If you enjoy the outdoors (and really, who doesn’t), there’s really nothing quite as great as lacing up your sneakers and hitting the dirt. We’re taking your workout outside with our list of the best places to run, walk or bike on the Central Jersey Shore, featuring the best (and most scenic) running trails in Monmouth and Ocean County!
We have picked some classics that we know are loved by many and some hidden gems that even long time residents may have looked past. Either way, we know from this list of running and walking trails in Monmouth and Ocean County that we’re lucky to live in a very beautiful and diverse part of the world.
Now go put on this new Nike’s and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Best Places to Run, Walk or Bike at the Jersey Shore
Allaire State Park – 4265 Atlantic Ave., Farmingdale
Well known for its historic 19th-century village, Allaire State Park is also home to a network of trails that wind throughout the park. Take one of the trails along the Manasquan River where you’ll catch a glimpse of over 200 species of wildflowers, trees, plants, birds, and wildlife. Or head to the “South Side,” where there’s over 15 trails ranging from beginner to advanced on over 800 acres of terrain.
Asbury Park to Belmar Boardwalk
At any point during the spring, summer, fall and even winter, you’ll find a walker, runner, or biker taking advantage of the boards. Whether you’re looking to take a stroll or run, you’ll find that the four plus miles of sandy beach views will keep you motivated. The hardest part will be ignoring all of the food stands along the way!
Brick Reservoir – Herbertsville Rd, Allenwood
Nestled along the Brick Reservoir is a 1.6-mile crushed rock path that’s perfect for those looking for a comfortable walk. Take a rest on one of the many gazeboes set up along the path or watch as the fishermen pull in their catch. It’s definitely made our list for one of our top hidden gems for running trails in Monmouth and Ocean County.
Cattus Island County Park – 1170 Cattus Island Blvd, Toms River
Cattus Island County Park’s trail system is the perfect place for an enjoyable hike. Designed to provide access to the most beautiful areas of the property, you can seek out the returning migratory songbirds or witness the osprey building her nest along the 1,500-foot boardwalk or on one of the other trails in this 500-acre Ocean County sanctuary.
Cheesequake State Park – 300 Gordon Road, Matawan
With five designated trails ranging from easy to moderate with inclines, Cheesequake State Park is a great place to head to this spring. Run or walk one of the number of trails ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 miles, watching as the vegetation changes from the coastal salt marsh habitat to the upland forests. It’s a place where Northern and Southern New Jersey collide (at least according to botanists).
Deep Cut Gardens – 152 Red Hill Road, Middletown
If you’re a gardener looking to get a few tips or just smell the flowers, head to Deep Cut Gardens, a 54-acre oasis of gardens and greenhouses filled with over 52 varieties of roses and countless other plants. Take a stroll, some pictures and a nap for the perfect spring day.
Double Trouble State Park – 581 Pinewald Keswick Road, Bayville
Not just an active cranberry farm, Double Trouble State Park also features a marked 1.5-mile loop and several miles of unmarked paths. Located on the eastern edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Nature Trail identifies 20 points of interest from endangered plants to native animals.
Island Beach State Park – Central Ave, Seaside Park
Discover the natural beauty of Island Beach State Park on 16 miles of the white sand beach or on the 8 miles of trails. Located just south of Seaside Park on the Barnegat Peninsula, Island Beach State Park also provides a number of opportunities to spot some of the Jersey Shore’s native birds including nesting ospreys, falcons, and wading birds.
Long Beach Island – Long Beach Boulevard and Ocean Boulevard
During the summer, Long Beach Island is a hub of activity. Locals and visitors alike love to lace up their sneakers and run along the 18-mile-long island. Before heading to the beach, act like a local and run along Ocean Boulevard, a 25mph road (yes your car can go that slow) from Brant Beach to Beach Haven.
Manasquan Reservoir County Park – 311 Windeler Rd, Howell
Spend the day taking a walk on the 5-mile perimeter trail along the Manasquan Reservoir in Howell. The trail offers panoramic views of the reservoir with an even, well-maintained surface. If you’re looking to explore the lakeshore, take the scenic route with the 1.1-mile Cove Trail that gives you a glimpse of the 1,204-acre site including woods and wetlands.
Hartshorne Woods and Huber Woods – Locust and Highlands
If you haven’t been to Hartshorne Woods or Huber Woods, you’re missing out on the best biking trail at the shore! A true Jersey Shore gem, Hartshorne Woods is a hilly, forested 787-acre site with over 14 miles of extensive trails for all levels overlooking the Navesink River. And since it’s among the highest elevations along the Atlantic Coast, you’re in for some great views.
Henry Hudson Trail – 369 Shore Drive, Highlands
Running from Highlands to Freehold, this 100-acre park offers a paved, 10-foot wide, 24-mile long trail that was once a railroad right-of-way. You’ll find miles of trails to explore, ranging from the marshy wetlands of the Bayshore to the woods and fields of Freehold.
Holmdel Park – 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel
Chances are that if you ran cross-country in high school, you know the 5k loop at Holmdel Park pretty well, as it is the site of the state cross country championships. The shady woods and rolling hills of Holmdel Park are the perfect setting for exploring over 9 miles of trails. Be forewarned, “the bowl” the is not for the faint of heart! The bowl shaped hill half way through the 5k very steeply descends then rises 150 ft in elevation.
Red Bank – Downtown
You’re reading this right now and thinking what? Red Bank? Yea, we’re serious. Not only is it fun for people watching, but you’ll see people regularly walking and running along the sidewalks of downtown Red Bank. It’s is also a great way to see what new businesses are opening up while you get a workout. Run down to Marine Park for a stroll along the waterfront or to catch a few breaths before heading back.
One of our favorite destinations during the warmer months, Sandy Hook provides a 6-mile out and back trail featuring bay views and ocean breezes. Take a break at the 3-mile mark with a visit to Fort Hancock or just to catch the view of the New York City skyline.
Shark River Park – 1101 Schoolhouse Road, Wall
Opened in 1961, Shark River Park is the Monmouth County Park System’s first park, occupying 946 acres in Neptune, Wall Twp., and Tinton Falls. Situated on either side of the Shark River, you’ll find over 8 miles of trails where you’ll get glimpses of the wetlands and forest habitat.
Tatum Park – 151 Red Hill Road, Middletown
Tatum Park in Middletown features over 6 miles of trails in this 366-acre park with rolling hills, open fields, and lots and lots of birds. Run or walk through the winding paths that take you through the oak forest and meadows of tulip trees.
The Grove – 597 Route 35, Shrewsbury
It may be surprising to find a shopping center on our list of the best places to run, walk or bike at the Jersey Shore. While predominately known for its high-end retail shops, The Grove has a loyal group of people who began walking the scenic strip mall for recreational purposes. The mall owners went ahead and added mile markers and maps to aid walkers as they stroll along their way.
Thompson Park – 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft
Run or walk along the 14 miles of old farm roads and former horse exercise tracks at the beautiful Thompson Park. If you don’t want to get your sneaks dirty, there’s also a 4.9 mile paved trail. No excuses!
Wells Mills County Park – 905 Wells Mills Road (Route 532), Waretown
Take one of the many trails that meander around the picturesque Wells Mills Lake. The largest park in Ocean County, Wells Mills County Park boasts over 900 acres of pine and oak forest in the Pine Barrens. There’s a trail for everyone from the 8.4-mile Macri Trail to the 1.3-mile Nature Trail.
Edgar Felix Bike Path – North Main Street, Manasquan to Allaire State Park
This path that runs from Manasquan to Allaire State Park is about as peaceful and secluded as it gets. Until, BAM! You’re standing on a little wooden bridge crossing over the Garden State Parkway. A little excitement never hurt anyone, especially on an otherwise quiet, serene trip down this scenic path.
Barnegat Branch Trail – Barnegat to Toms River
This 15.6-mile trail is the perfect place to bike if you want to see it all – ride straight through the wildlife, get some scenic views over the water, and then find yourself right in the middle of civilization again if you need to stop for a snack or to take a break! The trail was built along the abandoned Barnegat Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and is filled with a couple of historic points along the way.
Seaside Heights/Seaside Park Boardwalk
One of the best places to run, walk or bike at the Jersey Shore has obviously got to be one of the Shore’s most well known attributes! Start on the Southern end in Seaside Park for a quiet, more secluded stroll (or run, or ride), and work your way up to the bustling Seaside Heights Boardwalk! Our gameplan: start early, and by the time you make it up to Casino Pier, you’ll be ready to hop on some rides and maybe enjoy some boardwalk eats!