Home Best of Guides Outdoor Spring Escapes in Essex County

Outdoor Spring Escapes in Essex County

by Mary Kate Schmermund
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After being cooped up all winter, there’s nothing like spring blooms to invite us outside to explore. A secret garden, world-renowned cherry blossom and iris collections, and stunning skyline views await you in Essex County. If you are hoping for a spring respite amongst gorgeous blooms, peaceful ponds, or eclectic wildlife, these locales are sure to connect you with nature and our community. Read on for some outdoor spring escapes in Essex County to visit as they bloom, literally.

Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve | Montclair

Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve

(Photo credit: @BonsalPreserve)

The Ivy at Chatham

The Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve in Montclair is made up of 30 acres of forest, complete with a beautiful bridge and ample opportunity to witness wildlife first-hand. A natural sanctuary in the suburbs, give yourself the gift of escape without leaving Montclair.

Anderson Park | Montclair

Anderson Park is home to folks exercising, playing sports, or taking strolls with the train making itself known with a resounding whistle. A perfect spot for a picnic lunch, the open park gets ample afternoon sunshine and parking is available around the perimeter.

Avis Campbell Gardens | Montclair

Avis Campbell Gardens

The Avis Campbell Gardens & Grounds, located behind the United Way Building and next to the main Montclair Public Library, offer an oasis of beautiful blossoms along with a peaceful fountain and stone pathways to get up close and personal with the vibrant array of flowers and plants that call this secret garden home. A beautiful brick structure provides the perfect backdrop and a large parking lot makes visiting easy.

Read More: A Guide to Playgrounds in the Montclair Area

Branch Brook Park | Newark

Branch Brook Park

Take Bloomfield Avenue right to Branch Brook Park in Newark to experience the largest collection of cherry blossoms in the U.S. Enchanting pink, mauve, and white blossomed trees are set off spectacularly by a lake, pond, and other floral spring delights. Parking is available throughout the park which makes visiting easy.

Brookdale Park | Montclair

Brookdale Park

Brookdale Park has something for everyone from a rose garden, playground, track, and dog park. The spaciousness of the park allows each area to offer a different experience. Parking is available throughout and restaurants and sweet treats are within walking distance.

Eagle Rock Reservation | West Orange

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock Reservation boasts breathtaking views of the NYC skyline along with trails, a gazebo, and a picnic area. Depending on the time of day, weather, and moon cycle, expect an ever-changing vista adding mystique. The Essex County 9/11 Memorial provides a somber and powerful remembrance. Parking is available in designated areas throughout the Reservation.

Edgemont Park | Montclair

Edgemont Park provides a picturesque pond and memorial sculptures. With a playground, baseball fields, and open space, this park is a lively spot for everyone, including geese and turtles. The Edgemont Park House offers Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning classes currently virtually. See here to learn more about the dynamic offerings. Parking is available at a lot near the Park House and around the perimeter.

Nishuane Park | Montclair

Nishuane Park

Nishuane Park provides sports of all sorts with basketball and tennis courts, a pool, baseball fields, and a playground. This park also honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King through a powerful memorial. 

Porter Park | Montclair

Porter Park is a lush green triangle complete with a paved pathway and benches. Beautiful trees and rocks provide companionship and sounds of nature amidst a bustling area locally.

See More: National Parks to Explore in New Jersey

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens | Montclair

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens

(Photo credit: @essexparks)

Another gem of Montclair, the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, boasts endless varieties of irises. With whimsical names and electrifying hues, a visit here is sure to delight all of the senses. Picnic space is aplenty and street parking is available.

Van Vleck House + Gardens | Montclair

Van Vleck House

Van Vleck House and Gardens provides a stunning getaway in our backyards. Immaculate gardens, huge trees, and stunning stone structures, including a historic villa, offer an elegant destination in the great outdoors. 

Verona Park | Verona

Verona Park

Join the foxes, hawks, turtles, and egrets at Verona Park. With a welcoming fountain that often creates a rainbow prism, a neat waterfall, stone bridges, innovative play structures, tennis, and bocce courts, it is easy to spend the whole day enjoying the beauty and activity of this vibrant locale.

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