PICTURED – Be sure to catch the 40th Annual Monmouth County Fair at East Freehold Showgrounds in Freehold, Wednesday-Sunday, July 23-27. Highlights include fireworks, rides, a home & garden competition, and 4-H animal exhibits.
LINCROFT, NJ — Summer is here and the Monmouth County Park System is bursting with activity. From catching the waves at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park to taking in the Monmouth County Fair, there’s always something to do in the parks.
Already open for the season, Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Ocean Avenue, Long Branch, offers everything needed to enjoy a day at the beach during the summer months: snack bar, sheltered eating areas, volleyball area, outdoor showers and changing areas, and areas for surfing. Lifeguards are currently on duty weekends and will begin guarding daily Saturday, June 14. Both daily and seasonal passes can be purchased. The site also offers a skateplex and an inclusive playground.
More of a golfer than a surfer? Head to a county course! With eight Park System golf courses at six locations throughout the county, golfers are sure to find one to suit their level of play. Hominy Hill Golf Course in Colts Neck is perfect for golfers looking for a challenge while Bel-Aire’s executive style courses are great for a quick round. Other golf courses are Charleston Springs in Millstone, Howell Park in Howell, Pine Brook in Manalapan, and Shark River in Neptune.
While the Park System offers many golf courses, there is only one Sprayground and it can be found at Dorbrook Recreation Area. This popular water-enhanced playground, located on Route 537 in Colts Neck, is open seven days a week through September 7 from 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on weekends. Make it a day by bringing a picnic and visiting the playground.
A day’s not long enough? Head over to Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold, and spend the night at the campground. With its playgrounds, trails, fishing and boating, Turkey Swamp Park’s campground is family-friendly and affordable. Rowboats, canoes and paddleboats can be rented at the park’s lake. Most Saturday evenings throughout the summer, campers are invited to enjoy family-friendly fun such as stories, games and tasty treats during the park’s Campfire Programs. Call 732-462-7286 for more information or to make reservations.
Turkey Swamp Park isn’t the only place to rent a boat. The Manasquan Reservoir in Howell has rowboats and kayaks available for rental. Visitors can also go on naturalist-led boat tours of the site. Weekend and holiday tours are available at 2, 3, 4 & 5 p.m. through October 13. Wednesday tours are available at 2, 3 & 4 p.m., July 9-August 27. Evening boat tours are available the first Friday of each month through September. These tours are a great way to see wildlife.
Park System Naturalists also offer Summer Seining at Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, June 23-August 22. This free program, open to ages 5 and up, examines the variety of fish, crabs and other critters found in Sandy Hook Bay. Participants should wear closed-toed shoes.
The highlight of the summer is always the Monmouth County Fair. Held Wednesday-Sunday, July 23-27 at East Freehold Showgrounds in Freehold, the 2014 Fair features fireworks, rides, live music and much more! Be sure to see the 4-H animal exhibits, the home and garden competition, and fireman’s competition. Admission is $8 per person; children 12 and under free.
For more information about any of these activities, visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com or call the Park System at 732-842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the TTY/TDD number is 711. The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s Open Space, Parks and Recreation agency.