Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Franklin, NJ

  • Published 2023/04/23

The township of Frankin is a quaint destination in Somerset County, central New Jersey.

The area traces its origins to Dutch settlements that started in the mid-17th century.

Many raiding parties happened within the township during the Revolutionary War.

In the 1830s, the construction of the Delaware-Raritan Canal powered the area’s early economic development.

Situated at the center of the Raritan Valley area, the area offers plenty of outdoor recreation throughout the year, such as hiking, sightseeing, biking, and wildlife viewing.

Many historic sites and attractions are also along the township’s lush natural areas.

In the list below, get to know some of the best things to do in Franklin, New Jersey.

See the Charming Flower Displays at Colonial Park

Cycling at Colonial Park

Lee O /

Visit Colonial Park and bask in the beauty of its gardens.

Spanning over 600 acres, this county park features trails, open spaces, sports facilities, picnic areas, and gardens.

Explore the park’s charming horticulture area to view vibrant flower displays.

Wander and take lovely photos of flowering plants and evergreens.

A flowering plant at Colonial Park

Daderot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Admire the thousands of blooming buds in the rose garden.

There’s also a sensory garden where you can touch and enjoy the fragrance of various plants.

You can find Colonial Park along Mettlers Road.

Cherry blossoms at Colonial Park

Ekem, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Hunting at the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve

Gather your friends for a hunting trip at Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve.

The preserve covers over 160 acres and is home to wetlands, wildflowers, and rich wildlife.

The township opens designated areas of the preserve for hunting to manage the local white-tailed deer population.

Depending on the season, you can hunt using a bow or a firearm.

If you miss the hunting season, you can explore and enjoy spotting birds and other wildlife in the preserve.

The Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve’s hunting area is along Skillmans Lane.

Pick Colorful Flowers and Fresh Fruits at Snyders Farm

Spend a fun day in the field and enjoy the season’s bounty at Snyders Farm.

This family-owned farm offers seasonal farm experiences.

In spring, hop on a wagon ride to the field and pick vibrant tulips.

You can also pick other lovely flowers, such as zinnias and sunflowers, in the latter part of the year.

Enjoy the farm’s fresh produce and pick strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries during their seasons.

Of course, the farm hosts a fun fall festival each year!

Snyders Farm is located along South Middlebush Road.

Enjoy the Trails at the Six Mile Run Reservoir Site

Trail head at Six Mile Run Reservoir Site

quiggyt4 /

Take a leisurely hike and enjoy the views and history at the Six Mile Run Reservoir Site.

Originally planned as a state water resource project in the 1970s, the 3,000-acre site now serves as a lovely outdoor recreation space.

It features a network of four trails with over 13 miles to hike, bike, or explore while horseback riding.

Signage at Six Mile Run Reservoir Site

Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

You can glimpse the area’s rich agricultural history as you explore the trails.

You can see remnants of 18th-century barns, farmhouses, and silos that early colonial settlers set up in the area.

Of course, don’t forget to enjoy the scenic nature views.

Access the trails at the Six Mile Run Reservoir Site via Canal Road.

Play a Round at Bunker Hill Golf Course

Book your vacation tee time at Bunker Hill Golf Course.

Built in 1972, this picturesque facility offers year-round golfing at its Par 72, 18-hole course.

Play a challenging round while enjoying the beauty of central New Jersey’s rolling terrains.

If you visit with friends or family, you can book a golf outing and share the experience.

Other facility amenities include a golf shop and a café.

Bunker Hill Golf Course is located along Bunker Hill Road.

Celebrate the Franklin Day Festival

If you visit the town in September, you can join the Franklin Day Festival.

This annual community celebration features plenty of family-friendly activities and entertainment.

Check out the food trucks, kiddie attractions, and the classic car show.

The festival showcases local businesses, so it’s a great venue to explore some of the best products the town and surrounding areas offer.

The Franklin Day Festival is usually held at Colonial Park.

Step Back into History at Griggstown Bridgetender’s Home

View of the Griggstown Bridgetender's Home

Zeete, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Peek into 19th-century life in Franklin when you visit the Griggstown Bridgetender’s Home.

This 19th-century stone house was home to the families of bridgetenders who operated swing bridges on the Delaware & Raritan Canal.

The restored house now serves as a visitor center for the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway, a beautiful canal corridor covering historic town villages.

Learn about the canal and life back then through the historical maps on display and the recreated kitchen scene.

You can also watch educational videos about the town during the Revolutionary War.

Outside, you can explore the interpretive gardens and see plants that thrived in the area in the 19th century.

You can find the Griggstown Bridgetender’s Home along Griggstown Causeway.

Take a Drive along Millstone Valley Scenic Byway

Go on a relaxing drive on the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway.

Located along the township’s western region, this picturesque corridor winds through waterways and offers one of the best scenic drives in the state.

Enjoy a beautiful drive along Canal Road, where you can see serene views of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

You can stop at various historic sites, landmarks, and natural attractions along the byway if you have time.

You can learn more about the area’s rich history and see more of the surrounding beauty at these points of interest along the byway.

You can access the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway via East Millstone or Griggstown.

Ride a Bike at the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park

Scenic view of the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park

EQRoy /

Pedal along beautiful waterways at the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park.

About 20 miles of the park’s trails are within Franklin’s western border.

Hop on your bike and enjoy a relaxing ride along the canal’s lush greenery.

Boating at Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park

quiggyt4 /

If you’re visiting in the fall, you’re in for a treat, as the season’s colors are full display.

You can access the trails of Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park in Franklin along several points on Canal Road.

Trail along the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park

EQRoy /

Admire the Beauty and History of the Blackwells Mills Canal House

Visit and enjoy the scenery at the Blackwells Mills Canal House.

Dating back to the 1830s, this quaint home housed families that ran the bridges over the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

Stop by and admire the restored home’s postcard-worthy scenery and its rich history.

The last bridge tender moved into the house in 1930 and remained there even after the canal operations ceased in 1932.

He tended to the property and nurtured a beautiful, flourishing garden.

A visit won’t be complete without taking time to stroll in the charming garden filled with colorful flowers and lush greenery along the canal.

Bring a camera and take beautiful photos to remind you of your visit.

You can find the Blackwells Mills Canal House along Canal Road.

Take in the Lovely Nature Views at the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve

Head out on a nice day outdoors at Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve.

Protecting over 400 acres of woodlands and meadows, the preserve features easy trails to explore.

Choose a trail and enjoy a day of calming nature views.

Take in the captivating views of the preserve’s grasslands and mature forests.

As you explore, see if you can spot some of the area’s rich wildlife, such as owls, grasshopper sparrows, and American kestrels.

One of the preserve’s trails also offers stunning views of the Sourland Mountain Ridge.

The Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve is located along Canal Road.

Visit the Hageman House and Farm

Facade of the Hageman House

Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a glimpse into the town’s early Dutch and American heritage when you visit the Hageman House and Farm.

Since the mid-18th century, only two families—Garretson and Hageman—had resided on this historic farm.

The Hageman house follows the grand Italianate-Victorian style and dates back to 1861.

Tour the house and the grounds and learn more about the property’s rich history and role in the town’s life.

You can also see three barns on the farm, constructed in the late 1860s, and housed wagons, horses, and dairy.

Interesting old farm equipment and implements are on display.

If you visit in spring, you might also glimpse the migratory swallows around the barns.

You can find the Hageman House and Farm along South Middlebush Road.

Sample Local Brews at Jersey Cyclone Brewing Company

End a day of exploration with a pint at Jersey Cyclone Brewing Company.

This brewery opened in 2019, offering a great selection of local craft brews.

Check out its tap list and enjoy an IPA, lager, or stout at the tasting room.

You can also join workshops and other fun events, such as charcuterie workshops, trivia nights, and games.

It offers cans-to-go, so you can pick up a pack and enjoy more brews back home.

You can find Jersey Cyclone Brewing Company along Worlds Fair Drive.

Grab Dinner at Stage House Tavern Somerset

Exterior view of the Stage House Tavern Somerset

Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy a great meal in town at Stage House Tavern Somerset.

This New Jersey restaurant opened in 2011, serving various comfort dishes in a lovely setting with outdoor seating.

Come in for a weekend brunch to power your day of exploring the town.

Or visit for lunch and indulge in a filling serving of the day’s specials.

Its menu has kid-friendly items, so you can enjoy dining with family.

You can find Stage House Tavern Somerset along Amwell Road.

Have a Picnic at Naaman Williams Park

Pack your favorite picnic spread for a sunny day at Naaman Williams Park.

This park has green open spaces, sports courts, and picnic areas.

Watch your kids have fun and meet new friends at the play areas.

Pick a picnic spot and enjoy a meal with the family.

Watch a tennis match or a baseball game on the field.

You can also take your bike to explore the park.

Naaman Williams Park is located along Mark St.

Other Things to Do Nearby

The communities surrounding Franklin offer more opportunities for recreation and leisure.

Make the most out of your visit to the area and explore some activities nearby.

Catch a Show at the State Theater of New Jersey

Front view of the State Theater of New Jersey

Ekem, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Drive to downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey, and catch a show at the State Theater New Jersey, 12 minutes from Franklin.

This century-old theater has a long history of hosting arts and entertainment, from silent movies and orchestras to the performing arts.

Book a show ticket and spend an evening of entertainment at the gorgeous theater.

Catch a musical from its Broadway series or treat the kids to a fun, family-friendly show.

The theater hosts comedies, concerts, classical music performances, and special events.

The State Theater New Jersey is a 5-mile drive from Franklin.

See the World-Class Collections of the Zimmerli Art Museum

Immerse yourself in world-class visual art at the Zimmerli Art Museum, ten minutes from Franklin.

Located within the campus of Rutgers University, this art destination is one of the country’s most prominent university-based museums.

It houses over 60,000 pieces, focusing on American, Asian, and European art.

Visit the gallery and explore its collections, including paintings, sculptures, prints, woodcuts, and new media art.

You can also check out the various exhibitions.

The Zimmerli Art Museum is in New Brunswick, a 4.5-mile drive from Franklin.

Enjoy a Day at Duke Farms

View of the Duke Farms

JaysonPhotography /

Take a trip to nearby Hillsborough, New Jersey, and spend a day exploring Duke Farms, 18 minutes from Franklin.

This property has over 1000 acres and features stunning natural areas and plenty of family-friendly recreation activities.

Rent a bike and discover the farm’s natural beauty.

Waterfall at Duke Farms

JaysonPhotography /

Visit its orchid range and learn about the species native to the country.

After hours of sightseeing, head for some bites at the café and indulge in delicious, curated dishes made from local produce.

There’s also a seasonal farmers market that you can check out.

Duke Farms is a ten-mile drive from Franklin.

Stone Well at Duke Farms

Andrew F. Kazmierski /

Final Thoughts

The township of Franklin is a beautiful destination for discovering central New Jersey’s affluent natural areas and history.

It has many scenic trails and historic sites and attractions to visit.

Plan your getaway now and experience the best things to do in Franklin, New Jersey.

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