Why You Should Explore the Meadowlands in New Jersey

| © Katherine Oakes
Katherine Oakes

When most people hear the word, “New Jersey Meadowlands” images of football stadiums, converging highways and unruly traffic come to mind. What if we told you those things were only a small portion of what the meadowlands actually are? Want to know more?

Here are the top reasons why you should explore the New Jersey Meadowlands.

There is a state of the art observatory

A state of the art observatory right outside of New York City? That’s right. The William M. McDowell Observatory in the meadowlands’ Richard DeKorte Park can view objects over a million light years away, despite the area’s light pollution. The observatory is open to the public only on certain days, so check their website for more information.

Immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind nature reserve

A combination of natural and manmade efforts made the meadowlands what it is today. From the 1950s until 1989, illegal garbage dumping made the shores of Lyndhurt’s ecologically diverse wetlands nearly unsalvageable. Thanks to the restoration efforts made by conservationists, the area is now a thriving and resilient nature reserve with parks, wooded and boardwalk trails, natural flora and fauna and a beautiful escape from a crowded urban area.

Enjoy panoramic city skyline views

The meadowlands offers visitors a front row seat to some of Manhattan’s most spectacular skyline views. It’s far enough away that you don’t have to travel down into the busy waterfront area, but close enough to take in the views from a secluded and natural spot. Visit Richard Dekorte Park or Mill Creek Park around dusk for an impressive light show as the sun sets and reflects off the city’s skyscrapers.

Discover the Flyway

One of the most unique features of the meadowlands is that it’s located directly in the path of the Flyway, a major migratory path for many birds. For this reason, it is a stopover spot where visitors can catch a glimpse of many different bird species while walking around the area. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the bird-watching enthusiasts who tote around their telescopic lens cameras throughout the area.

Go for a canoe or kayak ride on the Hackensack River

One of the most popular ways to explore the Meadowlands is to paddle your way through them! Sign up for a guided canoe tour along the Hackensack River and learn all about the local estuaries and inhabitants of these brackish tides or go out on your own. Check out the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority’s (NJSEA) guide for folks who want to solo adventure complete with a tide chart, proper loading areas and more.

Pontoon boat tours

Some of the best kept secrets of the area can only be seen by boat. NJSEA offers guided pontoon boat tours of the meadowlands that will take you through the Hackensack River to explore the marshes and learn all about the local wildlife. Plus, get some background on this culturally and ecologically diverse location all while relaxing on a boat. Not too shabby, huh?

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