With such a close proximity to New York City and New Jersey’s northern hub of industry, you may not think the immediate area surrounding your apartment near Lawrenceville is resplendent with nature-based getaways but, in fact, it’s actually something of a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.

Just twenty minutes from Lawrenceville is a prime piece of outdoor real estate. Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park — which is in New Jersey, despite the name — is a nature-lover’s paradise. The 70-mile linear park runs alongside the Delaware River and is ideal for hikers, runners, and bikers alike. Ornithology enthusiasts can rejoice, as there are some 160 species of birds that can be spotted among the foliage; nearly 100 species use the park as their nesting grounds.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity for lovers of history or antiquities to satisfy their hunger for all things old. Wooden bridges with accompanying bridgetender houses, which date back to the 1800s, still dot the landscape, as do old remnants of locks — contraptions used to raise and lower boats along various lengths of the canal’s water depths. And of course, if you’re just looking for a leisurely afternoon outside, the park is a top-notch spot for a peaceful, picturesque picnic. Please note, there is a strict carry-in/carry-out policy, but if you forget to bring garbage bags from home, there are plenty provided at various locations.

Also, not far away is the Plainsboro Preserve, where you’ll find 1,000 acres of pure, unadulterated nature in Cranbury, New Jersey. This is the spot to hit up if your goal is to really become one with nature conveniently located by your apartment near Lawrenceville. The rules of the park are extensive — no picnics, campfires, biking, skating, hunting or fishing, or even pets are allowed. With a steadfast mandate that visitors leave nothing behind except footprints, and take only photographs with them from the park, Plainsboro Preserve remains a pristine paradise. Head to the 50-acre McCormack Lake smack dab in the center for some exceptional photo opportunities.

If you have kids in tow, check out the more manageable Barbara Boggs Sigmund Park. Named for a former Princeton mayor, the tiny one third–acre park has a modest playground perfect for keeping the kiddos both occupied and within your line of sight.

Whatever your nature flavor, there’s plenty to taste, right in the backyard of your apartment in Lawrenceville. Adventurous or laid-back, immersing yourself in all the glory of Mother Nature is just a short drive away.