Salem County New Jersey
A drive through Salem County reveals a wide range of natural resources and open spaces, enhanced by a rich historical legacy. Located in southwestern New Jersey, it is truly unlike any other county in the region. More acres of land in Salem County are devoted to farmlands, wetlands and forests than to residential, commercial or industrial developments. In fact, nearly half of its land is actively farmed. With less than 65,000 residents, it is the least populated county in the Greater Philadelphia region, despite the fact that it spans 338 square miles. Accordingly, Salem County has the lowest population density per square mile in New Jersey.
With 700 farms, agriculture dominates over 40 percent of the land in Salem County, while residential and commercial structures occupy just 10 percent. This places the county in stark contrast with other areas of Greater Philadelphia that have experienced tremendous development over time. Referred to as "the garden spot of the garden state," its natural features include more than 34,000 acres of unique meadow and marshland, extensive woodlands, tidal and freshwater wetlands, approximately 40 lakes and ponds, six rivers, numerous streams, bay beaches and sand dunes.
Traveling throughout Salem County you may feel as though you're traveling back to a different era. In fact, wide roads, sweeping trees, miles of farms and Revolutionary-era brick homes seem like they might have been taken from the pages of Gone with the Wind. From Finn's Point National Cemetery, where both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried, to Underground Railroad stations, history echoes throughout. Just take a look at the great Salem Oak, a huge oak tree, 80 feet tall and 30 feet around, that dates back over 400 years.
Pennsville Township is located on the northwestern edge of Salem County, just minutes south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge along the Delaware River. Only 34 miles from Philadelphia and 12 miles from Wilmington, Delaware, Pennsville is conveniently accessible from I-295 and the New Jersey Turnpike. The township, named after William Penn, has a little more than 13,000 residents, the most in any of Salem County's municipalities. The rural community is spread throughout 24.2 square miles that combine farmlands, housing developments and low-key shopping centers. If you're looking for a little fun, spend a sunny afternoon at Riverview Beach Park, a popular recreation site in Pennsville that offers a beautiful beach, concerts, children events and much more.
Moving along to the southeast corner of the county, you'll find Pittsgrove Township, the second-largest and also the fastest-growing municipality in Salem County. Approximately 9,000 people make their home in Pittsgrove, and those numbers are on the rise, particularly in areas along Route 55. The picturesque township is predominantly rural, but has seen increased home development.
If you're in the mood for some fun that's like none other in the Greater Philadelphia region — check out the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove Township! It's one of just two Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned rodeos in the country —you'd have to travel to Texas for the other — and it is the longest-running regular rodeo in the country. Every Saturday night from May through September, you can see cowboys and cowgirls from around the nation compete in rodeo events like bareback bronco riding, calf roping and steer wrestling.
Do you enjoy the quiet, leisurely pace of a rural community? Then Salem County might just be your niche. The county has remained relatively untouched by the urban sprawl seen in so many other areas of the region, and maintains a steadfast dedication to the beauty of preserving nature.