The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is one of central New Jersey’s most popular recreational corridors for canoeing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, fishing and horseback riding. The canal and towpath are part of the National Recreational Trail System. The 70-mile linear park is a valuable wildlife corridor connecting fields and forests. With its 19th-century bridges, bridgetender houses, past and present locks, cobblestone spillways and hand-built stone-arched culverts, the canal is a tremendous attraction for history lovers. The upper reach of the feeder canal wanders through quaint New Jersey towns along the Delaware River such as Stockton and Lambertville. The main canal passes the Port Mercer canal house, through the charming village of Griggstown to Blackwells Mills, ending up in New Brunswick. Canoes can be rented at Griggstown and Princeton from private concessionaires. Most of the canal system remains intact today and is a reminder of the days when the delivery of freight depended upon a team of mules or steam tugboats. Nearly 36 miles of the main canal and 22 miles of the feeder canal still exist, with many historic structures along the canal.
Princeton Battlefield Sate Park
Located on Mercer Rd in Princeton Township, are 85 acres of lawn and woodland on part of the original battlefield of the Battle of Princeton fought on January 3, 1777. Open year round, the park is used for a variety of summer and winter activities including picnics, hiking, and cross country skiing. The park includes an arboretum, ballfields/playfields, historic structures, picnic areas, restrooms and walking trails. Within the Park is the Thomas Clarke House Museum, the historic Mercer Oak tree, the colonnade monument, and a gravesite of 21 British and 15 American soldiers. Adjacent to the Park is Stony Brook Friends Meetinghouse, built in 1726, and its graveyard with the grave of Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Also adjacent is the Institute of Advance Study and the Institute Woods, a 600 acre woodland and agricultural land preserved as a wildlife preserve with trails open to the public.
Washington Crossing State Park
On December 25, 1776, the icy waters of the Delaware River provided the setting for one of the pivotal events of the American Revolution. The Continental Army had little to celebrate that Christmas and seemed beat by hunger and cold. After crossing the rough winter river at night, General George Washington and the Continental Army landed at Johnson’s Ferry, at the site now known as Washington Crossing State Park. At 4 am, they began their march to Trenton where they defeated the Hessian troops in an unexpected attack. This battle was quickly followed by the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777, and the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. Originally preserved for its historical significance, the park is also well known for its trails and wildlife habitat. The park includes an Open Air Theater, a Visitor Center, the Johnson Ferry House, an Observatory, a Nature Center, picnic areas and camp sites.