GeographyMain article: Geography of New Jersey See also: List of counties in New Jersey
New Jersey is bordered on the north and northeast by New York (parts of which are across the Hudson River, Upper New York Bay, the Kill Van Kull, Newark Bay, and the Arthur Kill); on the east by the Atlantic Ocean; on the southwest by Delaware across Delaware Bay; and on the west by Pennsylvania across the Delaware River.
New Jersey can be thought of as five regions, based on natural geography and population. Northeastern New Jersey, the Gateway Region, lies within the New York City Metropolitan Area, and some residents commute into the city to work. Northwestern New Jersey, or the "Skylands", is, compared to the northeast, more wooded, rural, and mountainous. The "Shore", along the Atlantic Coast in the central-east and southeast, has its own natural, residential, and lifestyle characteristics owing to its location by the ocean. The Delaware Valley includes the southwestern counties of the state, which reside within the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. The fifth region is the Pine Barrens in the interior of the southern part. Covered rather extensively by mixed pine and oak forest, it has a much lower population density than much of the rest of the state.
New Jersey also can be broadly divided into three geographic regions: North Jersey, Central Jersey, and South Jersey. Some New Jersey residents do not consider Central Jersey a region in its own right, but others believe it is a separate geographic and cultural area from the North and South.
The federal Office of Management and Budget divides New Jersey's counties into seven Metropolitan Statistical Areas, including sixteen counties in the New York City or Philadelphia metro areas. Four counties have independent metro areas, and Warren County is part of the Pennsylvania-based Lehigh Valley metro area. (See Metropolitan Statistical Areas of New Jersey for details.)
It is also at the center of the Northeast megalopolis.
Additionally, the New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth, & Tourism Commission divides the state into six distinct regions to facilitate the state's tourism industry. The regions are:
- Gateway Region, encompassing Middlesex County, Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Bergen County, and Passaic County.
- Skylands Region, encompassing Sussex County, Morris County, Warren County, Hunterdon County, and Somerset County.
- Shore Region, encompassing Monmouth County and Ocean County.
- Delaware River Region, encompassing Mercer County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.
- Greater Atlantic City Region, encompassing Atlantic County.
- Southern Shore Region, encompassing Cumberland County and Cape May County.
High Point, in Montague Township, Sussex County, is the highest elevation, at 1,803 feet (550 m). The Palisades are a line of steep cliffs on the lower west side of the Hudson River.
Major rivers include the Hudson, Delaware, Raritan, Passaic, Hackensack, Rahway, Musconetcong, Mullica, Rancocas, Manasquan, Maurice, and Toms rivers.
Sandy Hook, along the eastern coast, is a popular recreational beach. It is a barrier spit and an extension of the Barnegat Peninsula along the state's Atlantic Ocean coast.
Long Beach Island ("LBI"), a barrier island along the eastern coast, has popular recreational beaches. The primary access point to the island is by a single bridge connection to the mainland. Barnegat Lighthouse is on the northern tip.
Areas managed by the National Park Service include:
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Delaware National Scenic River
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
- Ellis Island National Monument
- Gateway National Recreation Area in Monmouth County
- Great Egg Harbor River
- Morristown National Historical Park in Morristown
- New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route
- New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange
Prominent geographic features include:
- Delaware Water Gap
- Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
- The Highlands
- New Jersey Meadowlands
- Pine Barrens
- South Mountain
Read more about this topic: New Jersey
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—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Ktaadn, near which we were to pass the next day, is said to mean Highest Land. So much geography is there in their names.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)