Washington Crossing State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, NJ
Hours:Grounds open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily; park office open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; visitor center museum open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Fee: Nonresidents, $7 per vehicle; residents, $5 per vehicle (Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day); bikes and pedestrians, free

www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests, 609-737-0623; a schedule of programs is available at washingtoncrossingaudubon.org

Bathrooms: In visitor center museum and at Green Grove, Knox Grove, the nature center, and at the end of the parking lot off River Road
Water/Snacks: Water fountains and vending machines at visitor center and nature center

Exploring where Washington’s army crossed the Delaware River in 1776 is a good way to exercise kids’ historical imaginations.

Washington Crossing State Park
Photo by: Paul Rudderow

Washington Crossing State Park extends along the Delaware River where George Washington landed the Continental Army on Christmas night, 1776, before vanquishing the British at the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. The park combines history and nature, providing delightful family outings on the trail or on the water.

Because of its forested riverside location, the park is a bird and wildlife hotspot. The nature center, which is geared toward families, offers exciting hands-on exhibits, as well as a learning lab, a live-observation beehive, and wildlife specimens. A naturalist is available to answer questions. Educational programs organized by the Audubon Society teach kids about what they’ll see outdoors, and about practical skills, such as how to use a compass. 

Fifteen miles of trails are in the park, providing a variety of opportunities to explore the forests and streams. They are all natural footpaths, blazed in colors that correspond to the map. Some are open to mountain bikes and horses. In winter, the interior trails are great for skiing or snowshoeing. Those in the northern portion of the park are hilly; although they may be too challenging for young children, the Red Trail loop from the nature center is easy to follow and includes a spur trail to a wildlife-viewing blind. For an easy 2-mile loop hike, start at the museum, following Continental Lane; return via the Yellow Dot Trail past an open-air theater, then through woods along a creek to the Red Dot Trail, which crosses the field back to Continental Lane. Along the Delaware & Raritan Canal, the level, hard-surface towpath, which is open to bikes, is a good option for strollers or young families. The canal itself may be paddled upstream or downstream. 

Several picnic areas are in the interior of the park, as well as along the river.

Remember: A reenactment of the river crossing is performed every Christmas Day. A festive dress rehearsal takes place the second Saturday in December, when food and craft vendors fill the park; this is a good day to visit.

Plan B:

Walk across the bridge to the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, which is a state historic site and museum and 500-acre recreational area.

Where to Eat Nearby:

A small commercial area is near the corner of NJ 29 and County Road 546, or continue up NJ 29 to Lambertville.


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