New Jersey is one of the most heavily-regulated states for drones. And as more and more people pick up drone photography, we at NJspots have seen a lot of photographers taking illegal photos!
We have even been guilty of sharing these photos ourselves on our page, just because we didn’t know!
Know these tips before you fly
Luckily, we have a whole guide to drone photography laws (for recreational AND commercial users) on our site.
But here are some helpful tips to get you started for unmanned aircraft (aka drones):
- Must fly under 400 feet above ground level or, if flying at a higher altitude, stay within 400 feet of a structure
- Must be within the visual line of sight of the remote pilot in command or a ground observer
- Must fly during daylight or civil twilight hours (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting
- Must fly at or below 100 mph
- Must yield right of way to manned aircraft and avoid restricted airspace
- Must not fly over people
- Must not fly from a moving vehicle unless you are in a sparsely populated area
- Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
- Never fly over groups of people, stadiums, or sporting events
- Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
- Never fly under the influence
- Be aware of airspace requirements and laws restricting air traffic
HERE'S WHERE NOT TO FLY YOUR DRONE IN NEW JERSEY
Aside from all the other rules above (no airports, manned aircraft, buildings, etc.), there are several other strict laws you must abide by if you want to take up drone photography.
These are the spots you MUST keep away from:
- Any state park or state forest. Sorry — for hikers only!
- Palisades Park
- Any national park areas, recreation areas, or wildlife refuges. This includes Sandy Hook, the Delaware Water Gap, the Great Swamp, Paterson Great Falls…)
- The Statue of Liberty
- The Appalachian Trail
- Certain municipalities (you can see them all listed here)
Check out this airspace map, too, to see if there are any other restrictions in place around your planned destination.
For more specific laws in New Jersey, click here.
So you can't fly some cool places. Here's where you can fly.
There are some amazing spots in New Jersey you CAN fly your drone.
- The beach/the ocean! If you check out airspace maps, you can see that much of the shore is fair game.
- Local parks. They’re widely allowed, but make sure you abide by the other rules (not flying by buildings, above people, etc)
- Your house. We’ve seen some creative shots of people in their neighborhood or on private property (with permission of the property owner, of course!).
Check out this guide if you want help planning your shots and getting some inspiration.