Located in the far east-central portion of New Jersey, the Monmouth Battlefield State Park offers visitors of all ages a wide variety of outdoor activities within an historical setting. Defined by eighteenth-century landscaping that includes a restored farmhouse, fields, orchards, woods and wetlands, this 1,818 acres park is renowned for its annual Revolutionary War reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth. Because this historic battle took place on the grounds, the park is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark District. The park is open year-round and no entry fees are charged.
The Battle of Monmouth, which was one of the longest and largest battles during the American Revolution, took place on the park’s grounds in 1778. Every effort has been made to preserve these grounds as they would have appeared at the time of the battle. The park is very well-maintained, blending an historic farm setting with modern amenities like playgrounds, picnic areas and community special events. Each year over the fourth weekend in June, the reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth on park grounds draws thousands of visitors who enjoy watching passing sentries march in formation, soldiers cleaning their weapons, artillery firing their cannons and mock battlefield attacks. During the 1990s, both private and public sources funded extensive restorations of the battlefield including reconstruction of period fences, lanes, orchards and woodlots.
The Monmouth Battlefield State Park houses two main building sites for visitor enjoyment. They include Craig House, which is a restored and refurnished farmhouse and barn reflecting life in the area during the mid-1700s, and a Visitor/Interpretive Center featuring many of the war artifacts found on the grounds. While the Visitor/Interpretive Center is open daily, the Craig House buildings are currently closed to the public for self-guided tours due to budget cutbacks. Occasionally, the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield will offer guided tours of the buildings at specific times. The park staff also offers a variety of interpretive programs such as nature hikes, birding lessons, and lectures on the park’s history. Most of the programs are free and can be found through the Calendar of Events on the park’s website.
Included in the park are over twenty miles of nature trails that can be enjoyed for hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The main trail is an approximately 11 miles straight path with other smaller trails looping throughout the park grounds. The trails go through a mixture of fields, woods and wetlands across a terrain that is uniformly flat or very mild in grades. Along many of the trails, visitors will enjoy a working landscape that includes well-tended fields of corn and soybeans, fallow areas managed to provide habitat for animals and birds as well as active orchards filled with apple, cherry and peach trees.
The wooded areas of the park are largely defined by oak, maple and pine trees with an undergrowth of bushes and wildflowers. Common animals species that can be seen include deer, fox, squirrels, raccoons, field mice and opossum. Bird species to be enjoyed in the area include hawks, owls, finches, nuthatches, woodpeckers, chickadees and turkeys. Due to the unique mix of fields, woodlands and wetlands, a wide variety of wildflowers can be enjoyed throughout the park including rare species of orchids and laurels. Deer hunting is allowed in limited areas of the park during specified periods only by special permit.
Temperatures at Monmouth Battlefield State Park can vary widely depending upon the season. Winter temperatures generally range from between 20 to 40 degrees while summer temperatures usually range between 65 to 95 degrees. The highest rain levels in the area occur during the summer months when visitors can expect occasionally muddy conditions on the park’s trails.
Additional information about the park can be found at www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/monbat.html.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park
347 Freehold-Englishtown Road
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Summer – Sunrise to Sunset
Winter – 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Visitor Center Hours:
Monday through Saturday – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sundays – 12 noon to 4:30 p.m.