Does this sound familiar? You're talking with a neighbor or friend who's lived in Bergen County their entire life, and you'll bring up a quintessentially Bergen County place that you and your family love to visit, like bergenPAC, Campgaw Mountain or the Bergen County Zoo, and they'll mention that they've never been there! Many Bergen County residents enjoy relaxing in their own backyards, visiting the Jersey Shore, and maybe day-tripping into New York City, but they're not always aware of the great places to go and things to do right in their own home county.

There are many opportunities for recreation, entertainment and cultural activities in Bergen County, virtually every day of 2017. We’ve rounded up 25 great options for our mybergen.com audience, many of which are kid-friendly and all of which are really close by!

We stopped at 25 folks! We'll be posting a second list soon. You can find even more places to go and things to do every day of the year on the mybergen.com Events Calendar, which is continuously updated with all of the latest Bergen County and North Jersey area happenings. Last year mybergen.com featured more than 14,000 local events!

Sign up for the mybergen.com weekly e-newsletter and follow us on Facebook for even more updates on things to do in the area!

25 Great Places to Visit in Bergen County in 2017!

The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers in Tenafly

The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers at Tenafly, New Jersey is one of five museums around the world founded and maintained by the Society of African Missions (SMA), an international Roman Catholic missionary organization that serves the people of Africa. Established in 1980, the Tenafly museum is one of only a rare few in the United States dedicated solely to the arts of Africa. Its permanent collections, exhibited on a rotating basis, offer a unique advantage in the study and research of sub-Saharan sculpture and painting, costumes, textiles and decorative arts, religion and folklore. Museum hours are 8:00 am-5:00 pm seven days a week and group tours for adults and children are available by appointment. Admission is free, though donations are always welcome.

The museum is located at 23 Bliss Avenue, Tenafly, New Jersey. Click here for more information.

Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre in Paramus

The Anna Marie Ciccone Theatre, located on the campus of Bergen Community College in Paramus, provides a wide variety of concerts, theatre productions and other entertainment at reasonable cost for BCC students and the general public. The theatre seats 300 and also serves as a working laboratory for BCC theatre and dance programs. Visit the mybergen.com Events Calendar for listings of events and performances at the Anna Marie Ciccone Theatre.

Click here for more information about the theatre.

Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey in Teterboro

The Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey is dedicated to the preservation of the Garden State's distinguished, two-century aviation and space heritage. The men and women, whose outstanding aeronautical achievements have brought worldwide recognition to the state, are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The museum offers visitors an opportunity to view historic aircraft, air and space artifacts, photographs, fine art and an extensive model collection. The museum contains a number of unique exhibits. The rocket engine that propelled the X-15 to incredible speed and height records. The first American hovercraft invented by Charles Fletcher. In addition you'll see helicopters, a newly restored OV1 Grumman Mohawk, many airplane models and other displays. The museum's library has more than 2500 volumes and hundreds of aviation videotapes.

The Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey is located at 400 Fred Wehran Road, Teterboro New Jersey.

For more information, call 201-288-6344.

Bergen County Players/The Little Firehouse Theater in Oradell

From its roots as a small community theater, the Bergen County Players has grown into a little theater with a big reputation for quality productions which include musicals, comedy, drama and suspense. Every year, the Bergen County Players features seven main-stage and at least two second-stage shows at the Little Firehouse Theatre in Oradell. The children’s show, a Bergen County December tradition, continues to delight audiences of all ages.

The Little Firehouse Theatre is located at 298 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, New Jersey.

Click here for current productions or for more information about the Bergen County Players.

Bergen County Zoo in Paramus

We love the Bergen County Zoo!

The Bergen County Zoo, an accredited member of The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is located within the Paramus area of Van Saun Park. The mission of the zoo is to instill a strong sense of appreciation and understanding of wildlife and wild places. This is a “New World” zoo, exhibiting wildlife from North and South America. You will have the unique opportunity to view such rare and unusual species as Baird’s Tapirs, Andean Condors, American Alligators, Golden Lion Tamarins, and many others. Visit the mybergen.com Events Calendar for special events and classes happening at the Bergen County Zoo.

For hours, directions and other zoo information, call 201-262-3771 or visit the zoo's website.

Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) in Englewood

One of North Jersey's leading performance venues, bergenPAC features world class entertainment at affordable prices. When it comes to outstanding programs and big name performers, this wonderful Bergen County landmark really delivers with a robust calendar of quality entertainment ranging from Rock to Classical to Dance to Comedy and more. Check out the mybergen.com Events Calendar for updates on events and entertainers appearing at bergenPAC. 

bergenPAC is located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey.

For more information, call 201-227-1030 of visit bergenPAC.org.

Bogota Golf Center Driving Range

Sometimes you just need to hit some golf balls to unwind after a stressful work week and you can do this at the driving range at Bogota Golf Center. Bogota Golf Center keeps 99 stalls in check with constant regard to quality, making sure of their cleanliness and comfort of play. So drop in by yourself, with friends, or with your family, to simply relax and hit a few balls down the long 250 yard range. At night, Bogota Golf Center features halogen lights to brighten your path so you won't have a problem seeing just how far you hit your balls.

Bogota Golf Center is located at 30 Cross Street Bogota, New Jersey.

Click here for more information.

Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah

As New Jersey’s premier learn-to-ski/snowboard and tubing destination, Campgaw Mountain offers an alpine escape right in our own Bergen County backyard! Located in Mahwah, Campgaw is the closest ski area to the New York metro area with 100% snowmaking capabilities. Campgaw provides a variety of skiing and snowboarding terrain for all abilities with short lift lines, uncrowded trails, and a friendly staff. You’ll find the latest in rental equipment and the highest level of instruction for all ages. Whether you are a beginner or an enthusiast, you’ll love the skiing, snowboarding, and tubing at Campgaw Mountain. Campgaw offers various classes and programs designed to provide a safe and fun learning environment where ski enthusiasts of any age and ability may reach their full potential. Participants will gain confidence, self-esteem, and the ability to safely ski or ride on just about any slope with style.

Click here for more information about Campgaw Mountain.

Flat Rock Brook Nature Center in Englewood

One of Bergen County's most populous cities is also home to one of North Jersey's loveliest nature sanctuaries. Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is a 150-acre preserve and education center situated on the western slope of the Palisades in Englewood, New Jersey. The preserve is managed by the Flat Rock Brook Nature Association. The main purpose of the center is to maintain and preserve the lands under its supervision as a natural sanctuary for plant and animal life in this urban area and as a natural environment available to the public for trail walks, nature study and other passive recreation. The center also offers environmental education programs for schools and the general public. The Flat Rock Brook Nature Center features a network of self-guiding trails leading to a cascading stream, wetlands, pond, wildflower meadows, quarry cliffs and woodland. The diversity of the natural landscape allows nature enthusiasts to observe a remarkable array of birds and other wildlife in their natural habitats. Flat Rock Brook trails and picnic area are open and free to the public every day from dawn to dusk.

The Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is located at 443 Van Nostrand Avenue in Englewood, New Jersey.

For more information, visit flatrockbrook.com.

Hackensack River Greenway in Teaneck

The Hackensack River Greenway features a 3.5 mile nature trail, anchored by parks, through Teaneck, New Jersey. This central Bergen County Greenway features a variety of wildlife including birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. The Hackensack River is on the Eastern Flyway and this area is a stopping point for egrets, swans, herons, cormorants and loons. The trail parallels the east bank of the Hackensack River from Terhune Park, north to Brett Park. Much of the pathway is along the river. Trail maps are available at several entry points along River Road.

Directions: From Route 4 East, take the River Road/Teaneck/Bogota/New Milford exit on right. Follow the signs for River Road at the bottom of the ramp. Turn left for the section of the Greenway heading north, and right for its southern section. To begin a hike at Andreas Park travel 0.5-mile north on River Road from the Route 4 off-ramp to Grenville Avenue and turn left.

For more information, contact the Friends of the Hackensack River Greenway at 201-836-3644.

Fort Lee Historic Park

Located on a cliff-top bluff where the Continental Army positioned its batteries over the Hudson in 1776, the 33-acre grounds of Fort Lee Historic Park blend scenic beauty and history. The Fort Lee Historical Park is open from 8:00 am to dusk. The visitor Center open Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–4:45 pm. At the north end of the Park, two overlooks command spectacular views of the George Washington Bridge, the Hudson River, and the skyline of upper Manhattan. (Restrooms and a drinking fountain are available in season.) In the southern portion of the Park, winding pathways lead past a reconstructed blockhouse to gun batteries and firing steps. Opposite the barbette battery, authentically recreated eighteenth-century soldiers’ and officers’ huts, with a well, woodshed, and baking oven, serve as the focal point for interpretive programs. The Visitor Center is at the heart of the Historic Park, providing information on the role of Fort Lee in the American Revolution. Two floors of displays help tell the story of the tumultuous New York campaign of the fall of 1776—culminating in the Continental Army’s "Retreat to Victory" across the Jerseys.

Click here for more information about the Fort Lee Historical Park.

James A. McFaul Environmental Center in Wyckoff

The James A. McFaul Environmental Center, located on Crescent Avenue in Wyckoff, New Jersey is an 81-acre environmental center that offers environmental education to the general public, as well as to specific groups of students, children and adults. The Wildlife Exhibit Hall overlooks a waterfowl pond, and winding trails take visitors through woodland gardens and habitats of a wide range of animals. 25,000 daffodils on the grassy slopes of the park, along with rhododendron and azaleas, create one of the prettiest sights around. A full calendar of activities features great films dealing with our natural world, workshops, demonstrations, and programs. School, scout, and other student groups may choose from more than 20 programs the Center offers. Programs are adaptable for a wide range of grade levels and involve active group participation. 

Click here for more information about James A. McFaul Environmental Center.

Mackay Park Ice Skating Rink-John T. Wright Arena in Englewood

Ice skating can be an enjoyable family outing, offering multiple health benefits including improving joint flexibility, building leg muscles, boosting the cardiovascular system, better balance and more. Skating is also a lot of fun.

The Mackay Park-John T. Wright Arena, located at 130 West Englewood Avenue in Englewood, offers seasonal public skating as well as learn-to-skate programs, hockey programs, private parties and more.

Click here to visit the Mackay Park-John T. Wright website.

The Mahwah Museum

The mission of the Mahwah Museum is to preserve and present the history of the community and its connection to the region. Museum exhibits display information about the history of Mahwah and the surrounding community. Gallery talks are presented in the museum by volunteers who have researched and created the exhibits. The museum also presents a monthly lecture series offsite featuring programs related to local history, given by distinguished amateur and professional historians. Small group tours are also offered for schools, scouts, and other interested groups. The Museum’s collection of artifacts, photographs, historical records, and documents are carefully preserved, documented, and cataloged and are available by appointment to historians and researchers. The Mahwah Museum is a favorite of the mybergen.com team. Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah, New Jersey

For more information, call 201-512-0099.

Meadowlands Environment Center in Lyndhurst

The Meadowlands Environment Center in Lyndhurst, New Jersey was formed to increase awareness and enjoyment of our vital ecosystem. The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Ramapo College of New Jersey entered into a partnership in 2003 to develop a comprehensive environmental education program for schools and the general public. Together, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the experienced team of educators from Ramapo College encourage the use of the environment as a classroom, increase awareness of the resources of the Meadowlands, and help communities recognize the critical issues that affect the Meadowlands District. The Meadowlands Environment Center has hands on educational programs for grades K-12. An experienced team of educators introduce students to a variety of topics while satisfying the NJCCCS. Through inquiry learning and cross-curricular activities, students will experience the best of these unique wetlands. Community programs offered by the Meadowlands Environment Center provide unique learning experiences for 3,500 individuals and families annually. Programming includes a variety of science, environment and nature related topics as well as musical and theatre performances and film screenings for both adults and children. This is also simply a great place for a relaxing nature walk.

The Meadowland Environment Center is located ar 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, New Jersey.

Click here for more information.

Overpeck County Park in Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Teaneck

Overpeck County Park is Bergen County, New Jersey's largest recreational venue. More than 50 years ago, the municipalities of Englewood, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Teaneck donated hundreds of acres of land surrounding Overpeck Creek to the county for the creation of a what is now Overpeck County Park. This spectacular 800+ acre recreation destination features the Palisades Park Sportsplex, the Bergen Equestrian Center, athletic fields (natural grass and artificial turf) and tracks, picnic and fishing areas, children's playground, canoe/kayak launch into Overpeck Creek, grass amphitheatre, observation decks and 5 miles of walking/jogging trails and the Bergen County World Trade Center Memorial. Overpeck County Park is the staging area for popular community events including fairs, festivals, athletic competitions, nature walks and more. With its close proximity to Routes 4, 46, 80, 9W and the NJ Turnpike, Overpeck County Park attracts visitors from throughout Northern New Jersey, Rockland County, NJ and New York City.

Click here to view the Overpeck County Park map.

Paramus Miniature Golf

Paramus has one of northern New Jersey's best miniature golf courses, located on the grounds of the Paramus Municipal Golf Course at 314 Paramus Road. The Paramus Miniature Golf Course will pose a challenge to any player, with 18 holes of miniature golf fun, while surrounding them with familiar sites that any local will recognize. With a New Jersey theme, visitors will have a chance to cross the "George Washington Bridge", take the Paramus exits on the "Garden State Parkway", visit the "Boardwalk", and experience the "Red Mill" and Fritz Behnke's Farm House, just to name a few! Kids' birthday parties and special events are available.

Click here for general miniature golf fees, hours and other information.

Bergen County Golf Courses

Bergen County, New Jersey's Department of Parks offers five public golf courses. The county also holds multiple golf tournaments from June-October. The Bergen Golf website is an excellent resource for Bergen County golf information, including fees per round, scheduling a tee time and news about upcoming events.

Bergen County Public Golf Courses

  • Orchard Hills Golf Course, Paramus, 201-447-3778
  • Overpeck Golf Course, Teaneck, 201-837-3020
  • Darlington Golf Course, Mahwah, 201-327-8770
  • Rockleigh Golf Course, Rockleigh, 201-768-6353
  • Brook Golf Course, River Vale, 201-664-5886

Gallery Bergen in Paramus

Gallery Bergen, located on the 3rd floor of West Hall on the campus of Bergen Community College, exhibits artwork that is both stimulating and courageous in an environment that stimulates the creation of contemporary art and engages a diverse audience. Gallery Bergen welcomes visitors and new exhibits, programs and events are introduced throughout the year.

To read about current and upcoming exhibitions at Gallery Bergen, visit www.bergen.edu.com.

Gallery Bergen is located on the campus of Bergen Community College at 400 Paramus Road in Paramus, New Jersey.

Ramapo Valley Reservation in Mahwah

The Ramapo Valley County Reservation is a popular destination for Bergen County, New Jersey area hikers and nature lovers. The reservation is a 3,000+acre county park located in Mahwah and bordering Ringwood State Park to the north and the Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the south. The Ramapo Valley Reservation offers hiking along a mountain brook with a waterfall, fishing in the Ramapo River, Scarlet Oak Pond, MacMillan Reservoir (a valid NJ fishing license is required, no license is required under age 14), , and tent camping. Trails connect to the network of trails in the adjoining state forest and state park. The park also affords carry-in access Ramapo River for canoe and raft owners. Cross-country skiing is also available during the winter. Ramapo Valley Reservation is popular with dog walkers, although dogs must remain leashed at all times. Pet owners should be on the lookout for timber rattlesnakes and copperheads which are occasionally spotted within the park vicinity in the spring, summer and fall months.

Click here for more information about the Ramapo Valley County Reservation

Riverside County Park in Lyndhurst and North Arlington

A popular destination for residents of southern Bergen County and nearby Passaic County communities, Riverside County Park offers 85 acres of parkland along the Passaic River in the municipalities of Lyndhurst and North Arlington, New Jersey. Lyndhurst Area Park Amenities The Joseph Carucci park area in Lyndhurst offers a pedestrian pathway, an off-leash dog-park, a children's playground, a fitness center, tennis courts (lighted) & practice wall, a picnicking pavilion with electric and athletic fields (by permit) for softball and baseball. North Arlington Area Park Amenities The North Arlington park area offers a pedestrian pathway, a children's playground, a picnicking pavilion (no electric and permit required) tennis courts & practice wall, athletic fields (by permit) for soccer, baseball, softball.

Click here for directions to Riverside County Park.

Horseback Riding in Franklin Lakes

The Saddle Ridge Riding Center, located at 900 Shadow Ridge Road in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, is the perfect place to experience the fun of horseback riding. The experienced trainers at Saddle Ridge are capable of taking you from a beginner’s lesson all the way to an “A” rated horse show. On their 28-acre site, Saddle Ridge offers three outdoor riding rings, newly conditioned rubber matted stalls for your horse’s comfort and a newly decorated lounge for your comfort. Whether your interest is trail-riding, showing, or just getting involved in one of the center's lesson programs, Saddle Ridge Riding Center offers something equine for everyone.

Call 201-847-9999 for current fee schedule or click here for more information.

Saddle River County Park in Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Paramus, Ridgewood, Rochelle Park and Saddle Brook 

Saddle River County Park, one of Bergen County's most popular recreation destinations, actually consists of five park areas that are linked by a multi-use path. This bike and pedestrian path travels from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park and is approximately 6 miles in length. The path runs through Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Fair Lawn, Paramus, Saddle Brook and Rochelle Park and under Route 4. The path also follows the Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook and passes by the Historic Easton Tower at Route 4. Here are a few highlights for each section of Saddle River County Park, listed from the north end of the park to south end:

  • Wild Duck Pond- located on Ridgewood Ave in Ridgewood, this area features a pond with picnic areas and playgrounds.
  • Glen Rock Area- located off of Prospect Street in Glen Rock, features a pond with picnic areas, playgrounds, and tennis courts.
  • Dunkerhook Area- located in Paramus and Fair Lawn on Dunkerhook Road which can either be accessed from Paramus Road or Century Road, features picnic areas, playgrounds, and tennis courts. The section also contains a waterfall in the river.
  • Otto Pehle Area- located on Saddle River Road in Saddle Brook, features a lake with picnic areas, a softball field, basketball courts, and tennis courts.
  • Rochelle Park Area- located on Railroad Ave in Rochelle Park, features picnic areas, a softball field, playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, and a roller hockey rink.
  • Saddle River County Park is a frequent staging area for Bergen County runs, walks and cycling events.

Click here for a map of Saddle River County Park.

Tenafly Nature Center

Tenafly Nature Center is a non-profit, independent, member-supported nature preserve which has nurtured an appreciation for nature, been a leader in open-space preservation and in environmental education for our community and beyond since 1961. They steward nearly 400 acres of forest land and wetland in order to protect, improve, restore, and sustain it as wildlife habitat. TNC teaches the public to enjoy and understand the natural world. Public programs and special events are offered for families, adults, and children.

Tenafly Nature Center is located at 313 Hudson Ave, Tenafly, New Jersey.

For more information, call 201-568-6093.

Votee Park in Teaneck

Another favorite of the mybergen.com team, Votee Park is the largest completely developed park in Teaneck, and a popular destination for residents of the Central Bergen County area. Located in the north-central section of the municipality, Votee Park covers the entire area between Queen Anne Road and Palisade Avenue from Colonial Court to Court Street.

Facilities at Votee Park include an in-ground swimming pool, a children's wading pool, rest rooms, an amphitheater, three soccer fields (two lighted), five baseball fields (two lighted with field houses and refreshment stands), a double handball court, four tennis courts (lighted), and a lighted, enclosed, two court basketball facility. Votee is a great spot to bring the kids. Playground equipment consists of a merry-go-round, tot swings, horse swings, sandbox, two see-saws, a mini-gym climbing structure and spring toys. Two designated picnic areas are located in the park equipped with burners and permanent picnic tables. For walkers and joggers, two paved walking paths are in the park. The largest, measures 1.16 miles and surrounds the entire park. The smaller, measuring 1/3 mile surrounds the two lighted soccer fields.

Votee Park is located just off Route 4. The park is also a short drive from Cedar Lane, a popular Teaneck shopping and dining destination.

Mybergen.com will post 25 More Great Places to Visit in Bergen County in 2017 soon!