Continuing our mission to visit as many New Jersey State Parks as we can we set about yesterday to visit Fort Mott State Park in South Jersey in Pennsville. My oldest was going to be at Freshman Camp for the week and this state park was within a driveable distance so I figured why not explore it.
I really didn’t know what to expect from the state park. I mean I expected to find a fort, but I didn’t think it would be all that exciting. I certaintly didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.
If your kids like to have make believe battles with forts and look out towers, this is definitely a place you have to explore with them. It was a really neat location. The fort, the gun emplacements, the lookout towers … it reminded me of playtime with my boys and their army men. Do you remember how the kits came with stones, look out towers, and army figures crouched in different positions?
You may not be able to walk into all of the areas of the fort but you can get pretty close to where the guns were kept and military must have looked out. You and the kids can crouch down on the hills, look out toward the Delaware River, and just pretend. The way it’s still all situated on a hill makes it still seem like the fort could protect us today. If ever there was a place to play make believe battles, this is it.
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Consider this your Mom’s Guide to Visiting Fort Mott State Park with Kids
Get to know Fort Mott State Park
Fort Mott is the southern anchor for the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail, which is a partnership between New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection and the National Park Service. It is one of two New Jersey State Parks in Salem County. Click over to read about the other, Parvin State Park.
Fort Mott was part of a coastal defense system designed for the Delaware River in the late 1800s. The fortifications visitors see at Fort Mott were erected in 1896 in anticipation of the Spanish-American War. Today, it’s a NJ State Park where we can tour what’s left, envision what it was like, or make believe we’re battling our kids. Wander through the old batteries, gun platforms, and around the look out towers. Read interpretive signs with detailed descriptions to build what you would learn on your own.
Then, just beyond the fortifications is the Delaware River shoreline with beautiful spots for walking, wildlife watching, and picnicking.
What’s the address for Fort Mott State Park?
We used this address in our gps: 454 Fort Mott Road in Pennsville, New Jersey.
When is the Fort Mott State Park open?
Fort Mott State Park is open daily 8 am to 4 pm. The Welcome Center is listed as being open Monday through Friday, 9 am – 4 pm. It wasn’t open when we visited on a Monday. See below for ferry service hours.
How much does it cost to enter?
Admission to Fort Mott State Park is free. There is a fee to ride the ferry between Fort Mott State Park and Fort Delaware.
Where can I park?
There is a large parking lot as you enter Fort Mott State Park. There is no fee for parking.
Are there restrooms?
The Fort Mott State Park has restrooms located at the Guard House and at the playground.
Can I camp at Fort Mott State Park?
There are no campgrounds at this state park.
What is there to do at Fort Mott State Park with kids?
As we mentioned above you have the fort on all the related military structures. But there’s more to Fort Mott than that. The area offers open fields, nature trails, a self-guided walking tour, ferry rides, a playground, and more. Take a look.
Learn more about this New Jersey State Park at their Welcome Center
Unfortunately, the Welcome Center was closed during our visit. When open visitors may enjoy exhibits highlighting South Jersey history, especially maritime themes, the construction of Fort Mott, a biography of Gershom Mott, and a video program. Visitors can also obtain park and regional information and purchase gifts and souvenirs.
Enjoy these Fort Mott State Park Events for Kids
Historican and nature-themed programs are available for visitors of all ages. Fort Mott offers visitors regularly scheduled programs such as guided tours, films, videos and and more. Call (856) 935-3218 for a schedule of upcoming events.
Are there playgrounds at the Fort Mott State Park?
There is one playground in a shady area at the state park. It is adjacent to the parking lots and situated between picnic tables and pavilions. It’s just big enough. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the views of the Delaware River as the kids play.
Can you swim at Fort Mott State Park?
Swimming is not permitted at Fort Mott State Park.
Is there a place to kayak or go canoeing?
While you can walk along the beach front, there is no kayaking, canoeing, or water sports allowed.
Fishing is allowed off the pier.
Ride the Ferry
Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wednesdays through Sundays and weekends only in May and September, take a round-trip ferry ride to Fort Delaware on the Pea Patch Island and enjoy additional areas to learn and explore. Call the Fort Mott office at (856) 935-3218 or Fort Delaware office at (302) 834-7941 for ticket prices and the most up-to-date schedule.
Does Fort Mott State Park have hiking trails?
Fort Mott State Park does not offer traditional hiking trails. It does offer nature trails and walking paths. We found most areas of the trails to be wide, paved, and stroller-friendly as well as wheelchair accessible. The only area that may give those with strollers and wheelchairs difficulty are the lookout points from above the fort and hilltops. We found stairs at different spots along the hills whenever there was an area that could be explored.
Self-Guided Walking Tour
Take the Fort Mott walking tour to learn about Fort Mott’s construction, its importance in the region, community life, and the 19th-century military technology.
- Battery Gregg – Battery Gregg was completed in December 1900 and contained emplacements for two 5-inch rapid fire guns on barbette pedal mounts with shields.
- Battery Harker – Battery Harker had three 10-inch guns mounted on disappearing carriages.
- Disappearing Gun Carriages – The main defensive concept at Fort Mott was the installation of high-caliber weapons on the disappearing carriages.
- The Parapet – This massive concrete wall, as much as 35 feet thick, was designed to conceal and protect the guns and ammunition magazines from flat trajectory fire of enemy warships.
- Battery Arnold – Sharing the parapet with Battery Harker, the 3 guns of Battery Arnold were the most powerful armament at Fort Mott.
- 1870s Magazine – Two magazines from the original 1872 construction were used.
- Peace Magazine – Continual problems with moisture in each of the gun emplacement magazines was an ongoing problem.
- Battery Edwards – Battey Edwards has casements for 3-inch rapid-fire guns.
- Battery Krayenbuhl – Battery Krayenbuhl had two 5-inch rapid fire guns mounted in barbette balanced-pillar mounts.
- The Switchboard/ Plotting Room – During World Warr I, improvements in fire control of the large caliber weapons were made at Fort Mott.
- Battery Lane – Located behind the gun installations, from Battery Harker to the pastern tunnel, this area contains the generator room and ammunition railway.
- Fire Control Tower – Constructed in 1093, the tower stands fifty-two feet above the ground.
- Post-Headquarters – Building #9 was once the fort headquarters, which housed the office of the Post Commander.
- Finn’s Point Interpretive Trail – Enjoy a leisurely stroll on a 1/2 mile interpretive trail.
Can I ride a bike on the trails?
Yes, bikes are permitted at Fort Mott State Park.
Are there winter activities available?
- Cross country skiing and sledding is allowed in the winter.
More important information about visiting Fort Mott State Park with kids
- There are picnic tables and pavilions available for guests.
- Grills for barbecuing are available for guest use.
- There are not concession stands to sell food.
See more photos of Fort Mott State Park in our Facebook album.
Stop by the park office to pick up a New Jersey State Parks Pass. For $50 the pass covers parking/admission to all NJ State Parks for the year. You can buy yours at the park office or click over to buy yours online from the NJDEP.
Where oh where should we go next?
For more information about Fort Mott State Park please visit the NJ Division of Parks & Forestry website. Click over to read more about our experiences at New Jersey State Parks or see our listing of NJ State Parks.