Trail Guides
Lakes Bay Preserve

Bayfront Drive, Pleasantville, NJ
Phone: (609) 567-2112

OWNER:  New Jersey Conservation Foundation

DIRECTIONS:  Exit Birch Grove Park and turn Right onto Burton Avenue. After 0.1 miles, turn Left onto Mill Road, then Left onto New Road/Route 9 North. After 2.1 miles, turn Right onto Black Horse Pike /Route 322 East. After 2.2 miles, turn Right onto Bayport Drive. Park at the end of the road by the entrance for Lake’s Bay Preserve.

DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY:  From the intersection of Route 9 and Route 322 in Pleasantville, continue East on Route 322/ Black Horse Pike. After 2.2 miles, turn Right onto Bayfront Drive. Park at the end of the road by the entrance for Lake?s Bay Preserve.   Map

ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Roadside parking only. Well marked entrance along with rules and regulation signage. There is a restriction on fishing, crabbing or netting at anytime in this area. Kite surfing beach located at this preserve. Visit www.lakesbayrec.org for more information.

A CLOSER LOOK:  Lake’s Bay is named in honor of Simon Lake of Pleasantville, who invented the first submarine in 1894. The peninsula where the preserve is located was once home to the Ventnor Boat works in the early 1900s. The company was known for its craftsmanship and set many speed records including the first to reach 60 mph over water. It was also awarded the Army’s “E” Award for its excellence in construction and performance. There is a plaque of dedication to the company on the site of the Bayport Corporation Building situated next to the preserve.

Beach Pea
Beach PeaJoe Alvarez
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Lake’s Bay Preserve was created in 1998 when a prime piece of bayside property just west of Atlantic City was purchased by New Jersey Conservation Foundation and saved from development to be made into a nature preserve and public access point for non-motorized water sports. The preserve is a 24-acre peninsula jutting southward into the bay with salt marsh and shrub/scrub habitat bordered by a half-mile strip of sandy beach. Waterfowl, migratory birds and marine animals are diverse and abundant.

DON'T MISS:  The openness of the area, the availability of the public launch access, and the ecotone of salt marsh with dune/beach habitat make for a rewarding opportunity for the novice birdwatcher.

Winter:  Wintering species of waterfowl include Bufflehead, Scaup, Mergansers, Cormorants, Ruddy Ducks,and others. This is a good spot to search for winter specialties such as Great Cormorant and Eared Grebe in the bay. Northern Harrier occasionally hunt the marsh. Scan for Bonapartes Gull among Ring-billed and Herring Gulls.
Spring:  At low tide the exposed sandy beaches and mudflats teem with Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, plovers, Lesser Yellowlegs, small herons and other shorebirds. Osprey begin their nesting cycle. Migrant songbirds such as Palm Warbler, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart arrive. Red fox, raccoon, and skunk can be tracked in the sand and sometimes glimpsed crossing the trail.
Summer:  The bay is a popular kite-surfing and wind-surfing destination. Arrive in the early morning or late evening to avoid crowds. Breeding bird species utilizing the preserve include Willet, Great and Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Redwing Blackbird, Black Skimmer, Least Tern, Forster’s Tern, Marsh Wren, Clapper Rail and Salt Marsh Sparrow. Mummichogs and sheepshead minnows dart through the salt ponds. A peek along the mud banks at low tide will reveal green crabs, ribbed mussels, mud snails, clam worms, sea urchins, sea stars, oyster drills, moon snails and other invertebrates. Fiddler Crabs work the dunes by day, ghost crabs come out at dusk. Insect repellant recommended.
Fall:  Brown Pelicans occasionally perch on the pilings in the bay. Migrant songbirds such as Tree Swallow and Yellow-rumped Warbler pick fruits and insects from the shrubs. Shorebirds flock on the beach once again. Look for Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin and Black-bellied Plover, among others. Watch for Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Northern Harrier and Bald Eagle moving South over the Bay. Skimmers, terns and gulls are finishing their nesting season. Striper fishing picks up.