navigation bar
DEP Graphic  
Division of Parks and Forestry Graphic
parks home parks home njdep home
Cheesequake State Park

photo of: cheesequake state park
Photo by Susan Herron

Download our Free app
nj fast facts

State Park

Middlesex County

Mailing Address:

300 Gordon Road
Matawan, NJ 07747
(732) 566-2161

GPS Coordinates
DMS 40 ° 26’ 5.118” N 74° 15' 49.2372" W

Size: 1,610 acres

Fees: Entrance fees are charged per vehicle from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

NJ Resident
$ 5.00
$ 5.00
$ 7.00
Link to the Related Fees page

The park is accessible from exit 120 off the Garden State Parkway and from Route 34. State Park signs are posted at critical intersections along the following routes:GSP, Route 34 South and North. For more detailed directions click here.

Facilities & Activities:


  • Hiking
  • Nature trails
  • Mountain biking
  • Biking


Cheesequake State Park’s uniqueness lies in its geographical location. Not only is it situated in the middle of the urban north and the suburban south, it lies in a transitional zone between two different ecosystems. Open fields, saltwater and freshwater marshes, a white cedar swamp, Pine Barrens, and a northeastern hardwood forest are the main characteristics of the park.

Nature Interpretive Center
Winter Activities
Keep Your Park Clean

Through the Carry-In/Carry-Out Program you can help us keep your parks clean and beautiful by carrying out the trash you carry in. Bags are provided throughout the site. Thank you for your cooperation and remember to recycle.

Park Hours

Open daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed on Mondays

Park Maps

Park Map
High resolution for printing purposes;
File Size: 669KB

Cheesequake Natural Area (386 acres)

A striking example of vegetation change along a gradient from coastal salt marsh habitat to upland forests can be observed from the various trails running through the natural area. The natural area displays a diversity of plant species and community types characteristic of both northern and southern New Jersey.

Interpretive Center

The Interpretive Center is located a short distance from the trailhead parking area on the Red/ Green/ Blue trail. Visitors are welcome to view the wildlife historical exhibits throughout the Center. Visitors can learn about the three habitats located within Cheesequake State Park. The Center also provides information on the Native American and early colonization of the area.

The center is open from Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and seven days a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The Interpretive Center provides weekly interpretive programming focusing on a variety of seasonal topics. Please contact the Interpretive Center for details at (732) 566-3208. Program fees may apply.


There are five designated trails at the park. The Red, Yellow, Green and Blue pathways are for hiking and walking use. The White Trail (multi-use) is designated for hiking and mountain biking. Trail lengths range from 1.5 to 3.5 miles. Trail difficulty ranges from easy to moderate with inclines.


Online reservations can be made 7 days per week/24 hours a day at ReserveAmerica. To make a reservation through the call center, please contact ReserveAmerica at 1-855-607-3075 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday from April 1st through October 31st. Beginning November 1st through March 31st, hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. 

For forms and information on booking a campsite visit our: reservations page

Alcohol is prohibited. Pets are prohibited in overnight facilities.

Beginning January 1, 2014, a transaction fee of $5 will be charged for all walk-in overnight reservations.

Campsites: 53 tent and trailer sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Flush toilets and shower facilities are within walking distance. Trailer sanitary station available. There is an 11-foot height restriction for vehicles entering the camping area. Open April 1 through October 31. Fee: NJ Resident $20 per night; Non Resident $25 per night.

Beginning April 1, 2015, group camping fees will be as follow: $2/person/night based on the capacity of the campsite for NJ residents and $4/person/night for Non Residents.

Group campsites: The Gordon Field group area has fire rings, upright grills and picnic tables. There are six individual sites accommodating up to 25 campers each. The area facilities include flush toilets and potable water. Trash must be carried out. Open May 1 to October 31. Fee: NJ Resident $50 per night; Non Resident $100 per night.

Campground Map (Low resolution for viewing purposes)
Campground Map (High resolution for printing purposes) File
Size:77 KB


Special Use Permit Application

Special Use Permit Application Package

A Special Use Permit is utilized to accommodate a specific activity or event being conducted over a short duration. There are two types of special use permits: Non-Commercial and Commercial and fees are based on NJ residency and Non-residents.  A completed application must be submitted to the park/forest area where the activity or event is being held at least 90 days prior to the event. If the special use or event is extremely large or complex, at least one-year’s prior notice is recommended.


Stocking will not take place this year at Hooks Lake due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The six-acre Hooks Creek Lake offers an opportunity for freshwater fishing. Trout, Largemouth Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish provide the angler with a variety of freshwater species. Fishing is subject to all NJ Fish and Wildlife regulations.

Crabbing is also available from the Crabbing Bridge which is reachable from the lake parking area. The bridge and walkway are ADA accessible.

Homeowners Firewood Program

The Homeowners Firewood Program has been expanded to include park areas that sustained tree damage due to Hurricane Sandy. Fallen trees will be marked and made available to individuals as part of this program. Anyone interested in obtaining firewood must complete the below application form and pay the applicable $25 per cord fee.This program will be available until the supply is exhausted. Please contact the park office to reserve a cutting period and for additional information.

Homeowners Firewood Program Application form*

*To view this form, please download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat


Several picnic areas with table and grills are located throughout the Park. For larger groups, we also offer two reservable picnic areas. The group picnic area at Farry Point holds a capacity of 150 people, provides shelter and playfields. The group picnic area at Spring Hill holds a capacity of 100 people and provides playfields and playground equipment. Group picnicking reservations are required for events. A party of 20 or more people constitutes a group. They may be reserved for a fee:

New Jersey Resident $100 per day, plus applicable parking fees.

Non-Resident $150 per day, plus applicable parking fees.

Memorial Day through Labor Day

New Jersey Resident $125 per day.

Non-Resident $175 per day.

Day After Labor Day to Friday Before Memorial Day
50 percent of Fee
Group Picnic Cancellation Fee

NOTE: No alcohol is permitted. Trash must be carried out.

• Groups of 20 or more people shall reserve picnic facilities at least five days in advance. Such group use is not permitted on Holidays except as authorized by the Superintendent. Reservations for picnic areas are handled by the individual park area offices.

Reservations can be made over the telephone using a credit card, or by mail using the Group Picnic Reservation form* downloadable here. Payment in full of the appropriate group picnicking fee must accompany this application.

*To view this form, please download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat

Bus Group Reservations

Cheesequake Group Bus Reservation Rules and Regulations (pdf)
Cheesequake Group Bus Reservation Application Form (pdf)
Cheesequake Group Bus Reservation Application Form (Word document)
Cheesequake Group Bus Manifest (pdf)
Cheesequake Group Bus Manifest (Word document)


Permitted the day after Labor Day through the day before Memorial Day weekend. Canoeing, kayaking and boating with facilities for car top boat launching only. Boaters must comply with all NJ State Boating regulations. Electronic motors only. No boat/canoe rental facilities



Swimming is permitted in Hooks Creek Lake from Memorial day weekend through Labor Day weekend while lifeguards are on duty. Visitors will find a beach complex containing changing area, restrooms, a first-aid station and a concession offering refreshments, novelties and beach supplies. Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Only Coast Guard approved life jackets are permitted. Pets are prohibited on the beach.

Winter Activities

Sledding is permitted on the hill adjacent to the Hooks Creek Lake parking area. Cross-country skiing is permitted on the roadways and field areas. Snow shoeing is permitted throughout the Park.

Related Links

Twin Lights of Navesink, a New Jersey State Historic Site

FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do we go about making a reservation? You can make a reservation over the phone at (732) 566-2161 with your credit card, by mail with an application found on our reservations page with a check or money order, or by person. There is a two-day minimum stay.

From the GSP: Take exit 120 and make a right at the end of the exit ramp and follow to the first light. Make a right. At the next light make a right and follow road into the Park.

From Route 34 South: Make a left turn onto Disbrow Road which is the light immediately south of the Marketplace Shopping Plaza. Make a right at the end of Disbrow Road. Make a left at the first light and follow into the Park.

From Route 34 North: Make a right turn onto Disbrow Road which is the light immediately north of the Berg Animal Hospital. Make a right at the end of Disbrow Road. Make a left at the first light and follow into the Park.

back to top


Questions regarding our parks and forests can be directed to
Michele Buckley of the State Park Service.


bottom footer

parks and forestry: find a park | forestry | forest fire | natural lands | education | historic sites| historic preservation
department: njdep home | about dep | index by topic | programs/units | dep online
statewide: njhome | citizen | business | government | services A to Z | departments | search

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2004
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: April 24, 2015

nj home citizen business government services a to z departments dep home contact dep privacy notice legal statement accessibility statement nj home