Unforgettable experiences await you this summer in Sussex County
This season, explore the great outdoors in the beautiful Skylands region of Sussex, New Jersey.
If you’re looking for great getaways near you this summer, look no further than quaint and spacious Sussex County. Nestled in the northernmost county in the state and offering a plethora of great outdoor adventures sure to please everyone, New Jersey’s famed Skylands region is the ultimate destination this season.
“What makes summer in Skylands so special? In a nutshell, it’s the ‘outdoors’, confirmed Tammie Horsfield, chair of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce and destination marketing organization Skylands of Sussex in Newton. “If being outdoors makes you happy, then Sussex Skylands is for you.”
Here are some of the not-to-be-missed outdoor activities that Sussex County has to offer this summer:
Make time for Mountain Creek — “Mountain Creek is the center of summer,” Horsfield said of this four-season “mountain playground” in Vernon (mountaincreek.com). “Head to the water park carved into the side of the mountain or the Mountain Creek Bike Park where rentals are available.” Need breeze and speed? “Switch to the Mountain Creek ziplines, which are 200 to 1,500 feet long and hang over a lake on top of a mountain,” she said.
Savor State Parks — “State parks are ‘good time goldmines’ in Sussex Skylands and this summer they’re all free,” Horsfield said. “Go to the parks to swim, fish, picnic (some parks have charcoal grills), hike, kayak and more, and also be sure to explore hidden gems like the magnificent Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden at Kittatinny Valley State Park in Andover,” she said. Walkers and hikers will also enjoy the Skylands regions tons of trails, including miles of the famous Appalachian Trail.
Don’t miss Nolan’s Point on Lake Hopatcong – The scenic drive to Nolan’s Point sets the stage for a range of fun-filled adventures on and around Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest lake. Among the fun activities, “check out Lake Hopatcong Golf, where you can play mini golf among miniature replicas of the lake’s historic landmarks,” Horsfield said. “Admire a magnificent view of Lake Hopatcong aboard the ‘Miss Lotta’ (lhcruises.com), a state-of-the-art 57-foot Skipper liner that offers a variety of themed, dining and private cruises. If you’re interested in fun activities around the lake, Horsfield recommends checking out the Lake Hopatcong Adventure Company, where you can get out on the water and enjoy nature on a Hobie Mirage Eclipse stand-up paddleboard, which makes water adventures effortless. without a paddle. “30- and 60-minute water adventure tours are led by experienced guides and combine fitness and fun,” she said, noting that hydrobike and pedal kayak tours as well as bike adventures and on foot are also available.
Get wet and wild — Enjoy water rides, a picnic grove where you can bring your own cooler full of food, water slides, a sandy beach with a 20-acre crystal clear lake for swimming and boating. boating and an 18-hole miniature golf course at the 200-acre Lake Tomahawk Water Park in Sparta (tomahawklake.com).
Enjoy the arts — Through August 7, enjoy “Making Matters: Fresh Perspectives in Fine Craft,” a wonderful exhibit presented at the Peters Valley School of Craft (petersvalley.org), an immersive craft school in the Delaware Water Gap. Held in the school’s Sally D. Francisco Gallery, “the exhibit showcases the talented guest instructors and artistic staff who will teach the variety of classes offered at each of the Peters Valley studios,” Horsfield said.
Spread your wings in Crystal Springs — “Crystal Springs Resort (crystalgolfresort.com) offers the ultimate stay, no flights required,” Horsfield said of the 4,000-acre destination in Hamburg that features two hotels (Grand Cascades Lodge and Hotel Minerals), excellent golf, 10 restaurants (including its Crystal Tavern, a 4-star Latour restaurant and seasonal farm-to-table Chef’s Garden), two spas and a variety of seasonal activities. “There’s golf galore on six unique courses, great indoor and outdoor pools (including the Biosphere pool at Grand Cascades Lodge), canoeing, kayaking, hiking, basketball, tennis, and a range of special activities on-site this summer, including fishing, archery, horseback riding, animal educators, art classes, goat yoga, ax throwing, painting and sipping events, and more again,” she said.
Enjoy the culinary scene — Sussex County offers a wide variety of cuisines and dining experiences, from lakeside dining at Windlass in Lake Hopatcong, Andres Lakeside in Sparta or The Carriage House in Branchville to Biergarten at St. Moritz Grill and Bar in Sparta or beautiful prairie views at the Walpack Inn in Walpack. This summer, diners will also enjoy expansions to the popular Krogh’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in Sparta which will include a new rooftop bar (“The Krogh’s Nest”), a new patio and additional indoor/outdoor restaurants.
Taste the bounty of nature — Enjoy the best of Garden State’s farm-fresh produce at Sparta Farmer’s Market, Sussex County Farmer’s Market in Augusta or Farmer’s Market at Shoppes at Lafayette.
Settle in for fun summer events — Summer in the Skylands region means special events, including the 12e Annual Rock, Ribs & Ridges Festival at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta from June 24-26, the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fairgrounds from August 5-13 and a great lineup of ‘Summer performers at the Newton Theater in Newton (skypac.org).
For more information
The Sussex County Chamber of Commerce and Destination Marketing Organization Skylands of Sussex is located at 120 Hampton House Road in Newton and can be reached by calling 973-579-1811 or visiting sussexskylands.com for travel information.