Jimmy Steal

Weekdays 3pm - 7pm

Cattus Island is one of Ocean County‘s true natural treasures. Located off of Fischer Blvd in Toms River, the vast land stretches for miles out into the Barnegat Bay. There’s a beautiful nature center that has been rebuilt better than ever after being destroyed by Superstorm Sandy a decade ago, as well as a butterfly park and more! My wife and I worked off our Father’s Day breakfast with the kids, by leaving them to their friends and activities while we headed out to Cattus for a 3-mile hike! It was the perfect day with temps just kissing 75 degrees, and bright sunshine dotted by wispy cirrus clouds high in the blue sky. Now a hike on Cattus Island is not without its challenges. While the trails are flat, you are basically walking in a bay marsh, so there are times it can be a little muddy. For the areas where it would normally be too marshy to traverse, there are boardwalk paths! They are so cool, as some of them have been built by Toms River Boyscouts, for Eagle Scout projects. Another challenge is sharing the trails with riders. Biking is very enjoyable on a nice day on Cattus Island, and as a hiker, you have to share the trails and be wary of riders coming up behind you and vice versa. Especially if you have little ones or your dog. Oh yes, you can bring your dog! This brings us to perhaps the greatest challenge when hiking Cattus Island. THE BUGS! The two main concerns here are the usual suspects: Ticks and Greenhead Flies. The trails are pretty wide in most spots so you can avoid rubbing up against vegetation where the ticks like to jump on and catch a ride with you, but I still pulled a fatty off my neck on the car ride home. The flies are always a challenge there as we get deeper into the Summer months. there is even a sign posted at the beginning of the trails that reads “Flies In Season”, which my wife misread as “Flies In Session”. We laughed, and luckily they took Fathers Day off from their “Session”, as we didn’t have much trouble. So bug spray is obviously a must, along with sunscreen, water, and a trail bar or two. There are plenty of garbage cans, dog poop bag areas, and porta-potties along the routes as well.

Take a look at a couple of the photos I took, both on the trails inside the Nature Center, and then have your own experience at the natural wonder of Cattus Island!