Hugging the length of the western shore of Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest lake, the borough of Hopatcong takes full advantage of its cove-laden waterfront. Named by its Leni Lenape settlers and meaning “stone over water,” Hopatcong is now home to 14,531 residents.
Its past as a weekend getaway for entertainers and New York City’s wealthy set is still evident, with grand lakefront homes dotting the coastline, some with impressive boathouses at the water’s edge. More contemporary houses and a small commercial district are found near the center of this 12.41-square-mile Sussex County town.
WHAT TO DO
The lake is the center of activities year-round, with skating and ice fishing in the winter and swimming and boating in the summer. From the small neighborhood beaches to the large Hopatcong State Park at the southern tip of the 9-mile-long lake, swimmers can gain access to the lake. So can boaters, many of whom find their way to Byram Cove, where spontaneous boat parties spring up on most weekends during the summer. For those who don’t own their own watercraft, boat rentals and lake cruises are available, mostly from marinas on the eastern shore of the lake, and at Nolan’s Point in Jefferson, where there are also several restaurants. A favorite is Lake Hopatcong Cruises.
WHERE TO EAT
Most restaurants are on either side of the bridge that crosses the River Styx. The choices include pizza and pasta at the Grotto, or Thai cuisine at Twist on Thai Café. Also popular is Patrick’s Pub, which has a large outdoor deck facing the inlet.
WHERE TO STAY
The Holiday Inn Express in Mount Arlington, on the eastern shore of Lake Hopatcong, has rooms for about $200 a night, while the Quality Inn Ledgewood in Dover has rooms for about $70-$100 a night.
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Hopatcong State Park, 260 Lakeside Boulevard, Landing; Lake Hopatcong Cruises; Grotto, 454 River Styx Road; Twist on Thai Café, 430 River Styx Road; Patrick’s Pub, 470 River Styx Road; Holiday Inn Express, 176 Howard Boulevard, Mount Arlington; Quality Inn Ledgewood, 1691 Route 46, Dover