The New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail is not really a trail, it is a route designed to be leisurely seen by auto for the benefit of the public to provide education, understanding, and enjoyment of natural, maritime, and cultural sites of the coastal area of New Jersey.
The concept is to join together the Jersey shore areas into five regions with three major themes; Coastal Habitat, Maritime Heritage, and Wildlife Migration.
The trail hugs the coastline of New Jersey and runs nearly 300 miles, being divided into regions from Sandy Hook Region along New York Harbor, south to Barnegat Bay Region, the Absecon Cape May Region, and the Delsea Region along Delaware Bay. You will be able to meander along the area east of the Garden State Parkway from the Raritan Bay south to the area north and west of Cape May and south of Route 49 to the vicinity of Deepwater.
The trail includes many New Jersey state parks and facilities with all of the Trail's destinations loosely owned and operated by other agencies and organizations. Since September 30, 2011, as a result of a sunset clause, the National Park Service is no longer the legislative authority to be involved in the management of the Trail. At this time there is no single authority responsible for the management of the trail, although there are legislative efforts to reinstate the NPS as the legislative authority
Although The New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route is designed for vehicular touring, it connects areas of interest to hikers. In addition to the five themes, The Coastal Heritage Trail is divided into five regions, linked by the common heritage of life on the Jersey Shore and the Raritan and Delaware bays.
From your vehicle, The Coastal trail will take you along a fascinating journey past lighthouses, beautiful sandy beaches and dunes, fishing villages, reclaimed marshes with wildlife, and cranberry bogs.
Along the route of the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail, the visitor will experience fresh water creeks and tidal marshes that can be ideal for canoeing, kayaking, and camping. Rentals are available from local outfitters. There are also many bike routes along the New Jersey Coastal Trail.
Coastal Habitat-See the large variety of coastal species and habitat, and learn about the habitat and the importance and value of species diversity and habitat maintenance.
Maritime heritage-Here you can experience the history of trade, navigation, and coastal defenses. The ocean, bays, rivers, and tributaries were key to the fishing industry, boat building and other maritime activities. Lighthouses were erected as maritime navigational aids to warn mariners of hazards to their ships and prevent loss of crew and cargo.
Wildlife Migration-New Jersey's coastal regions provide critical habitat for many migrating species in the Western Hemisphere. The New Jersey coast is a critical route for the migration of many birds, marine animals, and insects. Dolphins, whales, seals, fish, hawks, eagles, warblers, and butterflies are many of the animals that nurture on New Jersey's coastal habitats. The visitor learn about the habitats that serve as seasonal refuges for the migrating species.
Take A short drive south to Ocean Grove where you can visit this charming village with Victorian homes and a 6,000-seat Great Auditorium and visit one of the first religious resorts on the Shore.Barnegat Bay Region
Encompasses Corson's Inlet State Park , one of the few undisturbed stretches of Atlantic coastline left between Atlantic City and Cape May