Parks and Playgrounds State Parks

Allaire State Park

Or An Ode to Robinwood Dinosaurs

We went to Allaire State Park a few years back, in the winter of 2021, because we just needed to get the heck out of the house and get some fresh air. It was quite a bit of a drive from our house.

What we found while hiking was a magical grove of trees, filled with magical beasts: Robinwood Dinosaurs. Everyone was amazed. There were happy little kids bouncing from dino to dino, exploring, and giggling. There were those of us who look like adults, but really are still kids inside, gaping happily.

It is one of those NJ spots that I was not going to write about. Mostly to keep it a secret and prevent crowds. When I heard that someone destroyed the Robinwood Dinosaurs, I was heartbroken. Currently, the artist, Robin Ruggiero says she does not intend to rebuild the sculptures. You can read more about it here.

Now what we have left are memories and photos.

Allaire State Park has many other great features to explore, however. If you go, there is a maze of biking trails.

Our Visit to Allaire State Park

An old railroad to explore.

Our Visit to Allaire State Park

Complete with a historic village and ample walking/hiking trails:

Our Visit to Allaire State Park
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Our Visit To The Waterloo Village

Our visit to The Waterloo Village was one of those in-the-middle-of-the-pandemic-most-things-are-still-closed field trips. The world was still recovering from the shock that Covid-19 brought to our lives. Most things were open for outdoor only, no gatherings, 6 feet apart activities. We headed over to The Waterloo Village because it was a place we have never explored before, it looked quiet, and pretty. We really just wanted to spend a day exploring something new, and not sitting at home.

The Waterloo Village was just what we needed. It was quiet, beautiful, with historical buildings scattered over winding paths. There was a lake, a dam, bridges, flowers. birds and trees to look out for. Once again, we were there with two teens, and they enjoyed themselves. We (boys included) made flower crowns, hiked, found remnants of a tow bridge, skipped rocks, found different species of birds and plants. We never found the recreation of the Native American village, however, so next time we’ll just have to look harder.

Currently, the village is an open air historical museum and is part of the Allamuchy Mountain State Park. It does have a history, and as with any such spots, it is always good to read about the history before going.

After we had our fill walking around the Waterloo Village, we drove off to visit High Point. On the way, we picked up a cup of coffee and lunch from the Holland American Bakery, which is always delicious.

As always, here are some photos:

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Our Visit To Batsto Village

This spring we found ourselves in Hammonton NJ. From us this is quite a distance. We were there for an appointment to buy some blueberry bushes, but wound up getting there 2 hours early. What can I say, we needed something to do in the meantime. As we drove, I spotted the Batsto Village sign, I remember someone leaving an awesome comment on our Free NJ Destinations page about how awesome Batsto Village is, so we made a turn. I am so glad we did.

Beach Fun State Parks

Our Visit To Island Beach State Park

Over the last few summers we got to explore a new to us beach: Island Beach State Park.  What a wonderful place it is!! While we have not had the chance to visit every beach in NJ, we have been to a few: Belmar (which was awesome), Keansburg (nope), Seven Presidents (it was alright), Point Pleasant (fun and crowded boardwalk, with lots of rides and activities), Sandy Hook (love going there), and more.  The Island Beach State Park was a completely amazing beach, unlike any other beach that I had the chance to experience in NJ before.

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Camping At Dingmans Campground in Dingmans Ferry PA

Dingmans Ferry, PA

Every Year since 2015

Unfortunately our most recent experience in the early fall of 2018 left me stunned and short for words. I can no longer recommend that people take their families there. We were sitting around a campfire at about 1o:30 pm at night. Quietly talking. The kids were in their tent giggling. The campground was pretty empty, so the kids giggling was not bothering anyone. There were two rangers that stopped to tell us to quiet the kids down. Which would have been fine, except for the rangers’ aggressive behavior. They treated us like we were criminals in front of our kids. Ran background checks, asked us if we had weapons, told us to not move, sit down, take our hands out of our pockets. It was quite upsetting to both parents and the kids. The kids were crying and upset, and the parents worked up. No one could sleep afterwards. We had no alcohol, were not provoking anyone, were respectful toward the rangers, and the only thing that was happening were giggling children. I went as far as to write a letter to the campground, but never got a response.   Unfortunately, after years of going there and loving every minute, I will be looking for a new campground for our family and friends. 

Hi folks! I wrote this post when we went camping for the first time after a long hiatus. We have been back to Dingman’s Campground every year since then. Twice a year, as a matter of fact. I am still as excited to go there as that first time. It is a great place to spend your weekend, and a good camping spot whether it is your first time camping, or even if you are a pro.

Our Visit To Dingmans Campground

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Our Visit To Bowman Hill Wildflower Preserve

Bucks County, PA

May 2018

This has been a long time coming!! I’d drive by that place a few times a month, and would always wonder what is there.  Finally we made it!  This time it was just my little one, my husband and I.  The big kid was off on his own adventure.

Our Visit To Bowman Hill Wildflower Preserve

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Our Visit To Double Trouble State Park

Lacey and Berkeley Townships

July 2014

This is one place that we went to last summer that I keep meaning to mention, and finally got to it.  I wanted to make sure that I put it here before the hot days of summer because it is a wonderful place to go and cool off in the summer time.

It is quite a distance from where we live, the drive was easy enough: just take Gardens State Parkway, and the park is very close to the exit, but it was a long drive.  My kids and I went there to meet some friends and spend a few hours by the creek, cooling off.

Camping Fun Hiking Trails Rivers and Lakes State Parks

Our Visit To Spruce Run And Round Valley State Parks

Clinton and Lebanon Township, New Jersey

Every Summer

We love camping! My husband and I used to go with friends before we were married. Then, after we were married, it was with our nephews when they were young, then with our nephews and their friends. After that it was our nephews, their friends and our kids. Now for quite a few years it is just us and our two kids, even though friends and nephews make a brief entrance once in a while, it is mostly just us. However, no matter who we go with, it’s always relaxing and fun.  Unfortunately for the last year we haven’t been able to go overnight because of our puppies, but we still enjoy going there for a day and swimming in the lake.

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Our Visit To Ringing Rocks State Park

Upper Black Eddy, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

October 2013

Ringing Rocks State Park in PA is definitely an interesting place to visit. The reason it is called Ringing Rocks is if you hit a rock with a hammer or another rock it makes a ringing sound, almost like a bell, but to me it sounded more like pots and pans being hit with a spoon (something my kids loved to do as toddlers).

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Our Visit To High Point State Park

Montague Township, NJ

Few Times A Year

High Point State Park is yet another beautiful place. I feel like every other post I write starts with these words. It is especially true of High Point! With breathtaking views, it is the highest point in NJ. There is camping, miles and miles of hiking trails, a lake to swim in and sand to play with. Read more about our visit to High Point State Park below!