Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Union County, NJ

  • Published 2023/07/30

Union County, New Jersey, is located in the state’s northern region.

The county had 575,345 residents in 2020, making it the seventh most populated in the state.

Union County has a total area of 105.41 square miles, much of which is relatively flat and low-lying.

Learn about its long and storied past by visiting one of the city’s many museums.

It also has a variety of restaurants, cafes, and parks to enjoy.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Union County, New Jersey.

Have a Picnic at Echo Lake Park

The waters of Echo Lake Park

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Echo Lake Park is an excellent all-year venue for fascinating outdoor activities.

There are several options for fishing, soccer, softball, hiking, pedal boats, picnic, playing, and other engaging activities.

In addition, it becomes a fantastic spot for ice sledding and other winter sports in the winter.

Echo Lake Park is a winter staple for the people of Union County and has been referred to as “one of the best sledding parks in the area” by

Stream at Echo Lake Park

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Echo Lake Park is conveniently located just south of Route 22.

The most popular slope is toward the park’s east end, near the Springfield boundary.

However, sledding is only permitted when there is enough snow cover.

Visit the park at Springfield Ave, Mountainside, New Jersey.

Waterfall at Echo Lake Park

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Jog at Oak Ridge Park

Oak Ridge Park is a well kept urban park with numerous jogging paths and open grassy spaces ideal for picnics and relaxation.

The park opened in 2019 after the conversion of the 80-year-old 18-hole Oak Ridge Golf Course.

Take advantage of the park’s many recreational opportunities, or simply enjoy some peace and quiet on one of the many paths.

In addition to its many other amenities, this park boasts a multi-use path, fitness trail, and archery range.

It also has a new disc golf course open to the public.

Disc golf is played similarly to golf; however, instead of a ball and clubs, players utilize a flying disc.

Any Union County resident or tourist age nine and older can use the archery range if they have an archery ID card.

The park is located at Oak Ridge Rd, Clark, New Jersey.

Play a Round Of Golf at Baltusrol Golf Club

The Baltusrol Golf Club is famous for its beautiful lawns and historic structures.

Baltusrol was designated as a National Historic landmark in 2014.

Baltusrol Golf Club is situated at the base of Baltusrol Mountain in northern New Jersey, within a few minutes from New York City.

Baltusrol’s two championship courses, the Lower and Upper, were designed by A.W. Tillinghast and have both been prominent fixtures on the national golf stage.

The lower course is challenging and exciting, making for a memorable round of golf, while the upper course is friendlier but still very interesting.

From its founding in 1895, Baltusrol has been committed to fulfilling its founder, Louis Keller’s original aim of becoming a world-class golf club worthy of America’s premier metropolis.

Throughout the club’s 125 years, it has hosted 17 major tournaments, including seven U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships and two U.S. Women’s Opens.

The Golf club is at 201 Shunpike Rd, Springfield, New Jersey.

Take A Hike at Trailside Nature and Science Center

Exterior of Trailside Nature and Science Center

Tomwsulcer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Trailside Nature and Science Center, located in the beautiful Watchung Reserve, is a great venue to learn about the local environment while having fun.

The atrium of the Trailside Visitor Center is highlighted by a soaring 34-foot American beech tree exhibit, which is just one of the many interactive, state-of-the-art exhibits housed inside.

Crawl through the tunnel to a tank with turtles for interactive fun with the youngsters.

Interior of Trailside Nature and Science Center

Tomwsulcer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also join Trailside for a guided hike around the Watchung Reserve or one of their other outdoor events.

In addition to its state-of-the-art exhibit hall, the Trailside Nature and Science Center have four classrooms, a multi-purpose room, a media center, a gift shop, and space for more than 250 visitors in its auditorium.

They are located at New Providence Rd, Mountainside, New Jersey.

Relax at Elizabeth River Parkway

The Elizabeth River Parkway is a great spot to take the kids for a relaxing day at the park.

Established in the 1920s, it is one of three “emerald necklaces” in the Union County Parks Commission’s park system and the work of the renowned firm Olmsted Brothers.

The Elizabeth River Parkway is a wonderful starting point for a trip to Union.

It’s a charming little park offering easy forest access along the Elizabeth River’s bank.

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of New Jersey or New York City’s business districts, you’ll appreciate the park’s playgrounds and open fields.

The Elizabeth River Parkway is located along Union Avenue at the Lightning Brook section.

Explore the Past at the Liberty Hall Museum

Exterior of the Liberty Hall Museum

Dmadeo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Liberty Hall Museum, located on Kean University’s 23-acre campus, is a national historical monument that presents more than 240 years of New Jersey and American history from the point of view of the Livingston and Kean families.

The Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University was once the house of William Livingston, New Jersey’s first elected governor and signer of the Constitution.

Liberty Hall was constructed in 1772, on the eve of the American Revolution, and has since stood as a quiet witness to over two centuries of American history.

The 14-room Georgian-style residence has expanded over the previous two centuries into a 50-room Victorian-style mansion.

Interior of the Liberty Hall Museum

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In addition, the museum has played host to several municipal ceremonies, community festivals, and holiday parties.

The site also features the personal collections of seven generations’ worth of the Livingston and Kean families, including a vast array of antique furniture, pottery, linens, toys, and tools.

Visit the ever-changing exhibitions or take a guided Liberty Hall Museum and Gardens tour.

Have a Picnic at Kawameeh Park

Kawameeh Park is an excellent location for various sports and outdoor activities, including running, strolling, tennis, soccer, and more.

It’s also a lovely spot to sit back as you watch various bird species perch among the tall trees surrounding the park.

You can bring your family here for a quick picnic or stroll along its trails.

Joggers will love this spot because of the spacious fields and towering trees that give ample shade.

Kawameeh Park also features a basketball court, a cricket pitch, and a tennis court.

Visit the park at Morris Ave, Union, NJ, to exercise or enjoy the scenic surroundings.

Enjoy the Views at Echo Lake Country Club

Play a round of golf at Echo Lake Country Club and take in the beautiful scenery with your pals.

Echo Lake Country Club is a vibrant, picturesque, family-friendly 18-hole golf course designed by Donald Ross.

Echo Lake Country Club was formed by the merger of Cranford and Westfield Golf Clubs on April 5, 1921.

Echo Lake has hosted eleven major national and state championships.

You can swim, play paddle tennis, and unwind in their newly refurbished clubhouse with fantastic casual and fine dining.

Their distinctive clubhouse, located on a high cliff overlooking Echo Lake Park and the Manhattan skyline, provides spectacular views of the golf course.

They are located at Springfield Ave, Westfield, New Jersey.

Enjoy Live Performances at Union County Performing Arts Center

Exterior of Union County Performing Arts Center

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The Union County Performing Arts Center is great for live theater and musical performances.

The Union County Performing Arts Center stands on the site of the historic Rahway Theater, which local preservationists fought to save from demolition in the 1970s.

The Union County Performing Arts Center, a non-profit organization, has since taken it over.

UCPAC presents affordable events throughout the year, including rock concerts, theater plays, seminars, private gatherings, children’s shows, and the Sensory Friendly Theatre series.

You can support their work in several ways, including by watching a performance, lending your time, renting their venue, or signing up as a member.

They are located at Irving St, Rahway, New Jersey.

Visit Phil Rizzuto Park

Phil Rizzuto Park is a great place to get away from the noise of the city.

The 10.4-acre Phil Rizzuto Parkpark, located on North Avenue, Elizabeth, has numerous facilities for everyone to enjoy.

The park’s “Boundless Playground” section allows kids with special needs to play with their peers freely.

The playground equipment, such as the dinosaur-shaped tunnel, slides, climbing walls, monkey bars, hanging loops, and swings, will keep your children entertained for hours.

You can wear any comfortable footwear while exploring the area’s beautiful trails.

Phil Rizzuto Park’s playground and pavilion have ample shade, so no need to worry about sunburn.

Local wildlife, like deer, is sometimes spotted roaming the trails.

Explore The Watchung Reservation History Trail

Nature trail at Watchung Reservation History Trail

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Explore a beautiful gorge, a picturesque lake, and several historical sites as you stroll along the Watchung Reservation History Trail.

The Watchung Reservation History Trail is a 6-mile path that takes hikers to several points of historical interest within the Watchung Reservation in Union County.

The trail is blazed in pink with signs affixed to posts at regular intervals to indicate the locations of various points of interest.

The stations along the History Trail either display relics from the early years of the Watchung Reservation or provide background on the land’s previous uses.

The Trailside Nature & Science Center is the designated starting and ending point.

However, the trail can also be reached through parking lots at both the abandoned community of Feltville and Lake Surprise as well.

Watch Model Trains in Action at The Model Railroad Club, Inc.

The Model Railroad Club, Inc., hosts a magnificent model railroad that is sure to make an impression.

This hidden gem was constructed and maintained by The Model Railroad Club, Inc., a non-profit organization well-known among model train enthusiasts.

Paul Mallery, an author, and a Master Model Railroader, established the Model Railroad Club, Inc. in 1949.

There isn’t a more significant model railroad club in the Americas now.

The club is equipped with an N-scale and an HO-scale model railroad.

The Model Railroad Club, Inc. is dedicated to spreading knowledge about the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania railroad industries and expanding the knowledge of its members.

The club accomplishes this through the construction and maintenance of scale model railroad exhibits, as well as through the installation of interpretive displays on the railroad industry and the hobby of model railroading.

They are located at 295 Jefferson Ave, Union, New Jersey.

Go Ice Skating at Warinanco Park

Daytime view of Warinanco Park

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Warinanco Park, named for a notable Native American Lenape leader, opened in 1920.

The 205-acre park straddles Union County, NJ, providing easy access to both Roselle Borough and Elizabeth City.

It has a turf field and running track, beautiful gardens, and various walking trails.

In addition, it also has a paddle boat, splash pad, and playground equipment for kids.

Warinanko Park, however, is best known for its ice skating rink.

Locals have been coming to the Warinanco rink for decades, and many have great memories of their time there.

The rink received a multi-million dollar facelift in 2016 and 2017 that increased the total space of the facility and made it usable all year round for skating and other events.

The brand-new Warinanco Sports Center has ice and welcomes skaters year-round.

Skating events, rentals, and classes are all available.

Play Archery at The Union County Archery Range

The Union County Archery Range is a fantastic location to hone your skills in archery.

Practicing archery is an excellent way to improve your focus and ignore distractions.

Union County Archery Range is the only outdoor public facility in the area that can host an Olympic-level competition.

The public archery range was established with the gracious help of several archery community volunteers.

Their age-appropriate, equipment-based safety training is available to anyone aged nine and above, regardless of prior experience.

They are open daily and provide easy access for people in wheelchairs.

So bring your friends along and learn archery.

They are located at Oak Ridge Rd., Clark, New Jersey.

Other Places Nearby

Appreciate Art at The Newark Museum of Art

Exterior of The Newark Museum of Art

Jim.henderson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Newark Museum of Art houses a vast collection of artwork that is well worth exploring.

The Newark Museum of Art, formerly known as the Newark Museum, is the state’s largest museum.

They have extensive American art collections and ornamental, modern, and ancient art from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Each museum section is dedicated to a specific artistic movement or time period.

Among the many famous artists whose work is represented in its extensive American art collections are Hiram Powers, Thomas Cole, and John Singer Sargent.

The museum also houses some of the world’s finest collections of Tibetan art. T

he museum is located at Washington St, Newark, New Jersey.

Final Thoughts

Union County, New Jersey, is a diverse and exciting place to visit any time of year.

The city’s many parks are a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and spend quality time with loved ones at picnics and other events.

Hikers and joggers can experience the natural beauty of Union County thanks to the trail system that winds through the county.

the county’s extensive trail system.

Invite your pals to join you for a game of basketball or golf.

You can also catch a live show or a game at a nearby venue.

Visit and enjoy the 15 best things to do in Union County, New Jersey.

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