Things To Do In New Jersey – Monmouth Battlefield State Park
In June of 1777, one of the largest battles of the Revolutionary War took place on the rolling farm fields and woodlands of Monmouth Court House in Central New Jersey. It was a sweltering hot day, and nearly as many men died from heatstroke as did from losses to the enemy. In the end, the result of the battle was a draw but – for the first time – the Continental Army regiments demonstrated that they could stand against British regulars, making it a victory of sorts for the American colonies. Today, the land on which the historic Battle of Monmouth took place is preserved and is now known as Monmouth Battlefield State Park. The park offers a wealth of things to do for visitors, including historic reenactments, tours, wildlife viewing, recreational activities, and more.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park is, in my opinion, one of New Jersey’s “must see” destinations. One of most popular things to do at this historic New Jersey site is to watch and/or participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth, held each year in late June. Thousands of visitors come out for this annual event to see hundreds of troops encamp at the park and recreate events of the battle over the course of a weekend. Take a tour of the camps and see enlisted men clean their weapons and women cooking what may be their men’s last meal. Shop the sutler (field market in which merchants sell provisions to an army) area, which is open to the public. Keep a close eye on your children, or you may find that they’ve been drafted into one of the armies!
Can’t make it to the reenactment? No worries – there are lots of things to do at Monmouth Battlefield State Park throughout the entire year. The recently remodeled Visitors Center features a museum which contains items such as weapons, historical artifacts, mannequins in period uniforms, specially commissioned paintings, and maps including a new electric map illustrating troop movements using colored lights over a model of the battle’s terrain. The Visitors Center also houses a 105-seat auditorium, which shows an informative 11-minute orientation film throughout the day. Numerous programs highlighting the historical significance of Monmouth Battlefield State Park are available throughout the year including walking tours of the battlefield, the opportunity to “meet” historic figures such as Molly Pitcher who played a significant role in the battle, tours of the historic Craig farmhouse, Revolutionary and Civil War encampments, and more.
There are numerous recreational things to do at Monmouth Battlefield State Park as well. The park features a large picnic area overlooking the rolling hills and green forests of the battlefield. There are miles of hiking and horseback riding trails and a large playground for the children. Monmouth Battlefield State Park is also an excellent place for observing wildlife – you may see wild turkey, deer, or red fox. The park is home to over one hundred species of birds including kestrels, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, and bluebirds. Battleview Orchards manages the pick-your-own orchards located within the park. From late spring through the fall, visitors are able to pick seasonal fruit such as strawberries, pie cherries, peaches, nectarines, apples, and pumpkins. Winter is also an excellent time to visit the park, with opportunities for sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park is located at 16 Business Route 33 in Manalapan, New Jersey, and is open 365 days a year (Visitors Center is closed some winter Sundays). Visit Monmouth Battlefield State Park online for more information including directions, hours, and a current schedule of special events and things to do at the park.