Embracing Lake Life in New Jersey

Written by Dwellworks Property Advisors Agent, Marie Tripaldi

Head away from the more urban areas of New Jersey, and you will see evidence of the state’s many lake communities. Residential areas nestled amongst trees and often conforming to the shoreline of a lake, these neighborhoods are unique, and each has their own features and distinctive details.


Initially started as vacation communities for heat-struck city dwellers in the pre-air conditioning days, some lakes still feature the original log cabins or rustic style homes that comprised the community. Others have been expanded or rethought over the years and housing options range from small ranch or bi-level homes to enormous mountain-style lake homes with guest cottages and pools!

Only a handful of lakes in Northern NJ allow motor crafts, so the majority of lake communities are unmarred by the sound of engines, the smell of marine fuel, or the wash from a vessel powering past. The favored method of getting around most of our lakes is by canoe or kayak, row boat or paddle board. Some lakes feature sail boats, although the state’s long humid summers don’t often lend themselves to such a hobby.

Swimming is typically restricted to beach areas under the watch of seasonal lifeguards, unless you own your dock where it’s sometimes okay to swim at your own risk.

Fishing is generally accepted in any peaceful corner, although you must have permission to be at that location (no sneaking into a community), and have a NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife Fishing license. Some lakes mandate catch-and-release fishing so not to deplete their stock of swimmers.


Many lakes will have additional recreational facilities for their residents, such as playgrounds, tennis courts, swimming lanes, and club houses/community spaces. The most compelling reason to move to a lake community is often the sense of social interaction they foster; people meet at the beach or clubhouse and gather for resident events like beach camping or family nights. Newcomers to the state often remark on how well their social life gathered pace when they moved to a lake community. A small number of lakes will have bars and restaurants for additional mingling opportunities.

Adults residents can often join the sports teams for the lake – offerings include softball, volleyball, soccer, horseshoes and tennis. Children can choose from swim teams, softball, tennis and volleyball. Some of the larger lakes will run summer clubs for children, and a couple offer pre-school services on site during the school year (at additional cost).

Most lakes charge an annual fee to property owners within their boundaries. They can range from a nominal $150 per year to $4,000 per year depending on the lake and facilities. When renting, this cost is typically paid by the landlord and included in the advertised rental price.

For those not interested in fully committing to lake life, there are many state parks or local areas that offer beaches and lake access to the general public for a daily fee, or with a summer membership.

The lake communities in New Jersey are further proof that it really does deserve its name “The Garden State.”  For more information on New Jersey lake homes, rentals, or purchases, you can contact Marie, or drop us a line.

Kim Hill