Bridgewater Township in Somerset County, New Jersey, offers a combination of rich history, unique nature, and enjoyable recreation.
The 33-square-mile township has had a booming population over the years, which reflects its diversity and development.
According to history, European settlers acquired the Bridgewater area from a Native American tribe.
In 1749, King George II of England chartered the land, which was later incorporated in 1798.
Farming was a primary industry in the earlier years of the township.
Still, it has become a modern suburb hosting large businesses like Sanofi-Aventis and Phillips-Van Heusen.
Visitors can travel around the township’s historic and modern locations, consisting of several township parks, county parks, and an athletic complex.
The township also offers attractions that nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will surely enjoy.
Here are the best things to do in Bridgewater, NJ:
See Historical Landmarks at the Middlebrook Encampment
The Middlebrook Encampment is also known as the Washington Camp Ground, a preserved land area where George Washington set up camp in 1778.
The area was an essential location for the Continental Army during the American War for Independence.
You’ll see the First Watchung Mountain ridge, which provided a natural defense for the army and a strategic location to observe the British forces.
In 1975, the National Register of Historic Places added the Washington Camp Ground to its record.
The grounds occupy a part of the entire encampment.
Walk along the paths where Continental soldiers marched and fought during the Revolutionary War.
See the remains of the state’s only surviving redoubt with descriptions of its history.
Visit the Old Quarters of the Van Horne House
Built in 1750, the Van Horne House operated as General Benjamin Lincoln’s headquarters in 1777 during the Battle of Bound Brook.
It also served as General William Alexander’s headquarters during the second encampment in Middlebrook.
The Van Horne Home has witnessed the presence of Native Americans, the rise of colonial settlements, the turns of the American Revolution, and Somerset County’s progress.
In 2002, the National Register of Historic Places added the historic landmark to the record for its distinct Colonial Revival architecture.
Today, it houses the Heritage Trail Association and features various artifacts and memorabilia that present part of the nation’s history.
You can join the tours, lectures, and programs to learn more about the house's history and the historical items on display.
Learn about Historical Events at the Van Veghten House
Another historical site you can visit in Bridgewater Township is the Van Veghten House.
Built in 1725, the house was Quartermaster General Nathanael Greene’s headquarters during the second Middlebrook encampment.
The National Register of Historic Places listed the house in 1979.
Washington used this house during the Middlebrook Encampment.
Today, it's one of only five surviving houses from that era.
It's also part of the Somerset Historical Society experience and offers historic tours.
Check out the library and archive collections, donated items, and historical genealogy files.
Drop by the gift shop to find unique items to take home as souvenirs.
Take a Nature Hike at Washington Valley Park
If you love the outdoors or want a day of solitude, head out to Washington Valley Park, nestled between Watchung Mountain’s first and second ridges.
You can access the park either at Millers Lane or at Newmans Lane.
This 719-acre nature location is perfect for hiking and mountain biking, offering eight trails with different difficulty levels.
It also includes the 21-acre former Bound Brook Elizabethtown Reservoir with abundant pine and hemlock forests, open fresh water, wetlands, marshes, and stunning rock outcroppings.
Come to the park’s Hawk Watch area to observe thousands of raptors like falcons, bald eagles, and ospreys migrating during the autumn season.
The reservoir at Newman’s Lane is an excellent spot to fish for some largemouth bass, bluegill, black Crappie, yellow perch, and pumpkinseed.
You need a New Jersey fishing license to fish, though.
Luckily, you can get one at the sporting goods store nearby.
The reservoir doesn’t have a boat ramp; anglers can go around the perimeter for shoreline fishing.
Catch the Ball Game at the TD Bank Ballpark
The TD Bank Ballpark is the place to catch the Somerset Patriots for exciting baseball action.
Home to the six-time Atlantic League Champions, the Somerset Patriots, the ballpark provides affordable family entertainment.
The field hosts 70 baseball games from April to September.
Built in 1999, the park was once known as the Commerce Bank Ballpark.
This 6,100-seat stadium presents a classic exterior.
You’ll see a clear view of the park once you enter.
Check out the gabled green roof, and the low-level but comfortable seating.
The spacious concession gives you many choices of ballpark foods while you enjoy the game.
However, don’t miss out on the Super Jersey Burger, pork roll, and Premio sausages.
You can catch Sparky Lyle, the Patriots’ first manager, and Sparkee, the mascot dog likened to Lyle with its handlebar mustache.
Shop, Dine, and Enjoy at Bridgewater Commons
Shop and eat your heart out at Bridgewater Commons, a 16-year-old shopping mall in the central township.
You can find quality brands on a wide selection of apparel and merchandise here like Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, and Macy’s.
With 160 specialty stores, you won’t run out of shopping choices from brands like Apple, Pottery Barn, lululemon, Williams-Sonoma, and Swarovski, to name a few.
Catch a movie at AMC Theatre or dine in with popular food options.
Grab a bite with the family at the Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Shake Shack, Seasons 52.
Otherwise, try Redstone American Grill and Uncle Julio’s Mexican From Scratch.
You can also catch great deals, promotions, and discounts on particular items.
Enjoy Nature at the Middlebrook Trail
Relax, connect with nature, and walk around the Middlebrook Trail.
The trail has existed for some time and has become a popular hiking trail among locals today.
The Eagle Scout troops have contributed much to the trail’s developments.
With the construction of accessible bridges, boardwalks, and stairs, everyone can now enjoy the outdoors in the area.
You’ll find a perfect place to unwind and loosen up with the peaceful view of outstanding flora and fauna.
There are lots of rocky trails you can weave around.
You can also see different wildlife on the river.
Take the Little Ones to Kid Street in Slattery Park
Little ones will have so much fun in the Kid Street play area in Slattery Park.
Volunteers built the playground in 1995, which has become a favorite kiddie spot in Bridgewater.
Kids will enjoy zooming down the slides, swinging on the tire tubes, and playing in the sandbox area.
They can also play with the old-fashioned cars and wooden trains.
Have a play day with your little ones and go on a lunch picnic at the park.
Enjoy Great Meals and Entertainment at Green Knoll Grill
If you want to find some good food and good entertainment in the Bridgewater area, Green Knoll Grill offers both.
Enjoy the roasted French onion soup, seared ahi tuna, and cheesesteak eggrolls for starters.
Try the taco salad or the filet mignon salad and order sample entrées of chicken Antoinette or chorizo tacos.
For big appetites, the half-pound burger is worth every bite, and you can also try their pizzas, desserts, wraps, and sandwiches.
Enjoy GKG’s full-service bar with imported beers, savory wines, and seasonal drinks to pair with your meals.
You’ll also enjoy games on the patio like Rubber Duckie Races, Connect 4, Cornhole, Ring Toss, Jenga, and more.
GKG also features the best live local bands and guest DJs at the outdoor patio and Tiki Bar so that you can party from Thursday to Saturday nights.
Score a Hole in One at the Green Knoll Golf Course
The Green Knoll Golf Course is the first of Somerset County Park Commission’s golf courses that opened in 1960.
It’s located at Garretson Road and also features a nine-hole pitch and putt course at par 27 that serves as a driving range on weekends and holidays.
William F. Gordon designed the 6,443-yard and par 71 course.
It offers a mix of exciting holes for an enjoyable tee game at any level of golf skill.
Visit the Pro Shop for an array of golf merchandise, equipment, and supplies you need.
You can grab some snacks and drinks after your tee game at the vending machines.
Have Outdoor Fun at the Alfred S. Brown Park
Alfred S. Brown Park is another public park you can enjoy in central Bridgewater.
Built in 1997, this ten-acre park once belonged to the Studdiford Farm, named at the request of Walter Studdiford.
The park’s large green grass area also serves as a venue for many community events.
Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the walking path to view other areas of the park.
Take your energetic little ones to the playground for fun play.
You can also enjoy active sports like tennis on the courts or baseball and soccer on the fields.
Sip Savory Wine at Grape Expectations
If you’re a wine enthusiast, Grape Expectations is an award-wining winemaking facility in Bridgewater.
They’ll accompany you through the winemaking process of crushing, pressing, racking, and bottling your wine.
Jimmy and MaryAnn Lowney own the 8,000-square foot winery.
Both have over 20 years of winemaking experience with several distinguishing awards.
Savor their white grapes selection like the classic Chardonnay, a premier buttery, full-bodied California variety.
Otherwise, try the Chenin Blanc that gives a fruity and lightly sweet grape flavor used for Chablis or blending white wines.
Try the White Blends like California Blanc, a blend of French Columbard, Chenin Blanc, and Muscat, or the Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.
Sip a glass of their red grapes variety like the Barbera Full and Malbec.
Then, try something different with Red Blends like Bordeaux Blends and Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Enjoy Sports on Ice at the Bridgewater Sports Arena
Catch exciting live sports entertainment with the family at the Bridgewater Sports Arena.
The Rocket Sports Group operates the sports arena and features scheduled ice hockey games you can watch and enjoy.
The arena also hosts freestyle ice hockey sessions and different programs for beginners to intermediate-level players.
You can get your kids to join the hockey camp with different schedules that fit their availability and needs.
They also offer Summer Skating Camps and lessons on Speed Skating to help your kids grow their love for the sport.
Have a Great Time at the 4-H Fair
One of Somerset County’s much-awaited annual events is the 4-H Fair held at North Branch Park.
The county tradition started in 1947, recognizing the accomplishments of 4-H members in the county.
It’s also an excellent opportunity for guests to see 4-H projects and, of course, have fun all day.
Visit the Art Tent, Science Tent, and Prep Tent, filled with exciting exhibits, fun activities, and impressive demonstrations and performances.
Drop by the other tents that showcase a variety of animals from dairy cows to alpaca, horses, sheep, goats, dogs, poultry, and small animals.
You can even let your little ones pet some of the animals.
You can also enjoy other family attractions like twirling, go-karts, magic shows, model train and airplane displays, and R.C. cars competitions.
Study the Architecture of Sri Venkateswara Temple
Sri Venkateswara Temple offers you a unique cultural experience while in Bridgewater.
Inaugurated in 1998, this temple serves the Hindu community.
Its architecture takes inspiration from the Chola-style of Temple structures.
With its brass pillars, elevated walkways, and large Deity statues, the temple's interior is just as breathtaking as its exterior.
Sri Venkateswara Temple is open for self-guided tours.
Just be sure to keep your phones and cameras inside your bag or pocket because photo-taking is not allowed.
Spend a Day Out in Duke Island Park
When it comes to spending time outdoors in Bridgewater, Duke Island Park is one of the best spots in town.
Connected to the Raritan River Greenway, this island park extends to about 343 acres.
True to its name, the Raritan River borders one side of the park and the canal on all three sides.
It offers multiple hiking and biking trails to reacquaint you with nature at your own pace.
It also offers several sports fields and courts and a bandstand that's the go-to venue for many free outdoor concerts.
You can get to Duke Island Park via Old York Road.
Pose for a Picture of the Bridgewater Historical Wall Mural
If you're into history and art, the Bridgewater Historical Wall Mural may be a good spot for learning about the township's past.
Created with Picture This On Granite, this mural used laser-edged technology.
It spans about 45 feet long and about six feet high.
Its granite canvas retells the story of Bridgewater's past from as early as before the 1700s.
Take a trip back to the life of the township's earliest settlers and the mill industry a few years later.
Several notable moments in Bridgewater's history depicted in the mural include the charter of King George II of England in 1749 and the farming heritage of the township.
The Bridgewater Historical Wall Mural sits at the front of the township's courtroom on Commons Way.
Chill by the Pond at Ardmaer Park
The picturesque view of Ardmaer Park is one of the park's charming points.
At 4.78 acres, this municipal park is the oldest park of its kind in Bridgewater.
It features a pond that is one of the largest ponds within all the park systems of Bridgewater.
Other amenities you can expect at this park include a play area for the little ones and spacious baseball fields.
Get Ardmaer Park to your itinerary if it still isn't!
This park is on Old York Road, just a few walks away from Bradley Gardens.
Practice Your Golf Swing at Raritan Valley Country Club
Raritan Valley Country Club has your golfing needs fulfilled.
Opened in 1912, the layout of the course is all thanks to the brilliant mind of golf course architect Herbert H. Barker.
A perfect mix of secluded and classy, this golf facility features an 18-hole championship golf layout.
It also comes with a 30,000-square-foot clubhouse and multiple sports facilities, two of which are squash courts and four pickleball courts.
Should you need a refreshing swim, the facility has a heated resort-inspired pool with waterslides.
Come by as a guest or sign up as a new member if you plan to come by Bridgewater from time to time.
You can find Raritan Valley Country Club on New Jersey Route 28.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Dig into American History at Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage
Noted as one of New Jersey’s and the country’s critical historic locations, the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Association is for history buffs.
You can find it in Somerville, New Jersey, seven minutes from Bridgewater.
The Wallace House served as General George Washington’s headquarters, where he planned his successful military feats during the 18th century.
Check out this historic site where the general stayed and the museum displays that describe his life in that era.
The Old Dutch Parsonage was home to the first President and one of the founders of Rutgers University.
It was also the ancestral home of the Frelinghuysen family, a prominent New Jersey political dynasty.
Both landmarks are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bridgewater Township features many historical and natural attractions that make a family vacation enjoyable.
The township also hosts exciting sports and annual community events that offer fun and memorable experiences.
Whether you love going outdoors, learning about history, or enjoying sports, Bridgewater has all these you can enjoy.
Travel to Bridgewater and do the best things on this list.