Looking for America's best state park? Then you need to head to Ocean County.
Island Beach State Park is the best state park in the United States, according to a new ranking released by vacation planning website HomeToGo.
The Ocean County park, home to white sandy beaches and the Governor's beach mansion, topped a list of 18 state parks that included destinations from Hawaii to New York.
To make the rankings, HomeToGo created an initial list of the 100 most popular state parks in the U.S., based on the website's own search data. From that group of 100, a shortlist of 18 parks was created by rating the parks with a formula that combined Google ratings, cost of entry and parking, number of activities, number of bird species and average price of nearby accommodations.
That formula awarded Island Beach State Park 42.61 out of 50 possible points.
Though no other New Jersey state parks cracked the final list of 18, Liberty State Park was included in the top 100. The Appalachian Trail, which runs through multiple New Jersey state parks, also made the top 100.
National parks in New Jersey, like Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Gateway National Recreation Area, were not considered.
Island Beach State Park isn't exactly a hidden gem. The park attracted 773,156 visitors in fiscal year 2017, making it the sixth most popular in the New Jersey state park system.
In it's ranking, HomeToGo called Island Beach State Park a "gorgeous state beach" and touted the park's "10 miles of undeveloped paradise."
Visitors to the park can spend their time simply chilling on the beach, or they can spend time more involved activities like kayaking and surf fishing. Birding is also popular at the park, which is recognized by the Audubon Society for its "incredible diversity of birds." Endangered species like the Piping Plover and Least Tern are known to be found at Island Beach State Park.
The New Jersey state parks service announced on Tuesday that Island Beach State Park will remain staffed with lifeguards and open for swimming on weekends through the end of September.
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