Lake Hopatcong is nine miles in length and covered by 2,500 acres of freshwater, Lake Hopatcong is New Jersey's largest freshwater lake offering residents and visitors outstanding boating, sailing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, water sports and more year-round.
Located just 30 miles from the Delaware Water Gap and 40 miles from New York City via I-80, Lake Hopatcong's 45 miles of shoreline is home to restaurants, marinas and public beaches making it a great escape for a day, the weekend or an entire season.
“The exact origin of the name Hopatcong is unknown, though it is most commonly attributed to the Lenape Indian word for "stone water," or "stone over water". Some linguists believe "Hopatcong" to be a derivative of the Lenape word hapakonoesson, meaning "pipe stone".
Public lake access points include Hopatcong State Park, which includes a ramp to launch boats seven days a week; a beach for swimming, sunning and volleyball playing; plenty of places to fish; a fully equipped bathhouse; and a concession stand offering food and beach supplies. The 159-acre park also offers picnic sites with grills, two playgrounds, large fields ideal for group play and walking paths.
Lake Hopatcong was originally created as part of the Morris Canal, a 90-mile waterway that ran from Newark to Phillipsburg and was the chief means of transporting coal, iron and zinc across New Jersey in the 1860s. The lake was the canal’s major source of water. In 1866, over 880,000 tons of freight was transported on the canal.
The park is also home to the Hopatcong Historical Museum, which chronicles the lake's colorful history including its hay day as a magnet for the rich and famous in the early 20th century and the birthplace of the area's first roller coaster at Bertrand Island Park. Today, Lake Hopatcong is a recreation haven that boasts a myriad of marinas that rent slips for the day or season, as well as yacht and fishing clubs. The Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club hosts the annual 4th of July fireworks extravaganza over the water, an annual Antique and Class Boat Show every summer and colorful sailboat regattas on Sundays. Meanwhile, the lake is an angler's delight - sportsmen and women of all ages reel in trout, striper catfish, walleye, sunfish and more throughout the year.
Bridge Marina is the state's only freshwater "clean marina," as designated by the NJ Deptartment of Environmental Protection. Boaters seeking a full service facility with an unwavering commitment to protecting the lake's fragile eco-system, will appreciate the marina's environmentally-friendly business practices. Additionally, the marina offers daily boat rentals and is home to the only Boating Club - for an annual membership fee, water enthusiasts have access to a fleet of meticulously maintained boats ranging from a pontoon to a sporty bow rider without the hassle of ownership.
Watch the sunset while dining lakeside - many restaurants are accessible by boat (a rarity among NJ lakes) and open year-round. Nearby Mahlon Dickerson Reservation's 3,200 acres and 20 multi-use trails (Address: 955 Weldon Rd, Jefferson Township, NJ 07849 - Phone: (973) 697-1787) beckon those who want to commune with the great outdoors for the day or overnight. Operated by the Morris County Park System, the reservation offers tent sites and Adirondack shelters with picnic tables and fire rings, as well as paved sites with seasonal electric hookup for camper trailers.
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