Photograph by Noah Addis, Star Ledger/Corbis
GPS: 39°82'ºN, 74°53'W
Tiny Chatsworth is the unofficial capital of New Jersey's surprising Pine Barrens, a 3,000-square-mile (7,770-square-kilometer) spread of swamp-edged streams, stands of pine and cedar, and, in autumn, tracts of cranberries (all that, just 37 commutable miles east of Philly).
The Wharton State Forest is the main attraction here. If you look hard enough on your hike along the 50-mile (80-kilometer) Batona Trail, you may even spot the diminutive (less than the length of your thumb) Pine Barrens Tree Frog. You can also rent kayaks and canoes to paddle the Wading, Mullica, and Oswego Rivers, explore the park on horseback, and cross-country ski the trail system in the winter months (www.state.nj.us).
If you’re in town in the third weekend of October, you must go to the Cranberry Festival, where cranberries and blueberries are fresh and aplenty (www.cranfest.org). Otherwise, head to the Hot Diggidy Dog stand on Rt. 563 across from the firehouse for some real local flavor.
There are plenty of places to camp out in the state forest, including the popular Godfrey Bridge ($20 per night), where sounds of local bands from the Wading Pines Camping Resort drift across the Wading River. For peace and quiet, head to the Hawkins Bridge or Bodine Field primitive sites ($2 per person per night), or for plusher accommodations rent one of the park's fully furnished cabins (from $45; www.state.nj.us).