Congress authorized the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route in October of 1988 to provide for public understanding and enjoyment of sites and resources associated with the coastal area of New Jersey.
The project was conceived and developed as a cooperative effort in which local, state, and federal agencies and numerous private entities work together to recognize the important components of our heritage. The project exemplifies partnership programs that have become increasingly important in protecting, preserving, and interpreting nationally significant natural and cultural resources.
The heritage of the New Jersey coastal area will be explored through interpretation of five interrelated themesómaritime history, historic settlements, relaxation and inspiration, coastal habitats, and wildlife migrations. Each theme examines aspects of the area's heritage and together, illustrate the interaction of both natural and cultural influences on the coastal environment. Two themes are still under development.
The Trail is designed for vehicular touring, and sites are incorporated to represent all of its themes. To simplify touring and make it more convenient for visitors, the Trail has been divided into five regionsó Delsea, Cape May, Absecon, Barnegat Bay, and Sandy Hook. Other points of interest in South Jersey, Central Jersey and Northern Jersey.
I have set this site up so that each region is a different color. The Delsea Region is blue, Cape May & Absecon is green, Barnegat Bay Region is lavender, and the Sandy Hook region is yellow. Other sites of Interest in the state are tan.
Regional Welcome Centers are full service areas offering Trail and regional orientation/information, including exhibits, video, and brochures and are open at least 5 days a week, including weekends. The Barnegat Bay Region Welcome Center is under development.
Level I sites have staff, exhibits, and restrooms. They are open at least 5 hours per day, 5 days per week including one weekend day with full services.
Level II sites are open less frequently and/or have limited services.
Points of Interest are often scenic views with an interpretive wayside exhibit explaining its relevance to one of the Trail themes. These areas may not be staffed or have services.
Explore the special places associated with New Jersey's maritime history, coastal habitats, and wildlife migration stories. Relive a time when life was tied to the sea and characterized by lighthouses, coastal defense systems, fishing ports, and marinas. Discover waving acres of salt marsh habitats, sandy beaches, coastal dunes, swamps, and bogs. Witness long and grueling migrations covering thousands of miles, and the return year after year to spawning and nursery grounds to continue the cycle of life.
While you are out there on the trails we want you to be safe so please follow common sense safety rules and be careful.
Other information about New Jersey.
Watch for other theme trails to open in the near future.
You can Contact the National Park Service at:
National Park Service
NJ Coastal Heritage Trail Route
PO Box 568
Newport, NJ 08345
The New Jersey Office of Travel and Tourism
PO Box 826
Trenton, NJ 08625-0826