By: Katherine Ernst
This week marks the day we have been counting down for since we took out our winter boots; the first day of spring! At last, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining long after dinner and best of all; it’s officially safe to put away our snow boots, shovels and bulky coats. Spring at the shore is a comfortable and enjoyable time of the year to spend adventuring outdoors before the hot summer sweeps in.
Ocean County is packed full of parks, rivers, trails and reservoirs that are ideal for outdoor exercise. After a long winter indoors, many locals are itching to get outside and back into shape! Hiking is one of the best ways to get moving, save money and enjoy nature’s beauty in your own backyard. The abundance of sunlight and desirable temperatures throughout March, April and May make hiking the perfect option for all age groups.
Ocean County has a plethora of trails for all skill levels. The various routes are mostly flat and can be both long and short in distance. Those looking for a more difficult course can choose a trail greater in length and uneven terrain while those in search of a leisurely stroll can enjoy a simple, smooth paved path.
Ocean County Park, Cattus Island County Park, Jakes Branch County Park, Double Trouble State Park and Wells Mills County Park are just a few of the largest parks available to Ocean County residents all year round. These parks are free to the public, open approximately dawn til dusk and contain endless opportunities to view some of the most stunning animals, plants and scenery in their natural habitat. Many volunteers are also available during peak hours to provide interesting pieces of information and answer any questions you might have.
The friendly and peaceful environment is literally perfect after a brutal winter stuck indoors. Whether you choose to hike solo or with a friend, the outdoor atmosphere is far more beneficial and refreshing than a gym class or workout DVD. Hiking allows you to relax your mind and body, escape from civilization and dreaded dollar signs. Working up a sweat while watching hummingbirds fly by, ducks swim in the river and deer prance through the forest is nothing short of astonishing. Soaking up plenty of vitamin d and fresh air will not only boost your mood but aid in a better nights sleep too! The ability to choose whether you would like a difficult workout or a short brisk walk is what makes hiking such a desirable and pleasant form of exercise. Hiking in Ocean County provides residents the unique element of tranquility right down the road from their house.
As we kickoff the beginning of spring, strap on your sneakers, grab a friend and hit the trails! Explore the scenic landscape, beautiful wildlife and invigorating feeling only nature can provide. Happy Spring Ocean County!