Nestled in the Northeastern United States, New Jersey is a state of rich historical significance and diverse landscapes. Known as the Garden State, New Jersey boasts a unique blend of bustling cities, serene beaches, and lush countryside.
From the Revolutionary War battlegrounds that shaped the nation’s history to the iconic Jersey Shore, the state offers a wide range of cultural and natural attractions.
New Jersey (NJ) on the US Map
New Jersey is divided into 21 counties, each with its distinct character and contributions to the state’s identity. From the urban energy of Hudson County to the agricultural roots of Warren County, this post will explore the unique aspects of New Jersey’s most interesting counties.
Below is a color-coded New Jersey Counties Map that shows the borders of each county along with the major cities in the state.
Map of New Jersey Counties
Below is a map of the 21 counties of New Jersey (click on the map to enlarge it and see the major city in each county).
Interactive Map of New Jersey Counties
Click on any of the counties on the map to see its population, economic data, time zone, and zip code (the data will appear below the map). Data is sourced from the US Census 2021.
List of the Counties of New Jersey:
|Per sq. km
|Cape May County
Biggest Counties in New Jersey by Population
Bergen County, established in 1683, holds the distinction of being the most populous county in New Jersey. Located in the northeastern corner of the state, it is part of the New York metropolitan area, with Hackensack serving as its county seat.
The county is known for its diverse communities, high-quality schools, and extensive park system, including the Palisades Interstate Park which offers stunning views of the Hudson River and opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation.
Bergen County also boasts a vibrant shopping scene, from high-end malls like Garden State Plaza in Paramus to unique boutiques and specialty stores.
Historically, Bergen County played roles in the Revolutionary War, with landmarks and historical sites such as the Steuben House and the Hermitage, which served as a temporary headquarters for George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
Middlesex County, situated in the heart of New Jersey, was established in 1683. It serves as a crucial hub for education, industry, and transportation in the state, with New Brunswick as its county seat. This county is home to Rutgers University, the state’s largest institution of higher learning, which significantly contributes to the local economy and cultural landscape.
Middlesex County boasts a diverse population and a strong economic base, supported by sectors such as pharmaceuticals, technology, and healthcare. The county’s strategic location, with access to major highways and proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, enhances its attractiveness to businesses and residents alike.
The county offers a variety of recreational and cultural amenities, including the vibrant arts scene in New Brunswick, extensive park systems, and historical sites like the Edison National Historic Site in Menlo Park.
Essex County, also established in 1683, is located in northeastern New Jersey and is one of the state’s most densely populated areas. Newark, the county seat, is New Jersey’s largest city and serves as a major cultural and economic center.
The city is home to the Newark Liberty International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), which hosts a wide array of performances and is a cornerstone of the cultural scene.
Essex County also boasts the Montclair Art Museum, known for its collection of American and Native American art, and the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, preserving the home and laboratory of the famed inventor.
Additionally, the county offers extensive green spaces, such as Branch Brook Park, which features the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the United States.
Hudson County, established in 1840, is located in northeastern New Jersey, directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Its county seat, Jersey City, is known for its significant role as a transportation hub and for the rapidly growing skyline of its waterfront Financial District, often referred to as “Wall Street West.”
Jersey City’s Liberty State Park offers panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline. The park is a favored recreational area, providing open space in the densely populated region. Additionally, the county is home to the Hoboken Terminal, a historic transportation hub and a fine example of Beaux-Arts architecture.
The county’s urban environment is complemented by green spaces such as Lincoln Park and James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park, offering residents and visitors alike areas for recreation and relaxation.
Monmouth County, established in 1683, is situated along the central coast of New Jersey. The county seat, Freehold Borough, is known for its historic downtown and as the hometown of Bruce Springsteen. Monmouth County’s coastline includes popular destinations like Asbury Park, known for its boardwalk, live music scene, and cultural events.
The county is home to the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, a premier destination for horse racing enthusiasts. Another notable attraction is the Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and a glimpse into maritime history.
Monmouth County also features significant natural and recreational areas, such as the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, which provides beaches, hiking trails, and bird-watching opportunities.
Smallest Counties in New Jersey by Population
Salem County, established in 1694, is located in southwestern New Jersey and is known for its rich agricultural heritage. The county seat is Salem, which is steeped in history and hosts landmarks like the Salem County Courthouse, one of the oldest active courthouses in the United States.
This area is a significant part of the state’s agricultural output, particularly noted for its production of tomatoes and other crops, contributing to New Jersey’s nickname, “The Garden State.”
The county also offers natural beauty and outdoor activities, with the Delaware River forming its western boundary, providing opportunities for fishing and boating. Notable natural areas include the Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, offering habitats for various bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching.
Salem County’s small towns and rural landscapes maintain a quaint, laid-back atmosphere, with local farms often hosting markets and seasonal events that attract visitors looking for a taste of country life.
Cape May County
Cape May County is located at the southern tip of New Jersey and is renowned for its picturesque beaches and charming Victorian architecture, particularly in Cape May City, known as America’s oldest seaside resort.
The county seat, Cape May Court House, is a historic area offering a glimpse into the county’s rich past through buildings like the Cape May County Courthouse and the Old Cape May County Courthouse Building.
This county is a major tourist destination, with attractions such as the Cape May Lighthouse, providing panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, and the Cape May County Park & Zoo, offering free admission to a wide variety of animal exhibits and natural environments.
Wildwood, another key city within the county, hosts a boardwalk with amusement parks, water parks, and beaches that draw visitors for summer vacations. The county’s emphasis on conservation is evident in the protected areas like the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, which safeguards habitat for migratory birds.
Warren County, established in 1824, is located in northwestern New Jersey, with Belvidere as its county seat. The area is characterized by its rolling hills, farmland, and the scenic Delaware Water Gap, where the Delaware River cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains.
Warren County is also known for its historical sites, such as the Shippen Manor in Oxford, a restored 18th-century ironmaster’s mansion, and the historic district of Belvidere, where Victorian architecture lines the streets, offering a window into the past.
The county’s agricultural heritage is celebrated annually at the Warren County Farmers’ Fair, which features traditional agricultural exhibits, a hot air balloon festival, and other family-friendly activities.
Additionally, the county supports a vibrant local arts scene, with events like the Festival in the Borough in Washington, showcasing local musicians and artisans.
Hunterdon County, established in 1714, is nestled in western New Jersey, with Flemington serving as its county seat.
This county is celebrated for its picturesque landscapes, which include rolling hills, farmlands, and historic towns that embody the charm of rural New Jersey. Hunterdon is renowned for its preserved natural spaces and commitment to land conservation, offering an escape into nature with extensive hiking trails, parks, and scenic river towns.
Flemington is known for the Flemington Historic District, which offers a variety of antique shops, boutiques, and dining experiences, reflecting the area’s rich heritage. The county also hosts the Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair, showcasing its deep agricultural roots.
Notable Counties in New Jersey
Ocean County, situated along the central coast of New Jersey, was established in 1850. With Toms River serving as its county seat, Ocean County is renowned for its vibrant Jersey Shore communities, including Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, and Long Beach Island. These areas are celebrated for their beautiful beaches, boardwalks, and amusement parks.
The county also encompasses a significant portion of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a unique natural area of pine forests, rivers, and wetlands that offers hiking, camping, and wildlife observation. The Pine Barrens includes the Brendan T. Byrne, Wharton, and Bass River State Forests, which are crucial for conservation efforts and outdoor activities.
In addition to its natural attractions, Ocean County is home to the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, a major military installation that contributes to the county’s economy and community.
Morris County, created in 1739, is located in northern New Jersey, with Morristown serving as the county seat. This area is steeped in American history, notably at Morristown National Historical Park, where General George Washington’s army encamped during the Revolutionary War.
Morristown itself is a blend of historical significance and modern-day vibrancy, featuring a lively downtown with shopping, dining, and cultural institutions like the Mayo Performing Arts Center.
The county is distinguished by its affluent communities, rolling hills, and significant corporate presence, housing the headquarters of several major companies. It also boasts a variety of outdoor recreational options, including the extensive Morris County Park System, which offers miles of trails, historic sites, and recreational areas.
Somerset County, one of New Jersey’s original counties, was established in 1688. Bridgewater serves as a major hub, although Somerville is the official county seat. The county is characterized by its blend of historical landmarks and scenic beauty, offering a peaceful retreat with modern conveniences.
Somerset is home to significant Revolutionary War sites, including the historic Wallace House in Somerville, where General George Washington spent a winter headquarters.
The county boasts affluent communities, such as Bernardsville and Far Hills, known for their estates and horse farms, contributing to Somerset’s reputation for being among the wealthiest counties in the United States.
The area is also celebrated for its parks and natural spaces, like the Somerset County Park Commission’s extensive network of parks and recreational facilities, including the Environmental Education Center at Lord Stirling Park and the Colonial Park Gardens.
Union County, established in 1857, is situated in northeastern New Jersey, with Elizabeth as its county seat. This county stands out for its diversity and vitality, reflected in its population and economic landscape.
The county is also known for the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, which provides a stage for various performances, enriching the local cultural scene. Additionally, the Liberty Hall Museum in Union offers a glimpse into American history through its well-preserved collection of artifacts.
Union County’s extensive park system, including the Watchung Reservation and the historic Warinanco Park, designed by the Olmsted Brothers, provides residents and visitors with green spaces for recreation and leisure.
Mercer County, established in 1838, is located in central New Jersey and is known for being the state’s capital county with Trenton as its county seat. Trenton is rich in American history, notably the site of the pivotal Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War, marked by the Trenton Battle Monument.
Princeton, another major town within Mercer County, is globally recognized for Princeton University, an Ivy League institution that contributes significantly to the educational and cultural atmosphere of the area. The university’s campus is a blend of historic and modern architecture, with the Princeton University Art Museum serving as a cultural highlight.
Mercer County also features the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, a 42-acre sculpture park and museum that offers visitors a unique blend of art, nature, and creativity. Additionally, the county’s park system, including Mercer County Park and the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, provides ample outdoor recreational opportunities.
More About Counties in New Jersey: FAQs
What county in New Jersey has the highest elevation?
Sussex County has the highest elevation points in New Jersey, including High Point State Park, which is the highest natural point in the state.
Which New Jersey county is known for its wineries?
Hunterdon County is known for its wineries and vineyards, offering picturesque landscapes and wine-tasting tours.
How many counties in New Jersey have a coastline?
Five counties are considered part of the Jersey Shore and have coastlines on the Atlantic: Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, Ocean, and part of Middlesex County along the Raritan Bay.
What is the smallest county in New Jersey by area?
Hudson County is the smallest by area but is one of the most densely populated areas in the state.