Living a healthy, active life has its challenges. But to many homeowners, it is a real priority and an essential consideration in the homebuying process. A town or neighborhood with open spaces and recreation for the whole family can make it easier to enjoy the good life that exercise affords us, especially when faced with the hectic pace of daily family living. If you’re an active person or have growing children engaged in sports and other activities, it’s well worth considering a move to northern New Jersey (NJ).

Here are just a few examples of what northern New Jersey has to offer potential homebuyers:

The South Mountain Reservation

Ask someone about his or her favorite, large park in northern New Jersey, and the answer might just be the South Mountain Reservation. It’s much more than a park, however. The 2,100-acre nature preserve, nestled among the majestic Watchung Mountains, comprises much of the designated parkland of the Essex County Park System. The Reservation is home to the South Mountain Recreation Complex where northern NJ residents can explore a large range of fun, seasonal activities.

The Reservation has many options for sports, perhaps most notably the Richard J. Codey Arena. While it’s best known for ice-skating, the Arena’s rinks also host ice hockey games and speedskating. There are private ice skating parties and classes for all ages too.

The Reservation’s many miles of walking paths and carriage roads give nearby residents plenty of choices – horseback riding, walking, jogging and even cross-country skiing in the winter. There’s paddle boating during the warmer parts of the year at the Waterfront. And, for a lighter, family-friendly activity, the Mini Golf Safari is certainly worth trying out. The 19-hole golf course takes visitors on a trail resembling the African wilderness, replicating the Sahara, the African Grasslands, and the Congo while featuring fun, larger-than-life statues of alligators, gorillas, snakes, and elephants!

horsebackriding in the Watchung Reservation

Winding trails and multi-sport complexes

Throughout northern NJ, residents are treated to amazing paths, parks and fields, perfect for hiking, bike riding and other sports. The Watchung Reservation in Union is an expansive park and nature preserve that features 13 miles of hiking trails. The paths begin and end at the family-friendly, educational Trailside Nature and Science Center. If you’re a biker, Loantaka Brook Reservation in Morris township has trails open to bikers, rollerbladers, and joggers plus open areas for cross-country skiing and numerous horseback riding trails that traverse the parklands.

The City of Summit features the Tatlock Sports Complex with its newly-renovated tennis courts, a golf course, swimming pools and the multipurpose Glenside Fields where families and individuals can play when authorized leagues aren’t scheduled. In Maplewood, the ultimate frisbee tradition runs strong—the game was invented by students of Maplewood’s Columbia High School, and Ultimate camps for youngsters and pickup games for adults abound.

West Orange’s Colgate Park features fields for baseball and softball as well as a futsal court. And for bicyclists, the South Orange Maplewood Bicycle Coalition (SOMbike) maintains up-to-date information working to promote safety and family biking in the region.

Athletic goods to suit an active lifestyle

Living an active life means clothing and equipment, and northern New Jersey has it all. The well-known Mall at Short Hills features quite a few specialty clothing stores including big names like Foot Locker, Geox and Victorinox Swiss Army. In Millburn, Bill’s Army & Navy Outdoors has you covered if you’re looking for items made by Vibram or North Face, and at the Sneaker Factory, you’re sure to get the exact shoe to fit your running and cross-training needs.

In Montclair, drop by Heratij for high-style streetwear that reflects a love for winter sports. Kicks ’N Sticks in Vauxhall has everything lacrosse- and soccer-related, and Diamond Cycle in Montclair is a premier bike shop offering everything from mountain bikes, BMX vehicles, cruisers and all the needed accessories.

If exercise and an active lifestyle matter to you, make one of the beautiful northern NJ cities and towns your new home. Whether you’re looking to buy a home in Maplewood or South Orange, Millburn or Montclair, you’ll have ample opportunity to stay active and enjoy the community.

If you’re ready to find the perfect neighborhood and home to suit your needs, contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email I’d love to assist you.


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