What’s Great About the Garden State?

Created by Linda Tripp, collection development librarian

When I moved to New Jersey over two decades ago, I was truly amazed at the beautiful and interesting places to be discovered. But to be honest, there were adjustments to make, good and bad. Someone else is going to pump my gas? Yes, please! The ability to drive from shore to mountains to river to city in a few hours? Let’s go! Roads that change names every time they cross a town boundary? Confusing for sure. Jughandles and traffic circles, no thank you very much. But those are minor issues compared to all that Jersey offers, and the fascinating facts and information I’m still learning about the Garden State. 

July 27, has been named National New Jersey Day by the folks at National Day Calendar, recognizing the third state to join the Union. But this is Jersey, and it didn’t take long to learn that nothing here is ever easy or without controversy. According to the state, New Jersey Day is really June 24, commemorating the date on the “birth certificate” document from James, Duke of York to John Lord Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret, original proprietors of the Colony of New Jersey in 1664.

No matter what day you celebrate New Jersey, there’s no better excuse to discover its natural wonders, history, and maybe learn an intriguing thing or two along the way. And if you need some motivation to “Be Nice to Jersey” check out our blog post from a few weeks ago. 

Sometimes the quirky things in life promote the most memorable experiences, and southern New Jersey has a plethora of odd abandonments, as well as a few serious industrial cast-offs and oddities like the 1960s era flying saucer-like Futuro homes.

Gain insights into the habitats, animals, and plants that live in the Mullica Valley estuary, which benefits from a combination of protected watershed, low human population density, and lack of extensive development — making it the cleanest estuary in the northeastern U.S.

This guidebook of 50 private, state park, and state forest campgrounds, organized into five distinct regions, provides detailed maps of each campground and key information such as fees, restrictions, dates of operation, and facilities, as well as driving directions and GPS coordinates.

Phantom soldiers, restless spirits, and mythical snakes in tales from the Garden State

“Life Along the Delaware Bay” focuses on the area as an ecosystem, the horseshoe crab as a keystone species within that system, and the crucial role that the bay plays in the migratory ecology of shorebirds.

Stunning images show a startlingly simple and quiet view of the most densely populated state in the country, showcasing its natural wonders.

Deep within the heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Piney people have built a vibrant culture and industry from working the natural landscape around them. Lewis explores the history of the Pineys, what being a Piney means today, and their legacy among the beauty of the Pine Barrens.

All across the country, unused railroad corridors have been converted into public multiuse trails. Explore the best rail-trails (unused railroad corridors) as well as other multiuse pathways in New Jersey and New York.

This absorbing book opens with an overview of the state’s geologic history and proceeds with 13 road guides that unearth the stories behind the state’s rocks, sediments, and barrier islands, before presenting insightful discussions on such timely topics as sea level rise, climate change, and uranium mining.