New Jersey : Safety by City
- Asbury Park
- Atlantic City
- East Orange
- Hamilton Township
- Jersey City
- Long Beach Island
- Mountain Lakes
- Mt. Laurel
- New Brunswick
- Red Bank
- Seaside Heights
- Toms River
- Upper Township & Ocean City
- West Orange
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, is one of the premier residential communities in the part of the state known as the Skylands.
The history of Mountain Lakes dates back to the early 20th century when the area was primarily farmland.
In 1910, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company purchased the land and transformed it into a planned residential community.
This was the first of its kind in America.
With the help of renowned landscape architect Arthur Comey, the company designed an idyllic suburban retreat, incorporating seven lakes and preserving the surrounding woodlands.
This groundbreaking step toward quality of life and a sense of community earned Mountain Lakes a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, Mountain Lakes stands as a shining example of early 20th-century suburban planning.
Over the years, Mountain Lakes has experienced significant growth and evolution.
The town’s population has steadily increased, and its real estate market has flourished, attracting families and professionals seeking a peaceful suburban lifestyle.
It was once a commuter city for New York, but as New Jersey great its own industrial base, the town is now home to commuters and local business elite in what is one of the most affluent zip codes in the country.
The proximity to major employment centers in nearby cities like New York and Newark has contributed to the town’s economic prosperity.
The seven pristine lakes—Birchwood, Crystal, Mountain, Sunset, Wildwood, Ballinger, and Island—are attractions for residents and visitors, providing opportunities for boating, fishing, and leisurely walks along the scenic shores.
Mountain Lakes also has a rich cultural scene, with the Mountain Lakes Library and the Mountain Lakes Club serving as community hubs.
The town hosts various events throughout the year, including the annual Fourth of July parade, summer concerts, and holiday festivities.
It might not be the most exciting town in New Jersey, but it’s certainly among the most elegant and sophisticated while still having a welcoming spirit.
Warnings & Dangers in Mountain Lakes
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here. This is one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country, and the community is just as protective as the police to keep it a safe place for families.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
NJ Transit trains stop at the station in Mountain Lakes, as this is considered a commuter city. Taxis and rideshares are available, but a rental car is the best way to get around and explore all the communities.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here. Thieves are much more likely to target your vehicle to steal or break-in, but they're going to for unlocked cars first and then the more luxurious cars.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You get all four seasons of weather risks, so treat it as a medium risk. Snowstorms are likely in winter, with spring bringing storm risks that last through fall. Flash flooding is a concern in an area with so much water.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is a low-risk area for mugging, but burglaries can happen. Even that's a low risk, but worth considering if you're renting a home. There is no such thing as a community safe enough to leave the doors unlocked.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is another low-risk as a highly residential community with no hard targets. You should still report anything suspicious that you see.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The scams here target residents and the elderly, so the risk is low. However, you can always check trending scams at the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
This is yet another low-risk, as one of the best towns for families in the state.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. You can call (973) 334-3131 if you have specific questions about what's in the water should you want more details after reading the report.
Safest Places to Visit in Mountain Lakes
This part of New Jersey is known as the Skylands, which makes perfect sense that there’s a NJ Skylands website for visitors.
The borough’s website also has a list of things to do under the “About Mtn. Lakes” section.
A historical walking tour would be the best way to start here, with a dozen sites that are mapped out for you and come with an audio tour if you wish to download the audio from the app stores.
Look for “Mountain Lakes Walking Tour.”
Tourne County Park is nearby, with 545 acres to explore.
Plan a hike for a sunny day to see all the way to the New York City skyline.
Look for the gravity-defying Mouse Cradle Balancing Rock near the summit as well.
The park thrives in all seasons, from cross-country skiing in winter to a wildflower trail in spring to sporting events in the summer.
Plan a lunch or dinner at The Station, which is an upscale restaurant built into an early 1900s train station.
The entrance is Instagram-worthy, and the meals are incredible.
All food is made from scratch.
For breakfast, Hapgood’s is the place to be, and the view of the classic craftsman design outside is as appealing as the food inside.
You should also put nearby Boonton on your itinerary, and not just for the charming downtown with a collection of stores and cafes.
There’s a waterfall along a gorge with incredible views, especially in the spring.
The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is a historic site in nearby Parsippany, just seven miles away.
It was the former home of Gustav Stickley and served as the epicenter of his Craftsman movement.
The museum preserves and displays Stickley’s original furniture, architectural elements, and the surrounding natural landscape, providing visitors with a glimpse into the Arts and Crafts era.
Places to Avoid in Mountain Lakes
Mountain Lakes is a safe community in every neighborhood.
You don’t have to worry about bad parts of town here.
That said, this is also a community that caters to residents, not visitors.
A lot of places you’d think would be public are actually reserved for the residents of the town.
I’ve detailed a few of these in the list below.
Unless you’re planning to rent a home, you’ll be staying at a hotel closer to Parsippany.
This is a highly residential area, and not a lot of places for a tourist to stay.
You can also look at nearby Boonton for a place to stay.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Mountain Lakes
- Mountain Lakes does have its own police department. They are most active on Instagram and Facebook. All social media accounts have the handle @mtnlakespd. The main phone number is (973)334-1413 if you have any specific questions.
- Sign up for emergency notifications in the borough through Nixle. You can also get weather alerts through the Morris County Emergency Alerts system called McUrgent.
- Black bears roam this area, so you should know bear safety techniques and never feed a bear. Not only is that dangerous, but you can face a $1,000 fine and possibly put the bear’s life at risk. If you see an aggressive bear, don’t call the police. Reach out to Wildlife Control at (908) 735-8793.
- The beach at Mountain Lake is only open to residents. Proof of residency and/or a beach sticker is required, so you won’t be able to sneak in.
- Watch parking signs carefully, as some streets are resident-only parking, and a parking sticker would be required. Some parks might be open to the public but only allow residents to park in the lots.
- To get updated traffic information in this region and across the state, use NJ 511. You can see real-time traffic, construction zones, and live traffic cameras. Set alerts for your preferred routes to help plan your travel.
- Anyone who plans to go fishing in the state needs a license from the New Jersey Department of Fish & Wildlife. You can purchase that online or at a local sporting goods store.
- Mountain Lakes is one of several New Jersey communities dealing with a unique car theft ring. Instead of hot wiring a car, the thieves are breaking into homes looking for key fobs. Then they steal the car but leave purses, wallets, and other valuables behind. It’s a good reminder to treat your keys as a valuable.
- It is a New Jersey law that you should move over for bicyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians. This means if you can get into another lane to create distance between you and the other person, do so. If you can’t then you still need to keep four feet between you and the other person.
- This is the kind of town where driving slowly down a residential street, even just to look at the amazing homes, will get the police called on you by the neighbors. I’ve now read several news releases that started with “Police responded to a call of a suspicious car driving down a residential street.”
So... How Safe Is Mountain Lakes Really?
Mountain Lakes is an affluent, safe lake town with hardly any crimes even to tell you about.
The latest crime data submitted to the FBI shows there wasn’t a violent crime in the borough since 2011, but I’ll be honest; I’m not sure if that’s 100% accurate.
I can tell you that violent crimes are few and far between here, with even thefts only reaching 26 in 2020.
The last big headline out of Mountain Lakes was in 2012 when a real estate agent took the life of a co-worker without any motive and then committed suicide by cop.
In February 2023, a man who stole a Maserati Ghibli was sent to prison for four years.
Other than that, most headlines from Mountain Lakes are about how it’s one of the best cities in the state, what the high school sports team score was most recently, and pictures of the dog of the week on the police department’s Instagram page.
While you never want to let your guard down, this is about as safe as it gets in New Jersey.
How Does Mountain Lakes Compare?
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- Visas - International travelers need a visa or visa waiver, which depends on the country of origin. A passport that doesn't expire within six months is mandatory. To check the latest wait times for visa processing, visit the U.S. State Department website.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar (USD) in New Jersey and throughout the country. The lowest currency exchange fees will come from any bank or credit union where you are a member. Most international airports will have currency exchange locations. Otherwise, you can look for Travelex locations near your destination.
- Weather - Mountain Lakes gets a pretty standard "all four seasons," meaning you should pack for the worst of the season. In winter, that would mean bringing snow boots, a thick coat, and gloves. In summer, that would be shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, or whatever you would be comfortable in during a hot and humid day. Bug spray and sunscreen are helpful too.
- Airports - Newark has the closest major airport, just 28 miles away. LaGuardia and JFK in New York City are both fewer than 55 miles away but plan for traffic, not distance.
- Travel Insurance - You should consider comprehensive travel insurance to cover every potential problem along the trip, from an emergency cancelation to severe weather closing down airports. You also want rental car coverage and health insurance if you are traveling without either one of those through your own personal policies.
Mountain Lakes Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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