Beat the NJ Heat at Atsion Lake

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Couple kissing while swimming in Atsion Lake

Summers in New Jersey can get brutal. Whether it’s the humidity or the excessive temperatures, beating the New Jersey heat requires finding a great swimming hole. If you’re looking for a place to cool off in New Jersey, Atsion Lake can be a great place to do just that.

Today, we’ll help you and your fellow adventurers stay cool while exploring New Jersey. We’re diving into what makes Atsion Lake worth checking out. Let’s get started! 

Where Is Atsion Lake?

Atsion Lake is in Wharton State Forest in south-central New Jersey. It’s approximately 50 minutes from Trenton, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City. Its central location makes it a popular day-use area. It also receives a lot of visitors in summer.

About Atsion Lake

Atsion Lake is a 100-acre artificial lake with plenty of opportunities for exploring the great outdoors. If you’re looking to get outside, it’s a great place to do it. However, there are some things you should know about the lake before you go. Let’s take a look! 

Open Season

Atsion Lake officially opens on Memorial Day and closes on Labor Day. Swimming in Atsion Lake is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the summer. However, just because you can’t go swimming doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the rest of the recreation area. There’s plenty to do all year round.

Entrance Fees

It’s free to enter the park, but it charges a daily entrance fee per vehicle between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The rate for weekdays is $5 for New Jersey residents and $10 for non-residents. However, on weekends and holidays, the rate is $10 for New Jersey residents and $20 for non-residents. 

If you’re walking or bicycling in, it’s $2 per person. If you’re planning multiple trips to any of the New Jersey State Park units, you can purchase a $50 state park pass to cover the costs of parking fees.

Dad and son playing in Atsion Lake


If you want to spend as much time as possible exploring Atsion Lake, camping is the best way to do it. You can book one of the 50 tent and RV sites with fire rings and picnic tables. In addition, there’s potable water, flush toilets, and showers within walking distance. The camping is available from April 1 to Oct. 31.

In addition, you can rent one of 34 tent and trailer sites (21 feet or less) at Godfrey Bridge. However, it’s important to note that these are primitive campsites that are open all year. The restroom facilities are pit toilets.

Trails and Recreation

To say that this area has a healthy trail system is an understatement. You’ll find hundreds of miles of trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, and motorized vehicles.

If you’re traveling by foot, this area has 50 miles of marked hiking trails. In addition, you can travel 27 miles of the Batona Trail within Wharton State Forest. Cross-country skiing is also a popular activity on many of the trails during the winter months. 

Atsion Mansion Tours

The Atsion Mansion sits on Route 206 in Wharton State Forest. This beautiful home was built in 1826 and was the summer home of a prominent ironmaster, Samuel Richards. Upon Richards’ death in 1842, his family passed the land down and eventually sold it to the Raleigh family, the last family to use the house as their residence. 

The state of New Jersey bought the house in 1955, and now guests can tour the mansion and learn about its unique architecture. If you’re interested in tours, call for current hours of operation and availability. 

Can You Swim in Atsion Lake?

Swimming is one of the most popular activities for guests visiting Atsion Lake. In fact, during the summer, the park frequently reaches capacity and has to turn guests away.

Swimming is only allowed in the lake when lifeguards are on duty between 10:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. If you want your best chance of taking a dip, arrive early so you can secure a spot. Swimming in the lake is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Is Atsion Lake Clean? 

Atsion Lake is the clearest lake in the entire state of New Jersey. As a result, it’s an excellent lake for swimming, fishing, and any other aquatic recreation you can think of. You don’t have to worry about harmful pollution floating around in the waters with you.

Traveler’s Tip: Head from New Jersey to New York for a swim in These Lakes in Upstate New York.

Person kayaking in Atsion Lake

Can You Bring Your Own Kayak to Atsion Lake?

A great way to explore the lake is by kayak. While kayak rentals are available, you can also bring your own. 

However, you’ll pay launching fees from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Fees are $12 per launch for New Jersey residents and $20 per launch for non-residents. However, you can purchase an annual launch pass if you plan to launch multiple times. This is $60 for New Jersey residents and $80 for non-residents.

Is Atsion Lake Worth Visiting?

If you’re looking for a way to cool off during the summer months, it’s hard to beat Atsion Lake. The clear and cool waters are great for splashing around and making memories with your loved ones.

Make sure you arrive early enough during the peak seasons to make sure you can score a parking spot and don’t get turned away at the entrance. Atsion Lake can be a great place to spend a few days with your toes in the sand between hiking adventures.

Is a visit to Atsion Lake in your future? Tell us in the comments.

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