New Jersey is one of the smaller states, but there are plenty of locations that are worthy of the attention of landscape and nature photographers. On the Atlantic coast, New Jersey offers beaches, swamps and wetlands, woodlands, mountains, waterfalls, and more. This page showcases many of the most noteworthy locations in the state for landscape photographers with the hope of helping you plan your own outings. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area lies in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey where the Delaware River cuts through a ridge of the Appalachian Mountains (northwestern New Jersey). This large 70,000 acre park provides recreational options like hiking, rafting, and camping. Photographers have plenty of things to like about the area, including waterfalls and beautiful mountain views. You can also read more about the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware Water Gap in our Pennsylvania photography guide. And for more see our guide Photographing Waterfalls of the Delaware Water Gap.
Buttermilk Falls is a 200-foot waterfall located within the Delaware Water Gap. There is a parking lot right near the base of the falls, and Buttermilk Falls Trail will take you from the bottom to the top of the falls. Continue on a bit further for excellent views, or make it a longer hike and head to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond.
Within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is Millbrook Village, a re-created village that includes many buildings and beautiful scenery. At times throughout the year there are demonstrations and events here, but the majority of the time you can explore the area and have it mostly to yourself. It is especially picturesque in autumn.
Sunflowers in Sussex County
Liberty Farm’s Sunflower Maze in Sussex County, not far from the Delaware Water Gap, is a popular attraction and a great place to photograph sunflowers. The maze typically opens in August of each year.
High Point State Park
High Point in northern New Jersey, not far from the Delaware Water Gap, is the highest point in the state. High Point State Park includes High Point and the surrounding area. At the top is a 220-foot obelisk, and from the peak you have a great view into New York and Pennsylvania.
Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park
In north Jersey, about 15 miles north of Newark, is Paterson. In 1791 Paterson was built as America’s first planned industrial city, built near the 70+ foot Great Falls of the Passaic River. Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park includes the falls and the surrounding area.
The Palisades are also called the New Jersey Palisades or the Hudson River Palisades. This area lies on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, just north of Manhattan. The steep cliffs rise as high as 540 feet and run for about 20 miles. Palisades Interstate Park was created to protect and preserve the area. You can get the best view for photographing the Palisades from the opposite side of the Hudson in New York.
Fort Lee Historic Park (views of NYC)
Fort Lee Historic Park lies just south of Palisades Interstate Park and it provide excellent views of the New York City skyline, and the George Washington Bridge. The park sits atop of the Palisades, providing a nice view from the cliff’s top.
Hacklebarney State Park
Hacklebarney State Park is located in north Jersey, about 50 miles west of New York City. The 1,000 acre park includes the Black River and two brooks. There are plenty of hiking trails that allow you to take in the beauty of the woods and water. In some areas there are large boulders along the sides of the river that create some waterfalls.
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located about 20 miles east of Hacklebarney State Park. This 7,000+ acre refuge is home to many species of birds, fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, frogs, and fish. There are also some wildfowers, and the swamp can make an excellent subject for photos.
Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife Management Area
The Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife Management Area is located in north Jersey, only about 10 miles from Hacklebarney State Park. The gorge stretches for about 2.5 miles of the Raritan River and the surrounding woodlands are home to many plants and animals.
Manasquan Reservoir, located about 30 miles east of Trenton, provides some awesome photo opportunities. The park is part of Manasquan Reservoir County Park, which includes more than 6 miles of trails, including the perimeter trail that surrounds the reservoir.
The Red Mill Museum
In north Jersey, about 50 miles west of New York City, the Red Mill is a popular location for photographers. Originally built in 1810, it is now the Red Mill Museum.
Willowwood Arboretum is a public park in Chester, just minutes from Hacklebarney State Park. The gardens and meadows make it a great place to photograph flowers and trees, including many rare native and exotic plants.
Presby Memorial Iris Garden
In north Jersey (just about 5 or 6 miles from the Great Falls of Paterson), Presby Memorial Iris Garden is a non-profit museum that is another great place to photograph flowers. The gardens include 10,000 irises of approximately 1,500 varieties.
Frelinghuysen Arboretum is another excellent option for photographing flowers. It is located roughly 30 minutes from both Presby Memorial Iris Gardens and Willowwood Arboretum. There are a few nature trails that help you to access and view the ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees, and gardens.
About 25 miles south of Frelinghuysen Arboretum is Duke Farms. The area includes meadows, wildflowers, woodlands, wetlands, lakes, trails, waterfalls, and fountains. This amazing property presents plenty of opportunities for landscape and nature photos. Please note, the photography policies of Duke Farms do not permit commercial photography.
Sayen Park Botanical Garden
Sayen Park Botanical Garden is located in Hamilton Township, east of Trenton. In the spring the garden features more than 250,000 flowers, as well as ponds, bridges, gazebos and trails.
Branch Brook Park
Branch Brook Park is located in north Jersey, just about 15 miles from the Palisades. While Washington, DC gets a lot of attention for its cherry blossoms, Branch Brook Park actually has the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the U.S. Each April the park hosts a cherry blossom festival. The park also includes bridges and sculptures.
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge consists of two separate districts. One is located north of Atlantic City, and the other is about 20 miles north, close to Long Beach Island. The 40,000 acre refuge protects wetlands that are used by many migratory birds. Part of the area is restricted to the public because it is the beach area where many nesting birds raise their young. There are also more than 3,000 acres of woodlands hat are home to deer and other animals. The refuge includes an eight mile drive, as well as trails for hiking.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is located on the northern edge of Long Beach Island. The picturesque lighthouse was important for ships coming to and from New York Harbor.
Ocean City is a popular beach town in south Jersey, between Atlantic City and Cape May. The beach, of course, presents photo opportunities, including piers. If you are scouting the area by searching photos online you may come across some amazing photos of a mostly-destroyed 59th street pier (not the pier shown in the photo below). Don’t plan your trip around a sunrise shot of the pier, because it has been completely removed as of 2015.
Cape May is a popular beach town located at the southern tip of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for having a beautiful beach and Victorian architecture. It’s more of a quaint location compared to nearby Wildwood.
Ocean Grove is another beautiful beach town, located north of Long Beach Island. Like Cape May, Ocean Grove is also known for its Victorian architecture.
Want to learn more about neighboring states? Please see:
- The Best Places to Photograph in New York
- The Best Places to Photograph in Pennsylvania
- The Best Places to Photograph in Delaware