Manasquan Reservoir: A Natural Gem in Monmouth County, NJ

manasquan reservoir

The Manasquan Reservoir is one of our follower’s favorite spots — and for good reason! You can catch an amazing sunrise or sunset here, walk/run the entire perimeter, explore the wildlife in the area and more! The unique landscape makes for some amazing photos.

Here are the best spots to make the most out of your trip to the gem of Central Jersey.

Where is the Manasquan Reservoir?

The Manasquan Reservoir is a freshwater reservoir located in Monmouth County, New Jersey. It was created in the 1980s by damming the Manasquan River, and it now covers an area of approximately 770 acres. The reservoir is an important source of drinking water for several communities in the area.

Explore around the Environmental Center

Take the path from the Environmental Center parking lot to get a close-up of the trees poking out of the water. If this is your first time at the Reservoir, you may wonder why they’re here in the first place!

A visitor center is located on-site, which offers educational exhibits and displays about the reservoir and the surrounding ecosystem. The center also hosts a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year.

What can you do at Manasquan Reservoir?

The reservoir is a popular recreational destination for locals and visitors, offering a range of outdoor activities. The reservoir has a paved walking and biking trail that circles the entire body of water and is approximately 5.1 miles long. The trail is open year-round and provides beautiful views of the water and surrounding woodlands.

It is said that they were left like this (when the reservoir was made) so they could serve as a habitat for birds and other animals.

If you have time, and it is open, check out the Environmental Center. You can visit with the animals on display (fish, turtles, snakes, and other animals native to New Jersey), learn about native plants and animals, and participate in the Backyard Bird Count by observing the birds at their feeder

Take the path less traveled

Everyone takes the loop trail, but take a detour on the Cove Trail, which is right by the Environmental Center. It loops you through the forest, where you can walk on a sandy trail framed by bright green moss.

manasquan reservoir

If you do opt for taking the loop trail around, keep an eye out for areas where you can step to the side and get amazing shots of the spooky trees — but don’t go off the trail too much! 

In the summer, you can launch your canoe, kayak, or motor boat from the dock. You can also fish in certain areas!

Look up! (and down)

Birding is huge here! The reservoir is home to dozens of species of birds, including a mated bald eagle pair. They live in a nest on the North side of the reservoir.

manasquan reservoir

You’d be able to see them with a huge lens, so pack the telephoto lens and get out there!

Can you fish at Manasquan Reservoir?

Fishing is also popular at the reservoir, with many fish species available, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, yellow perch, and catfish. The reservoir is also home to a diverse population of birds, including ospreys, bald eagles, and various waterfowl species.

Check out our birding guide for more bird spots.

Aside from birds, you can see turtles, walking sticks, fish, and other animals here all year round. You should never have a dull day here at the reservoir!!

Overall, the Manasquan Reservoir is a beautiful and unique natural resource in New Jersey, providing recreational opportunities and an essential source of drinking water for local communities.

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