Getting to the Pine Barrens
The Pine Barrens is located in southern New Jersey, from most of Burlington and Ocean County, south to most of Atlantic County, northern Cape May and eastern Cumberland Counties, west to eastern Camden and Gloucester Counties (see map below). This area covers 1.1 MILLION acres - 22% of New Jersey - so there is no one way to get here unless you have a specific destination.
Philadelphia International Airport is located about an hour west of the Pine Barrens, but if you're renting a vehicle, be prepared for city traffic before you get to the peaceful solitude of the Pines! However, Philly is home base to several airlines. From the airport, follow the signs to Walt Whitman Bridge into NJ. Once in NJ, get on 295 North to Route 70 East. The worst is over! From Route 70, you can access Route 206 and Route 72, depending on your destination.
Newark Liberty International Airport is located about 1 1/2 hours north of the Pine Barrens. Again, several airlines fly into this large airport, but access is fairly easy, and it's a fairly straight drive south to the Pine Barrens. Get on the NJ Turnpike SOUTH. My preference is to take Exit 11 - GARDEN STATE PARKWAY SOUTH - because I am more comfortable on the GSP, even with traffic. Continue on the GSP to exits as listed below. You can also remain on the TURNPIKE; Exit 7 will get you to Route 206 SOUTH, from where you can get to several Pine Barrens destinations.
planes can utilize Hammonton
Municipal Airport. It's located amidst the famous blueberry
farms of this Blueberry Capital of the World, and adjacent to Wharton
State Forest and Historic Batsto Village.
From the North:
From New York/Newark and North Jersey: Take the NJ Turnpike south to the Garden State Parkway southbound (Exit 11). Continue on the GSP to Exit 88 - Route 70 West. Continue on through Lakehurst - you're in the northern Pine Barrens now! From here you can access Whitesbog Historic Village, where cranberry bogs and blueberry fields can be seen. It's also the location of the Annual Whitesbog Blueberry Festival - the 2007 date is June 30th.
You can also travel a bit further south to exit 77 and make Jake's Branch County Park your first stop. This new park is being tagged "The Gateway to the Pine Barrens" and it has a great Visitors Center. Five miles further south, exit 69 to Route 532 West for 2 miles gets you to Wells Mills County Park, with a nice nature center, miles of trails and a lake.!
Alternatively, Route 206 south leads right to the Pine Barrens. From the Mount Holly area south, you'll begin to see agricultrual areas. From 206 you can go east on Route 70 towards Historic Whitesbog Village, part of Lebanon State Forest, a very scenic location with camping and cabins (by reservation) accessible via Route 70 or Route 72; east on Route 532 to Tabernacle and Chatsworth, or further south, east on Route 542 to Batsto Village, passing acre upon acre of blueberry farms along the way.
From the South:
From the Cape May Ferry, continue on Route 9 to the Garden State Parkway. Several exits will get you to the Pine Barrens - exit 50 - New Gretna, and on to Route 542W will take you to Batsto Historic Village; exit 58 - Route 539N affords a great view of the Pygmy Pine forests. (For the best homemade pies around, stop at Lucille's in Warren Grove). A bit further north, exit 69 to Route 532W will get you to Wells Mills County Park, where you can visit a nature center, hike the marked trails or rent a canoe for a scenic paddle on the 34-acre lake.
RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS FOR NEWCOMERS
Wells Mills County Park, Route 532, Waretown NJ: Here, you'll find almost 900 acres (soon to be increased to 3,000 acres thanks to an Open Space acquisition by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders), representing uplands, wetland and, pine-oak forest. In season, canoe on the 94-acre Wells Mills Lake. Rentals are available at the three-story Nature Center, where you'll find numerous displays representing the Pinelands environment. GETTING HERE: Garden State Parkway Exit 69 to Route 532 WEST. Look for brown signs to park entrance on LEFT; or Route 206 to Route 532 EAST, follow into Chatsworth, making a RIGHT onto Route 563 and a quick LEFT onto Route 532 East, then RIGHT onto ROUTE 72 7.8 miles to LEFT on Route 532 EAST. 3.5 miles to Park entrance on right.
Wharton State Forest/Historic Batsto Village: Route 542, Batsto NJ. This is a great place to learn about the rich history of the Mullica River area, including the Iron and Glass factories, privateering and more. A small but informative museum and a theater that shows a short film about Batsto is in the Visitor's Center, along with a large gift shop. Find maps, books and more about the Pine Barrens here. GETTING HERE: From the north/west: Take Route 206 SOUTH to Route 542 EAST to Batsto on the left; from the east: Route 9 to WEST on Route 542 about 12 miles to Batsto on the Right.
Please e-mail Catherine (insert @)pineypower.com with questions or comments.