I too paddle central NJ quite a bit and have never had to pay for a permit. Sometimes a place has a day-parking fee (like Spruce Run) but it's usually not too much considering the services offered.
If you ask for a specific type of water in the area, you're bound to get lots of suggestions.
2-3 Canoe/Kayak Trailer
Pull-Up Strap Handle Kit
Touring Kayak Paddles
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