A Summer Classic

Tomahawk Lake

Chester and June Wallace became the owners of this resort for daytrippers in 1956, four years after two guys named Laucks and Yonkers built a dam, a small beach and refreshment stand on a small farm lake at the base of Sparta Mountain. Every year since, the Wallace family has made improvements, and today's Tomahawk Lake is a treasure for the families that come here.

The 200 acre property, part of Sparta, Byram and Hopatcong townships, includes a large perimeter around the 25 acre lake, assuring contamination-free water and allowing spacious picnic and recreation areas. Two brooks, one from the top of the mountain and one from Seneca Lake, provide constant flow through Tomahawk during the summer. In winter, the lake is drained, depleting most all vestige of the season's growth. The result is weed-free, crystal clear water for the ultimate summer refreshment.

Tomahawk Lake is a classic family day trip destination. Beside the still water stretches a beach made of glistening white sand, upon which many parents find suntan Nirvana while their kids find out what summer's all about.

For the more traditional, Tomahawk Lake provides an immaculate sand bottom (no concrete, no chlorine) that slopes gently out to floating rafts. Outside the swimming areas, you can enjoy rowboats, paddle boats, and kiddie & adult bumper boats. Back ashore you can visit a large refreshment stand, outdoor beer garden (with live weekend entertainment), an ice cream trailer, a novelty trailer, an arcade, an 18 hole miniature golf course, a putting green and a brand new ball field.

Eight hundred picnic tables inhabit lawns and groves throughout the park, and four spotless bathroom facilities are a quick walk from anywhere.

The first waterslide came to Tomahawk Lake in 1978; a 500 ft., two-flume affair and the longest of its day. Now a total of six slides includes a speed slide; a sled slide which shoots 100 ft. out over the lake; the 7 ft wide, double tube Rocky Mountain slide; and the Black Snake, a 54" enclosed tube that winds its way swiftly down a steep hill.

Tomahawk Lake provides an outstanding value for groups or large family reunions (50 people or more). Food prepared on site in the original 1857 farmhouse and served under large circus tents keeps guests happy eating all they want, all day long. Homemade donuts on arrival; homemade clam chowder at mid morning; hotdogs, burgers and salads for lunch; lemonade, birch beer, ice cream, cotton candy, and popcorn all afternoon; and freshly killed barbequed chicken with Jersey corn on the cob and ziti for supper.

There is a splash fountain called Raindrop.

There is a large 200 ft. Kiddie Area with a variety of props for the under 4 set, including three kiddie slides, a Tarzan Swing, Lily Pads to walk on, a Tom Sawyer raft, and a splash fountain called Raindrop. Every move in this section- and all over the lake- is carefully surveyed by a team of 25 lifeguards.

Tomahawk Lake is a survivor; a classic summer place where you can bring your grill and do your own cooking. Or leave it all to a capable staff, knowing you have all the advantages of a family-run facility. The Wallaces are always there to make sure things are the way they're supposed to be.

For admission prices and information check the website or call the lake office at (973) 398-7777 or Group Sales at (973) 478-7490.

Tomahawk Lake is perfect for group functions!

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Tamerlaine Sanctuary and Preserve
  • Join us in creating a safe haven for future generations at this 336-acre rustic oasis on historic preserved farmland. Meet and interact with over 200 rescued animal residents every Saturday and Sunday. Or call to schedule a group or school trip. Coming spring 2020 - interactive goat playground!

    141 Clove Road, Montague 07827, 973/293-1064

  • Sparta Mountain, Iron and Edison
  • Van Bunschooten Museum
  • , Sussex

  • Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum
  • Thousands of photos and artifacts document the lake's long and illustrious history. Open every Sunday through June, 12-4pm, October thru May. Free admission, parking.

    323 Lakeside Blvd., Hopatcong State Park, Hopatcong 07843, 973/398-2616

  • Pochuck Valley Farms Market and Deli
  • August 20 - October 31: Pick your own apples, pears, plums, pumpkins (8am-4pm). Enjoy pies, donuts and breads from our bakery and local honey. Our giftshop carries metal decor, local handmade crafts, wood-working, and candles. Book yourclass trips!

    962 Route 517, Glenwood 07418, 973/764-4732

More...

This story was first published: Summer, 1998

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