know the best-kept secrets lie in the unadvertised FREE beaches scattered around Monmouth County. Some of our favorite free beaches to visit include:
- Highlands, NJ – All river beaches are free
- Union Beach, NJ – All bay beaches are free
- Belmar, NJ – Free river beach located at Belmar Marina by Maclearie Park (see our review here)
- Monmouth Beach, NJ – Free public oceanfront beach access located on Ocean Avenue across from the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center
Now keep in mind that most, if not all, of these beaches may be unguarded so swim at your own risk. However, if your kids are looking for a place to play in the sand and enjoy some fresh air, these free beach spots will be perfect for you.
Visit a FREE beach in Monmouth County with your family!
5. Summer Seining at Bayshore Waterfront Park
Discover a variety of fish, crabs, and other creatures of the bay as you pull a 30′ seine net though the calm waters of Sandy Hook Bay. It will be a fun time for everyone to discover what lives in the bay.
Summer Seining runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until August 24, from 11 a.m.–12 p.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park is located at 719 Port Monmouth Road, Port Monmouth, NJ 07758.
Interested in more summer fun?