Ever heard the phrase “Take a Hike?” Usually, it’s used synonymously with “Get lost!” but this time it’s a suggestion for your health. We are fortunate to have such fabulous places in our communities to walk or hike, and warming weather makes it a good time to get outside and explore.

While we are all familiar with the beaches and boardwalks, we also have so many beautiful parks, trails, and recreation areas.  In fact, the Garden State is home to many parks and nature reserves full of hiking trails just waiting for us to explore. It is a great way to get a workout while enjoying nature. Check out the recreational facilities, trails, and parks in Atlantic County and Cape May County

Here are some reasons to step off the treadmill and onto the trail and experience fitness in the great outdoors.

  • 1

    Hiking for Physical Fitness

    Everyone knows that walking regularly burns calories and puts most of your leg muscles into action; we do it every day. However, hiking is a little different. Depending on the terrain, you improve your balance and motor control by walking over uneven ground.

    Even hiking trails that are more or less clear of debris or hazards can still feature uneven ground or other smaller obstacles that require careful footwork. Many times trails will go up and down hills, emphasizing your calves to keep you upright. Some run through streams and rivers that - if you’re brave enough - require some tenacity and balance to get across.

    For the more adventurous types, some trails can lead to areas where a different form of movement is required, such as climbing up a short or tall rock face.

    Atlantic County Park System
  • 2

    Hiking for Mental Fitness

    Aside from the physical benefits from hiking, some would argue you can achieve some peace of mind to alleviate stress. In today’s busy world of constant worry-this and have-to-do-that, just getting away from everything and taking a short vacation from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can do the mind good.

    Most trails are located within nature reserves and other forested areas, especially within the Garden state, surrounded by the sounds and sights of tranquility. Taking a short or moderate hike can give you time to meditate, clear your head, and refocus once you head back into the fray.

    Atlantic County Park System
  • 3

    Getting Your Feet on the Ground

    Lastly, and most importantly….it’s free. Most of the popular areas to hike in state and federal reserves cost nothing to take a trip through. No admission cost, no monthly subscription, just the cost of getting there (and maybe a solid investment in good footwear). If we’ve convinced you to try hiking, we have attached two links to Atlantic and Cape May county recreation areas and trails to get your started. We give you the names, but it’s up to you to discover the sights each of these places hold.