New York Stories and Tips

Day Trips from the City

Because it's the summer and we all have an urge to get out of here at least sometimes, I'm compiling a list of fun things to do, kinda of as I do them this summer. Some of them will be accessible by public transportation, but many will probably require a car (friends, help!). If you want to search on your own, in NJ, go to .

1) Yesterday, I bummed a ride from one of my friends and we went to Stokes State Forest. In order to get there, you take Rt 80 to Rt 206. The park is 4 miles north of Branchville, and its mailing address is 1 Coursen Rd, Branchville, NJ 07826, 973-948-3820. It's about an hour from the GW bridge. The park is only about 9 miles long, so it's pretty manageable, and it was surprisingly well maintained. I haven't seen a park so well maintained in a long time. The park is free to hikers, but parking for the lake costs $7. The Appalachian Trail intersects the park. If you catch the Trail in the beginning of the park, you can walk for the 9 miles to Sunrise Mountain, where you have views of NJ farmland, forests, and mountain ridges. The trail is pretty, but kinda boring. If you don't feel like hiking, you can drive right up to the lookout point. While there are many bear warnings, the only animals I saw were some chipmunks and one deer.

Most people who visit the park go to swim and lay out on the beach at Stony Lake, which is a beautiful and clean lake. There were people fishing, except for that only one guy caught a fish all day. I must warn you though, about 80% of the people were very overweight. If you want to camp, there were nine group camp sites and 77 tent and trailer sites. However, these were all sold out yesterday. So, if you want to camp, I suggest CALLING and reserving a spot. 2. You might want to take a nice bike ride outside of the City. First, call 311 and get a free Bike map from the City. Then, you can bike up the West Side Highway, go over the bridge at 181st St into Jersey and then bike along the Palisades Parkway. I haven't done the ride yet b/c I'm waiting for the sky to stop pouring down on us, but I'll write in as soon as I do.... 3. This is it. New Jersey's little clean secret. I even had to debate whether I should write this place down at all b/c it's so perfect. But, I figured hardly anyone reads these anyway, so here it is (but only read on, if, um, you would like to go to a 10 mile beach filled with (no, not houses, except of course, the governor's summer home; no, not people) sand dunes, tremendous waves and gorgeous sand. Island Beach State Park is right above LBI and is accessible by both NJ Transit and by car. Make sure you watch out for high tide (which we didn't), b/c otherwise your stuff very well might get washed into the ocean.... And bring insect repellent. We made the (un)wise decision to check out the bird observatory and walked into a fesspool of hungry ugly green flies. Luckily, we escaped before any damage.

Been to this destination?

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