Where to See

The following is a list of sites compiled by NPSNJ chapters and board members. It will give you a start in exploring our state to see what native plants look like in the wild

Remember, it is both unethical and illegal to gather plants from any of these places (unless you are buying them at the Bowman’s Hill Nursery) no matter how many you see. Take no plants and leave no trace.

Calla palustris, Water arum or Wild Calla Lilly, Cedar Swamp Trail, High Point State Park, photograph by Kazys Varnelis

Bergen County

Butterfly Garden at Overpeck Preserve, Overpeck Park

Fort Lee Rd, Leonia, NJ, 07605

Dr. Ben Burton Native Plants Garden and Butterfly Garden at Teaneck Creek Conservancy

20 Puffin Way, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Dr. Benjamin Burton, founder of Restore Native Plants sponsored the creation of these two gardens at Teaneck Creek Conservancy.

Thielke Arboretum

460 Doremus Avenue, Glen Rock, NJ 07452

The central portion of the site consists of a native red maple swamp that is being restored. There is also a native pitch pine remnant, also being restored.

Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

443 Van Nostrand Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631

3.6 miles of trails, extensive oak-hickory forest, native habitat gardens

Tenafly Nature Center

313 Hudson Avenue, Tenafly, NJ 07670

400 wooded acres, with hiking trails and extensive education programs for children and adults

Hunterdon County

Musconetcong Gorge Preserve 

182 Dennis Road, Bloomsbury, NJ 08804

The Musconetcong Gorge Preserve is a 523-acre nature reserve nestled in the scenic Musconetcong River Valley in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. With its rich topography featuring steep and forested ridges, a gushing river, and the picturesque gorge from which it derives its name, the preserve is known for its diverse wildlife and plant species. Home to hardwood forests, meadows, wetlands, and rugged hiking trails that offer both serene walks and challenging hikes. Excellent for spring wildflowers along a narrow, hilly path.

Morris County

Emilie Hammond Wildflower Trail in Tourne County Park

41 McCaffrey Lane, Boonton, NJ 07005

Established in 1961 by the Rockaway Valley Garden Club under the direction of botanist Emilie K. Hammond, this trail features approximately 250 plant and flower species native to New Jersey, each denoted by a label. The ​area is protected from deer. Best viewed in late April through mid-May for spring ephemerals. A very informative brochure is here.

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center

The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge consists of 7,768 acres of varied habitats established in 1960 in direct response to local opposition against the proposed construction of a major airport, known as the “Jetport,” which would have obliterated the ecological integrity of this area and greatly increased flooding in the Passaic River basin. Notable for its rich biodiversity, the refuge is home to 233 species of birds, foxes, muskrats, turtles, fish, frogs, and a wonderful variety of native plants can be found at the refuge. Most of the swamp is inaccessible, but there are eight miles of trails at the southern end. Friends of the Great Swamp maintains the Helen C. Fenske visitor center which also has a series of self-guided walks. A meadow filled with Joe-Pye weed, New York ironweed, goldenrod, and other wildflowers can be easily reached from the center. A pamphlet on the wildflowers and the months during which they bloom can be found here.

At the northern end of the Great Swamp, Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center, managed by the Morris County Park Commission, offers educational programs and interpretive services aimed at enhancing public understanding of wetland ecology and conservation practices. Unlike the federal wildlife refuge, which focuses on habitat protection and provides limited public access to ensure minimal disturbance to wildlife, the education center encourages interactive learning through guided tours, workshops, and hands-on exhibits, making it a more accessible facility for educational purposes. A lovely series of walks along boardwalks feature vernal pools as well as plants like sweet pepperbush, spicebush, marsh marigold, wild geranium, and huge stands of mountain laurel.

Ocean County

Jakes Branch County Park

1100 Double Trouble Rd, Beachwood, NJ 08722

4 native plant demonstration gardens for different conditions (sunny, shady, dry and wet); Pinelands vegetation on miles of trails; nature center about Pinelands ecology. There is a brochure with a map here.

Cattus Island County Park

1170 Cattus Island Boulevard Toms River, NJ 08753

Cattus Island County Park is located on Barnegat Bay with miles of trails to view saltwater and freshwater wetland plants and upland forest. The nature center has exhibits about coastal habitats and wildlife.

Island Beach State Park

2401 Central Ave., Seaside Park, NJ 08752

Island Beach State Park has outstanding examples of plant communities such as primary dunes, thickets, freshwater wetlands, maritime forest, and tidal marshes. Houses the Emily DeCamp Herbarium, a collection of approximately 400 plants that have been classified and preserved, giving the public an opportunity to learn about the nine plant communities at Island Beach State Park. One of the main attractions of this herbarium is that the visiting public and scientists are able to handle and examine individual plants placed in protective mounts that also give historical and factual information about the plant. 

Passaic County

Laurelwood Arboretum

725 Pines Lake Drive West, Wayne, NJ 07470

Laurelwood Arboretum has a self-guided native tree tour, new wetlands garden, and a 6000 sq. ft. native plant demonstration garden.

Ringwood State Park/New Jersey Botanical Garden

1304 Sloatsburg Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Ringwood State Park, home to the New Jersey Botanical Garden has many mature native trees; oaks, a huge tulip tree, a Franklinia tree; and a wildflower garden with many non-natives interspersed.

Sussex County

Kittatinny Valley State Park 

199 Goodale Rd, Andover Twp, NJ 07860

Native plant butterfly garden, hiking trails.

Wallkill National Wildlife Area

1547 County Route 565, Sussex, NJ 07461

5000+ acres, wetlands, rare bog turtle, excellent birding, native plant garden at Visitor Center.

Muckshaw Ponds Preserve

Fredon-Springdale Road, Fredon Township, NJ 07860

Muckshaw Ponds Preserve is a 201-acre nature reserve located in Fredon and Andover Townships in New Jersey. The preserve is home to three large, interconnected limestone sinkhole ponds that host several rare and endangered species. The area’s bedrock, which underlies the ponds and the surrounding ridges, has dissolved over millions of years, leading to mineral-rich groundwater and highly alkaline soil. This process creates cavities in the limestone, resulting in sunken streams, caves, and sinkholes. The unusual geology of the area supports several plant species that are rare in New Jersey, making the preserve one of the best remaining spots for these plant communities​.

High Point State Park (White Cedar Swamp Trail)

1480 State Route 23, Wantage, NJ 07461

2-mile loop route through a mountain bog marked with purple blaze. Easy, mostly flat, partly paved, with a boardwalk. Atlantic white cedar bog; vernal pool. Wild Calla Lily/Water Arums (Calla palustris) bloom in early June. Carnivorous plants, ferns, high bush blueberry, huckleberry, mountain laurel, sweet bay; mature red oak and black birch, tupelo, and hemlock. Bear in the vicinity. A detailed brochure is here.  

Somerset County

Duke Farms

1112 Dukes Pkwy W, Hillsborough Township, NJ 08844

Duke Farms is a 2,740-acre estate located in Hillsborough, New Jersey. It is an environmental conservation center and a place of research and education dedicated to demonstrating stewardship of natural resources.

The property was originally owned by tobacco and electric power tycoon James Buchanan Duke, and it was later managed by his daughter, Doris Duke, who established the Duke Farms Foundation to manage the estate. After her death, the property was opened to the public in 2012 as a center for environmental conservation, and a large area was set aside as a native meadow. Duke Farms is excellent in the late summer and fall when the meadow is at its height.

Sussex & Warren Counties

Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve

Old Stage Road, Freylinghuysen, NJ 07860

700 acres, Mud pond, limestone wetlands, hiking trails (some steep incline trails)

Warren County

White Lake Natural Resource Area 

Route 521, Hardwick Township, NJ 07825

Native plant open field, hiking trails, fishing, kayaking lake, Marlworks, Lime Kiln. Best viewing in April/May and September (fringed Gentian is a highlight).

Bucks County, PA

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve

1635 River Road, New Hope, PA 18938

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is an enchanting haven dedicated to native plants of the Delaware Valley region. Spanning 134 acres, the preserve hosts more than 800 species of native flora in various habitats, including meadows, forests, ponds, and wetlands. With its beautiful landscapes, peaceful walking trails, and rich biodiversity, the preserve serves as an essential educational resource, emphasizing the significance of environmental conservation and the critical role of native plants in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Purchase tickets online before visiting. There is an excellent shop with books for sale as well as a large nursery of native plants for sale throughout the season.

Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary 

240 Sunnyside Road, Easton, PA 18042

Nestled on the steep slopes of Bougher Hill, Mariton offers stunning panoramic views of the Delaware River and is known for its diverse 200-acre ecosystem that includes forests, meadows, and a unique collection of wildflowers. It has 4 miles of hiking trails. Managed by the Natural Lands Trust.

Bronx County, NY

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

The Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden is a 3.5-acre garden that celebrates the beauty of plants native to northeastern North America. Designed by Sheila Brady of the renowned landscape architecture firm Oehme van Sweden, the garden is home to nearly 100,000 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses arranged in a carefully planned contemporary design that harmonizes with the natural landscape. The garden also serves as a refuge for wildlife, attracting squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, and a colorful array of birds and butterflies. At the center of the garden, a serene pool, fed by recycled stormwater and purified by aquatic plants and a sophisticated filtration system, flows over a series of stone weirs​.

New Castle County, DE

Mount Cuba Center

3120 Barley Mill Rd, Hockessin, DE 19707

Mount Cuba Center is a renowned public garden sitting on nearly 600 acres of beautiful naturalistic landscapes and formal gardens. The center’s primary focus is on the conservation of native plants and their habitats and promoting their significance through education, research, and landscape stewardship.