15 Best Things to Do in Manchester Township, NJ

Best Things to Do in Manchester Township, NJ

Located in Ocean County, Manchester Township provides a breath of fresh air from the lively Jersey Shore.

It’s also less than an hour from the state capital, Trenton, making it an ideal choice for a quick day trip or a weekend getaway.

Nestled in the New Jersey Pinelands, the township offers quaint parks, lakes, and a small-town charm that will make you want to visit it again.

That said, here’s a rundown of the 15 best things to do in Manchester Township, NJ!

How this article was written: Our team first analyzed the scores and feedback across major platforms like Google Maps, Yelp, and Trip Advisor, considering not only the ratings but also the consistency of positive feedback. Following this, we conducted interviews with over 30 local residents who have been to these attractions and places to gather authentic, first-hand experiences. You can read more about our research process here.

While this list showcases some remarkable attractions, it's important to note there are many other exceptional places in Manchester Township that are not featured here. Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Swim at Harry Wright Lake

The waters of Harry Wright Lake
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

Harry Wright Lake takes pride in being Manchester Township’s only recreational facility, conveniently located near several residential areas.

Despite being near houses, the park is surrounded by heavily wooded areas, making you feel as if you’ve traveled hours to get to a quiet nature escape.

With facilities like beaches, children’s playgrounds, horseshoe pits, concession stands, and a large covered pavilion, it’s easy to spend a summer day here.

Bring the family for an outing at Harry Wright Lake and enjoy various outdoor activities, whether it's taking a dip in the water or having a picnic.

For sports and fitness enthusiasts, there are sand volleyball courts and trails that go around the park.

In summer, the park hosts the township’s “Summer Concert Series,” where spectators are treated to live music and entertainment.

Bike Around Arcadia and Provence Drive

There are a few bike trails around Manchester Township, but you can still go for a relaxing biking trip around Arcadia and Provence Drive.

The trail goes around several residential houses and small lakes, providing a charming scenery as you explore the trail.

It may not be as scenic or as challenging as other mountainside trails, but it’s still worth checking out as a form of exercise or practice ground for beginner bikers.

The paved trail around Arcadia and Provence Drive starts at Renaissance Boulevard, cycling past the houses.

Aside from biking, you can also walk or jog across the trail.

Take note since this is a residential area, make sure to keep the noise at a minimum to maintain the peaceful atmosphere.

Dine at Nonna’s Place Ristorante Italiano

Satisfy your Italian cuisine cravings and have a meal at Nonna’s Place Ristorante Italiano, located near Bowker Memorial Field.

The restaurant has anything and everything Italian and is the go-to place for many residents due to its array of food offerings.

At Nonna’s Place Ristorante Italiano, feast on Italian classics including calzone, penne pasta with vodka sauce, baked ziti, baked ravioli, and shrimp scampi.

They also have cold subs, hot subs, gourmet pizza, and wraps.

If you’re not sure what to order, consider customer favorites like steak sandwiches, chicken parm, white pizza with broccoli, and stromboli.

For dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth and try their homemade tiramisu, chocolate fondant cake, cheesecake, or a serving of their refreshing orange, coconut, or lemon sorbet.

Challenge Yourselves at Cousins Paintball New Jersey

Instead of usual outdoor activities like camping or hiking, why not try a challenging round of paintball at Cousins Paintball New Jersey?

Paintball games are exciting and bring out everyone’s survival instincts, strategic thinking, competitive spirit, and ability to work in a team.

For groups with kids, those concerned about the paintball sting, and beginners, there are low-impact options, so everyone can have a good and safe time playing paintball.

Cousins Paintball New Jersey offers various packages ideal for birthday parties, team building activities, family outings, and even bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Furthermore, they offer open-play sessions or private sessions that include the use of a rental gun, goggles, and 250 to 500 paintballs per player.

Team up with your best mates and have a blast at Cousins Paintball New Jersey!

Play Golf at Manchester Family Golf Center

Manchester Family Golf Center is one of the few golf facilities within Manchester Township, offering a fun and family-friendly atmosphere.

Located along Route 37, the family-owned and operated full-service golf range offers an ideal environment for kids and adults to learn golf or practice their game.

The facility also offers comprehensive and personalized golf lessons for players of all ages and abilities, led by PGA professionals.

Play at Manchester Family Golf Center and enjoy the mini golf course perfect for both professional and beginner golfers.

If you’re looking to improve your swing, use their indoor practice facility and get a chance to play at some of the world’s famous golf courses without leaving the facility.

Otherwise, head to the driving ranges boasting over 70 hitting bays with 9 heated booths so you can play any time of the year.

Relax at Bowker Field

At the heart of downtown Manchester Township, Bowker Field provides a place where everyone can take a break.

Also known as Bowker Park, the facility includes two softball fields, a tennis court, a basketball court, a children’s playground, and a bocce ball court.

In addition, there are picnic tables near the playground, so you can safely watch your kids play on the slides and swings.

Visit Bowker Field one lazy afternoon and enjoy the simple yet well-intended park facilities.

You can drop by the park after exploring the rest of the town or for a picnic lunch.

Take Your Kids to Pine Lake Park & Playground

Along the shores of Pine Lake in Manchester Township, Pine Lake Park & Playground provides a safe yet fun environment for kids.

The park is home to a splash pad, featuring different water sprays perfect for beating the summer heat.

In addition, there’s a playground with swings, slides, and climbers for kids of all ages, covered picnic areas, and restrooms.

With all these facilities, spend a summer afternoon with a picnic at Pine Lake Park & Playground.

While the kids play, you can rest on the benches provided and read your favorite book or relax and take in the views.

Overall, the park is a nice play to drop by and visit if you want a relaxing activity within the area.

Grab a Bite at Francesco's Pizzeria & Restaurant

In search of the best pizza in the area? Look no further and have a meal at Francesco's Pizzeria & Restaurant!

The restaurant, located in Crestwood Village Shopping Center, has been a dining staple in Manchester Township for many years now, offering great food, service, and atmosphere.

Aside from its famous cheese and margherita pizza, Francesco's Pizzeria & Restaurant also has calzones, hot subs, burgers, and more.

If you want something more fulfilling, order their special pasta dishes, baked dishes, veal-based dishes, and chicken-based dishes.

For families with children, the kid’s menu includes spaghetti and meatballs, ziti, ravioli, and chicken fingers.

Spend the Afternoon at World War II Veterans Memorial Park

The World War II Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester Township may not be as flashy as other memorials in New Jersey, but it’s still worth checking out.

It originally had 10 acres, but now encompasses 30 acres of green space, with a monument featuring a bronze statue of a WWII infantryman being the centerpiece.

Aside from the bronze statue, the monument includes seven granite walls dedicated to each branch of service and a concrete area with flagpoles.

Take a few moments of silence and reflection at World War II Veterans Memorial Park before exploring the rest of the park.

Afterward, check out the restored military vehicles and equipment, follow the walking trails, and play a couple of games at the playing courts.

Enjoy the Amenities of Holly Oaks Park

Nestled within a residential community, Holly Oaks Park is a local favorite destination.

The family-oriented park offers playing courts like softball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts, perfect for sports lovers.

It also has a small playground with slides, jungle gyms, and swings, so there’s something to keep the children busy.

Holly Oaks Park is also one of the dog-friendly parks in Manchester Township, so you can bring your canine friends for a fun day out here.

Should you bring your dog, make sure to keep them on a leash and clean after your pet.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Day Trip to Double Trouble State Park - 20 Minutes

Cranberry bogs at Double Trouble State Park
LMcCabe / Shutterstock.com

Double Trouble State Park is a large state park that used to be the Double Trouble company’s company town, hence its name.

The company town, also called the Double Trouble Historic Village, has several sawmills, cranberry bogs, and a packing plant.

In addition, the state park houses a portion of Cedar Creek, providing several water activities like canoeing and kayaking.

Visit Double Trouble State Park and learn about the history of the park on an educational tour or enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, boating, fishing, and picnicking.

The state park is 20 minutes from Manchester Township and is an ideal choice for a day trip since you can enjoy plenty of activities here.

Visit the Animals of Popcorn Park Animal Refuge

From Manchester Township, take a short 14-minute drive to Lacey Township and get a chance to meet the animals at Popcorn Park Animal Refuge.

The animal sanctuary is home to hundreds of animals and birds who were rescued from abandonment, cruelty, illness, and inappropriate ownership.

They also take in exotic animals who couldn’t be safely returned to the wild, giving them another chance at a better life.

Pay a visit to Popcorn Park Animal Refuge and meet animals like a Bengal tiger, capybara, kangaroo, and even farm animals rescued from slaughterhouses.

There’s a small admission fee to visit the sanctuary, but a little amount goes a long way in helping these animals.

Enjoy the Rides at Six Flags Great Adventure

Rollercoaster at Six Flags Great Adventure
Marti Bug Catcher / Shutterstock.com

If you’re looking for a worthwhile day trip near Manchester Township, look no further and have a blast at Six Flags Great Adventure, located 32 minutes from the township.

This amusement park in Jackson Township is a classic family favorite, offering 510 acres of exhilarating rides and activities.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or someone who likes less thrilling rides, you can have a fun time at Six Flags Great Adventure with your family.

People on a rollercoaster at Six Flags Great Adventure
Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com

Rides at the park are grouped according to theme, so you can easily plan your way around, stopping by for refreshments and snacks at the concession stands and dining areas.

With all the rides, animal safaris, and dining establishments, a visit to the theme park can easily count for a day’s worth of activities.

People at Six Flags Great Adventure
Pit Stock / Shutterstock.com

Soak up the Sun at Ocean Gate Beach

Visiting Manchester Township in the summer? Check out Ocean Gate Beach, a public beach located 30 minutes from the township.

The beach is nestled within a small waterfront community, so it’s not as rowdy and crowded as other beaches in the Jersey Shore area.

It has two boardwalks and several dining options nearby, so you can grab a bite or buy food before heading to the beach without having to go far.

Spend a summer outing with the family at Ocean Gate Beach and perfect your tan, play frisbee, swim on the beach, or simply relax under the sun.

There’s also a dedicated path for walking and jogging near the shore, along with benches if you need a mid-run break.

Explore Brendan T. Byrne State Forest

The waters of Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Famartin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Boasting a whopping 38,000, Brendan T. Byrne State Forest is New Jersey’s second largest state forest.

It features pine-oak forests, cedar swamps, and pitch pine lowland forests and is only a 23-minute drive from Manchester Township.

Surround yourself with nature at Brendan T. Byrne State Forest and follow different trails at the forest, each trail suited for different fitness levels.

Signage of Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Famartin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are wheelchair-accessible trails like the Cranberry Trail, while those looking for a challenge can take the Batona Trail, designed for hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

But if you prefer something relaxing, enjoy a picnic or join educational programs that let you in on the biological diversity of the forest.

Nature trail at Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Famartin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

One may overlook Manchester Township in favor of tourist-friendly cities like Cape May, Seaside Heights, and Jersey Shore, but there’s something to look forward to in this town.

Its laid-back environment and small-town charm, combined with little parks and exciting establishments, make it a good choice for a weekend destination.

Consider this list of the 15 best things to do in Manchester Township, New Jersey, and plan your next vacation!

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