40 Best Things To Do & Places To Visit In New Jersey

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: April 19, 2021  - Last updated: October 17, 2023

things to do in New Jersey

New Jersey gets a bad rap around the US.

It’s been depicted in the media and movies in less than savory ways.

We can all conjure the image of the “fuhgeddaboudit” mentality and the Jersey Girl attitude.

But in truth, New Jersey is a beautiful place to visit.

So “fuhgeddabout” what you’ve seen in the movies and prepare for lots of natural beauty, many historical landmarks, action-packed adventures, and plenty of art and culture.

There are so many fun things to do in New Jersey, from white-sand beaches to thrilling adventures and art museums/exhibits to the Garden State’s nature-rich outdoor activities.

Whether you’re planning to visit New Jersey today, tomorrow, or this weekend, this comprehensive list of New Jersey attractions will have you hardpressed to narrow down the best tourist attractions for you and your family.

This list is compiled of plenty of cool free things to do as well as places of interest, hidden gems, and popular vacation spots .

Overall, New Jersey itself is one of the country’s hidden gems, with sightseeing and activities galore.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a booking through these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Table of Contents

1. Six Flags Great Adventure/Hurricane Harbor

Six Flags Great Adventure

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If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous to do while you’re in Jersey, you’ll want to spend a day at Six Flags Great Adventure .

With dozens of wild rides and attractions, a drive-through wild safari, games abound, and the best concessions you can dream of, Six Flags is a must see amusement park during your stay in New Jersey.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during the summer months, you can add a stop to Hurricane Harbor , adjacent to Six Flags, for water rides and splashing for every appetite.

If the thrill of roller coasters and water slides are too much for you, Six Flags also has lots of wonderful shows, animal attractions, shopping, and eateries.

If you’re traveling with small children, Six Flags has a dedicated section called Bugs Bunny Land for the little ones.

If you’re unsure of what to do while visiting New Jersey, be sure to add a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure to your itinerary.

Address: 1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson Township, NJ 08527, United States

2. Turtle Back Zoo

Turtle Back Zoo

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One of the best things to do in New Jersey, especially if you’re visiting the Garden State with small children, is a trip to the Turtle Back Zoo .

If you’re looking for a zoo experience in the northernmost parts of Jersey, Essex County’s Turtle Back Zoo is a treat.

The Turtle Back Zoo thrives on the preservation of wildlife while enriching the experience of its visitors.

Named for a famous rock formation that resembled a turtle’s back, the zoo has much more to offer than its deceiving name.

Situated on a picturesque 15 acres at the foot of a mountain reservation, the Turtle Back Zoo boasts over 800 animals and more than 200 species of wildlife.

Some of this New Jersey zoo’s other attractions include a dinosaur playground, boating, mini-golf, face painting, pony rides, a butterfly tent, an aviary, and much more.

A day at Turtle Back Zoo, one of many best-loved New Jersey attractions, will be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.

Address: 560 Northfield Ave, West Orange, NJ 07052, United States

3. Atlantic City/The Boardwalk

Atlantic City

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Historically speaking, Atlantic City has been deemed a playground for adults.

With casinos, bars, and a wild nightlife, it’s no wonder.

Although you can certainly partake in all of these adult pastimes, Atlantic City also has many attractions suitable for children.

Atlantic City’s Steel Pier is one of many things to see when visiting Jersey.

Situated on the beautiful coast of the Atlantic Ocean and amidst many world-renowned hotels, casinos, and resorts, the Atlantic City Boardwalk delivers lots of stuff to do.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk has both exclusive and tourist shops, five-star restaurants and snack stands alike, rides and amusements for all ages, live entertainment, local culture, and hours of fun for all.

The cultural epicenter of the boardwalk is wrought with city art, a historical museum, and unique local specialties like saltwater taffy and homemade fudge by the pound.

Although Atlantic City still has all of the adult attractions it’s famed for, don’t count it out for family fun too; it’s one of the top things to do in New Jersey.

4. Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park

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Another one of the best things to do in New Jersey is visiting Liberty State Park .

With views of the New York City skyline, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty, all from the comfort of New Jersey soil, visiting the park makes for an inexpensive day out.

The over 1,200-acre park offers more than majestic views, though.

With panoramic views of the city’s skyline, you should pack a picnic lunch to enjoy with family and friends.

Be sure to pack some fun items to use on the wide expanse of lush green lawns.

A football, frisbee, music, or all of the above, will add to your experience at Liberty State Park.

Moreover, the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial is near the park too.

A short walk around the park will take you to the memorial that commemorates the more than 700 lives lost during the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th.

This, among other points of interest, makes a trip to Liberty State Park in New Jersey, a must do.

Nothing can top a visit to this beautiful park!

Check details, prices and reviews here.

Address: 200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305, United States

5. Ellis Island

Ellis Island

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Don’t just settle for views of Ellis Island because you can tour the historic site too.

Ellis Island is a historical landmark that served as a port of entry to millions of immigrants.

With a short ferry ride from Liberty State Park in NJ, you can easily gain access to this sightseeing phenomenon, rich in history.

Tickets to tour Ellis Island are reasonably priced, and through this history-rich and educational tour, you’ll step back in time.

Immersing yourself in our nation’s history has never been easier than with a tour of Ellis Island.

You’ll have the humbling experience of “meeting” some of our ancestors who entered our country through the halls of Ellis Island.

You’ll also read the stories and tales of how the property was used by so many.

This immersive experience is one of many sightseeing New Jersey attractions you won’t want to miss.

6. Princeton University Art Museum

Princeton University Art Museum

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The historic campus of Princeton University is a sight to see for so many reasons, but the University’s Art Museum is one of the best things to do in NJ.

This culture-rich museum on the New Jersey campus of Princeton University is wrought with exhibitions, curated collections, and daily presentations and shows.

Some of the current collections you can hope to see during your visit to the museum include “Women Artists and Abstractions,” “Blue Green Realms in Chinese Painting,” “Landscapes of the Mind,” and “Picasso Prints.”

Beyond these sophisticated collections and exhibitions, Princeton University Art Museum also frequently hosts artist talks, live art shows, special guest lectures, and self-guided family-friendly tours.

There is truly something for everyone at the Princeton University Art Museum.

The museum is not only a fun place to visit during your stay in New Jersey but an educational and enriching one too.

Address: Elm Dr, Princeton, NJ 08544, United States

7. Cape May Historic District

Cape May Historic District

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A visit to the Cape May Historic District is another of many fun things to do in NJ.

There are many fun things to do while you stroll the streets of the beachfront town.

Named on the National Register of Historic Places, the streets of Cape May in New Jersey are lined with 19th-century buildings some of which are now operable beds and breakfasts.

The Victorian Charm of these buildings is a sight to behold.

Besides strolling and basking in the charm of the town, you can also take a horse-drawn carriage ride or a trolley tour to take it all in.

Cape May has long been known as one of New Jersey’s best seaside towns.

But its history-rich landscape is just another facet of this charming seaside town.

Near to the historical sights are many wonderful restaurants and shops for additional fun to be had.

A drive “down the shore” is a must and Cape May’s Historic District is one of many scenic places in New Jersey you won’t want to miss.

Address: Cape May, NJ, United States

8. Adventure Aquarium

Adventure Aquarium

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Adventure Aquarium is one of many tourist spots in New Jersey that the whole family will have fun visiting.

Situated on the scenic Camden riverside, the aquarium is one of many much-loved places to see in New Jersey.

The aquarium is home to more than 15,000 water animals including an expansive collection of sharks, penguins, hippos, and more.

Besides seeing all the wonderful animals the aquarium has to offer, there are also many interactive exhibits.

There are sea turtle and hippo encounters as well as a passable shark bridge and a kid zone perfect for the little ones.

Furthermore, the aquarium has a turtle cove and live feeding shows that are sure to wow your family.

Be sure to make time for a quick bite to eat at the aquarium’s marketplace, beer garden, or coffee shop.

Adventure Aquarium is one of many great tourist attractions to see during your visit to the Garden State.

Address: 1 Riverside Dr, Camden, NJ 08103, United States

9. Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

Another of many fun New Jersey attractions, wrought with history is the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum (NAS).

NAS is located in a real World War II aviation hangar which adds to the experience of a visit to the museum.

Although the hangar is a sight to be seen in and of itself, Hangar #1 also houses WWII aircrafts and relics.

Iconic propeller aircraft, high-speed jet aircraft, helicopters, and engines are all on display at NAS.

The NAS is also home to many World War II-era artifacts from outside of the war.

The exhibit displays real 1940s treasures that are cool to see in person.

Whether a history buff or lover of fast things, a visit to the NAS today, tomorrow, or this weekend, is one of many outrageous places to visit in New Jersey.

Address: Cape May Airport, 500 Forrestal Rd, Cape May, NJ 08204, United States

10. Howell Living History Farm

Howell Living History Farm

Howell Living History Farm

This pitstop on your tour of New Jersey is a cross between farm and museum.

If you’ve never been to a living history museum, here’s what you can expect: a real working farm reminiscent of the early 1900s.

You’ll get to experience what life on a working farm during that time period was like.

The farm is operated using antiquated farm equipment and methodologies.

Moreover, during your visit to the museum, you’ll learn about the operations and daily routines of a real-life rural farm at the turn of the century.

You might catch a glimpse of farmers dressed in authentic garb planting crops, raising fences, shearing sheep, or more.

A visit to the Howell Living History Farm is super fun and one of the top places to visit in New Jersey.

Address: 70 Woodens Ln, Lambertville, NJ 08530, United States

11. Morristown Game Vault

Morristown Game Vault

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This NJ institution is a retro arcade with some of the best games from your childhood.

Of all the fun places to visit in New Jersey, you’ll want to make the Game Vault a stop on your itinerary.

With over 100 arcade games and pinball machines to choose from, you will undoubtedly recognize many of these nostalgic games.

If you’re wondering what to do on an unseasonable day, the arcade is always a fun choice.

Best of all, no quarters are necessary.

All of the games are free to play with an unlimited amount of games for a set period.

You simply purchase a wrist band for a set time and play to your heart’s content.

There are hours to be had playing retro games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Pinball.

Step back in time during your stay in New Jersey with an epic visit to the Morristown Game Vault .

Address: 22 South St, Morristown, NJ 07960, United States

12. Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

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With so many places to go in the great Garden State, a trip to the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in New Jersey should be at the top of your list.

A newly instituted National Park, Paterson Great Falls are one of many activities that you should plan on your trip to NJ.

Open to the public for self-guided outdoor activities, the Falls are a must see for anyone passing through New Jersey.

With a downloadable app that guides you through the park and around the Falls, you’ll learn about the rich history of Paterson while observing all the beautiful scenery the park has to offer.

The Paterson Great Falls are a superb backdrop for a picnic lunch too.

The park offers free picnic benches for public use, but there are also lots of wonderful spots throughout the park to spread a blanket for a picnic lunch too.

The Paterson Great Falls are a top pick for free things to do in New Jersey.

Address: 72 McBride Ave, Paterson, NJ 07501, United States

13. Duke Farms

Duke Farms

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If you’re wondering what to do in New Jersey, wonder no more!

The Garden State, so nicknamed for its beauty in nature, has tons of free things to do, top of which is Duke Farms .

With over 1,000 acres of lush farm and woodland to explore, you can spend the whole day (or more) having outdoor fun at Duke Farms in New Jersey.

With guided trails to walk, jog, or bike you can spend your day, however, suits you.

Moreover, Duke Farms boasts some truly magnificent sights including a plantinum, an orchid range, a hay barn, a lake system, and more; you’ll never be at a loss for free things to do at Duke Farms.

You can also pack a lunch and plan a picnic or eat at Duke Farm’s delectable farm-to-table cafe.

Of New Jersey attractions, Duke Farms is a must do activity.

Address: 1112 Dukes Pkwy W, Hillsborough Township, NJ 08844, United States

14. Beaches

Beaches

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The beaches of New Jersey are one of the state’s most popular destinations in the summer.

The beaches of the Jersey Shore are beautiful up and down the coastline of the Garden State.

No matter where in NJ you are visiting, you are sure to be a short drive from the white-sand beaches lining the Atlantic Ocean.

Many of the beach towns are bordered by old-timey boardwalks with attractions like arcades, rides, restaurants, and snack stands with New Jersey novelties like funnel cake and Italian Ice.

One of the best beaches with a boardwalk is the famed Seaside Heights.

If you prefer a more quiet, slower pace there are plenty of dry beach towns without boardwalks and lots of excitement too.

But no matter your beach speed, the fact remains that the beaches of the Jersey Shore are gorgeous, clean, and safe to swim.

One of the best, low-key beaches is Surf City on the 18-mile stretch of Long Beach Island.

Beware though, many of the state’s beaches do charge small admittance fees and parking can be cumbersome.

Check out these awesome beach activities in NJ.

15. Cape May County Park & Zoo

Cape May County Park & Zoo

The Cape May County Park & Zoo is a non-profit organization that operates on the generosity of donations from visitors and patrons.

A long and scenic drive down the Garden State Parkway, to the very tip of the state, will deliver you straight to the proverbial lion’s den.

A well-kempt and interactive zoo, the Cape May County Park & Zoo spares no attraction.

With a bald eagle exhibit, an African Safari with zebras, giraffes, and more, an aviary, and many other attractions and encounters, the Cape May County Park & Zoo is both family-friendly and educational.

If you want to make your trip even more special, you can even book a private guided tour.

What’s more, with many picnic areas surrounding the zoo, an adorable gift shop, a concession stand, and playgrounds galore, the Cape May County Park & Zoo is sure to please.

It’s one of many fun things to do in New Jersey.

Address: 707 U.S. 9 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210, United States

16. Sterling Hill Mining Museum

Sterling Hill Mining Museum

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If you’re looking for a novel place to visit today, this old iron and zinc mine in New Jersey is one of many fun places to visit.

While at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum you’ll be guided through underground tunnels, along which you’ll learn about the mine’s abundant history.

You’ll learn about the equipment used to mine zinc and iron, the working conditions the miners faced, and the mine’s geology.

Additionally, you’ll see artifacts from the mine’s working days dating back as far as the 1830s.

One of the museum’s best-loved exhibits is “The Rainbow Tunnel”; let’s just say it will truly illuminate your experience.

To prepare for your visit to the mine you’ll want to dress appropriately.

Keep in mind that the mine will be damp and cold, and you will undoubtedly do lots of walking, so dress comfortably.

Of the many wonderful places to go in New Jersey, Sterling Hill Mining Museum is highly recommended.

Address: 30 Plant St, Ogdensburg, NJ 07439, United States

17. Liberty Science Center

Liberty Science Center

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A trip to New Jersey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Liberty Science Center (LSC).

With so many things to see in New Jersey, LSC is a wonderful attraction for families with children.

The LSC has a huge planetarium and many interactive exhibitions.

Of note, there’s a “Making Mammoths” exhibit, a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood-themed exhibit, Rubik’s Cube exhibit, and even a wild-animals exhibit.

These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, though.

There are loads of family-friendly activities at LSC.

Additionally, there’s an epic gift shop and cafeteria for your lunching convenience.

If science is one of your points of interest, a visit to Liberty Science Center is one of many awesome places to visit in New Jersey.

Address: 222 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305, United States

18. Battleship New Jersey

Battleship New Jersey

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Anchored in the Delaware River, the Battleship New Jersey is a super unique activity to plan for this weekend.

If military history tickles your fancy, you won’t want to miss this site during your stay in New Jersey.

On your tour of the battleship, you’ll have an interactive experience wherein you explore the decks of the ship, climb ladders as you navigate, traverse tricky passageways, and immerse yourself in the lifestyle of a seaman.

Beyond the tour of the battleship, you’ll also learn about the vessel’s profuse history.

After many tours of duty, the Battleship New Jersey was finally decommissioned in 1991 and has been docked in the Delaware River since.

A trip to New Jersey would not be complete without visiting the Battleship New Jersey.

If you plan your visit for the late afternoon, afterward you can even check out the beautiful skyline of neighboring Philadelphia at night.

Address: 100 Clinton St, Camden, NJ 08103, United States

19. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

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If you’re planning to spend any time at the beach during your stay in New Jersey, plan to spend some time visiting Barnegat Lighthouse State Park .

Situated at the tip of Long Beach Island, where the Barnegat Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, this picturesque park is a beautiful place to explore, picnic, collect seashells, shoot photographs, and more.

There is a walking trail through the park, fishing is permitted, and there’s even a nature observation.

What’s more, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is home to Old Barney the Island’s famed lighthouse.

For a nominal fee, you can climb the 217 steps to the top of the lighthouse where you can take in the scenic views.

If you are wondering where to go on your visit to New Jersey this weekend, no matter the season, a visit to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is one of many wonderful things to see in the Garden State.

Address: 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006, United States

20. Tuckerton Seaport

Tuckerton Seaport

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The Tuckerton Seaport is a charming little village situated on Tuckerton Creek in quaint and historic Tuckerton, New Jersey.

A maritime village, rich in the history of Barnegat Bay, Tuckerton Seaport is one of many neat places to visit in New Jersey.

The seaport is home to a maritime museum with a decoy gallery and historic buildings.

Beyond enjoying the history of the maritime museum, there are many other sights and activities to participate in.

Beyond the sightseeing, Tuckerton Seaport has a boardwalk that connects you to boutiques, eateries, a wetlands nature trail, and a decoy carving workshop.

What’s more, artists and performers are gracing the boards daily.

The Tuckerton Seaport marries the best of nature with history and culture with fun.

The Tuckerton Seaport, a New Jersey hidden gem, should be added to your list of places to visit during your trip to the Garden State.

Address: 120 W Main St, Tuckerton, NJ 08087, United States

21. Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

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At Grounds for Sculpture , art and nature come together to make for a fulfilling New Jersey experience.

Situated among impeccably kept gardens and arboretum, over 300 artistic sculptures grace the nearly-45 acres of expansive land.

A visit to Grounds for Sculpture provides you the unique opportunity to appreciate the sophistication of art in the outdoor grit of nature.

In addition to the gardens and sculptures, Grounds for Sculpture is also home to a delectable restaurant called Rat’s which is warm and inviting, yet culinarily exquisite.

The museum’s affinity for the fostering of up-and-coming artists means that you not only experience the sculptures of famed artists but of emerging sculptors too.

Beyond the art on display at Grounds for Sculpture, the history and construction of the gardens and arboretum are astounding.

The natural landscape of the grounds perfectly juxtaposes the man-made hardscaping like pergolas, patios, and bridges.

Grounds for Sculpture is truly a sight to behold.

It’s one of many beautiful places to see in the great Garden State.

Address: 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619, United States

22. Newark Museum of Art

Newark Museum of Art

Newark Museum of Art

With art collections of all styles from around the world as well as plenty of American art, the Newark Museum of Art is a mecca of culture.

The state’s largest art museum, the Newark Museum of Art is one of the best places to go when visiting New Jersey.

The museum’s current galleries include collections of art from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Mediterranean.

As such, you can expect a culture-filled experience at the Newark Museum of Art.

Beyond the global-rich art on display at Newark Museum of Art in New Jersey, there are also science exhibitions, a decorative arts exhibit, and even a museum garden.

Beyond the amazing museum exhibits, there are often workshops, panels, films, performances, and creative-play experiences for families and children.

Newark Museum of Art is a highly recommended place to visit in New Jersey and near New York City .

Address: 49 Washington St, Newark, NJ 07102, United States

23. Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks

Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks

If you plan to be in the southernmost part of New Jersey in the summer, worry about what to do no more.

Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks are a fun-filled and action-packed series of interconnected boardwalks in Wildwood Beach.

After a long day of frolicking in the Atlantic and basking in the sun, a visit to the Piers is in order.

Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks are packed with wild rides and attractions for everyone, including plenty of age-appropriate ones for smaller children.

The piers have tons of restaurants, snack stands, and games for all.

Morey’s is also home to two epic water parks also packed with fun attractions for all ages.

There is so much fun to be had on Morey’s Piers that you may even consider spending multiple days there while visiting New Jersey.

Address: 3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260, United States

24. Garden State Discovery Museum

Garden State Discovery Museum

Garden State Discovery Museum

One of South Jersey’s greatest tourist attractions for small children, the Garden State Discovery Museum is one of many wonderful places to visit in New Jersey.

With dozens of interactive galleries, exhibitions, and activities for children ages infant through 10 years old, your children will have a blast at Garden State Discovery Museum.

Some favorite attractions include a Dinosaurium, mini-model pro ice skating rink, an interactive news and weather station, digger land, an interactive veterinarian clinic, a mock diner, an auto body shop, and so much more.

Each of these interactive exhibitions included pint-size, realistic props perfect for your little ones.

Additionally, there are many amenities available at Garden State Discovery Museum, including a nursing area, family restrooms, a coat room, a snack area, and a restaurant.

Garden State Discovery Museum is a great place to visit with children during your stay in New Jersey.

Address: 2040 Springdale Rd #100, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003, United States

25. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk

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Another fun summer activity to do during your stay in New Jersey is to visit Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in beautiful Point Pleasant Beach.

Situated adjacent to the white sand beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, Jenk’s has it all: well-kept boards for strolls with a view, carnival-style games, an aquarium, eateries galore, and quite the adult nightlife.

Moreover, there are amusement rides suitable for all ages, a gaming arcade, a homemade sweets shop to die for, a magical funhouse, a ropes course, mini-golf, and boutiques for shopping to your heart’s content.

There is so much to do at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk that you could easily make a weekend trip of it.

What’s more, there are even hotel/motel accommodations available right on the boardwalk’s main strip.

Point Pleasant isn’t a beach town you want to miss during your stay in New Jersey.

Address: 300 Ocean Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742, United States

26. Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

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Notably, Thomas Edison is one of America’s greatest inventors.

Hailing from Central New Jersey, Thomas Edison National Historical Park is lauded as the place “where modern America was invented.”

Home to Edison’s laboratory, the park houses the work and inventions of the great scientist.

Divided into three unique categories, the historical artifacts, the archives, and natural history, your family will delight in the antiquity of Edison’s relics.

With interactive experiments that you and your family can participate in, this hands-on park is one of the most fun places to visit in New Jersey.

Another amazing sight to see at the park’s grounds is the Glenmont Collections; this is the 29-room Victorian estate where Edison lived for most his lifetime.

The beauty and history of this estate are certainly worth the visit.

Some other fun antiquities you’ll enjoy seeing are prototypes of Edison’s phonographs, electrical lighting, motion picture cameras, and other electrical appliances.

The Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a walk of historical American innovation and worth a visit during your stay in New Jersey.

Address: 211 Main St, West Orange, NJ 07052, United States

27. Seaside Heights

Seaside Heights

Another of New Jersey’s beautiful, boardwalk-lined beaches in Seaside Heights.

With white-sand beaches by the mile, lifeguarded swimming, and umbrella/chair rentals available up and down the beach, a day at the shore has never been more convenient.

Add to that the excitement of the Seaside Boardwalk and a visit to Seaside Heights is a must see place to visit in New Jersey.

The boardwalk is jam-packed with adventure and fun for adults and children alike.

With amusements out the wazoo, boardwalk games for all ages with epic prizes, an arcade for the ages, and daily boardwalk entertainment, there’s always something to see and do in Seaside.

Furthermore, with a bevy of both fine and low-key restaurants, there are plenty of eateries to choose from.

And at night the club scene comes alive with free-flowing libations and both live and DJ music all night long.

The fun in Seaside Heights, New Jersey lasts from sunrise to well-past sun-down.

28. Allaire State Park

Allaire State Park

Monmouth County’s Allaire State Park is a beautiful setting for a day well-spent in nature.

Best known for its 19th-century iron-making relics and antique steam train, a hike through the park will bestow both history and beauty upon you.

The Manasquan River delightfully winds through the park whereupon you can canoe and fish.

The park is also home to over 200 varieties of flowers and plant life, the natural beauty of which will awe you.

There are many guided hiking trails where you can observe the awesomeness of birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

Each of the hiking trails can be enjoyed on foot, bike, or even horseback.

Allaire State Park in New Jersey is handicap accessible, has restrooms, picnic tables, a visitor center, and even a museum.

Furthermore, their pet-friendly camping sites are available should you choose to make a night or weekend of your visit to Allaire State Park.

Address: 4265 Atlantic Ave, Wall Township, NJ 07727, United States

29. Storybook Land

Storybook Land

Martin Lewison / flickr

This old-timey amusement park steeped in the themes of the fables and tales of our childhood is a bit of New Jersey nostalgia you won’t want to miss.

With attractions and rides themed after stories like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and the “Three Little Pigs,” the irresistible charm and wistfulness of this park make it a must see for anyone visiting New Jersey.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting New Jersey during the months leading up to Christmas, the park’s Santa Light Show is a real treat.

Gather around the town square and at 5 o’clock on the dot, Santa emerges from his workshop’s chimney to wish season’s greetings to all those gathered.

Then with the wave of a wand, he illuminates the entire park in spectacular Christmas lights and “real” snow begins to fall.

Add to this magical experience a cup of hot chocolate sold at most of Storybook Land ’s concession stands, and you’ve officially entered a winter wonderland.

But if you won’t be visiting New Jersey in the winter months, fret not.

The park has many, just as wonderful, attractions during the summer months too.

Address: 6415 E Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234, United States

30. Jersey Shore BlueClaws

Jersey Shore BlueClaws

apardavila / flickr

Minor League Baseball in New Jersey is an institution and with teams and ball fields to choose from up and down the state, you truly can’t go wrong.

However, one of the best-loved Minor League teams in the great Garden State is the Jersey Shore BlueClaws .

Set central to the state, FirstEnergy Park, home to the BlueClaws, is a field like no other.

The first perk of visiting the ballpark is the reasonably priced entry tickets.

Upon entry, there are endless activities for adults and children beyond the simple enjoyment of watching the baseball game.

For the kids, you’ll find boardwalk games, a miniature golf course, and live entertainment from the team’s mascot Buster.

For the adults, there’s grade-A shopping, a private clubhouse, a tiki bar in the outfield, and much more.

Finally, on many summer nights, the ball game ends with a live fireworks show.

FirstEnergy Park, home to the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, is a super night out for family and friends when visiting New Jersey.

Address: 2 Stadium Way, Lakewood, NJ 08701, United States

31. Rutgers Gardens

Rutgers Gardens

Edward Martinez / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for another outdoor activity, a visit to Rutgers Gardens will surely not disappoint.

The official botanical garden of the state university, Rutgers Gardens is open 365 days a year and best of all does not charge an admission fee.

A visit to Rutgers Gardens affords you the opportunity to basque in the glory of a real-live living museum loaded with a wide variety of plant life and vegetation.

Strolling through the botanical gardens of Rutgers Gardens is peaceful, serene, and downright beautiful.

You’ll see natural areas like small babbling brooks, luscious gardens, productive farms with a market, and seasonal events too.

Rutgers Gardens are a beautiful New Jersey sight to be seen all for the cost of nothing at all.

Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it, but don’t skip this stop on your NJ itinerary.

Address: 112 Log Cabin Rd, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902, United States

32. Nickelodeon Universe – American Dream

Nickelodeon Universe - American Dream

This television network-themed indoor amusement park situated amidst the bustling American Dream Mall in New Jersey is jam-packed with fun and activities for all ages.

With thrill rides, family rides, and even rides for tots, and all indoors, there’s no wrong time to visit Nickelodeon Universe .

One of the park’s coolest features is an indoor lift and mountain for year-round skiing or snowboarding.

Other park attractions include an indoor water park, mirror mazes, blacklight mini-golf, a skating rink, an aquarium, and an official Legoland.

This place has it all in one central location.

Open year-round and rain or shine, New Jersey’s Nickelodeon Universe is a fun attraction to visit no matter when you’re in the Garden State.

Beyond the park’s amusements, Nickelodeon Universe is smack dab in the middle of the state’s largest shopping mall, American Dream.

So once you’ve had your share of amusements, plan to spend some time shopping at the hundreds of luxury and inclusive stores, kiosks, restaurants, and snack stands.

Address: 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073, United States

33. Hoboken

Hoboken

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Just outside New York City , only a short train ride to the City, Hoboken is a mecca of New Jersey culture, dining, and nightlife.

During the day you’ll enjoy strolling through the park or along the Hudson River’s pier; in fact, Pier A Park is a wide-open green expanse perfect for meeting up with friends and throwing a frisbee.

Follow your time in the park with lunch and shopping in some of the city’s best eateries and boutiques.

By night, you can expect the streets of Hoboken to come alive with bustling restaurants of all cuisine, happy hours galore, live music busting the seams of each doorway you approach, and so much more.

Although in recent years, Hoboken has become a place where young families set roots to raise young children, by and far, Hoboken has a reputation for serving the whims of young adults.

34. Monmouth Park Race Track

Monmouth Park Race Track

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Monmouth Park Race Track , centrally located alongside New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway, is a super fun way to spend the day watching and betting on horse races.

Whether you prefer the sheer majesty of watching the races or the thrill of betting on the horses, you’re sure to have a grand time at the track.

Conveniently, the track is open seven days a week for horse betting and simulcasting.

Additionally, there’s a delectable sports bar and kitchen for snacks and libations.

And the track’s Blu Grotto Restaurant offers a fine dining menu for a more upscale experience if that’s what you’re into.

Moreover, there are tons of family activities, special events, and festivals that go on throughout the year.

Their family-fun days feature pony rides, face painting, a mini-golf course, and even a bounce house.

Finally, the park offers premier seating or picnic seating.

We love the picnic seating; you can pack coolers with snacks, lunch, and drinks, making a full day out of your trip to the Monmouth Park Race Track.

Address: 175 Oceanport Ave, Oceanport, NJ 07757, United States

35. Brooksbrae Brick Factory

Brooksbrae Brick Factory

Brooksbrae Brick Factory

Brooksbrae Brick Factory is a very cool sight to be seen in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Hidden deep in the woods of the state’s Pine Barrens is the juxtaposition of urban art meets natural landscape: a “graffiti wonderland.”

Formerly, the Brooksbrae Brick Factory produced bricks daily by the thousands.

After the owner died in 1908, the brick factory was decommissioned and left to languish.

Later, the massive factory burnt to the ground leaving it irreparable and abandoned.

Cue the “graffiti wonderland.”

After years of abandonment, artists, hikers, dirt bikers, and ATV riders discovered the abandoned factory.

Those artists used the brick slabs as canvases for “street art,” rendering the discovery of the art both astonishing and delightful to passers-through.

Finding the Brick Factory is tricky and cell services aren’t great deep in the woods of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, so it’s recommended that you use caution or a knowing guide when visiting Brooksbrae Brick Factory.

But, it is truly a sight to be seen!

Address: Pasadena, Woodmanse Road, Manchester Township, NJ 08759, United States

36. Jersey Shore Premium Outlets

Jersey Shore Premium Outlets

Jersey Shore Premium Outlets

If you’re looking for a full day of premier shopping, the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets are a great central location for doing so.

With covered walkways leading to exclusive shopping, boutiques, jewelers, housewares, and more, these outlets provide a full day of retail therapy.

There are novelty kiosks, snack stands, and cafeteria-style eateries to fuel your shopping too.

Furthermore, convenient amenities like stroller rentals, family restrooms, and a children’s playground, make the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets a wonderful day-trip for shopping.

What’s more, the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets are located just a short drive from the beautiful beaches of Asbury Park.

So while you’re in the area, be sure to check out the shopping pavilions, eclectic restaurants and boutiques, and culture out the wazoo.

So with a visit to the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets, you can easily achieve all of your shopping desires while enjoying leisurely strolling and delicious dining.

Be sure to visit the outlets during your next trip to New Jersey.

Address: 1 Premium Outlet Blvd, Tinton Falls, NJ 07753, United States

37. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap

Tetyana Ohare / Shutterstock

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is both picturesque and loads of outdoor, scenic fun!

This is a pit stop on your trip to New Jersey that you won’t want to miss.

Comprising nearly 70,000 acres along more than 40 miles of the Delaware River, and over 100 miles of hiking trails, the park has so many memorable and breathtaking views.

Around every corner, you’ll observe plentiful plant life, agricultural farms, and abundant wildlife.

A visit to New Jersey’s Delaware Water Gap is truly a breathtaking experience.

Beyond the natural splendor that you can explore on your own, there are other activities available as well.

In addition to exploring the park on your own, you can swim, paddle, boat, bike, fish, picnic, horseback ride, mountain climb, snowshoe, and so much more.

The adventures are limitless when visiting Delaware Water Gap.

You’ll never see it all in one visit; this is a place your family will love to visit for years to come.

Address: 1978 River Rd, Bushkill, PA 18324, United States

38. Asbury Park Boardwalk

Asbury Park Boardwalk

The Asbury Park Boardwalk was, until recently, a dilapidated shore town of yore.

However, in recent years, the town has seen an influx of reinvigoration as far as infrastructure is concerned.

As such, it’s become a super hip destination for locals and tourists alike.

With trendy new restaurants and bars, niche music and art scene, and boutique shopping aplenty, Asbury Park Boardwalk is an epicenter for twenty-somethings on up.

Brunches, beverages, billiards, bars, beaches, board-walking, and so much more!

Bring your dog and your ear for music, because anything goes.

You can spend an entire day at the Boardwalk and still not have seen it all.

The art, culture, and sophistication are alive on the boards and in the streets of Asbury Park.

The people are full of life and are a true joy to encounter.

Be sure to add Asbury Park Boardwalk to your itinerary when visiting NJ.

Address: 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712, United States

39. Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market

Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market

Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market in New Jersey’s capital city is a flea market like no other.

Catering to the punk rock scene, with an all-are-welcome attitude, this flea market is a great one for some truly eclectic finds.

With more than 140 vendors you can hope to get your hands on really cool vintage clothing, classic cassettes and records, oddities, unique collectibles, original clothing and art, comic books and games, and handmade jewelry.

Beyond all the unique shopping finds you’ll encounter at Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market, there are also many other attractions.

Food trucks from all over the state will greet you with delectable dishes and treats.

Live local musicians are always rocking the market.

And themed and seasonal holiday events and bazaars are always on the calendar.

A trip to Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market is like nothing you’ll experience elsewhere.

We highly recommend you make it a pitstop on your visit to the great Garden State.

Address: 675 S Clinton Ave, Trenton, NJ 08611, United States

40. Surf & Sip Brew Trail

Surf & Sip Brew Trail

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Unlike common bar crawls, Long Beach Island’s Surf & Sip Brew Trail is an opportunity for enthusiasts of local culture and libations to tour the beautiful 18-mile long island.

On this self-guided tour, with a map that is stamped like a passport along the way, you’ll have the unique opportunity to visit local breweries and surf sites in the southern part of the island’s county.

Enthusiasts of surf and brews come together to curate a one-of-a-kind experience that can be accomplished in as few as one day or as many as it takes.

Once you’ve stamped every stop on your guided map, you can submit it to the Chamber of Commerce to redeem it for a free Surf & Sip beer koozie.

This is a truly unique experience that combines two very different loves: beer and surf!

Start Planning Your Trip To New Jersey

The great Garden State is often underrated, but don’t be mistaken, it’s one of the most beautiful states to visit in the Northeast.

Throughout the year, you can find so many attractions to make your trip to NJ a great one.

There are family attractions galore, getaway destinations for friends and couples, nature-rich sites to be seen, historical attractions by the hundreds, and so many other things to do and places to see.

There are natural, outdoor attractions, arts and culture, music and sophistication, historical landmarks and beaches by the mile, and shopping and dining options for all.

With so many amazing things to do in NJ, start your planning, pack your bags, and don’t wait another minute to visit the beautiful Garden State.

Happy travels.

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30 Top Things to Do in New Jersey

Our roundup of beach towns, historic sites and top attractions is sure to inspire love for the small but mighty Garden State.

Top things to do in New Jersey

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Soaking up beautiful beach views, touring an Ivy League University and exploring one of the world's largest spoon collections are just a few of the many things to do in New Jersey.

What do Meryl Streep, Judy Blume and Danny DeVito all have in common? How about "Ms. Marvel," "Indiana Jones" and "The Sopranos"? Maybe that last one gave it away, but it's hailing from the state of New Jersey. Often overshadowed by nearby New York City or Philadelphia , New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state in the U.S., but has so much to offer, from the southern Pinelands and coastal nature preserves to the boardwalks along the shore or the bustling city life of North Jersey. The late chef and author Anthony Bourdain once proclaimed, "To know Jersey is to love her," and people know the state has a lot to offer; it's the most densely populated in the country. Even with so many positive attributes, New Jersey is often misunderstood.

Beyond the industrial scenery of the turnpike, New Jersey invites you to wander the streets of Frank Sinatra's home turf one day and explore a working farm the next. You can visit the site where seven Nobel prize winners changed the course of telecommunication to do a little yoga or sip a Negroni. Ethnically diverse, Jersey boasts some of the best pizza and Portuguese food in the country. And whether you're exploring a world-class museum or skiing in a massive indoor mall, you can always end the day at one of New Jersey's famous diners. From historic sites to the world's tallest roller coaster, here are the top things to see and do in the state.

Greetings from Asbury Park

Top things to do in New Jersey

A seaside resort destination in the '20s – not dissimilar from Atlantic City – Asbury Park gained further notoriety in 1973 with the debut album "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." by young singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. In the decades since, Asbury has regained its welcoming appeal and solidified its motto of being "Where Music Lives." While many clubs have been demolished or transformed, The Stone Pony remains a major music venue attracting headlining acts to its annual Summer Stage events. Nearby is the Silverball Museum, which is a retro arcade that will entertain and amaze you with vintage pinball machine play all day for $20. There is also mini-golf and a classic boardwalk lemonade stand alongside Mogo's Korean Fusion Tacos and Coney Waffle's sugar coma-inducing ice cream and milkshakes. Don't miss the must-photograph Wooden Walls murals along either ends of the boardwalk and throughout the town.

Beyond the boardwalk, Asbury hosts a bourgeoning restaurant and bar scene, from British to Creole. The shops, antique emporiums and art galleries are well worth an afternoon along Cookman Avenue. For something different, book a ghost tour with Paranormal Books and Curiosities.

Read: The Top Romantic Getaways in New Jersey

Top things to do in New Jersey

Cape May , also known as Exit 0 by locals (its exit number at the end of the Garden State Parkway), is a Victorian-style coastal gem, but also much more than meets the eye. A hoppin' brewery scene (no pun intended) is complemented by wineries and the Nauti Spirits Distillery. It would be batty to not consider brunch at the Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar in the stunning Carroll Villa Hotel, and equally as baffling to not watch the sunset over the beach with the Cape May Lighthouse in the background. You might even consider a sunset cruise to take in the views. The rainbow of Victorian hotels , cottages and mansions are prim, but the nature is wild; a quick visit to the South Cape May Meadows nature conservancy – a shelter for native and migratory birds with walkable trails – will prove that. Meanwhile, the Harriet Tubman Museum of New Jersey, opened in 2020, is an emotional education about Tubman (a one-time Cape May resident) and the broader Black community in Cape May. Consider a stay – or at least a drink – at the historic Congress Hall , known as America's first seaside resort, with an original opening in 1816.

See more of Cape May: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos

Admire the architecture and amusements of the Wildwoods

Top things to do in New Jersey

More than just a Jersey Shore resort town, the Wildwoods is also known as the Doo Wop Capital of the World thanks to its Doo Wop-style architecture, characterized by its bright colors, bold angular shapes, Space Age style and heavy rock 'n' roll influence of the '50s and '60s. Admire the candy-colored homes, neon signs and the vintage ambiance of its sweets shops and diners. More than 100 rides and amusements give Wildwood a wholesome boardwalk feel, and free beaches make a family getaway to South Jersey a no-brainer. Among its free museums and cultural sites is the National Marbles Hall of Fame; Wildwood has been home to the National Marbles Tournament for 100 years.

Visit Ellis Island

Top things to do in New Jersey

While most credit New York as the home of the Statue of Liberty , the landmark's exact location on Liberty State Park is a contentious debate; the island where the statue lives is in the Hudson River smack between Jersey City and Manhattan. What's more, Ellis Island is duly listed as part of a national monument in both New York and New Jersey. Not only are there incredible views across the Hudson River from the park, but the impact of the 12 million immigrants who passed through Ellis Island continues to be felt today. There is no fee to visit the grounds of Liberty Island or the Ellis Island Museum, but you must pay for a ferry over. The official ferry partner of the National Park Service is Statue City Cruises. It's recommended that you book in advance of your visit. Audio tours are included and ranger-led tours are free, though a visit to the Statue of Liberty pedestal is additional.

Address: 1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305

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Adventure Aquarium

Top things to do in New Jersey

Just across the Delaware River from the Liberty Bell are 15,000 aquatic species. No, they're not in the river, but along the Camden Waterfront at the Adventure Aquarium. In addition to the fish, this aquarium is home to penguins and turtles, and is the only aquarium in the world to have hippos on exhibit. If you dare, cross the Shark Bridge, an 81-foot-long suspended bridge inches above a 550,000-gallon shark tank featuring nurse sharks, sand tigers and more. As thrilling as it all sounds, many reviewers have mentioned that the Adventure Aquarium is primarily geared toward young children. According to recent visitors, the aquarium offers easy parking and a friendly staff. What's more, thanks to the reservation system, it doesn't feel crowded. For many visitors, the hippos were the main highlight, and reviewers highly recommended being at the aquarium at feeding time.

Address: 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103

Satisfy nearly any craving in the 'diner capital of the world'

Top things to do in New Jersey

Diners are a staple of both New Jersey and New York. As the self-proclaimed world diner capital, Jersey has hundreds of these often family-owned – often Greek-owned – institutions, and many are open 24 hours a day serving up comfort food and fresh pies. A defining feature of diners' encyclopedia-like menus is breakfast served all day, which means celebratory waffles after the big game or middle-of-the-night pancakes if you can't sleep. Many diners are attention-grabbing metallic structures with their own retro decor; the Summit Diner opened at its current location in the late 1930s and while it resembles a tin can, it's considered one of the oldest operating diners in the state. Try the world-famous burgers at White Manna Diner in Hackensack.

Ride the tallest roller coaster in the world at Six Flags Great Adventure

Kingda Ka is 456 feet high and rises at a 90-degree angle; it remains the tallest roller coaster in the world and the fastest in North America. You'll find it at Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson, New Jersey. To propel thrill-seeking riders to the top, they are thrust from 0 to 128 mph in less than 4 seconds. This record-breaking ride is not for the faint of heart, but those on the hunt for something more tame will have plenty of options thanks to the park's variety of family- and kid-friendly rides. If you're visiting during the humid heat of summer, consider spending some time at the adjacent Hurricane Harbor water park, which boasts rides, slides, lazy rivers and more.

Address: 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, NJ 08527

Top things to do in New Jersey

Dennis Nierzwicki | Courtesy of Diggerland USA

If you've ever noticed how interested some little kids are in utility vehicles, then you might understand an entire kid-friendly amusement park themed around construction. Located in West Berlin, just 20 miles south of Philadelphia, Diggerland is the only theme and water park of its kind in the country. Among its attractions is the chance – for kids and adults – to operate heavy machinery (with supervision). There are tractors, dump trucks – you name it. Recent visitors report that their kids enjoyed themselves, noting the water slide as well as the opportunity to "drive" the many machines as highlights.

Address: 100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091

Read: The Top Water Parks in New Jersey

See the stunning cherry blossoms of Newark

Top things to do in New Jersey

Did you know that Newark, New Jersey, has more cherry blossom trees than Washington, D.C.? Each April, more than 5,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees bloom throughout Branch Brook Park, which runs through Belleville and Newark, ushering in the Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival along with its 10K run and bike race. A week of events includes live music, food and craft vendors, activities for kids of all ages and Japanese cultural demonstrations. The dates vary each year based on when the trees bloom, so check the Branch Brook Park website for details.

Batsto Village

Top things to do in New Jersey

Dating back to 1766, Batsto is a remarkably intact historic village in South Jersey. Visitors to this special place in Hammonton will find 30 preserved buildings, from a stunning mansion to a post office and a general store. During the Revolutionary War, Batsto Iron Works manufactured supplies for the Continental Army, and residents continued to inhabit the village all the way until 1989. Located within Wharton State Forest, Batsto also offers scenic hiking trails through this region known as the Pinelands. Visitors have commented that they were delighted to find this landmark in the middle of the forest, noting they felt the peace, beauty and history of the location – especially in mid-May when the tulips are in full bloom. Tours fill quickly and are limited to 10 people.

Address: 31 Batsto Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Top things to do in New Jersey

Courtesy of The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, New Jersey is home to more engineers and scientists per square mile than anywhere else in the United States. That statistic is even less surprising when you consider the state's history of landmark thinkers and inventors – namely, Thomas Edison. Edison's former home and laboratory are now a designated national historic park located in West Orange and are open to the public for tours. Apart from the lightbulb, of course, Edison had a recording studio here and even created a handful of talking dolls. According to recent visitors, the studios and workshops at the lab are in shockingly good condition given their age. If that's not impressive enough, a replica of the world's first motion picture studio from 1893 – known as "Black Maria" – is still here on the grounds. Just down the road is Glenmont, Edison's Victorian home shared with his wife Mina, which of course had all the modern conveniences well before its time, from hot and cold running water to central heating and refrigeration.

Address: 211 Main St., West Orange, NJ 07052

Take a Frank Sinatra walking tour in Hoboken

Top things to do in New Jersey

One of New Jersey's most famous native sons is Hoboken's own Frank Sinatra. See Sinatra's hometown through his Ol' Blue Eyes with a self-guided walking tour. The Hoboken Historical Museum created the ultimate walking tour map, available online to download. With more than 20 stops covering Sinatra's favorite hangouts, family bakery and even the church where he was baptized, it covers a good amount of mileage around this city situated just outside the Holland Tunnel. Nearby, the Hoboken River Waterfront Walkway runs for 18.5 miles along the scenic Hudson River and crosses through Hudson and Bergen counties.

Visit the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the country

Top things to do in New Jersey

At the tip of the Gateway National Recreation Area peninsula in Highlands is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which predates the Declaration of Independence. This octagonal lighthouse has overlooked the Sandy Hook Bay and across to Manhattan since 1764, and is open to the public for tours. On the grounds of the former Fort Hancock, the lighthouse is not the only attraction to visit in the Sandy Hook area, which also boasts abundant wildlife, 300 species of birds, biking and hiking trails, historic barracks and unbeatable views of the New York City skyline. The national park is free to enter, but there is a fee per vehicle to park from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This also covers the cost to spend a beautiful, serene beach day – or go bold at Gunnison, New Jersey's only legal nude beach.

Address: 128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732

new jersey cool places to visit

Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Grounds For Sculpture

You might just hear a peacock call as you wander the 42 acres of trees, flowers and at times deceivingly realistic sculptures found in Hamilton Township. Grounds For Sculpture is the passion project of sculptor, philanthropist and grandson to the co-founder of Johnson & Johnson, Seward Johnson. Born in New Brunswick in 1930, Johnson traveled the world and studied art, creating uncanny lifelike depictions of people, especially plucked from famous painted scenes like Renoir's "Dance at Bougival." He is notable for his larger-than-life traveling works, such as the 25-foot-tall Embracing Peace sculpture that now resides in Key West, Florida, where Johnson passed in 2020. Visitors to Grounds For Sculpture will be dazzled discovering the art by day, or on a special night tour. Rat's, the sculpture garden's fine dining venue with an unconventional name (inspired by a character in the children's book "The Wind in the Willows"), is consistently a top-rated restaurant.

Address: 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619

Wander the ivy-covered campus of Princeton University

Top things to do in New Jersey

There is so much more to do in Princeton than study, which is why it's maybe more fun to be a visitor to this ivy-cloaked university town than a student. Apart from the high-end shops and delicious crepes, Princeton University remains at the heart of this community and is the fourth-oldest college in the country. The campus grounds are open to the public, and we not only highly recommend a stroll, but a self-guided tour. Nassau Hall is hard to miss – directly behind the grand iron gates on Nassau Street; it featured prominently in the American Revolution. F. Scott Fitzgerald used to slack off at the dining halls. Albert Einstein never wanted a museum in any form, but you can still see his former home (from the road) at 112 Mercer Street. Faculty members have included famed authors Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth and Saul Bellow. It's the alma mater of two former presidents (James Madison and Woodrow Wilson).

But beyond all that, the university is gorgeous, especially in the fall when the autumnal colors only enhance its grandiose beauty. Try unconventional ice cream flavors from Bent Spoon, a popular organic ice cream shop on campus, any time of year. And if you are in town in December, consider hopping on the Princeton Holiday Trolley Tour to learn more about the city's architecture, noteworthy Princetonians and more. The hourlong trolley tour is popular with visitors and residents alike. The ticket also includes a host of discounts at Princeton restaurants and shops.

Address: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544

Atlantic City

Top things to do in New Jersey

Atlantic City , or "AC" as it's commonly referred to, is still a popular weekend escape for its casinos and shows, but no longer the high-society promenade that "Boardwalk Empire" portrayed on HBO. Still, the inspiration for the original Monopoly board is worth passing "Go" to take a stroll along the world's first and longest boardwalk. Check out a show at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City , come for Atlantic City's Restaurant Week in October or simply spend a day at the beach – access is free here, unlike many other beaches across the state. Lesser known is AC's African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey, which showcases a permanent collection of historic artifacts, as well as rotating exhibits featuring modern Black artists.

See more of Atlantic City: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos

Lucy the Elephant

Top things to do in New Jersey

Courtesy of Save Lucy Committee, Inc.

Five miles west of Atlantic City in Margate City is a six-story elephant that's nearly 150 years old. Lucy the Elephant was constructed in 1881 by a Philadelphia contractor, but it was James V. Lafferty Jr. who conceived the eclectic elephant with an interior, and he received a patent for the design. In the early 20th century, visitors were charged 10 cents to climb the spiral staircase and witness the furnished interior, along with ocean views from 22 windows. Among notable visitors was President Woodrow Wilson. Lucy has seen many iterations over the decades, but is the only one of her siblings still standing (there were two others like Lucy; one pachyderm was located in Coney Island, but destroyed in a fire).

Address: 9200 Atlantic Ave., Margate City, NJ 08402

High Point State Park

Top things to do in New Jersey

Did you know that the Appalachian Trail, the longest marked hiking trail in the nation, runs through New Jersey for 74 miles? You can pick it up in northern New Jersey and High Point State Park is one of its trailheads. At the highest point in the state – 1,803 feet above sea level – is the High Point Monument, dedicated to New Jersey's veterans and offering expansive and impressive views of the Catskills and Pocono Mountains from its height of 220 feet. Access is weather-related and roads might be closed due to wintry weather. The interior of the monument and its 291 steps is available to climb on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

Address: 1480 State Route 23, Wantage, NJ 07461

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Top things to do in New Jersey

"Jersey" and "wolves" are two words not commonly associated with each other. But a preserve in Columbia looking to protect this endangered species in a natural setting is working to change that perception. Participate in a Wolf Watch Tour through the Lakota Wolf Preserve, which welcomes guests to learn about its resident wolf packs through observation, photography and education. The observation area at the center of the preserve is a scenic half-mile nature walk, or a shuttle bus is available to drive you. Reservations must be made online and are rain or shine; the preserve can become fully booked up to three months in advance, so reserve early. Foxes, a bobcat and a lynx also live on the property – it's truly a wild side of New Jersey that not many get to experience.

Address: 89 Mount Pleasant Road, Columbia, NJ 07832

Witness the American Dream

Top things to do in New Jersey

Courtesy of American Dream

Surfing, skiing and an autograph from SpongeBob SquarePants; it's possible all in one day at the $5 billion American Dream Mall in East Rutherford. Second only to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, New Jersey's 3-million-square-foot mall houses enough activities and amusements to fill an entire vacation, including the Nickelodeon Universe, the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere. If your kid can dream it, it's here: an ice rink, a ski slope and wave pool; a Legoland Discovery Center; Angry Birds mini golf; or the largest indoor water park in North America, themed after DreamWorks characters. Of course, there is shopping at hundreds of stores. And when you need to refuel, you'll find fast food favorites alongside artisan cotton candy and an Oreo Café. Note that each attraction within the mall requires a separate ticket. However, discounts and ticket bundles are available seasonally.

Address: 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Bike the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park

Top things to do in New Jersey

The Delaware and Raritan Canal was once an important industrial throughway between New York and Pennsylvania. Now, it makes for a lovely bike or hiking path, especially in the autumn when the foliage is turning. Visitors have 70 miles to explore that stretch from New Brunswick to Trenton, and its 19th-century wooden bridges, lock remnants and cobblestone spillways complement the natural scenery with historic appeal. Frenchtown and Lambertville are particularly charming villages along this part of New Jersey. Each Dec. 25, reenactors play out George Washington crossing the Delaware River. If you're not valiant enough to brave the Christmas cold, Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville is a lovely stop any time of year, offering views and recreation.

Attend a New York Red Bulls game

New Jerseyans are used to New York taking credit for their sports teams: the New York Giants, the Brooklyn Nets – the list goes on. And so even though the soccer club known as the Red Bulls represents New York, their stadium – and many of their fans – are in New Jersey. Take the train straight to Harrison station and you will be at Red Bull Arena. As part of Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference, the Red Bulls play games late February through October. Single match tickets start at around $25 per person.

Address: 600 Cape May St., Harrison, NJ 07029

Museum of American Glass

Top things to do in New Jersey

Courtesy of Courtesy of the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts in Millville, NJ

With more than 20,000 pieces, the Museum of American Glass, located in Millville, is an homage to craftsmanship and the art of glassblowing. The museum is located on the grounds of the WheatonArts and Cultural Center, where the public can visit from April through December for demos, workshops and special exhibits. For an immersive experience, check the museum's website to see if a "make-your-own" workshop is available during your visit. Alexander Rosenberg, star in the Netflix competition series "Blown Away," is the resident Glass Studio Director.

Address: 1000 Village Drive, Millville, NJ 08332

Find out why it's called the Garden State

Top things to do in New Jersey

Courtesy of Alstede Farms

Many might question New Jersey's Garden State nickname when they traverse the industrial turnpike and eight lanes of parkway pavement. But the farms and fields that inspired the state's nickname still exist. Alstede Farms in Chester is just one example of a working farm open to visitors. In addition to abundant offerings from its farm stand, Alstede operates a seasonal cider mill and ice cream counter. Visit July through October to wander through the Blooming Giants Sunflower Trail or opt for the evergreen tree maze. Whether you're picking your own produce or petting a goat, a day at Alstede is a fun afternoon for the family and a great reminder of why New Jersey is still the Garden State.

Channel director Kevin Smith with some quick stops

Top things to do in New Jersey

Tom Zapcic Photography | Courtesy of Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash

Director Kevin Smith is proudly from Red Bank, New Jersey, and often incorporates the state into his work, especially in his landmark indie film "Clerks." The convenience store from that film is a real, functioning location called Quick Stop, and can be found in Leonardo just about 7 miles from Red Bank. Next door, Smith has created a podcast studio and event space called SModCastle. If you're looking for more nerdy movie magic, hit Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash on Broad Street in Red Bank, an expanded comic book store with props and memorabilia celebrating its 25th year in 2022. Smith is often seen in town and around Highlands, where he grew up; look for the oversized jersey.

Trenton's Punk Rock Flea Market

Top things to do in New Jersey

Courtesy of Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market

The state's capital lies in Trenton, and a few times a year a bunch of punks take over – for a flea market. The Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market attracts both mohawks and memorabilia-pickers on the hunt for everything from vintage toys to taxidermy. Hosted at the CURE Insurance Arena, the flea market costs a fee at the door and offers about 300 unique vendors and a bevy of food trucks to pass a quirky afternoon. Here, the people-watching is arguably as good as the shopping.

Address: 81 Hamilton Ave., Trenton, NJ 08611

The Paterson Great Falls

Top things to do in New Jersey

Come to see the 77-foot-high waterfall – which has been known to freeze solid during harsh winters – but stay for the history about Paterson. The falls are a national historical park for good reason: In 1792 Paterson was established as the country's first planned industrial city, and that city found its heart at the Great Falls and the Passaic River. Favored by Alexander Hamilton during its prime, Paterson is still home to a diverse mix of immigrant cultures. Mill tours, which offer information about the region's many former industries, from textiles to trains, are available at the park.

Address: 72 McBride Ave., Patterson, NJ 07501

Island Beach State Park

Top things to do in New Jersey

This stretch of nearly 10 miles of shoreline is a special place between Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Located in Berkeley Township, the marine protected area is home to a year-round population of foxes, as well as ospreys and other birds and wildlife. Surrounded by water and beach heather, Island Beach State Park is a scenic destination for a walk to the Barnegat Lighthouse or swimming in season; fishing is allowed with a permit. The park can get quite crowded during the summer months and rangers can determine it has "reached capacity" if all parking is being used. Arrive early and expect to pay a vehicle fee between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Address: 2401 Central Ave., Seaside Park, NJ 08752

Report to Bell Works

Top things to do in New Jersey

Courtesy of Bell Works

Now referred to as the "metroburb," the former Bell Labs building in Holmdel Township hosts a busy schedule of comic conventions, yoga, dance, flower arranging, immersive gaming and a cute outdoor cocktail venue called Bar Bella, as well as offices and the town's library – it's a big space. Despite its imposing architecture, you still might never believe that it was once the site of groundbreaking and Nobel Prize-winning inventions like the laser and the transistor. Formerly one of the most successful corporate research labs in the world, you might recognize the exterior of Bell Works from the Apple TV show "Severance" about a dystopian workplace.

Address: 101 Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel, NJ 07733

Visit a spoon museum in a castle

Yes, to both of those questions; New Jersey is home to one of the world's largest spoon collections and also a castle, and they happen to be in the same place. Lambert Castle in Paterson was built within the Garret Mountain Reservation in 1892 by silk magnate Catholina Lambert. Within the halls displaying period exhibits and windows framing views of the Manhattan skyline, there are also lots and lots of spoons. The castle is home to just a fraction of former Paterson resident Bertha Schaefer Koempel's collection of approximately 5,400 souvenir spoons.

Note: Lambert Castle has been undergoing significant renovations to restore the property but is expected to reopen to the public in 2024.

Address: 3 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ 07503

You might also be interested in:

  • The Best Hotels in New Jersey
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  • The Top Things to Do in Long Island
  • The Best Weekend Getaways from NYC
  • The Top Things to Do in Pennsylvania

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PlanetWare.com

16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Jersey

Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated May 11, 2023

Although covering an area of only 14,000 square miles and the fourth smallest state in the USA, New Jersey is home to many first-rate tourist attractions. From national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to fine museums and historical sites, New Jersey is certainly well worth taking the time to explore.

Observation wheel on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey

A good place to start your "Garden State" adventure is along New Jersey's Atlantic Coast. Using any one of its many quaint harbor towns or resorts as a jumping-off point, you can easily cover a variety of fun things to do in New Jersey in a relatively short time. Alternatively, you could even opt to use the entertainment hot spot of Atlantic City as a base from which to explore.

New Jersey also has the added benefit of being close to the many attractions of New York City , with excellent public transit getting you to and from its many landmarks.

The state also boasts many great accommodation options within reach of NYC, from luxury New Jersey hotels and resorts to quaint family-run inns and B&Bs.

To learn more about what is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on the East Coast of the United States, check out our list of the top tourist attractions in New Jersey.

1. Take a Stroll along Atlantic City's Famous Boardwalk

2. visit old victorian cape may, 3. liberty state park, 4. the hudson river waterfront walkway, 5. island beach state park, 6. new jersey beaches, 7. delaware water gap national recreation area, 8. princeton battlefield state park & institute for advanced study, 9. battleship new jersey, 10. the adventure aquarium, 11. cape may county park & zoo, 12. thomas edison national historical park, 13. grounds for sculpture, 14. morey's piers, 15. liberty science center, 16. great swamp national wildlife refuge, map of tourist attractions in new jersey, best time to visit new jersey.

Atlantic City and The Boardwalk

Highlights : America's most famous Boardwalk stretches four miles along the coast

One of the most popular coastal resort towns on the northeastern coast of the United States, Atlantic City is best known for its famous Boardwalk . This four-mile-long promenade was constructed in 1870 and to this day remains the place where the majority of the city's sightseeing opportunities are found.

Among its most popular tourist spots is the iconic Steel Pier . This 1,000-foot-long carnival-style amusement park has rides for all ages, including a massive observation wheel with climate-controlled gondolas that give riders amazing views over the city and the ocean year-round. Bike rentals, the historic electric tram, or traditional rickshaw-like rolling chairs make a fun alternative to walking the Boardwalk.

While strolling the Boardwalk, be sure to check out the Entrance to the Stars . The East Coast equivalent of Hollywood's famous Walk of Fame, this must-see landmark features the handprints of celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Johnny Carson.

Atlantic City is also home to several historic and cultural attractions. These include Absecon Lighthouse; an aquarium; and the huge Boardwalk Hall, a venue that hosts concerts and events like the Miss America finals.

Address: 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Atlantic City, NJ

Old Victorian Cape May

Highlights : Historic seaside town with lighthouse, museums, historic ship tours, and cruises

The many attractions of Cape May, located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey on Delaware Bay, were largely discovered by the wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries when it enjoyed its heyday as a fashionable resort town. It was so popular, in fact, that no less than six US Presidents had summer homes here.

Tourists today are attracted by the very things that first attracted so many American Presidents. These include its endless fine beaches; the beautiful Cape May Point Lighthouse , built in 1859; and the many handsome Victorian-style holiday homes located here.

Of the latter, one of the best examples is Emlen Physick Estate . Now a museum, this 18-room mansion was built in 1879 and is a fine example of the American Stick Style of architecture. Also of interest is the Yankee , an 80-foot-tall schooner offering a variety of harbor tours, as well as dolphin and whale-sighting cruises.

Address: 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, New Jersey

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Cape May, NJ

Liberty State Park

Highlights : Stunning NYC views from a large waterfront park with walking paths and sculptures

Overlooking Upper New York Bay, Liberty Island, and Ellis Island, home to New York's Statue of Liberty, Liberty State Park takes a while to tour. Encompassing 1,212 waterside acres, it not only offers wonderful views of the aforementioned attractions, but also contains many interesting sightseeing opportunities of its own.

One of the best places to visit for nature lovers is Communipaw Cove, a 36-acre tidal salt marsh that has been designated as a nature preserve.

The park is also home to a number of interesting memorials and monuments. Two of the most important are Liberation, dedicated to the Holocaust, and the sobering Empty Sky , a memorial consisting of two 210-foot-long steel walls with the names of those victims of the tragic events of 9/11 who had ties to New Jersey.

The park also has recreational facilities, from picnic areas to fishing, kayaking, and cycling. Be sure to allocate some tome to visit the park's Interpretive Center , which provides information related to the ecology and history of this part of New Jersey.

Address: 200 Morris Pesin Drive, Jersey City, New Jersey

Hudson River Waterfront Walkway

Highlights : New 19-mile-long walking and biking waterfront trail with superb NYC views

New Jersey's newest attraction, the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway opened in early 2022 and promises to become one of the top attractions in the Garden State. Nearly 19 miles in length and passing through no less than nine different New Jersey municipalities, this remarkable pedestrian route stretches all the way from Bayonne to Fort Lee.

Along the way are some of the most spectacular views over the Hudson River across to New York City, including views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Built solely for pedestrian and bike use, the pathway is 30 feet wide for its entire length, ensuring there's plenty of room for all.

Those wanting to cycle the route can bring their own bikes or make use of one of the "bikeshare" options available. Fishing and kayaking are also permitted off the walkway.

Be sure to include a stop at Pier A Park. This delightful pier park extends out over the Hudson, with plenty of seating for those who simply want to sit and soak up the views. In addition to wet and dry play areas for the kids, there's also a dedicated area for fishing.

Address: 340 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, New Jersey

Barnegat Lighthouse

Highlights : Picturesque barrier islands with beaches, wildlife, birdwatching, and water sports

Located on Barnegat Peninsula just an hour's drive north of Atlantic City, Island Beach State Park is notable as one of the country's largest undeveloped barrier islands. Covering an area of nearly 2,000 acres, the park is split into a northern and southern section, both of which offer great opportunities to get outdoors and explore.

With a diverse landscape of beaches, dunes, tidal marshes, maritime forests, creeks, and ponds, the park boasts an abundance of wildlife. It's particularly rich in birdlife and is home to large heron and osprey populations. Birders are welcome to take advantage of bird-watching blinds, so bring your binoculars.

Other fun activities include kayaking, surfing, and swimming, along with fishing in designated areas. There's also an extensive network of trails and boardwalks. Be sure to check out the Barnegat Lighthouse. Located at the southern tip of the park, it offers superb views over the water and surrounding countryside.

Location: Berkeley Township, New Jersey

Aerial view of Wildwood Crest Beach

Highlights : Long, wide beaches with great swimming, fishing, and water-based activities

In addition to the popular beach areas found in communities like Atlantic City and Cape May City, there are plenty of other great New Jersey beaches to explore.

Just a 15-minute drive north from Cape May itself, Wildwood Crest Beach is popular for its quieter pace and family-friendly ambience. Its clear waters and three miles of unspoiled white sand are perfect for little ones to splash and play, while also appealing to adults wanting to swim, sail, or charter a boat for some Atlantic fishing for everything from mackerel to sea bass.

The small community in which it's located, Brigantine Beach, is a great choice for those who like their waterfront experience on the quieter side. Also located to the north of Atlantic City, the community actually features a variety of beach options.

Another beach worth visiting for adults traveling without kids is Gunnison Beach, named after its former role as the location of a military gun battery. It's worth noting, though, that a substantial section of the beach has been designated clothing optional.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Highlights : Beautiful 400-mile-long riverscape with visitor center and Appalachian Trail access

Covering more than 70,000 acres, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area straddles the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania and includes a spectacular 40-mile protected stretch of the Delaware River. This large recreation area is accessible at numerous points, with the New Jersey section being serviced by two visitor centers.

The first of these, Millbrook Village Historic Site , consists of a re-creation of a 19th-century community complete with displays of traditional crafts. Equally fun to visit, the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center features numerous exhibits, magnificent views, and an access point for the Appalachian Trail .

Other park highlights include the Minisink Archaeological Site , where remnants from a 10,000-year-old settlement were found, as well as activities such as canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, and camping.

If you want to delve deeper into the history of the "Gap," pop across the border into Pennsylvania to the Delaware Water Gap Park Headquarters in Bushkill.

Address: Hardwick Township, New Jersey

Clarke House Museum

Highlights : Historic college and battlefield site linked to George Washington's victory

One of the best small towns in New Jersey , Princeton owes its international reputation to its university and associated research institutes. These include the Institute for Advanced Study, where Albert Einstein carried out his final work.

Established in 1756, the school's 1,600-acre grounds are wonderful to explore, and one of the best ways to do so is by joining the student-run tour program. These informative tours last an hour and are well worth it.

Another famous historic site is Princeton Battlefield State Park . This impressive 200-acre site is the location of the Battle of Princeton of 1777, which resulted in George Washington's victory over the British in the American Revolutionary War.

In addition to the battlefield itself, other highlights include Clarke House Museum . Built in 1772, the building was used as a hospital by troops from both sides of the conflict. The Ionic Colonnade and a memorial marking the graves of British and American soldiers should also be viewed.

Address: 500 Mercer Road, Princeton, New Jersey

Battleship New Jersey

Highlights : WWII battleship with exciting tours and overnight experiences

The US Navy's most decorated vessel, the mammoth USS New Jersey is now an excellent floating museum moored on the Delaware River. Highlights of a visit include guided tours through this historic Iowa-class battleship, launched in 1942 and one of the largest military vessels ever built.

Throughout the ship, you'll see numerous exhibits and displays of artifacts relating to its involvement in conflict zones from WWII to the Middle East in the 1980s. Other highlights include visiting the bridge where Admiral Halsey commanded the Pacific Fleet, and viewing its huge 16-inch guns.

If you can manage it, take advantage of the opportunity to spend a night aboard the ship or join one of its popular twilight tour packages.

Address: 100 Clinton Street, Camden, New Jersey

Clownfish at the Adventure Aquarium

Highlights : Family attractions with fish, turtles, penguins, stingrays, and even hippos

Another popular family attraction in New Jersey is the Adventure Aquarium on the Delaware River in Camden.

Considered one of the best aquatic educational facilities in the United States, this two-million-gallon aquarium is home to more than 8,500 marine animals, including a large collection of sharks, sea turtles, penguins, and stingrays. It also has the distinction of being the only aquarium in the world with hippos.

In addition to observing animals in their habitats, the aquarium gives visitors the opportunity to go "behind the scenes" and meet some up close, including African penguins, and sea turtles. An in-water encounter with sharks and stingrays is also available.

Address: 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey

Cape May County Park & Zoo

Highlights : Free-to-visit kid-friendly park with bike trails, picnic tables, and a fun zoo

Cape May County Park & Zoo is a favorite New Jersey attraction for families due to its numerous things to do and free admission.

The public park offers many recreational facilities that are all free and open to the public, including hiking and biking trails, a disc golf course, volleyball and tennis courts, and many more outdoor game areas. It's also equipped with picnic tables and grills.

The zoo was added to the park's facilities in 1978 and has grown over the years to include both native and exotic species. Among its residents, you will find the bald eagle, African lion, giraffe, ring-tailed lemur, zebra, and many more.

For a fee, visitors can sign up for a guided tour, a specialty tour for a behind-the-scenes look at caring for the animals, and even encounters with select zoo residents such as reptiles, primates, camels, and giraffes.

Address: 707 Route 9 North, Cape May Court House, New Jersey

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Highlights : Home to America's greatest inventor with guided and audio tours

A must-see when visiting New Jersey is the former home and laboratory of the state's most famous son, Thomas Edison. Preserved under the Thomas Edison National Historical Park , these two structures were where such breakthrough technologies as movie cameras, sound recordings, and batteries first saw the light of day.

Highlights of a visit include a close-up look at labs, vintage movies, and original artifacts, as well as a chance to tour Glenmont, Edison's magnificent Queen Anne-style home, a perfectly preserved 29-room mansion. Guided and audio tours are available for both sites.

Hot Tip: Tickets for Glenmore are available on a first-come first-served basis, so arrive early.

Address: 211 Main Street, West Orange, New Jersey

Grounds For Sculpture

Highlights : Huge sculpture park with lovely gardens, artwork, and events

Art lovers (and nature lovers) won't want to miss the incredible Grounds For Sculpture , a 42-acre museum and sculpture park in the town of Hamilton. Established in 1992 to facilitate the appreciation of contemporary sculpture, it has become one of the state's most popular art exhibits, boasting 270 large-scale works by Seward Johnson and other US artists.

In addition to the sculptures, the park itself is wonderfully landscaped with numerous trees and flowerbeds.

Another great art experience awaits at the Jersey City Museum with its collection of more than 300 paintings, as well as a large permanent collection of historical artifacts from the region. Also of interest is the Newark Museum , home to more than 80 galleries containing American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, as well as American Indian and African items.

Address: 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, New Jersey

Morey's Piers

Highlights : Historic attractions transformed with theme park rides suitable for all ages

Located on the shoreline of the resort town of Wildwood just a short drive from Cape May, the amusement and water parks at Morey's Piers cover six blocks running parallel to the sandy beach.

Beginning in 1968 with a lone waterslide and a concession stand, the Morey brothers have expanded the park over the past 50 years and have a legacy as the creators of one of the country's best parks.

There are rides for every age, from kiddie to family-friendly favorites like the tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars, and a 156-foot ferris wheel. There is also no lack of thrill rides, including several roller coasters and daredevil rides with names like IT and Springshot.

The park also includes a go-kart track, as well as several driving rides and interactive attractions like the "Ghost Ship." Morey's Piers also includes two water parks that offer refreshing waterslides, a lazy river, and pools with floating snack bars.

Address: 3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, New Jersey

Liberty Science Center

Highlights : Kid-friendly science center with hands-on interactive learning and laser shows

A highlight for kids visiting Liberty State Park is the Liberty Science Center . Located on the park's northwestern tip, this fun interactive science museum offers numerous fascinating hands-on exhibits and displays relating to science and technology. The recently updated planetarium conducts regular shows that explore the night sky and outer space, and is also host to films and amazing laser shows that envelop the audience.

The center also has a 3D theater that shows immersive films about science, technology, and nature. Interactive exhibits include the Infinity Climber and a pixel art wall, and there are plenty of educational presentations, including a lightning show, an animals encounter, and a touch-tank with sea creatures. Other highlights include exhibits about robotics, engineering, bees, energy, and much more.

Address: Liberty State Park, 222 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City, New Jersey

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ

Highlights : Huge wilderness area with birdwatching, wildlife, and hiking trails

Founded in 1960 and notable as the USA's first federal wilderness area, a visit to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is a great way to spend a few hours when in New Jersey. Just 30 miles from Jersey City, the refuge covers some 7,800 acres, and is significant for its diverse wildlife and vegetation.

It's a popular spot for birders, with more than 240 species of birds including it on their migration routes. In addition to a permanent population of birds, other species seen here include fox and deer, snakes and turtles, as well as numerous fish species.

The swamp, in fact, dates back to the end of the last Ice Age, and was also of importance as a hunting ground for Indigenous people who lived in the area over the past 10 millennia.

Location: New Vernon, New Jersey

The best time to visit New Jersey is in late spring, summer, or even early fall. While early spring weather in March can be cool and wet, with daytime temperatures in the 50s, things start to warm up into the high 60s in April. By spring's end in May, you can expect near summer-like temperatures in the high 70s with plenty of sunshine.

The warmest weather in New Jersey can be enjoyed during the summer months of June through July and August. While average temperatures at this time of year are in the 80s, you can, in fact, expect higher temperatures reaching into the 90s at times.

Fall is a great time to visit New Jersey if you're looking for cooler yet still pleasant weather. While daytime temperatures in September can feel like summer at times, things gradually cool down into October, with highs of 70 giving way to more common 60-degree weather. Come November, you'll start to feel that winter is definitely around the corner.

Winters are the least attractive times to visit New Jersey. While December doesn't typically get quite as cold as January and February, you'll face freezing temperatures in the low 40s during the coldest periods. You can also expect substantial snowfalls during a New Jersey winter, lasting quite possibly into the first weeks of spring.

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10 Best Places to Visit in New Jersey

Last updated on November 21, 2023 by Touropia Editors - Leave a Comment

New Jersey isn’t just an industrialized state or bedroom community for New York City . It is historic, being one of the original 13 colonies and home to several Revolutionary War battles. New Jersey also boasts miles and miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, making it a popular summer getaway.

Known as the “Jersey Shore” the area is well known for its many boardwalks, arcades, water parks, and amusement parks. It’s a popular summer destination for New Jerseyans, New Yorkers, and Pennsylvanians. An overview of the best places to visit in New Jersey :

10. Jersey City [SEE MAP]

Jersey City

With a population of 247,000 people, Jersey City is the second largest city in the state. Located within the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City has lots of things for visitors to see and do. One of the top attractions is the 9/11 Memorial located at Liberty State Park.

The park also has the shortest lines to visit the Statue of Liberty and provides stunning views of the New York City skyline. Other top sites include the Liberty Science Center and the Pole Position Raceway for go-karting.

9. Spring Lake [SEE MAP]

Spring Lake

Spring Lake might be a misnomer as it’s located on the Atlantic Ocean. But wait! There’s a lake in the center of town, to complement the beaches on the shore. To the delight of fishermen, the lake is stocked with trout.

The city also offers seven tennis courts and two beachside pools as well as shopping in a quaint village. Summer guests can bicycle around the city. The city says its boardwalk is the longest, uninterrupted non-commercial boardwalk in New Jersey. A special pass is required to access the two miles of beach.

8. Hoboken [SEE MAP]

Hoboken

While travelers may flock to other New Jersey cities for the beaches, they come to Hoboken to see the brownstone buildings and to eat. Located across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan, Hoboken is the place to go when visitors are seeking ethnic foods, ranging from Mexican to Italian to Indian.

It’s also a walk able city from the downtown and the waterfront. Pier C Park is aimed at children, but older visitors will enjoy the spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Also winning high marks is the Historical Museum, housed in an old steel plant.

7. Six Flags Great Adventure [SEE MAP]

Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure, located in Jackson, New Jersey, is the largest theme park in the New York City area. Visitors can ride a Ferris wheel that reaches 150 feet into the sky or ride a roller coaster that rounds the tracks at 22 mph.

Visitors who need a break from rides can try the parachute training center or take a bus through the Safari Off Road Adventure to see 1,200 wild animals. They can also take a magic tour a la the famous magician Harry Houdini or take a cable car ride over the park.

6. Cape May [SEE MAP]

Cape May

Cape May is a city located at the southern end of the Cape May peninsula. It is the place where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city has a harbor filled with commercial boats that fish in the Atlantic, and celebrates its heritage with a Harbor Fest in June.

A memorial to fishermen killed at sea overlooks the harbor. It bills itself as the “nation’s oldest seashore resort.” Because of its many Victorian buildings, the city is a National Historic District.

5. Wildwood [SEE MAP]

Wildwood

Wildwood, also located in Cape May County, is primarily a holiday town whose population swells in the summer months with holidaymakers coming mainly from New York and Philadelphia . From beaches to boardwalks to amusement parks with roller coaster and Ferris wheel rides, Wildwood offers many things to do for visitors of all ages. While these activities cater to younger visitors, the older generation may enjoy reliving the 1950s as The Doo Wop Preservation League Museum.

4. Princeton [SEE MAP]

Princeton

Princeton is best known for Princeton University, a college that was established in 1756, But there’s more to this town of 29,000 people than that. The town serves as the governor’s official residence, Drumthwacket, even though the state capital is in Trenton.

Home to several Fortune 500 companies, Princeton offers numerous tourist attractions, including the house where Albert Einstein lived and the Washington Oak, so named because the tree was alive in 1787 when the U.S. Constitution was signed. Hoagie fans will want to visit Hoagie Heaven, a notable Princeton eatery famous for its sub sandwiches.

3. Delaware Water Gap [SEE MAP]

Delaware Water Gap

For a truly outdoors experience away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, head to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This is a 40-mile (65 km) stretch of the Delaware River running through New Jersey and Pennsylvania . This section of the river is a Wild and Scenic River, with a myriad of activities, from hiking the Appalachian Trail and fishing to canoeing, hiking and horseback riding. It’s a great place to cross-country ski in the winter. The area is administered by the National Park Service.

2. Ocean City [SEE MAP]

Ocean City

Ocean City is a popular family resort in southern New Jersey’s Cape May. It’s so popular, in fact, that this city of less than 12,000 people attracts more than a million visitors a year. The boardwalk, at 2.5 miles (1.5 km) long, is home to a couple of amusement parks offering thrilling roller coaster rides. Ocean City has eight miles of pristine beaches that are considered some of the best in New Jersey; visitors need beach tags to access the beaches in the summer months.

1. Atlantic City [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In New Jersey

The most popular place to visit in New Jersey, Atlantic City is known for its gambling casinos and as the home of the Miss America pageant. Top waterfront attractions in the city include the famous wood-plank Boardwalk and Gardner’s Basin.

This area offers waterfront dining, shopping, fishing, dolphin sighting cruises and the Atlantic City Aquarium; best of all, parking is free here. New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, Absecon, is located at Pacific and Rhode Island avenues.

Map of New Jersey

New Jersey Map

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15 unmissable things to do in New Jersey

Stefanie Waldek

Sep 1, 2021 • 10 min read

View of Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, Lower Manhattan, Downtown New York City, from Jersey City.

View of Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center in Manhattan from Jersey City © Tony Shi Photography / Getty Images

It’s easy to write New Jersey off in favor of the two major cities that bookend it: New York and Philadelphia. But despite its diminutive size, the Garden State is filled with activities not only for first-time travelers to the area, but also weekend trippers from the aforementioned cities. 

Even if you’re a native New Jerseyan, you still may not have seen all the best sights in your home state. Here’s our list of the best things to do in New Jersey, whether you’re looking to explore the beaches of the Jersey Shore , learn about American history or eat at some of the best diners in the country.

Step back in time in Cape May 

Despite what you might’ve seen on an infamous reality show, the Jersey Shore is primarily a laid-back vacation destination, filled with nature preserves, historic lighthouses and good old-fashioned seaside activities, like mini-golf and ice cream parlors. 

One of the best shore towns in the state is Cape May, located at the southernmost tip of the state. Here, Victorian-era architecture abounds, and many of the colorful gingerbread-style houses are now B&Bs. 

Stroll the Washington Street Mall, a pedestrian-only main street for shopping and dining, see the historic Cape May Lighthouse (and neighboring World War II bunker, set right on the beach) or try a flight at one of the town’s breweries or wineries.

Exterior The Thomas Edison Monument in Edison where the famous inventor's laboratory once stood

Create memories at Thomas Edison’s mansion  

From 1886 to 1931 , legendary American inventor Thomas Alva Edison lived and worked in West Orange, New Jersey. It was here where he created some of his most important devices, including the alkaline storage battery and the motion picture camera. 

Edison’s historic mansion, Glenmont, and his laboratories are preserved as a national park site, which is home to the third-largest museum collection in the entirety of the National Park Service — there are some 300,000 items in the collection, plus more than 5 million historical documents. 

Craving more Edison history? You can also visit the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park , a separate organization dedicated to the inventor, which focuses on his earlier laboratory at Menlo Park.

Go for a hike at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

New Jersey might be the most densely populated state (Washington, D.C., excluded), but it’s still home to quite a few sprawling natural areas — it is nicknamed “The Garden State,” after all! 

For some of the best hiking opportunities in New Jersey , head to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a 70,000-acre park managed by the National Park Service with more than 150 miles of trails (including a portion of the Appalachian Trail ), a number of large waterfalls and three river beaches . It’s located in Northwest New Jersey, between New York and Scranton, Pennsylvania. 

Stroll Grounds for Sculpture

Stroll through 42 acres of outdoor art installations, indoor art exhibitions and gardens at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township. Opened in 1992, the non-profit sculpture park and museum has a permanent collection of works by more than 150 artists , though more than 700 artists such as Isaac Witkin, Joyce J. Scott, Beverly Pepper and Willie Cole have exhibited here over the past three decades. 

Grounds for Sculpture is open year-round, and visiting across seasons provides vastly different experiences — make sure to come back more than once. 

the exterior of an old fashioned diner restaurant in a small suburban town in North America

Eat at a Jersey diner

Jersey locals will argue that their hometown diner is the best in the state, it’s hard to find any clear consensus on which one is actually the best. But ultimately it doesn’t matter at all — each of the more than 600 diners in New Jersey is delightful in its own way, whether that’s through an extensive menu or retro decor. 

There are two must-orders at any diner. First up is disco fries, a Jersey take on poutine: french fries are smothered with gravy and melted cheese. Second is perhaps the most famous dish in the state, a salty breakfast meat typically served fried in a breakfast sandwich. There’s a reason we didn’t call it by its name — the food is at the center of an ages-long dispute. In South Jersey, it’s known as “pork roll,” which is its generic name. Up North, it’s called “Taylor Ham,” a brand name that’s been co-opted into jargon, like Band-Aid for bandage or Kleenex for tissue. Whatever name they use, it’s absolutely delicious.

Get the best views of the NYC skyline at Liberty State Park

For the best views of New York’s skyline, visit Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. The 1212-acre site is home to a number of attractions, including a two-mile waterfront promenade, a historic train terminal, a nature reserve and the Liberty Science Center . 

But the park is perhaps best known as a ferry departure point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island , both of which are technically in Jersey waters. So can New Jersey claim the historic landmarks as their own? Well, not quite. 

Liberty Island, home to the green lady, is an enclave of New York State , as is the part of Ellis Island that houses the main museum dedicated to immigration. But the other side of Ellis Island — the side with the abandoned hospital filled with installations by street artist JR — is actually still part of New Jersey . 

This dark, mysterious part of the island is generally closed to the public, but special hard-hat tours are available through Save Ellis Island throughout the year, and they’re a great way to experience an entirely different part of Ellis Island. 

Morrey's Pier amusement park at sunrise in Wildwood New Jersey

Nab a funnel cake at Wildwood Boardwalk

The quintessential American shop-and-amusements-lined boardwalk as we know it originated in New Jersey, specifically in Atlantic City in 1870 . Since then, New Jersey has built a number of substantial boardwalks along its shore, in towns such as Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights and Ocean City. 

But the best boardwalk, in our opinion, is in Wildwood (as with many things Jersey, this is a controversial and much-debated topic). The two-mile-long stretch of planks has all the boardwalk classics, from funnel cake stands to frozen custard spots to tacky T-shirt shops, as well as the amusement park Morey’s Piers, which is spread across three piers. 

As you stroll, keep an ear out for the tram cars — you’ll hear them blare out “watch the tram car, please,” which has become something of a tagline for the boardwalk.

Visit Camden’s aquarium and battleship

Camden, located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, may not be a high-priority destination for travelers, but two of its attractions are among New Jersey’s bests. First up is the Adventure Aquarium , home to more than 15,000 animals , including hippos (Button and Genny), African penguins and the largest collection of sharks in the northeastern United States. 

Then there’s the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial , which is housed on the eponymous ship moored in Camden; it’s the most decorated battleship in the history of the U.S. Navy.

A sandy rural road going through the Pine Barrens in Southern New Jersey.

Chase the Jersey Devil in Pine Barrens

Thanks to The Sopranos, the Pine Barrens has a bit of a reputation for nefarious dealings . It’s also the home base for the legend of the Jersey Devil, highlighted in an episode of The X-Files. So if you’re into true crime and creepy folklore, hey, this 1.1-million-square-acre region in South Jersey is the place for you!

But despite what popular culture might have you think, the Pine Barrens is not only an important ecosystem in New Jersey — it’s the largest area of Atlantic Coastal pine barrens left in the country — but also a scenic destination for hiking, biking, kayaking and camping.

Returning to the creepy side of things, the Pine Barrens is also home to a number of ghost towns visitable by the public today.

Ride the tallest coaster in the world at Six Flags Great Adventure

If you grew up in New Jersey, your summer wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township. The theme park is home to the tallest roller coaster in the world and the fastest in North America, Kingda Ka, which tops out at 418 feet and 128 miles per hour. (That first record will fall in a few years, when the 525-foot-tall Falcon’s Flight opens at Six Flags Qiddiya.) 

Other ride highlights include wooden masterpiece El Toro and steel giant Nitro. Within the Great Adventure complex are also the Hurricane Harbor water park and a drive-through safari.

Exterior view of the infamous music venue the Stone Pony in Asbury Park New Jersey.jpg

Spend a weekend in Asbury Park

Over the past decade or so, Asbury Park has transformed from a dilapidated shell of a beach town littered with ruins to one of the hottest destinations on the whole Jersey Shore. Each weekend, trains from New York City bring in the visitors who come to explore the cool boutique hotels, drink at the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten , visit the Silverball Museum of pinball machines, and catch a live show at the iconic Stone Pony music venue . And, of course, there’s the beach.

Check out Newark Museum’s Tibetan collection 

Another Newark gem — seriously, forget about the airport! — is the Newark Museum of Art , the largest museum in New Jersey. Its holdings include works by American artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and Joseph Stella, as well as a highly regarded Tibetan collection that includes an altar blessed by the Dalai Lama. 

The museum is also dedicated to science (there’s a planetarium on site) and the decorative arts (visit the historic Ballantine House to see period furniture from the late 19th century).

Students walking on Princeton University campus

Get a taste of Ivy League life at Princeton

Head to Princeton, New Jersey, to check out the Ivy League university that shares the town’s name — its photogenic campus is filled with classic Collegiate Gothic–style architecture, not to mention the Princeton University Art Museum . 

But don’t miss a chance to explore the historic downtown; Drumthwacket , the governor’s residence; the Albert Einstein House , where the scientist lived for the last 20 years of his life; the historic Moroven Museum and Garden and Princeton Battlefield State Park , among other impressive sites.

Shot of the six-story elephant-shaped -- built by James V. Lafferty in 1882

Who is Lucy the Elephant?

One of the more unusual sights in New Jersey is Lucy the Elephant in Margate, a six-story building modeled after a pachyderm. She was constructed in 1881 — before the Statue of Liberty — by inventor James L. Lafferty , who sought to attract real estate investors to the seaside destination. 

After her duties as a giant billboard were completed, she was turned into a tavern, then eventually (at least for a brief period in 2020), as overnight lodging .

Dine on international cuisine in the Ironbound

Most travelers know Newark as one of the most-disliked airports in the country , but the city of Newark itself has quite a few surprises. Foremost is the Ironbound, a neighborhood known as a hub for various immigrant groups in the 19th and 20th centuries, which is one of the state’s best culinary destinations. 

There are more than 170 restaurants in the four-square-mile area , with cuisines ranging from Portuguese (Sol Mar Marisqueira & Restaurant) to Ecuadorian (Ecua Cafe) to Chinese (Cheung Hing). With easy access via public transportation from New York City, it’s a perfect day trip destination.

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Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in New Jersey 

Unashamedly loud, proud, and feisty, arguably one of America’s most fun states sure packs a punch. For such a small place New Jersey has quite the list of impressive cultural connections including being the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, FM radio, drive-in movies, and has also provided a backdrop for two major HBO series and two major reality TV programs. That’s not forgetting its equally impressive scenery.

The beautiful long, wide sandy beaches are the first things people usually think of when they think of New Jersey but explore away from the sunbathing and rollercoaster-riding crowds and you’ll also find some unique and tranquil beauty spots. Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey…

1. Jersey City Skyline – a fabulous view in the cool US state

Jersey City Skyline

America’s most diverse city just across the Hudson River, Jersey City is renowned for its gorgeous vistas and exciting cultural scene. A bite out of the Big Apple, Jersey City exudes urban vibes amid the vast green space.

America’s monumental symbol, the Statue of Liberty stands tall in the waters of Upper Bay. Pride of New Jersey, the Liberty State Park offers a perfect spot to watch the towering skyscrapers and colossal buildings transform in all their glittery splendor.

Walk across the iconic Hudson River Waterfront Walkway , a premier riverside hub with iconic vistas of the Manhattan skyline.

2. Ocean City – America’s favorite family-friendly resort town which is home to a very beautiful beach

Ocean City New Jersey

Nestled in Cape May County, Ocean City is a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Found in 1879, Ocean City’s sparkling ocean and meticulously maintained bay beaches will make you return over and over.

Fill your days with shimmering water and brilliant sunshine in America’s greatest family resort.

With nearly eight miles of pristine waters and white sandy beaches, there is plenty of room for exploring or simply watching the beautiful waves.

Enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk with a magical Music Pier and amusing rides, whatever you do, the fun never ends at Ocean City. Easily one of the best places to visit in New Jersey! 

3. Ramapo Valley County Reservation – one of the most stunning places to visit in New Jersey

Ramapo Valley County Reservation

Surrounding the Ringwood State Park to the north and the Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the south, the Ramapo Valley County Reservation is located in Mahwah.

Covering an area of over 4,000 acres, this Bergen County park is a blend of diversified landscapes.

Visitors can experience the wonderful waterfall, forest, river streams, reservoir, lake, and meadows at this unique county park. Gaze at wonderful views at the Ramapo River, walk around the Scarlet Oak Pond or hike along with a variety of scenic trails, the Ramapo Reservation offers the best way to commune with nature.

4. Atlantic City Pier and Boardwalk – one of the best tourist attractions to visit in New Jersey

Atlantic City Pier

The world-famous Atlantic City boardwalk sits at the heart of the city. The six-mile stretch of the Atlantic boardwalk was developed in the 1870s by Alexander Boardman which remains a hot spot for visitors from all over the country to date.

Brace yourself for a thrilling adventure in the majestic Steel Pier featuring a colorful Ferris wheel and amusement park that light up the boardwalk.

Shop your heart out at the Playground Pier’s luxury stores or relive the history in the Garden Pier’s arts and cultural center, the Atlantic boardwalk is the best waterfront fun destination in New Jersey.

5. Seven Mile Beach, Stone Harbor – a picturesque place to visit in New Jersey

Stone Harbor New Jersey

Lauded as one of the best beaches on the Eastern seaboard, the Seven Mile Island offers a quaint beach with a beautiful stretch of white sand.

Located on the Jersey Shore in Cape May County, the boroughs of Avalon and Stone Harbor make up this charming little island. A coastal paradise, the clear waters, protected dunes, and wildlife preserves make up this stunning Jersey shore.

Bask in the sunshine, snorkel the beautiful marine life, or sail across the tiny islands, the magical town of Avalon captures a small-town charm. From fine restaurants to museum-quality art, the island is a paradise for vacationers.

6. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – a gorgeous beauty spot and one of the best things to do in New Jersey

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

New Jersey’s most admired scenic park, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area runs through Sussex & Warren counties in New Jersey. Named after the famous “Water gap” formed in the middle of Delaware River’s passage cutting through the Kittatinny Mountain.

The scenic passage between low forested mountain and rocky mountain ridges has a distinct vacation appeal. Covering a gigantic area of 70,000 acres, the park encompasses Native American sites and structures from early Dutch settlement.

Hike to the Dingman Falls , visit the historic Millbrook Village , or indulge in water sports along the Delaware River valley , the pristine landscape of this recreation area will take you back in time. Expect gorgeous views and equally gorgeous scenery.

7. Island Beach State Park – a captivating barrier island to visit on New Jersey shore filled with beautiful views

Island Beach State Park

State’s largest preserved barrier island, the Island Beach State Park is nestled between the restless Atlantic Ocean and the historic Barnegat Bay.

Stretching over 3,000 acres with 10 miles of coastal dunes, the barrier island ecosystem hosts one of the largest underdeveloped beaches of New Jersey.

A unique national resource with the largest expanse of beach, rolling dunes, lush maritime forests, and tidal marshes, the Island beach is home to diverse fauna and flora. Enjoy picnicking, ocean swimming, hiking, scuba diving, and surfing like no other’s own treasured gem.

8. Cape May – America’s charming and pretty historic seaside resort and a popular tourist attraction

Cape May New Jersey

Undeniably one of the best beaches on the Middle Atlantic Coast, beautiful Cape May is located at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula in Cape May County.

A wholly designated national landmark, the Cape May Historic District preserves all the Victorian-era houses with a rich cultural history.

New Jersey’s jewel in the crown, Cape May offers immaculate beaches apart from rich architectural diversity. Take a scenic walk on the promenade, dip your toes in the tranquil beaches, or indulge in water sports, a trip to this seaside town holds endless promise.

9. Wildwood Beach – a sports beach and one of the best places to visit in New Jersey

Wildwood Beach New Jersey

A prime resort town on the southern shores of New Jersey, the Wildwoods comprises adjacent islands of North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Diamond Beach, and Lower Township.

Stretching over five miles with a beautiful wide sandy shoreline, one-of-a-kind boardwalk, and impeccable beaches, the Wildwoods offers an ideal vacation on the east coast.

Brimming with water sports, history and amusement parks, and antique stores, the Wildwoods has the liveliest stretch of fun and excitement for the family.

10. Barnegat lighthouse State Park – a beautiful protected area to visit with a striking landmark

Barnegat lighthouse State Park

On the northern tip of Long Beach Island in Ocean County is the memorable Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. The beautiful 32-acre Barnegat Lighthouse Park opened in 1957 with the main attraction of the lighthouse.

Lovingly called the “Beaming Barney”, the Barnegat Lighthouse served as a strategic navigational point for ships bound from New York Harbor.

Get on the top to capture a mesmerizing view of Long Beach Island, Barnegat Bay, and Island Beach from the lofty perch of the lighthouse.

Visit the Barnegat Light Museum or hike the Maritime Forest Trail , the state park offers a great spot to relax and observe nature. Easily one of the best things to do in New Jersey.

11. Asbury Park – an incredible coastal city on the New Jersey shore

Asbury Park - best places to visit in New Jersey

A monumental shore town approx. 60 miles from New York City, stunning Asbury Park is also referred to as the “Queen of New Jersey shore”. Located in Monmouth County on New Jersey’s central coast, Asbury city offers endless sands, historic buildings, eclectic restaurants, vibrant nightlife and much more.

Entertaining the crowds for 90 years, the Convention Hall and Paramount Theater is a cultural hub on the Jersey shore.

Music history buffs can visit the legendary Stone Pony while art buffs can explore the vibrant murals along the promenade of Asbury Park. Surf along the cool waves or walk along the beachfront boardwalk, Asbury Park is the best seashore destination for every season.

12. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge – one of the best places outside in New Jersey to go nature and bird watching

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge located in southern NJ along the Atlantic coast, just north of Atlantic City.

It protects over 47,000 acres of southern NJ coastal habitats and wetlands. Running for 50 miles along the coast between Brick Township and its southern extent, the Refuge has over 300 distinct species of birds and 10 gates through which visitors can access it.

The best place to view these beautiful, exotic, and often rare birds is at the Wildlife Dr. in the Brigantine Division. The 8-mile one-way road runs through awe-inspiring wetlands and woodlands.

The four hiking trails give you appreciable views of the far stretches of the Refuge while there’s also plenty of guided activities in additional to birding and hiking, such as fishing, biking, canoeing, and kayaking.

13. Princeton – go sightseeing in this charming and attractive famous university city

Princeton - best places to visit in New Jersey

Princeton happens to be one of the best-known small towns in NJ, largely due to its renowned reputation for having the Ivy League Princeton University, as well as the associated research institutes – including the Institute for Advanced Study, an academic setting remembered fondly for it was where Albert Einstein performed his final work.

The school’s 1600-acre grounds are a joy to explore and, in fact, many families and couples alike enjoy taking the student-run tour program.

Another historic site you should visit is Princeton Battlefield State Park – a 200-acre site where the Battle of Princeton took place in 1977 – a hallmark in American history as this is where George Washington triumphed over the British army in the Revolutionary War.

There’s also the Clarke House Museum to explore but if you’re not much of a history or war buff, you can always take a stroll around Palmer Square while browsing through the unique boutique stores or explore the beautiful rolling countryside at your own pace.

14. Gunnison Beach – a beautiful New Jersey beach with sand, sea, and views of NYC

Gunnison Beach - beauty spots in New Jersey

Quite a character, the beautiful Gunnison Beach takes its name from the adjacent Battery Gunnison. A soothing place to swim and surf, Gunnison Beach offers exemplary views of New York City and Long Island.

Nestled within the Sandy Hook Area, Gunnison Beach is the only clothing-optional beach along in New Jersey.

Aside from its excellent outdoor appeal, Gunnison Beach is home to the oldest working lighthouse and Fort Hancock which served as a strategic location for harbor defense during World War II.

15. George Washington Bridge – America’s noblest marvel on the Hudson River and one of the most interesting places to visit in New Jersey

George Washington Bridge

One of the best tourist attractions in New Jersey and the busiest bridges in the world, the George Washington Bridge is an iconic structure of the US. Standing tall above the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge connects New York with New Jersey.

Constructed in the year 1931, the Washington Bridge is a National Landmark. Designed by Othmar Ammann, the GW Bridge extends over 4,760ft between anchorages.

Carrying over 100 million drivers annually, the Bridge is always full of cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians. An engineering marvel, the GWB is a towering symbol of the USA.

16. Ventnor Beach – a quiet and attractive seaside retreat on the Jersey shoreline

Ventnor Beach New Jersey

A quaint coastal town located few miles from Atlantic City, Ventnor City offers a serene seaside retreat on the East Coast. Founded in 1903, Ventnor City retains the unique charm of a beautiful seaside destination.

With spotless beaches, rocky coastline, and lovely sandy dunes, Ventnor Beach is spacious enough to have a slice of paradise.

A picture-perfect Oceanside resort, Ventnor Beach’s fishing pier provides panoramic views of the vast Atlantic Ocean with its shimmering waters. Featuring the only non-commercial boardwalk of NJ, Ventnor City is a perfect fusion of beachside cottages 

17. South Mountain Reservation – one of New Jersey’s natural scenic locations and one of the best places to go outside

South Mountain Reservation New Jersey

Located in West Orange, NJ, the South Mountain Reservation ranges over 2,112 acres of natural land this heart-warming reserve is included in the Essex County Park System and is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey. 

With nearly 30 hiking, biking, and running trails, you’re bound to enjoy the scenic views and nature that can overwhelm the senses at times.

There’s a huge reservoir here too where you can go boating on the waterfront or enjoy a swan boat ride. The fantastic Pirate Ship playground is something that not only the young ones but also grownups will enjoy just as much! 

18. Hoboken – checking out all the cool spots in Hoboken is a fun thing to do in New Jersey

Hoboken - awesome places in New Jersey

Hoboken, the NJ city on the Hudson River, was a former industrial port. Today, it features some of the best parks, like Pier A Park, complete with stunning Manhattan skyline views.

Bistros, bars, and global eateries flood Washington Street and riverside Frank Sinatra Drive, named after the heartthrob singer who was born here.

However, Hoboken is also quite famous as the ‘birthplace of baseball’. Not only that, but it’s also famous as “the place” where the very first Oreo cookie was ever sold! 

When you’re done exploring the football field-sized Pier A Park, you can walk, bike ride or take the entire family (plus your dog) to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.

The long paths give you a chance to check out some of Hoboken’s best parks and piers – the piéce de résistance offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the skyline which you can enjoy all the way from the north to the south of the city.

19. Paterson Great Falls – a scenic beauty spot to visit in New Jersey

Paterson Great Falls

Centered in a historic district of economic importance, the roaring and stunning Paterson Great Falls is where American innovation took flight. America’s first industrial center, Paterson City was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1792.

Right in the middle of urban development, the charismatic Great Falls of the Passaic River plunges at a height of 77ft.

Explore the surrounding historic mills, ancient geology, and engineering landmarks that marked the Industrial Revolution in America.

Perhaps the most unusually situated waterfall, the Paterson Falls is a classic example of resilient nature despite economic advancements. One of the best places outside for taking fantastic photos.

20. Newark – one of the must-see New Jersey destinations which is known for hosting great cultural events

Newark City New Jersey

Newark is home to Newark Liberty International Airport and also hosts big-name concerts, shows, and dance performances at the revered NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center).

Newark Museum boasts an art collection which features many famous American paintings and sculptures, including The Voice of the City of New York Interpreted, Party Time: Re-imagine America, Slave Rape Story Quilt, and many more.

While the Branch Brook Park offers alluring pathways and lakes to explore, all surrounded by abundant cherry trees, the towering Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, built originally in 1898, truly is a sight to behold and makes for a great family picnic spot.

Frequently asked questions

1. what is the most beautiful part of new jersey, 2. what is the number 1 attraction in new jersey, 3. what is the best area to live in new jersey, 4. what are the top 10 amazing places to visit in new jersey.

  • Jersey City Skyline
  • Ocean City 
  • Atlantic City Pier and Boardwalk
  • Cape May 
  • Ramapo Valley County Reservation 
  • Seven Mile Beach, Stone Harbor 
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
  • Island Beach State Park
  • Wildwood Beach 
  • Asbury Park 

5. Where can I go with my family today in New Jersey?

We also have posts on… .

  • The most beautiful places to visit in New York State
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Delaware
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Maryland
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Pennsylvania

Becky Moore

Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer

My first true adventure began as a six-month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh-faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi-nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in the warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds, and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex-Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.

Hotel Reviewing Experience – published hotel review in the 52 Sleeps Book organised by Laterooms.com and Lonely Planet. Asked by over 12 tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Germany Tourist Board , Canada Tourist Board , Eviivo , France.fr , Visitoostende.be , Live Riga and Queensland Tourist Board . Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos .

I’ve also been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic , The Times , LA Weekly , Yahoo Travel , Huffington Post , Business Insider , Thrillist , British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur , Daily Express , Wanderlust , Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and Metro . Winner of Travel Blog of the Year . Find me on Linkedin or Facebook .

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30 BEST Things To Do In New Jersey & Places To Visit In 2023

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What things to do in New Jersey are on your bucket list? 

About author.

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Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.

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30 Best Things to Do in New Jersey, the Garden State

Home | Travel | North America | United States | New Jersey | 30 Best Things to Do in New Jersey, the Garden State

There are plenty of  things to do in New Jersey  tucked away in natural areas. Nicknamed the “Garden State”, its location in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. makes it easy to get to major metropolitan cities such as New York or Philadelphia, where I live.

This is why I have been spending many weekends for the last four years in the state, trying to visit as many landmarks in New Jersey as I can and enjoying its natural landscapes and wild beaches. This is the fourth-smallest state by area, but the 11th most populous. However, you can still find some natural wonders to get away from the crowds.

From north to south, there are countless  activities to do in New Jersey , as you will find out below. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see what kinds of tourist spots and recreational areas you can find here! New Jersey doesn’t always get a good rap, but it’s just because people don’t know where to go.

Now, let’s jump into the 30 top-rated New Jersey attractions  you shouldn’t miss. At the end of the article, you will also find a map to help you plan your perfect trip or weekend getaway.

1. Cape May, one of the best beaches in New Jersey

There are lots of  places in NJ  where you can spend a vacation, but  Cape May is always considered one of the best beaches in New Jersey and in the country. It’s also one of the oldest resort areas in the U.S.

Cape May is at the southern tip of the state and one of the most  famous places in New Jersey , thanks to its Victorian buildings and historic landmarks. As you walk the streets of this beachside town, you’ll notice many homes with gingerbread-style architecture and pastel color palettes.

Some of these are rental homes, while others belong to residents of the city. The  Emlen Physick Estate  is one of those properties. The former home of Dr. Emlen Physick, Jr., this 18-room mansion was built in 1879 and is now a museum.

1. Cape May, one of the best beaches in New Jersey

Also check out the  Historic Cold Spring Village , a living-history museum that recreates the old rural New Jersey lifestyle.

I also recommend visiting  Cape May Point State Park  for hiking, nature walks, swimming, and other outdoor activities. Here you’ll also find the  Cape May Lighthouse , a 157-foot-tall tower first lit in 1859.

Of course, you can’t visit Cape May without visiting the beaches! Enjoy the sandy shores, where you might stumble across Cape May “diamonds” (clear quartz pebbles). There, you can take a  dolphin-watching tour , such as this  2-hour sunset cruise, although here you can check out the article we have written with the best whale and dolphin watching tours in Cape May.

While there are plenty of  things to do in this New Jersey  town, you could also take the  Cape May-Lewes Ferry  into Delaware for a fun day trip.

2. The Wildwoods, an area with more things to do in New Jersey

You might consider  The Wildwoods  to be Cape May’s rowdier younger sibling. Visiting this area is one of the most popular  things to do in South Jersey  during the summer. This family resort is about 30 minutes north of Cape May and offers free beaches. It’s famous for its 1.8-mile boardwalk and Doo-Wop-style hotels.

Something you’ll notice about Wildwood is the wide distance between the boardwalk and the ocean. The wide beaches are often venues for many events throughout the year, such as concerts, movie nights, and monster truck rallies.

2. The Wildwoods, a fun place to go in New Jersey

2. The Wildwoods, a fun place to go in New Jersey

From the beach, you’ll have a nice view of  Morey’s Piers , the three amusement piers that extend from the boardwalk. Spend the night enjoying the rides, which range from kid-friendly to extreme, as well as arcade games and classic boardwalk foods. Morey’s Piers also features two large waterparks and artBOX, repurposed shipping containers that feature local artists’ works.

Take some time to step away from the boardwalk and explore the other  New Jersey attractions  in Wildwood. The  Naval Air Station Wildwoods Aviation Museum  has over 20 aircraft on display, mostly vintage models from World War II.

Another little-known attraction is the  Hereford Inlet Light  in North Wildwood. This 50-foot lighthouse started operating in 1874 and offers pleasant views of the beach. Both these sites are fun  things to do in New Jersey with kids , although adults will love them, too.

3. Atlantic City, a place to enjoy the nightlife in New Jersey

Atlantic City  is one of the most famous  attractions in NJ , mostly for its busy boardwalk and casinos. This place is a hotspot for entertainment and nightlife. However, even if there are beaches and oceanfront bars, Atlantic City isn’t one of my favorite beaches in New Jersey.

A  historical place in New Jersey , Atlantic City was incorporated in 1854 and was the inspiration for the board game  Monopoly . Its boardwalk opened in 1870 and continues to be a focal point for dining, entertainment, amusements, and gambling.

There are several  casinos  along the boardwalk, a few of which Trump Entertainment Resorts owned. Besides the slot machines and table games, the casinos are luxurious venues for concerts and stage productions, as well as fine dining.

3. Visit Atlantic City, the best thing to do in NJ at night

3. Visit Atlantic City, the best thing to do in NJ at night

Another  thing to do in New Jersey ‘s Atlantic City is to visit  Steel Pier . Opened in 1898, the amusement pier is one of the state’s most famous landmarks. Along with rides, games, and food stalls, it’s a takeoff spot for helicopter tours over the Atlantic Ocean.

If a helicopter ride is too scary, an alternative could be a pleasant dolphin watching tour.

As you can see, Atlantic City has something for all ages and interests, so be sure to stop by as you make your way along the NJ coastline.

4. The Pine Barrens, one of the top free things to do in New Jersey

Also called  the Pinelands  or the Pines, this forest is the largest remaining area of the Atlantic coastal pine barrens ecosystem. The Pines stretch across much of New Jersey and provide great opportunities for hiking and camping. It’s also one of the  most beautiful places in New Jersey and the perfect place to get some time in nature.

The Pine Barrens consists of temperate forests filled with coniferous trees. You can find pockets of the Pinelands from just about anywhere in the state.

Exploring the NJ Pinelands is a wonderful  free thing to do in New Jersey . Here, I’ll share some of the best areas in the Pine Barrens that I recommend.

4. The Pine Barrens, a free place to go in New Jersey

4. The Pine Barrens, a free place to go in New Jersey

Batsto Village  in the Wharton State Forest is one of the top spots in the Pines. Dating back to the 1760s, today it’s a restored ironworks village and sits by the gorgeous Batsto River and Lake, perfect for canoeing and kayaking.

Double Trouble State Forest  is home to another historic village, this one an old cranberry farm. Check out the campground and hiking trails, several of which pass by Cedar Creek, one of the most pleasant nearby areas.

East Plains at Warren Grove  is a good place to see pygmy pines, and the  Brendan T. Byrne State Forest  is where you’ll find wetlands, waterways, and reservoirs, including Pakim Pond.

5. Princeton, NJ, another city to visit in New Jersey

This city is probably best known for Princeton University, but there is more to this college town than its school.  Princeton  was founded before the Revolutionary War, so it’s one of the oldest cities in the country. With its small-town feel and community-centered attractions, it’s a  nice place in New Jersey  to pass through.

Since the University is one of the top  landmarks in this New Jersey  town, I recommend checking it out. The campus is quite beautiful, with green spaces, a lake, and buildings in the collegiate gothic style of architecture. You should also visit the  Princeton University Art Museum , which is open to the public for free. The museum has a large collection of Greek and Roman work, although its exhibits span all of art history.

5. Go to Princeton, another thing to do in New Jersey

5. Go to Princeton, another thing to do in New Jersey

The  Morven Museum & Garden  is another landmark in the city. This 1700s mansion was the home of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Today, it’s a museum that focuses on the area’s cultural history. The outdoor grounds include lovely gardens, orchards, and terraces.

The  Princeton Battlefield State Park  is another historical site. American and British troops fought here during the Revolutionary War in 1777. Here, you’ll find the  Clarke House Museum , an old Quaker property housing military exhibits.

Another great thing about Princeton is that it’s just between Philadelphia and New York City, so it’s a convenient pitstop for travelers. Before you leave, stop by the  Dutch Farmer’s Market  and the  Palmer Square  downtown area, where you can find restaurants, galleries, shops, and other  fun things to do in NJ .

6. Island Beach State Park, a lovely area to visit in New Jersey

Island Beach State Park  is my favorite  place to visit in New Jersey . It’s in central NJ at the southern end of Island Beach (barrier island), nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Barnegat Bay.

What I love about this place is that it is as it was hundreds of years ago. There are no buildings throughout this 10-mile stretch of wild beaches, just thousands of white dunes, wetlands, coastal forest, and tidal marshes.

Here you can find some of the best beaches in New Jersey, which also serve as habitats to maritime plants and diverse wildlife including foxes, terrapins, blue crabs, dolphins, and even horseshoe crabs. However, the thing that makes Island Beach one of the most popular attractions in NJ is that it’s home to the state’s largest osprey colony.

one of the best things to do in New Jersey Island Beach State Park

Although most visitors prefer the southern area, which is accessible with a beach buggy permit, I love the northern area, which is more secluded.

Renting a kayak to explore the Barnegat Bay from here is also one of the best  things to do in New Jersey in the summer . If you do so, check out the  Sedge Islands Marine Conservation Zone .

Island Beach State Park is pretty popular, so in summer try to be at the entrance very early since it has a limited capacity. If not, you will have to enter on foot or by bike or spend your day at the crowded beach of Seaside Heights , a family resort with a boardwalk and amusement pier.

7. Explore Long Beach Island, one of the best things to do in New Jersey in summer

Long Beach Island is another top-rated place to visit in New Jersey at the Barnegat peninsula just below Island Beach. This is a more upscale beach community and has a more laid-back vibe than places like the Wildwoods or Atlantic City. However, don’t be fooled; you can’t escape the crowds here either!

Still, it’s a family-oriented vacation spot, where the main activities are boating, fishing, parasailing, swimming, and mini-golf rather than amusements and beach bars. It’s the perfect place if you are looking for relaxing things to do in New Jersey , particularly during the summer months.

7. Long Beach Island, the best place to go in NJ for families

7. Long Beach Island, the best place to go in NJ for families

Moreover, LBI is close to Beach Haven , which has an amusement pier and a variety of restaurants and shops in case you’re seeking something a bit more exciting. During the high season, you can attend outdoor concerts, flea markets, and parades, as well as enjoy some time at the oceanfront waterpark.

Other beautiful places in New Jersey are Surf City, another great holiday destination north of Long Beach Island, and at the northern tip of the Barnegat peninsula. Here you will find the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park overlooking Island Beach.

8. USS New Jersey, another attraction to visit in New Jersey

The USS New Jersey , also known as the Battleship New Jersey, is a museum ship docked in Camden, and a top tourist attraction in New Jersey among history buffs.

This battleship was first launched in 1942 on the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Along with its participation in World War II, the ship was also involved in raids during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

The USS New Jersey is especially commendable because it has earned more battle stars for combat than any ship in its class. It’s the largest Navy battleship and was also the only U.S. ship to provide gunfire support during the Vietnam War.

8. USS New Jersey, a top landmark in NJ

8. USS New Jersey, a top landmark in NJ

It docked for good in 2000 when it arrived at the Camden Waterfront across the river from Philadelphia. The Waterfront is a hub for cultural things to do in New Jersey, and the battleship is one of the most popular attractions.

The museum exhibits feature anti-aircraft weapons, missiles, and other Navy-related relics. Visitors can take a tour of the ship’s mess hall, communications room, gun turret, and more.

Even if you have a short visit to the USS New Jersey, the Waterfront offers other attractions including the BB&T Pavilion, Camden Children’s Garden, the marina, and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge that crosses over to Philadelphia.

9. Liberty State Park at Jersey City, a spectacular place to see in New Jersey

There are awesome things to do in North Jersey , too. I recommend visiting Liberty State Park in Jersey City , an interesting place to go with family or friends.

The park provides lovely views of the Hudson River with New York’s Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty on the other side. The Liberty Walkway is a scenic promenade that also contains a bridge to Ellis Island. From the Walkway, you can access the Statue of Liberty overlook as well as picnic and play areas.

9. Liberty State Park, one of the best places to go in New Jersey

9. Liberty State Park, one of the best places to go in New Jersey

On the opposite end of the park, be sure to check out the Liberty Science Center . It was the first science museum in the state, and it currently has New Jersey’s largest planetarium. If you’re looking for what to do in New Jersey with kids or on a rainy day, this museum is a great option.

I also think that Liberty Park is a nice place in New Jersey to learn more about the nation’s history. There are several meaningful monuments and areas where you can reflect and have some quiet time. Stop by the U.S. Flag Plaza, Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, and the Liberation monument dedicated to Holocaust victims.

10. Delaware Water Gap, the best place to hike in New Jersey

Don’t let the name confuse you. The Delaware Water Gap is an area where the Delaware River flows through the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here, there is a large ridge that cuts through the Appalachian Mountains, and this is the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, one of the most scenic places in NJ .

Covering 7,000 acres, this recreational spot is the perfect place in New Jersey to enjoy some outdoor fun. There are several lauded hiking trails in the region, as well as areas for camping, kayaking, and rock climbing.

Some of the popular hiking paths in the Delaware Water Gap include the Red Dot Trail and the Dunfield Creek Trail , which merges with the Appalachian Trail. The Red Dot Trail is a 3-mile loop that takes you to Mount Tammany , the southernmost peak of the Kittatinny Mountains. The Dunfield Creek Trail is longer, but less strenuous and ends at Sunfish Pond , a large glacial lake. This area is part of Worthington State Forest in northern New Jersey.

10. Delaware Water Gap, a beautiful place to go in New Jersey

10. Delaware Water Gap, a beautiful place to go in New Jersey

Another landmark in the Delaware Water Gap is Buttermilk Falls, something you must see in New Jersey . At 200 feet, it’s the tallest waterfall in the state. Since it doesn’t require any hiking to see the falls, they can get quite crowded.

If you want a challenge, you can climb the steps next to the waterfall and take that trail to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond . Or hike a quarter-mile north up Mountain Road and follow the eastern trail to see the hidden Silver Spray Falls .

11. Paterson Great Falls, something you can’t miss in New Jersey

Northern NJ has other impressive waterfalls, such as the Paterson Great Falls on the Passaic River. Towering 77 feet high and 260 feet wide, the falls are part of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park . This NJ attraction is also a National Natural Landmark.

You can watch the falls cascade over the basalt cliffs from Haines Overlook Park or Mary Ellen Kramer Park . Alternatively, you can cross the footbridge over the falls’ gorge for spectacular views of these falls formed during the last ice age.

11. Paterson Great Falls, another attraction in New Jersey

11. Paterson Great Falls, another attraction in New Jersey

Nearby is the Garret Mountain Reservation , a major recreational hub for jogging, running, basketball, fishing, birdwatching, and horseback riding. It’s a cool place to go in NJ for all ages, and it offers respite from the more industrial areas of northern New Jersey.

I suggest stopping by Lambert Castle while you’re here. Constructed in 1892, the castle was the home of a silk mill owner named Catholina Lambert. The medieval-style building is now a museum complete with an art gallery and a 70-foot observation tower.

If you’re in this part of the state, you should spend a few hours exploring Garret Mountain and visiting the Paterson Great Falls. Also, if you’d like more time in nature, Rifle Camp Park isn’t far away and offers hiking trails, an observatory, and birdwatching areas.

12. Ringwood State Park, another hike to do in New Jersey

Close to the NJ-NY border, you’ll find Ringwood State Park . The park is part of the Ramapo Mountains and consists of 4,400 acres, including the New Jersey Botanical Gardens, Skylands and Ringwood Manors, and the Shepherd Lake Recreation Area .

Ringwood State Park is one of the many beautiful places in New Jersey ‘s northern region. The hiking trails in the park range from moderate to difficult and weave through the dense oak forests of the Ramapo Mountains.

The entrance to the botanical gardens sits conveniently across from the Ringwood State Park entrance. The free gardens are open year-round and cover 96 acres. There are different sections to explore, including lilac, rhododendron, wildflower, peony, and Italian gardens. There are also children’s areas and self-guided or volunteer-led tours available.

12. Visit Ringwood State Park, a fun thing to do in New Jersey

12. Visit Ringwood State Park, a fun thing to do in New Jersey

The gardens are part of the Skylands estate, where you’ll see the gorgeous Skylands Manor . Visiting this whimsical castle is one of the most romantic things to do in New Jersey , and the property happens to be a popular wedding venue. I also suggest touring Ringwood Manor, a National Historic Home boasting Federal, Italianate, Neo-Greco, architecture, and artistic collections.

Next to Ringwood State Park is the Ramapo Valley County Reservation , where you can hike, raft, or kayak. There are several waterways and a pretty waterfall, too. Another weekend activity in NJ is to visit the Highlands Natural Pool , a stream-fed swimming pool not far from there.

13. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, one of the nicest views over New Jersey

The Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge is a little-known attraction in South Jersey . This wetland area is a beautiful sanctuary for migrating birds. Its location along the Atlantic Flyway means that you have better chances of seeing rarer species like the piping plover and a variety of woodcocks and songbirds.

Founded in 1984, the refuge is dedicated to preserving tens of thousands of acres of New Jersey’s wetlands and coastal habitats. While the refuge is primarily focused on migratory birds, it is accessible year-round, so you may see different species of ducks, turtles, and butterflies depending on when you visit it.

If you’re a bird photographer, I highly recommend driving the Wildlife Drive for the best photo opportunities.

13. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, one of the nicest views over New Jersey

The refuge is another cool place in NJ to hike, particularly along the deCamp Wildlife Trail or the Cedar Bonnet Island Trail . The former is a 2.5-mile backwoods path sprinkled with wildflowers. The latter is shorter but offers nice views of Manahawkin Bay and Long Beach Island. A word to the wise is to hike during the autumn or spring to avoid swarms of horse flies.

The Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding area is a good place to spend a couple of hours outdoors. If you are looking for things to do near New Jersey ‘s southern coast, check out this region.

14. Duke Farms, the most romantic thing to do in New Jersey

Duke Farms is a pleasant attraction in NJ that’s less than 45 minutes from Princeton. The farm was once the estate of James Duke, an American entrepreneur. After James Duke’s death, his environmentalist daughter inherited the estate. Today, Duke Farms is a stunning property focused on environmental stewardship and ecological sustainability.

About half of the property (1,000 acres) is open to the public for free. Spending a few hours here is a great thing to do in New Jersey with kids . There are several charming areas to explore, including the Hay Barn , the Tropical Orchid Garden , and the Coach Barn and clock tower.

14. Duke Farms, a romantic thing to do in New Jersey

14. Duke Farms, a romantic thing to do in New Jersey

Another gorgeous part of the farm is the Great Falls , a tiered waterfall near the Duke Reservoir . The waterfall and reservoir are manmade and fed from the nearby Raritan River. The falls are set to go off at certain times during the day, so ask the visitors center when the scheduled times are.

Among the farm’s 45 buildings and 7 manmade lakes, there are 18 miles of hiking and walking trails. This area is also perfect for birdwatching and wildlife photography. During the winter, visitors can go snowshoeing along the paths.

Be sure to stop by the educational center to hear more about the environmental mission of Duke Farms. Visiting this rural attraction is a fun thing to do in New Jersey for free , and you’ll probably learn something new, too.

15. Go to Six Flags Great Adventure, the best thing to do in New Jersey with kids

Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the top attractions in New Jersey . The amusement park is the 2nd largest theme park in the U.S., after Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and it’s the perfect day trip for families.

The amusement park has attractions for everyone, from gentle family rides to thrilling rollercoasters and extreme rides. There is also a kiddie area and several superhero-themed rides, like The Dark Knight Coaster.

Throughout the park’s themed sections, you can find other amusements such as concerts, entertainment shows, games, and interactive exhibits. Besides the amusement park, Six Flags has a waterpark, Hurricane Harbor , with 12 attractions including waterslides, a lazy river, a children’s play area, and a 1 million-gallon wave pool.

15. Six Flags Great Adventure, the best place to go in NJ with kids

15. Six Flags Great Adventure, the best place to go in NJ with kids

The park is also a cool place to go in NJ during Halloween and Christmas. In October, the park hosts Fright Fest with live shows, walk-through haunted attractions, and trick-or-treating for kids. Holiday in the Park takes place in November and December and includes Christmas-themed festivities and a light show.

No matter what your thrill level, you’ll find fun things to do in NJ ‘s Six Flags theme park. It’s not the cheapest place, but you’ll spend all day there, so I think it’s worth it.

16. Ocean City, another popular beach in New Jersey

Ocean City , NJ is one of the most popular beaches in South Jersey, thanks to its family-friendly activities and atmosphere. Founded over 140 years ago, it’s a community full of tradition that has a welcoming small-town feel.

There are 8 miles of beaches where you can swim, surf, parasail, or lounge in the sun, and a 2.5-mile  boardwalk  full of classic Jersey shore fun, including food, games, amusements, and other activities. Its amusement pier is a big  attraction in NJ  with a variety of rides and one of the tallest  Ferris wheels  on the East Coast (141 ft). You can also visit the  OC Waterpark  or go for a round of minigolf, one of the most popular activities on the boardwalk.

16. Go to Ocean City, something to do in New Jersey in the summer

16. Go to Ocean City, something to do in New Jersey in the summer

Nearly 40% of the land in Ocean City goes towards parks and recreational areas. Along with the beaches, there is  Stainton’s Wildlife Refuge, Corson’s Inlet State Park,  and  The Bayside Center,  a sort of rec center and educational facility where visitors can learn about the shore environment.

About 20 minutes north of Ocean City is the town of Margate. While not nearly as exciting, it has one of the oldest  New Jersey landmarks , a 65-foot roadside attraction named  Lucy the Elephant . She’s quite a legend, so I think a visit to her is worth the drive.

17. High Point State Park, the most stunning lookout in New Jersey

High Point State Park  is at the very tip of New Jersey and, as the name suggests, it’s the highest point in the state (1,800 ft). The park is part of the Kittatinny Mountains, which extend from the Appalachian Mountains. As you might expect, the park is one of the most  scenic places in NJ for hiking, backpacking, and camping.

The entire park covers over 15,000 acres, so there is plenty to explore. If you want to camp, I recommend the Sawmill Campground , which is surrounded by a gorgeous blue lake.

For an outdoorsy day trip, the  Cedar Swamp Trail  is a relaxing 1.5-mile loop around the  Dryden Kuser Natural Area , a boggy path known for its great birdwatching opportunities. Or you can hike a section of the Appalachian Trail that winds through High Point State Park for 18 miles.

17. High Point State Park, another free thing to do in NJ

17. High Point State Park, another free thing to do in NJ

At the park’s summit, you’ll find the  High Point Monument , a 220-foot-tall obelisk dedicated to war veterans. You can climb the 292 steps to the viewing platform, where you’ll be able to see the Catskills and Pocono Mountains.

There are other  things to do in North Jersey  that are near the park. The  Mountain Creek Resort  is just 5 minutes away. Its waterpark is open during the summer months, and in winter, it’s a fun ski resort. If you’re traveling during the summer, you should also check out the  Sussex County Sunflower Maze , which is just 15 minutes from there.

18. Reeves-Reed Arboretum, and other beautiful arboretums to visit in New Jersey

Reeves-Reed Arboretum is one of the most beautiful free places to visit in New Jersey . It’s open year-round, but depending on when you go, it might be hosting a summer or holiday event, or its annual fall celebration.

The grounds contain several specialty gardens, all decked out in a 20th-century Italianate style: ornate and symmetrical. A visit to the arboretum is one of the most  romantic things to do in New Jersey , and it’s no wonder this place is a popular wedding venue!

The  Historical Gardens  feature the classic rose and azaleas, as well as a rock garden with a pond and waterfall. There is also a  Contemporary Garden , a  Lilac Garden , the  Daffodil Bowl , and an  Herb Garden . As you walk around the landscaped grounds, you’ll pass by the Daylily Border and the Wildflower Trail.

18. Reeves-Reed Arboretum, a lovely attraction in New Jersey

18. Reeves-Reed Arboretum, a lovely attraction in New Jersey

Speaking of trails, I recommend taking a stroll along the arboretum’s  Woodlands Trails  for some easy hiking. Enjoy the exercise and the pleasant shade provided by a canopy of oak, maple, birch, ash, and hickory trees.

A stroll through a beautiful, manicured garden is an underrated  thing to do in New Jersey in the summer . If you’re craving more lovely gardens, there are three arboretums within 40 minutes of Reeves-Reed. The  Frelinghuysen Arboretum  is full of ornamental plants,  Willowwood  contains wild forests and tree collections, and  Laurelwood  features unique native plants among intriguing art installations.

19. Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, the best thing to do in New Jersey for couples

The  Presby Memorial Iris Gardens  is another  must-see in New Jersey ‘s northern region. The non-profit attraction not only specializes in irises but also history and environmental conservation.

The grounds are often called “The Rainbow on the Hill” for the splendid blooms that burst forth throughout the season. It’s one of the  most beautiful places in New Jersey , and it’s open to the public for free. Nearly 100 years old, they were named after a local horticulturist and founding member of the American Iris Society and are now maintained by volunteers.

Here, you’ll find over 14,000 irises of 3,000 or so varieties. The flowers create a stunning display of springtime blooms, about 100,000 in total. Even though the gardens make up just 6.5 acres, the colorful arrangement when they’re in bloom is gorgeous.

19. Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, the best thing in New Jersey for couples

19. Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, the best thing in New Jersey for couples

Besides the irises, the gardens also serve as a living museum. The nearby  Walther House  was the former home of Fred and Barbara Walther, who helped to establish the gardens. The Victorian-style house is also open to the public and offers an inside look at the ground’s horticultural history.

The newest addition to the place is the PresBee Sanctuary, which supports 10 active beehives and over 100,000 honeybees.

The lovely iris gardens, with the magnificent Victorian house in the distance, is one of the most  scenic places in NJ.  I suggest stopping here if you’re in the area and have a couple of hours to spare.

20. Asbury Park, another interesting attraction in New Jersey

Asbury Park  is one of the most unique  New Jersey points of interest . In this coastal town, you will find a beach and boardwalk, but Asbury Park offers lots more, including arts, culture, dining, sports, and entertainment.

It’s a huge music community and has ties to several famous bands, including The Ramones, the E Street Band, and Bon Jovi. The town was also the home of the  New Jersey Music Hall of Fame  until 2018, when it moved to Rutherford, about an hour north.

Still, Asbury Park has plenty of live music venues such as The Wonder Bar, Paramount Theatre, The Saint, The Stone Pony, and  Springwood Park , an outdoor venue. I suggest stopping by  Asbury Lanes , a vintage bowling alley and bar, a hotspot for musical performances.

20. Asbury Park, an interesting place to go in New Jersey

20. Asbury Park, an interesting place to go in New Jersey

Being a coastal town, Asbury Park has a beach and boardwalk, one of the most popular in the state. The boardwalk is known for its eclectic mix of flavors, from classic Jersey shore fare to contemporary-fusion cuisine. There is also the  Silver Ball Museum Arcade  and the  Asbury Splash Park , two popular  NJ attractions .

If you visit it at the start of the month, check out the  First Saturday  event. During this time, the downtown restaurants, shops, galleries, and boutiques stay open late, and you’ll find street entertainment and vendors. During the rest of the month, visitors are always welcome to explore the  Asbury Park Museum , the  Paranormal Museum , or the many breweries and cafes.

21. Red Mill Museum, a unique place to go in New Jersey

The  Red Mill Museum  is a cool  historical place in New Jersey . Situated in Northern NJ, the Red Mill was constructed around 1810 and operated primarily as a wool mill until 1834 when it was refitted to be a grist mill. It eventually became a graphite mill and then a talc mill until it was retired in 1928.

It’s quite a history, and the Red Mill is a relic of the local economy and milling industry. Today, it’s a multi-storied museum with over 40,000 agricultural and industrial artifacts. Most of the core exhibits relate to the history of the mill and the families who took charge of it.

21. Red Mill Museum, another interesting thing to do in New Jersey

21. Red Mill Museum, another interesting thing to do in New Jersey

Besides the Red Mill, there are other historic buildings and facilities on the grounds. Visitors can walk through the dynamite shed, stone crusher, blacksmith shop, lime kilns, and spring house to get a feel for how life was like back then. There is also a tenant house, a schoolhouse, a carriage shed, an herb garden, and a log cabin on the premises.

The Red Mill Museum also hosts concerts and seasonal events throughout the year, such as the Winter Village, workshops, and lectures. Its interactive children’s programs are a big hit with families, too. The staff and volunteers recently held a successful campaign to rally for community support and restore the mill’s old waterwheel. It’s safe to say the Red Mill will be a wonderful  New Jersey landmark  for years to come.

22. Manasquan Reservoir Visitor Center, the calmest place to go in New Jersey

The interesting name of Manasquan originates from the Lenape word for “place to gather grass or reeds”. While the city is industrialized now, it still holds on to some of its natural areas, including the  Manasquan Reservoir , a  beautiful place in NJ  for hiking and wildlife viewing.

This 1,200-acre park in central NJ is open year-round from dawn to dusk and includes a section of wetland where you can rent a kayak or canoe. Surrounding the waterway is a 5-mile walking/jogging trail that is quite easy and suitable for mountain bikes.

The Cove Trail is a scenic 1-mile nature walk around the  Environmental Center , where you’ll find interactive displays and exhibits about wildlife conservation and wetlands ecology. The free facility is oriented towards kids, so if you’re traveling with family, it’s the perfect stop.

22. Manasquan Reservoir, a calm place to go in New Jersey

22. Manasquan Reservoir, a calm place to go in New Jersey

The  Visitors Center  is where you’ll find the boat rentals, as well as restrooms, sitting areas, and a second-floor observation deck. The center is also the departure point for seasonal boat tours. These 45-minute reservoir tours include a guided narration by Park System naturalists. Most people end up seeing turtles, egrets, herons, and ospreys during their tours. In some instances, you may spot a bald eagle.

If you visit during the winter, you can ice skate or ice-boat in the reservoir. The Environmental and Visitors Centers will also be open. It’s a great  Jersey thing to do  in the winter, especially with children.

23. Visit Thomas Edison National Historic Park, something to do in New Jersey if it rains

Thomas Edison National Historic Park is one of the  coolest places to go in NJ  for a bad weather day.

The park is actually two separate sites: the  Edison Laboratories complex  and  Edison’s former home in Llewellyn Park , just a half-mile away. Both are well worth a visit!

Thomas Edison built the lab in 1887 to support his research. It’s part of a larger complex of a dozen buildings including a library, chemistry, metallurgy, and physics labs, a photo studio, a machine shop, and Edison’s office. It was Thomas Edison’s largest lab complex, so it’s an  attraction in NJ  you don’t want to miss!

23. Thomas Edison National Historic Park, a place to go in New Jersey if it rains

23. Thomas Edison National Historic Park, a place to go in New Jersey if it rains

You can also visit the Glenmont Estate  in Llewellyn Park, a Queen Anne style home built in the 1880s and the former home of Thomas Edison. The mansion has 29 rooms and amenities that we now consider modern, like indoor flush toilets, a water heater system, and electrical wiring. The residential grounds feature native and exotic plants and trees and a greenhouse.

This  New Jersey landmark is absolutely gorgeous on the outside, and the interior boasts Victorian furniture and includes stained glass windows and hand-painted ceilings. Thomas Edison’s burial site is right behind the house, next to his second wife, Mina.

If you can’t get enough of Edison, you can travel 40 minutes south to  Menlo Park , where you’ll find the laboratory he built in 1876.

24. Hacklebarney State Park, a breathtaking place to visit in New Jersey

Visiting Hacklebarney State Park  is one of the best  free things to do in New Jersey , especially if you love the outdoors!

This 978-acre park is cut by the  Black River , creating two brooks where you can find huge boulders along the riverbank. The magnificent geology of this park creates a few lovely waterfalls too, which you can find along the hiking paths.

Throughout your hike, you’ll come across tons of critters. The park has over 100 species of flora and fauna, including black bears, woodchucks, foxes, rainbow trout, American ginseng, leatherwood, and Virginia pennywort. A few of the trails end at a pond as well as a picnic area and playground. The entire natural scene makes it one of the  most beautiful places in New Jersey .

24. Hacklebarney State Park, a gorgeous place to visit in New Jersey

24. Hacklebarney State Park, a gorgeous place to visit in New Jersey

The park is especially stunning in autumn when the leaves change color. Plus, you can go to the  Hacklebarney Farm Cider Mill  across from the park and enjoy the fall festivities. The farm is family owned and operated and is a  fun thing to do in NJ  with your partner or friends. Explore the corn maze or treat yourself to a cider donut or warm apple cider.

Five minutes north of the state park is the  Black River County Park , a glacial valley where you’ll also find the Willowwood Arboretum and the Nathan Cooper Gristmill.

25. Walk around The Palisades, another great activity to do in New Jersey

The  Palisades Interstate Park  is made up of the cliffs of the  Hudson River ‘s west bank and hovers on the border of New Jersey and New York, across from Manhattan Island .

The New Jersey portion of the Interstate Park is about 12 miles long and has plenty of picnic areas and overlooks. A few that stand out are Rockefeller Lookout  (400 feet elevation), the  Alpine Lookout  (430 feet), and the  State Line Lookout  (520 feet).

25. The Palisades, a great thing to do in New Jersey

25. The Palisades, a great thing to do in New Jersey

Two of the most popular hikes in the area are  Long Path, which starts at Fort Lee Historic Park and goes north past Allison Park and the Rockefeller Lookout, and  Shore Trail , which has the same starting point but goes south past the Alpine Picnic Area and the Kearney House, a historic 19th-century homestead and tavern.

Greenbrook Sanctuary is another interesting place to visit in New Jersey if you want to do some birdwatching during the migratory season.

Finally, the  Palisades Scenic Byway  allows you to drive over cliffs, through forests, and along the Hudson River, and it’s considered one of the  most beautiful places in New Jersey .

26. Newark Museum of Art, one of the best museums in New Jersey

During the cold Mid-Atlantic winters, consider a trip to the  Newark Museum of Art , the largest museum in New Jersey, and a cool free thing to do in NJ.

Despite its size, the museum is an intimate space where you can explore dozens of galleries and artworks from all around the world. The museum’s most famous works are in the  Tibetan art galleries  and include a Buddhist altar consecrated by the Dalai Lama.

The museum also includes an extensive natural sciences facility, including the  Dreyfuss Planetarium  and the  Victoria Hall of Science . I also recommend the  MakerSPACE  interactive area, a fun  thing to do in New Jersey with kids .

26. Newark Museum of Art, one of the best museums in New Jersey

Outside, be sure to stop by the  Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden , which hosts cultural and artistic performances throughout the year. The gardens are full of sculptures as well as a one-room schoolhouse from 1784. The 27-room  Ballantine House  is also part of the museum. The restored Victorian home features several art galleries and eight specific rooms that reflect different historical eras.

Not far from there is Branch Brook Park , another  cool thing to see in New Jersey . The park is known for its cherry blossoms, and there are over 5,000 blooms and 18 varieties. A cherry blossom festival takes place there every April.

27. Grounds for Sculpture, another attraction to visit in New Jersey

Grounds for Sculpture  is another  fun thing to do in NJ . Just 20 minutes from Princeton, this sculpture park and garden is one of the most unique attractions you’ll see in New Jersey.

There are over 400 works, including more than 270 sculptures, most of which are larger than life. The museum’s founder is a sculptor, so several of his works are at GFS. Other sculptures are commissions by local and international artists.

Along with the sculpture grounds, there are six indoor art galleries full of smaller works and art installations. GFS is a playground for artistic people, but anyone of any age will enjoy walking around the grounds. You really feel like you’re part of the art! I also think this is one of the best  attractions in NJ  for cool photo opportunities.

27. Grounds for Sculpture, an awesome attraction in New Jersey

27. Grounds for Sculpture, an awesome attraction in New Jersey

I also recommend eating at the museum’s  Rat Restaurant if you can. It was designed by GFS’s founder and was heavily inspired by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. If you’re familiar with Monet’s famous  Water Lilies  series, you’ll recognize the atmosphere of Rat Restaurant; it’s like you’re dining among those water lilies.

The restaurant has a charming pond with a small waterfall as well as fireplaces, an aquamarine footbridge, and weeping willows. Dining on rustic French cuisine al fresco is definitely one of the most  romantic things to do in New Jersey .

28. Jenny Jump State Forest, a lovely place to visit in New Jersey

Another  place to visit in NJ ‘s northern region is  Jenny Jump State Forest . It sits atop the  Jenny Jump Mountain at an elevation of over 1,110 feet. The mount is part of the New York-New Jersey Highlands, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains. However, Jenny Jump is more isolated and to the west.

You’ll still get great views from the state forest, particularly glacial boulders, outcroppings, and miles of rolling tree-filled hills. You can also spend hours hiking around the forest. There are seven official trails, and most of them start at the same point, a campground at the northern end.

28. Jenny Jump State Forest, a relaxing place to go in New Jersey

28. Jenny Jump State Forest, a relaxing place to go in New Jersey

The paths range from easy to moderate, and most are about a mile long. The longest is the  Jenny Jump Trail , which is 8.5 miles and travels along the mountain ridges to a scenic lake.

The  Greenwood Observatory  is another  thing to see in this New Jersey  state forest. The United Astronomy Clubs of NJ leased the property and built the observatory, which now offers public programs every Saturday night from April to October.

If you’re in the area during this time, I highly recommend checking it out! Jenny Jump has some of the darkest skies in the state, so it’s perfect for Milky Way photography . You can even camp out under the stars at this  beautiful place in New Jersey .

29. The Sterling Hill Mining Museum, a place you can’t miss in New Jersey

Another interesting  tourist place in Northern New Jersey  is the  Sterling Hill Mine & Museum of Fluorescence . As you might guess, you can find fluorescent minerals here, so it’s a cool place to visit if you have the time.

Sterling Hill was an iron and zinc mine, and the last working underground mine in the state. It closed in 1986 and became a museum a few years later. What makes it such a popular mine is the luminescent ore, which is hard to find elsewhere.

A visit to the mine is a fun  weekend activity in NJ , especially with kids. The tour starts in the museum’s exhibition hall, where you’ll learn about the different minerals inside the mine. Then, you’ll walk 1,300 feet underground through the mine, including an amazing section called the “Rainbow Tunnel”.

29. Sterling Hill Mining Museum, a can't-miss attraction in New Jersey

29. Sterling Hill Mining Museum, a can’t-miss attraction in New Jersey

As you walk through the tunnel, you’ll be surrounded by glowing zinc ore in bright colors. The museum uses shortwave UV light to show off the dazzling minerals, and the tour guide will explain which mineral correspond to each color.

Besides the mine tour, be sure to check out the  Ellis Astronomical Observatory  on the museum grounds. The observatory has a huge 20-inch reflector telescope and a hydrogen-alpha telescope that lets you look at the sun. However, if you want to enter the observatory, you must schedule a reservation in advance.

30. Union City, the best place to enjoy the Manhattan skyline from NJ

Union City is the 2nd-most densely populated city in the U.S. and has a rich history of German and Cuban immigrants. It’s even nicknamed “Little Havana on the Hudson” because of this.

Besides, it’s one of the top  places in New Jersey  for culture and sightseeing. Some of the most popular sites here include the  September 11th Memorial in Echo Lake Park, the Museum of Art, and the Museum of History .

The city is minutes from two other exciting towns: Hoboken and Weehawken, where you can get the most beautiful views of the Manhattan Skyline .

30. Union City, a cool place to go in New Jersey

30. Union City, a cool place to go in New Jersey

In Hoboken , check out Frank Sinatra Park , named for the famous singer who was born here. There, I recommend taking a stroll along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway for stunning views. In Weehawken, one of the most scenic places is Hamilton Park .

However, if you want to see Manhattan from the air, I recommend this  helicopter tour , one of the most spectacular  things to do in New Jersey .

And these are the top attractions in NJ that I recommend! Are you ready to start planning your trip or weekend getaway? Just check out this map of the  best places to go in New Jersey in case you don’t know where to start.

It’s easy to think this small state is boring, but as you now know, there are plenty of  cool things to do in New Jersey , so shoot me a message below if you still have any questions!

new jersey cool places to visit

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VacationIdea

  • Last Minute

25 Best Places to Visit in New Jersey

Last Updated By VacationIdea Staff on January 23, 2024

The boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey

  • 1. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City, New Jersey

In addition, there are several annual events held throughout the year, most of which are free, like the Atlantic City Airshow, the LPGA Shoprite Classic, and Atlantic City Restaurant Week.

  • 2. Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton, New Jersey

Golf enthusiasts will be inspired by the city’s three championship golf courses.

  • 3. Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey

Visitors can take a boat tour along 7 scenic miles of the Passaic River or enjoy one of the Newark Walks, which are a great way to see the city’s public art, monuments, and landmarks.

  • 4. Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey

The city has fun activities like African drum dance classes at the Bethune Center, or a foodie tour of downtown. There’s always something to see, explore, or do.

  • 5. Clinton, New Jersey

Clinton, New Jersey

The stone mill on the opposite side is home to the Hunterdon Art Museum, where visitors enjoy a collection of contemporary art and an active art education center.

Boonton

Grace Lord Park, with its falls, fountain, and gazebo, is the town’s gathering place for summer concerts and other events.

  • 7. Asbury Park

Asbury Park

The famous boardwalk is once again lively, crowded, and fun, while the new restaurants are attracting city foodies and the art galleries are bringing in the city jet-setters.

  • 8. Wildwoods

Wildwoods

Off the boardwalk, visitors can experience a wide range of water activities: surfing, deep sea and pier fishing, sailing, boating, and more. More things to see and do in Wildwoods

  • 9. Tourist Places Near Me: Cape May, New Jersey

Tourist Places Near Me: Cape May, New Jersey

On cooler days, visitors can enjoy historic sites such as the WWII Artillery Bunker at Cape May Point State Park, taking a food and cultural walking tour around Cape May, or taking in the sights on a guided trolley tour. More Weekend Getaways in New Jersey

  • 10. Elizabeth, New Jersey

Elizabeth, New Jersey

Warinanco was designed by the landscaper who designed Central Park in NYC and is diverse and beautiful in equal parts. More Luxury Weekend Getaways

  • 11. NJ Places to Visit: Seaside Heights

NJ Places to Visit: Seaside Heights

On the town’s quieter northern end, visitors can swim another lifeguard protected beach, fish or crab from one of two docks, or rent a variety of water crafts from water trampolines to water bikes and motor boats.

  • 12. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, New Jersey

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, New Jersey

208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ, Phone: 609-494-2016

  • 13. Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City also offers a wide variety of tours, from high up in the sky to roaming downriver, as well as fun seasonal activities like whale watching.

  • 14. Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park

Freedom Way, Jersey City, NJ, Phone: 201-915-3403

  • 15. Paterson Great Falls, New Jersey

Paterson Great Falls, New Jersey

72 McBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ, Phone: 973-523-0370

  • 16. Trenton

Trenton

Besides its historical treasures, Trenton hosts the New York Yankee’s farm team, the Trenton Thunder.

  • 17. sland Beach State Park

sland Beach State Park

Next read: dog-friendly NJ beaches

  • 18. Hoboken

Hoboken

Other highlights include a bronze star marking the birthplace of Frank Sinatra; the family-friendly, urban Pier C Park with a children’s playground and waterpark; and Pier A Park, a great venue for festivals and other gatherings.

  • 19. Allaire State Park

Allaire State Park

4263 Atlantic Avenue, Farmingdale, NJ, Phone: 732-938-2371

  • 20. South Mountain Reservation, New Jersey

South Mountain Reservation, New Jersey

115 Clifton Avenue, Newark, NJ, Phone: 973-268-3500

  • 21. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

More ideas: Classical Discoveries

  • 22. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

800 Great Creek Road, Galloway , NJ, Phone: 609-652-1665

  • 23. Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill is filled with family-friendly activities. The Playdrome, with excellent bowling lanes and an updated game room, is also a favorite. Craft beer enthusiasts will enjoy Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing, which features tasting flights, and the Flying Fish Brewery, which also has a tap room and tasting flights. Visitors can shop away the hours at the luxurious Cherry Hill Mall or spend time in the great outdoors hiking, biking, walking, or running along one of the more than 10 trails in Cherry Hill.

The 25 Best Places to Visit in New Jersey & Fun things to do near me today:

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Best Things to Do in Brigantine, New Jersey

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Classical Discoveries - Classical Radio in New Jersey

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These 12 Unique Attractions In New Jersey Are An Absolute Must-Visit

new jersey cool places to visit

Kristen is a writer, editor, and social media maven who loves her state. Born and raised in New Jersey, sharing all it has to offer is her passion. After attending Montclair State University, she continued her education online, obtaining certifications in social media management.

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New Jersey has dozens of unique attractions, from interesting memorials to quirky museums and everything in between. For a small state, we have a lot to see; this list only begins to scratch the strange, wonderful, surface.

new jersey cool places to visit

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new jersey cool places to visit

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  • Last Updated On
  • September 29, 2023

15 Best Places to Visit in New Jersey — Fun & Unique Places to Go!

Emmett Brooks

Get ready to experience the energy and excitement of the Garden State. 

New Jersey is a state filled with surprises and delights around every corner. 

This small but mighty state located in the northeast of the United States is a hidden gem that offers a diverse range of fun and unique places to explore

With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder why New Jersey is one of the most exciting states in the USA. 

That being said, locating the best places to visit in New Jersey that are perfect for you and your family might take some time and effort.

No worries, sit back, relax, I got you covered.

Based on my experience traveling to New Jersey a few times, I can suggest some top-notch destinations and things to do for your upcoming adventure.

I considered cultural value, scenic beauty, historical significance, entertainment, and visitor popularity in my review.

So, pack your bags and discover the most captivating and fascinating attractions this diverse state offers.

Best Places to Visit in New Jersey Compared

From iconic boardwalks to picturesque coastal towns, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in the Garden State. 

I’ve compiled my research into a curated list below to help you find the top places to visit in New Jersey.

Editor’s Choice

new jersey cool places to visit

Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

Catch a glimpse of the gentle giants of Cape May when you join this 3-hour cruise that has been around since 1993.

  • Family-friendliness: 5/5
  • Affordability: 3/5
  • Educational Value: 4/5
  • Entertainment Variety: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 4/5

#2nd Best Choice

new jersey cool places to visit

Dreamworks Indoor Water Park

The Dreamworks Indoor Water Park in New Jersey provides year-round family fun. 

  • Educational Value: 1/5

#3rd Best Choice

new jersey cool places to visit

Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park

Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park in New Jersey, the largest indoor theme park in North America, offers visitors an immersive adventure into the world of Nickelodeon.

  • Entertainment Variety: 5/5
  • Accessibility: 5/5

Here are the top 15 places to visit in New Jersey.

1. Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise (Editor’s Choice)

Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

1218 Wilson Dr Cape May, NJ 08204 (609) 884-5445 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ratings Criteria

  • Unique and unforgettable experience
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Unpredictable sightings

Why You Should Visit This Place

The moment we set sail, the sheer beauty of the ocean took my breath away. 

The dolphins gracefully danced alongside the boat while the majestic whales emerged from the depths, leaving us in awe.

Our knowledgeable guides shared fascinating insights about these magnificent creatures, making the journey educational and exciting.

It’s a remarkable adventure that both kids and adults would cherish.

An Expert Tip Before You Go

Remember to bring a pair of binoculars. 

While the cruise offers breathtaking views of these mesmerizing marine animals, binoculars will give you an up-close look at their fascinating details and behaviors.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt House Jersey City

Related: Best Places to Eat in Atlantic City

2. Dreamworks Indoor Water Park

Dreamworks Indoor Water Park

1 American Dream Wy East Rutherford, NJ 07073 (833) 263-7326 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

It features a plethora of exhilarating rides, lazy rivers, and themed zones inspired by beloved DreamWorks animations.

  • Fun and Entertainment
  • Family-friendly

Dreamworks Indoor Water Park is a must-visit place for families due to its immersive and thrilling water attractions.

It offers a wide range of slides, wave pools, and water play areas inspired by beloved Dreamworks characters.

The park provides endless fun, entertainment, and memorable experiences for kids and adults alike.

It makes it an ideal destination for a family adventure and creating lasting memories.

Before visiting Dreamworks Indoor Water Park, it’s important to plan your day strategically.

Start with popular attractions early to beat the crowds.

Bring proper swimwear, towels, and sunscreen. Consider renting a locker to store your belongings securely.

Stay hydrated and take breaks to rest. Lastly, check the park’s schedule for character meet-and-greets or special shows to maximize your experience.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Biscayne Suites

Related: Best Things to Do in New Jersey

Related: Cape May Restaurants

3. Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park

Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park

  • Fun and Variety

It is a must-visit place for families due to its immersive and exciting attractions.

Inspired by beloved characters, it offers a wide range of rides, shows, and interactive experiences that appeal to kids of all ages.

The park provides endless fun, entertainment, and memorable moments, making it an ideal destination for a family outing and creating lasting memories.

Before visiting the theme park, plan your day ahead to make the most of your time.

Start with popular attractions early to avoid long lines and crowds.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather.

Check the park’s schedule for character meet-and-greets or special events.

Download the park’s map to familiarize yourself with the layout.

Lastly, bring snacks and water to stay hydrated and energized throughout the day.

Related: Places to Eat in Jersey City

4. SEA LIFE Aquarium

SEA LIFE Aquarium

Upper Level, 1 American Dream Wy Suite A East Rutherford, NJ 07073 (551) 234-6382 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Explore the deep blue sea at SEA LIFE Aquarium, it has over 10 interactive exhibits to help you discover amazing marine life, from playful otters to majestic sharks.

The aquarium is a must-visit place due to its captivating underwater world.

It offers an immersive experience, showcasing a wide variety of marine life.

Through interactive exhibits and educational displays, it promotes a deeper understanding and appreciation for ocean ecosystems.

The aquarium provides an opportunity for both children and adults to connect with marine life and foster a sense of conservation.

To make the most of your visit to the aquarium, consider checking the feeding schedule for the marine animals to witness engaging interactions.

Take your time exploring each exhibit, observing the details, and reading informational plaques.

Capture memorable moments with photography, but remember to be respectful of the animals and follow any photography guidelines.

Finally, engage with the staff and ask questions for a more enriching experience.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt Regency Princeton

Related: Best Places to Eat in Princeton

5. Cape May County Park & Zoo — Cape May

cape may county & park zoo — cape may

707 US 9 North Cape May Court House, NJ 08210 (609) 465-5271 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Sitting in Cape May Court House, this admission-free 85-acre zoo shelters over 500 animals.

Looking for the top places to visit in New Jersey with kids?

Venture into this zoo and enjoy a slew of exciting stuff to do.

Suitable for adults and kids, this Cape May zoo houses wondrous critters, such as the African lion, American bison, ostrich, and more.

Make your visit to this zoo even more unforgettable by joining the scavenger hunts.

You can also experience adventure camping and a sleepover in this zoo!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Grand Hotel Cape May

6. Morey’s Piers — Wildwood

morey's piers — wildwood

3501 Boardwalk Wildwood, NJ 08260 (609) 729-3700 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Since 1969, this seaside spot has been providing classic amusement park thrills in Wildwood .

Billed as “America’s Boardwalk,” this six-block seaside destination has more than 100 attractions and rides.

Whether you’re looking for thrills or kiddie rides, you’ll find dozens of memorable diversions across its beachfront water parks and amusement piers.

For a shot of adrenaline, sample the park’s daredevil rides and roller coasters, like the Springshot and IT.

If you prefer something milder, check out its water parks, 156-foot ferris wheel, and bumper cars.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Waves Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection

Related: Best Places to Eat in Wildwood

Related: Best Beaches in New Jersey

7. Thomas Edison National Historical Park — West Orange

thomas edison national historical park — west orange

211 Main Street West Orange, NJ 07052 (973) 736-0550 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Designated a National Historic Site in 1962, this park preserves the home and laboratory of a famous American inventor.

No list of the top destinations in New Jersey is complete without Thomas Edison National Historical Park.

The park has interesting items and labs that were used by America’s greatest inventor.

Take a guided tour of Edison’s majestic 29-room mansion, the Glenmont.

Afterward, get a close-up look of the original artifacts, vintage films, and labs at the Laboratory Complex.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Cambria Hotel West Orange

Related: Best Weekend Getaways in New Jersey

8. Battleship New Jersey — Camden

battleship new jersey — camden

100 Clinton Street Camden, NJ 08103 (856) 966-1652 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Opened in 2001 as a museum, this attraction displays and preserves the most decorated US Navy battleship.

Battleship New Jersey wows visitors with its immense size.

In fact, it’s over 10 stories high and is as long as three football fields combined.

With its unique exhibits and intriguing past, this museum is indeed a must-visit for history buffs.

Although you can explore the museum on your own, we recommend that you get a guide to make your visit educational and interactive.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus Philadelphia-Pennsauken Hotel

9. The Adventure Aquarium

the adventure aquarium

1 Riverside Drive Camden, NJ 08103 (844) 474-3474 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Since its re-opening in 2005, this aquarium has been one of the top places of interest in New Jersey.

Home to over 15,000 animals, this museum lets you spot penguins, sharks, sea turtles, Nile hippos, and even a mermaid.

Check out the Shark Tunnel, and be enthralled by an impressive assemblage of ocean predators.

Once done, make your way to the touch tanks and experience an up-close encounter with several fish species.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sleep Inn Cinnaminson Philadelphia East

10. Six Flags Great Adventure — Jackson Township

six flags great adventure — jackson township

1 Six Flags Boulevard Jackson Township, NJ 08527 (732) 928-2000 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Spanning 510 acres, this adventure wonderland is the world’s second largest theme park.

Six Flags Great Adventure is, no doubt, one of the best places to go in New Jersey for an amazing vacation.

With over 50 exhilarating attractions, this theme park offers nonstop fun to visitors of all ages.

The park has tons of year-round live entertainment and tempting dining options.

So aside from chasing thrills, don’t miss spectacular performances and scrumptious treats.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Radisson Freehold

11. Ocean City

ocean city

Ocean City, NJ (609) 399-6111 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Known as a family-oriented seaside resort, Ocean City offers a wide array of classic beach activities, including the thrills of amusement parks.

With a family-friendly atmosphere and lively kid-approved attractions, Ocean City truly deserves its nickname: “America’s Greatest Family Resort.”

This seaside hub lures visitors to its iconic boardwalk, vacation spots, amusement parks, and arcades.

To save money on accommodations, we recommend Ocean 7.

Aside from its terrific room rates, the hotel also has a convenient location.

From Ocean 7, you’ll be literally minutes away to Ocean City Beach and Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.

12. Storybook Land

storybook land

6415 E Black Horse Pike Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234 (609) 646-0103 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Storybook Land sits on an enchanting 20-acre well-manicured landscape northwest of Downtown Atlantic.

Want to know where to go in New Jersey with kids?

Since 1955, Storybook Land has been entertaining tiny tots with storybook-themed rides and attractions.

Even better, each admission already grants you unlimited rides anywhere in the park!

Aside from letting the kids go wild on the rides, you also get to introduce them to their favorite characters on certain seasons or events!

Check out their calendar for egg hunts and holiday fun.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Homewood Suites Atlantic City Egg Harbor Township

13. Liberty Science Center — Jersey City

liberty science center — jersey city

222 Jersey City Boulevard Jersey City, NJ 07305 (201) 200-1000 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Since 1993, this 300,000-square-foot center in Jersey City has been inspiring the young engineers and scientists of the future.

This science center always makes it to any list of the cool and unique places to visit in New Jersey.

Through its hands-on exhibits, laser shows, and immersive films, this museum makes science fun for everyone.

Don’t miss the hurricane wind simulators, Superhero Laser Show, Making Mammoths displays, and the Western Hemisphere’s largest planetarium.

14. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park — Barnegat Light

barnegat lighthouse state park — barnegat light

208 Broadway Barnegat Light, NJ 08006 (609) 494-2016 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Nestled on Long Beach Island’s northern edge, this park is among the most beautiful places to visit near you if you’re staying in Atlantic City.

With its fresh air and relaxed atmosphere, this state park teems with outdoor pursuits for bona fide adventurers.

Expect seashells, trails, fishing spots, wildlife, and more.

Visit the eye-catching Barnegat Light Museum and the south jetty walkway then catch fresh ocean bounties, like black sea bass and summer flounder.

For avid birders, don’t forget to observe the fall and spring migrations.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hotel LBI

15. Newark Museum of Art — Newark

newark museum of art — newark

49 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07102 (973) 596-6550 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Founded in 1909, this treasure trove in Newark is the largest museum in New Jersey and one of the best places to visit in New Jersey for aesthetes.

Art enthusiasts, rejoice!

Featuring over 80 beguiling galleries, this museum will mesmerize you with its remarkable collections of American decorative art, sculptures, and paintings.

There are also African, Asian, and Native American items displayed inside.

Aside from viewing artworks across cultures and eras, you can also experience the museum’s jazz performances, lectures, and programs.

Don’t forget to enjoy the planetarium shows too.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: TRYP by Wyndham Newark Downtown

Related: Best Things to Do in Newark, NJ

Related: Best Restaurants in Newark

Traveler’s Guide 

Comparing destinations: which one is right for you.

With so many exciting places to visit in New Jersey, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go. 

Therefore, comparing your options and choosing the destinations that align with your interests and budget is essential.

So, let’s dive into the details of each of these attractions.

The Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise is a nature-based activity where visitors can see these marine mammals up close in their natural habitat. 

However, it’s weather-dependent, and sightings can only be guaranteed sometimes.

Dreamworks Indoor Water Park offers safe and fun water rides and attractions inspired by Dreamworks movies, making it an excellent choice for families with kids.

But, it can be crowded during peak season, making it challenging to navigate through the park.

Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park has 30+ rides and attractions inspired by Nickelodeon shows. It’s perfect for families with kids looking for thrilling rides.

Yet, this park could be expensive, and visitors may have to endure long lines to experience the rides.

SEA LIFE Aquarium showcases diverse marine life, from fish to sharks, making it perfect for those who appreciate the ocean’s beauty.

The primary disadvantage, however, is that compared to larger aquariums, the SEA LIFE Aquarium can be relatively small with a restricted range of exhibits.

These attractions provide unique and thrilling experiences, from watching whales and dolphins to indoor water parks, theme parks, and aquariums.

Hence, despite these limitations, these attractions can provide an unforgettable adventure that will create memories to last a lifetime.

How I Picked The Destinations 

I have had the pleasure of visiting several attractions in New Jersey.

I also conducted thorough research and spoke with locals and fellow parents to ensure I provided accurate and well-informed reviews.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, my goal is to help you plan your next family-friendly adventure in the top places to visit in New Jersey.

And for the attractions, I have yet to visit, I rely on information from other travelers and trusted review sites to provide the most reliable and informative reviews possible.

Our Rating Method 

I rate these attractions based on the following criteria. 

  • Family-friendliness: I use this to rate the family-friendly appeal of an attraction. Are the activities appropriate for everyone in the family? Is it fun and safe for the little ones? Does it have convenient amenities? I ask myself these questions to assess family friendliness. 
  • Affordability: This criterion evaluates how budget-friendly the activity is. Is there an admission fee? Is the price reasonable? Does it have special packages or discounts? These questions are essential when evaluating affordability.
  • Educational Value: This is used to evaluate the educational benefits of the activity. Is it an enriching and educational experience? Will it teach visitors lessons in nature, history, culture, or science? Does it encourage physical and mental development? These are the questions I ask myself when rating educational value.
  • Entertainment Variety: I use this to rate the variety and quality of entertainment in every location. Is the place fun, engaging and enjoyable? Does it offer activities for different age groups? I ask myself these questions to assess entertainment variety.
  • Accessibility: This is used to evaluate how accessible the activity is. Is there ample parking space? Is the location easily accessible by public transportation? Can people with young children or mobility problems easily navigate the site? I use these questions when evaluating accessibility.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the most visited place in new jersey.

The Jersey Shore, with its beautiful beaches and boardwalks, is one of the most visited destinations in New Jersey, attracting millions of tourists every year.

What Is The Prettiest City In New Jersey?

Cape May is often regarded as the prettiest city in New Jersey, known for its Victorian architecture, picturesque streets, and beautiful beaches.

new jersey cool places to visit

If you’re seeking a fun and one-of-a-kind experience of the best places to visit in New Jersey, there are various options available for everyone.

A whale and dolphin-watching cruise is a popular attraction that offers a unique and educational experience. 

The cruise allows travelers to observe these fascinating marine animals and learn about their behavior in the wild.

My family and I were in awe of nature, spotting dolphins and whales up close and witnessing their grace and beauty.

The Dreamworks Indoor Water Park is perfect for kids and adults, with exciting water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers to entertain you.

The Madagascar wave pool with vibrant toys and giant inflatables was my favorite. The Kung Fu Panda water slide had me screaming with joy.

Afterward, I visited Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park to bring cartoons to life. 

Ride coasters, explore, and meet characters—a magical wonderland to feel like a kid.

I loved the SpongeBob ride, a wild adventure through Bikini Bottom with all the quirky characters from the show.

Another must-visit attraction is SEA LIFE Aquarium, with diverse marine life – colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks—an ideal alternative to Dreamworks or Nickelodeon parks.

The touch tank with starfish and sea urchins was a favorite. 

The aquarium’s various tanks had diverse displays of fish, jellyfish, and sharks that impressed me.

I had a fantastic time exploring New Jersey’s top tourist attractions. 

Each destination left a unique, memorable experience, wanting to come back for more.

But of all the attractions I experienced in New Jersey, the Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise topped the list. 

This adventure brings nature’s magic up close, offering a unique family-friendly experience that educates and captures the imagination. 

It’s the quintessential blend of fun, learning, and unforgettable wildlife encounters, making it my top recommendation for families exploring the diverse delights of the Garden State.

15 Best Places to Visit in New Jersey — Fun & Unique Places to Go!

new jersey cool places to visit

New Features!

You can now save favorite things to do and places to visit, build your own trip itineraries and have everything you love about the Garden State — all in one place — with a MY VISITNJ page.

As you navigate through the site, click on the little “heart” icons to save Favorites, or click the “map” icons to save items to your trip itinerary.

At any point you can view your Favorites or manage your Itineraries by clicking “Account” in the header to return to your dashboard.

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So much to see and do.

Discover spectacular sites to see and unforgettable things to do in NJ, every single day. Our culinary scene serves up mouthwatering dishes for foodies to sample and savor. Adventurers and thrill seekers go wild for our outdoor recreation and amusement parks. History buffs celebrate and relive pivotal moments from our rich and legendary past. Culture connoisseurs immerse themselves in the Garden State’s acclaimed fine and performing arts. Exploring our state and national parks brings nature lovers endless inspiration. And families find fun for all ages with activities running the gamut from super high-energy to relaxed and low-key.

new jersey cool places to visit

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  • 10 Places To Visit In New Jersey Which Reflects A Kaleidoscope Of Cultures And Modernity!

23 Mar 2023

The mere mention of New Jersey is more than enough to set the mood for a person to start planning a vacation trip. Given the fact that New Jersey is a vast area with so much to see, it is not surprising that people have a hard time planning their trips without getting confused. Regarded as one of the best destinations on the east coast, New Jersey definitely does stand out of the rest with the abundance of places it offers for the tourists.

10 Best Places To Visit In New Jersey

If you are still confused about what places to visit in New Jersey, we do have some suggestions up our sleeves.

1. Atlantic City

Atlantic City view at night

Image Source Known for its wide range of entertainment facilities, Atlantic City is a very hip and upbeat place to visit. The place has some kind of event or activity going on around the year, which definitely makes it one of the best places to visit the entire year around. It is located on the Jersey Shore and showcases several kinds of possibilities for activities on the boardwalk like riding, games, and even try out the local cuisine.

Must Read: 15 Best Beaches In USA That Will Awaken Your Inner Water Baby In No Time!

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Newark

Image Source Being the second largest city in the entirety of New Jersey, Newark is definitely a place that’s a must visit when you are in New Jersey. It is known for its wide range of tourist attractions, not just for the locals but for the travellers too. If you have heard of Cherry Blossom trees and you only correlate it to Japan, now is the time to change it. Newark bestows upon the natural beauty it possesses. Not just for the natural beauty, Newark is also an amazing destination for the art junkies. The Newark Symphony Hall is a definite place that enchants you with its fine pieces of art and architecture. While there, ensure take a boat tour on the Passaic River.

Boonton

Image Source The place might not ring a bell right off the bat because it is one of the underrated gems in the list of places to visit in New Jersey with family. It is popularly known for the link with the Underground Railroad that once helped 40,000 slaves escape to Canada. The town experienced a rise in the immigrant population following the Boonton falls and the Paterson Great Falls, which paved a new way for the iron industry. If the melamine tableware is something you are fond of, you would like to know that it finds its origin here. Visit the antique stores, Grace Lord Park and bask in the natural picturesque beauty.

Suggested Read: This Largest Zoo In The USA Is The Best Place To Be For Treating The Wildlife Lover In You!

4. Asbury Park

Glorious place

Image Source Next on the list of places to visit in New Jersey includes the Asbury Park. It is a small and quaint seaside coastal town located in New Jersey. Back in the 19th century, the place was known for its amazing seaside beaches. A beachfront boardwalk is a definite place that makes its way into a tourist’s itinerary. The Stone Pony theatre which kickstarted the careers of musical legends Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen is also located here. If you have been seeking a quiet and laid back place to spend some time in, Asbury Park is the place to be in.

5. Wildwoods

Wildwoods

Image Source Wildwoods is one of the best places to visit in New Jersey USA, especially with family. Known for its long stretches of beaches that spread around to over 5 miles, it is one of the most visited spots in the area. It is believed that beaches tend to attract over 9 million people annually. Keeping everything aside, the main site of attraction is the Wildwoods boardwalk which is spread over an area of 38 blocks. From engaging sources of entertainment to amazing water parks, this is the one place that has it all.

Suggested Read: 10 Museums In Washington DC For An Insight Into The American History

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6. Cape May

Awesome weather conditions and Sea

Image Source Next on the list of places to visit in New Jersey in Cape May for all the history buffs out there. From interactive beach spots to magnificent historical sites, the possibilities around are endless. Majority of the tourists prioritize their activities based on the weather conditions around. Many indulge in beach activities while the sun is out and bright. On the other hand, cooler temperatures around are the perfect time to explore the historic places around like that of the WWII Artillery Bunker and even visit the Cape May County Zoo if you have time.

7. Princeton

perfect place

Image Source It would be a crime if one mentions New Jersey and doesn’t mention Princeton in the list of places to visit. Known for its grandeur of monuments and rich culture, Princeton is the perfect place to indulge in. It is loaded with a wide range of museums and even the showcasing of the theatre performances add further to the fervor of entertainment. Biking and hiking up and down the waterfront falls and visiting the orchards for picking fresh fruits and veggies add to the experience. This makes it one of the best places to visit in New Jersey in summer.

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8. Liberty State Park

perfect place

Image Source Yet another one of the breathtaking views around New Jersey is the Liberty State Park. The encompassing lush greenery with the scenic backdrop of Ellis Island is definitely something that overwhelms you but in the best way possible. The Manhattan Island and the Statue of Liberty add to the glam of the place even further. If you are a water adventure sports enthusiast, this place does have quite some options for you. You can indulge in fishing, kayaking, boating, ferry cruise rides and a lot more.

9. Paterson Great Falls

perfect Waterfalls

Image Source Considered as a National Natural Landmark, the Great Falls of the Passaic River is breathtaking. It is located in the Paterson Great Falls, which makes it one of the best places to visit in New Jersey during winter. The tourists tend to indulge in some panoramic view of the place from the Overlook Park or even travel down to the Mary Ellen Kramer Park for an intimate view. It also hosts a guided tour park, which helps the tourists learn a bit more about the place.

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10. Island Beach State Parks

Island Beach

Image Source

Among the few remnant barrier islands, the Island Beach State Park is located in the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey. It is around 10 miles long and spreads between the Atlantic and Barnegat Bay. It is also an amazing ground for various kinds of marine life and other sea animals. Some of the commonly witnessed ones include ospreys, falcons, shorebirds, waterfowl, etc. It also does host canoe and kayak trips. With a vivid presence of hiking trails, this definitely adds to the list of places to definitely visit in New Jersey.

Further Read: 10 Best American Road Trips For An Unforgettable Journey In The Land Of Enchanting Sceneries!

So now when you have this guide plan to explore the best places in New Jersey, don’t wait and head out to explore. But before that make sure to experience a stress-free vacation by planning and customizing your USA holiday with TravelTriangle!

Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Please Note: Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In New Jersey

What can you do in New Jersey?

If you wish to have an ultimate experience in New Jersey then you can go for a sightseeing tour and indulge in various activities such as exploring Hurricane Harbor, Turtle Back Zoo, Atlantic City, Liberty State Park, Ellis Island, Princeton University Art Museum, Cape May Historic District, and more.

What is New Jersey popular for?

New Jersey has a lot to flaunt such as its beautiful beaches, busy roads, amazing food, intense politics, and diverse culture. Its unique people, gorgeous scenery and exciting sports are just a few of our common attributes that make this place a popular holiday destination.

Is it safe to visit New Jersey in post-Covid times?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to visit New Jersey, however, you need to follow the travel advisory mentioned by the authorities, along with taking the required safety measures. Make sure that you have completed both the doses of vaccinations and get yourself tested at least 48 hours before your departure. You need to follow all the travel guidelines mentioned by the authorities.

What are the facts about New Jersey?

The three most interesting facts about New Jersy are: 1. New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the diner capital of the world. 2. North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world with seven major shopping malls within a 25 sq. mile radius. 3. Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.

What is the best time to visit New Jersey?

The best time of the year to visit New Jersey is between April and June when it’s not too hot. The summer months of July and August are often hot and humid while winter is too cold for most tourists.

What is there to do indoors in New Jersey?

Here are a few things you can do indoors in New Jersey: 1. Test your golfing skills at Monster Mini Golf— Fairfield. 2. Have some fun experiences at The Funplex — Mt. Lauren and East Hanover. 3. Explore the RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT MUSEUM — Atlantic City. Cool off at the Coco Key Water Resort— Mount Laurel.

What is the climate like in New Jersey?

New Jersey enjoys a moderate climate with summer the average temperature being 23°C. Winters are cold here with the mercury dipping down to -1°C and even below during peak winter months.

What are the best places to visit in New Jersey?

Hurricane Harbor, Turtle Back Zoo, Atlantic City, Liberty State Park, Ellis Island, Princeton University Art Museum, Cape May Historic District, Adventure Aquarium, Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, Howell Living History Farm, etc. are the best tourist attractions in New Jersey.

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The historic town of Haddonfield, New Jersey. Editorial credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

  • 8 Offbeat Towns To Visit In New Jersey

Despite New Jersey being the only state where all its counties are classified as metropolitan areas, visitors can still enjoy a good selection of lesser-known locations without having to sacrifice their exploration. If you're looking for a sign to escape the city, then consider these eight offbeat towns in New Jersey that promise to provide an escape from the hustle and bustle and offer some one-of-a-kind experiences in the Garden State.

 View of the Brainerd Lake in Cranbury, New Jersey

Cranbury is one of the oldest towns in the state, with records dating back to 1680. Cranbury is considered one of the best-preserved historic townships in the county, and the entirety of its downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A stroll through Cranbury makes it easy to admire the town's historic charm, which contains buildings of a variety of Victorian-styled homes. To explore the town's history, visit the Cranbury Museum, which is known for showcasing artifacts that have helped tell the story of Cranbury since its creation. If you're keen on exploring the area's natural beauty, head to the Reinhardt Forest Preserve. The sprawling open space is home to lush forests, wetlands, and plenty of wildlife and allows visitors to see beautiful and interesting plant life. Don't forget to enjoy a meal at the Cranberry Inn. This historic restaurant and inn is a popular landmark in the town and has been serving hot meals since the 18th century. It is one of the most historic places in all of New Jersey.

Haddonfield

The historic town of Haddonfield, New Jersey.

This beautiful town offers scenery straight out of a hallmark card and has long been known as a historic destination near  Philadelphia.  Steeped in history, Haddonfield is known as one of the oldest communities to be established in the state of New Jersey, as it was originally founded in the 1700s. The town has abundant history to explore and to learn more about the local history, a visit to the former Revolutionary War site or the Indian King Tavern Museum is a must. If your answer can't be found at the previous historical gems, then the Haddonfield Historical Museum must be your next stop.

The heart of Haddonfield stretches along Kings Highway, which serves as the main point of interest for all the activity. The quaint stores accommodate a variety of businesses and are impossible to overlook. Here, you can enjoy some freshly brewed coffee while you enjoy your breakfast at one of the cafes. Make sure to save some appetite to indulge in lunch or dinner before concluding your visit. Crumb Restaurant is a local favorite, offering delicious twists on many classics. It is also worth noting that Haddonfield is a "Dry" town, meaning that not all restaurants serve alcohol.

Aerial view of Allentown, New Jersey, in winter.

Start your day in Allentown the right way with a visit to the Moth Coffeehouse for some delicious breakfast. Next, explore the beautiful architecture throughout the town's historic district, and be sure to stop by the Allentown Antique Center for a great deal on some vintage goods. If you're looking for a fun and educational experience, then look no further than a tour of the Trenton State House. The Trenton State House, which is also known as the New Jersey State House, is the Capitol building of the state of New Jersey and is located a short drive away from Allentown. Don't forget to take some time to unwind during your visit to Allentown, and what better way to unwind than a relaxing visit to Mercer County Park? For a truly unique experience, you must pay a visit to the Horse Park of New Jersey, which offers a variety of activities spanning from pleasure riders to Olympic-level competitors. This park is truly a gem in the crown of Allentown.

View of the historic Cooper Grist Mill in Chester, New Jersey

A day in Chester can unfold with a blend of history, nature, and an unreplaceable small-town feel. Start by exploring the charming historic district covered with cobblestone streets that will make you feel like you are journeying back to the 17th century. Speaking of going back in time, Visit the Chester Historical Society to delve into the town's rich past and explore the routes of the town's creation. Also, take a tour of one of the few water-powered mills in New Jersey, the Nathan Cooper Gristmill, which is a prominent attraction that shows the transition of Chester into an industrialized town. For a scenic break, head to Hacklebarney State Park, where hiking trails trace through the region's beautiful forests. Don't forget to stop at the bakery within the park to try some famous cider donuts. To get up close and personal with some wildlife, visit the Black River Wildlife Management Area to check out local wildlife in various habitats and gain a better understanding of the region's animals.

Ocean Grove

An aerial view of Ocean Grove New jersey

Begin a delightful visit to Ocean Grove by starting with a refreshing stroll along the iconic Ocean Pathway while the wind breezes off the ocean. The path is covered by charming Victorian homes and provides that beach town vibe. Immerse yourself in the town's artistic spirit at the historic Great Auditorium, which is known for its concerts and events. The 7,000-seat auditorium on Pilgrim Pathway is a remarkable wooden structure located in the heart of the town. Dip your toes in the sand and unwind on the pristine Ocean Grove beach known for its historic pier and serene atmosphere. The town possesses a unique history. Ocean Grove has been known as "God's Square Mile" as it is a community owned by the Methodist Association. So be sure to explore the Ocean Grove Historical Society for insights into the town's unique heritage. As the sun sets, enjoy the vibrant community and seaside ambiance that make Ocean Grove a perfect coastal retreat.

The City Center in Frenchtown, New Jersey.

Settled along the Delaware River , Frenchtown promises a peaceful retreat and an escape from the hectic routines of everyday life. Begin your day by exploring the charming downtown, featuring antique shops, artisanal stores, and delightful cafes. The town is surrounded by lush forests that offer plenty of opportunities for adventure. Take a hike through the trails of the Frenchtown preserve and enjoy the beauty of the forest. Cool off during the summer months by taking a float down the scenic Delaware River. Many businesses in the village offer tube rides on the river, along with kayak and canoe rentals. A word to the wise: don't miss the iconic Frenchtown Bridge, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. As predicted in the name, the town also celebrates its heritage with a variety of festivals occurring throughout the year; the town is known for celebrating Bastille Day, a holiday that pays tribute to the Storming of the Bastille, which was a major event of the  French Revolution.  

Day view of the beach town of Highlands, New Jersey

This waterfront oasis provides some of the most impressive landscapes in the state, allowing visitors to admire views of both the  Atlantic Ocean  and the skyline of  New York City.  The ocean town possesses beaches, hiking trails, and the historic Sandy Hook lighthouse. Nearby is the Twin Lights Historic Site, known for its panoramic views of the region and offers a better understanding of the town's maritime history. To experience the culture, visit Highlands Arts District, which expresses local creativity and is home to a variety of galleries, such as Ross Fine Art, known for its unique spin on local culture.

For nature enthusiasts, Hartshorne Woods Park offers hiking and biking trails with stunning views and will give you that extra energy boost as you exercise with a view. Friendly reminder that the Big Apple is only a short ferry ride away as there is a ferry from Highlands directly to Manhattan. Whether you're into maritime history, outdoor adventures, or coastal relaxation, Highlands is sure to offer plenty of opportunities to those who visit.

Mantoloking 

Stately homes on the waterfront in Mantoloking, New Jersey.

Mantoloking has a secondary meaning of "sand place." In 1911, this town officially became the Borough of Mantoloking and has remained so ever since. Visitors are encouraged to try being a first mate for the day and explore the waters with fishing or boating excursions. The Barnegat Bay and nearby waterways offer angling and sailing opportunities and numerous chartering services such as Seaside Sailing. For a more peaceful excursion, Simplify your stay with a beach day. Enjoy the quiet and clean beaches of Mantoloking, which are sure to provide a peaceful escape for those ready to relax; Island State Beach Park is one of the best in the area. If you want to scream at the top of your lungs, then a visit to the Oceanfront amusement park is the place for you. The park offers everything from kid's rides to scream-inducing roller coasters that are sure to provide fun for the whole family. End your day with a stroll along the historic casino pier, which is the place to be to experience the shore-like atmosphere Mantoloking will surely provide.

In summary, these offbeat towns in New Jersey promise unique experiences, rich histories, and stunning landscapes. From the well-preserved charm of Cranbury to the historic allure of Haddonfield, each town offers a distinctive escape from the urban hustle. Embrace the opportunity to put your feet in the sand or explore the lush forests of forgotten histories of New Jersey. Each town unveils culture, nature, and community waiting to be explored in the Garden State.

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new jersey cool places to visit

40 Insanely Cool And Unique Places You Need To Visit Before Your Friends Do

Nate

Beyond the United States, I haven’t traveled much. Now that I think about it, even within the United States, my traveling experience has been limited to the cities where I’ve done stand-up. That’s not to say I haven’t seen a lot of cool places , but there are still so many places I’d love to visit and things I’d love to see. Some might call them bucket-list travel destinations. I’d agree.

These cool places are pretty remarkable, and when you see them, you can’t help but bask in the awe and wonder of the world we’re living in. It’s an excellent reminder that this world is amazing sometimes. That’s why seeking out the good stuff while we’re here is essential.

If you’re in need of inspiration, might I recommend some of these unique places ? Even if you can’t make it there, these pictures will fill the void. For now, at least.

1. A Roman Sea Side Swimming Pool

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2. A Magnificent View Of Cliffs Of Moher, Ireland

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3. The View From The Istanbul University Library

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4. The Golden Rays Of The Sunset Entered The Cave At Just The Right Angle To Light Up This Section Of Ice, Making It Look Like Amber

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5. An Aerial View On Tulip Fields, Netherlands

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6. Chicago Skyline Visible From Nearly 50 Miles Away In Indiana Dunes Sunset

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7. Vilnius Has Put Up A Statue That Offers A “Portal” To The Polish City Of Lublin, Allowing People To See Each Other In Real Time

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8. This Pool Full Of Crystals In Nettlebed Cave, New Zealand. It’s Hundreds Of Metres Below The Ground, Far Beyond Where Natural Light Has Ever Penetrated

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9. Great View Of The Great Pyramid

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10. Say Hello To America’s Newest National Park, New River Gorge National Park, WV!

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11. The Eruption Of The Fagradalsfjall Volcano, Iceland

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12. Italian Town Of Portofino

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13. This Amazing View In Cappadocia, Turkey

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14. This Is What Sunset Looks Like From Space

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15. The View From The Top Of The World, Mount Everest

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16. Iceland View

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17. This Is A Real Picture Taken By Photographer Keinichi Ohno. It’s A Single Photo Of A Bird Standing At The Edge Of Some Water With A Wall And Its Reflection Creating A Fascinating Optical Illusion

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18. Soccer Pitch In Greenland

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19. No Idea That There Was Another Larger Mountain Behind The Sign

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20. Mosaics Of A Roman Villa Were Found Under A Vineyard In Negrar, Italy

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21. A Literal Boulder House In Portugal

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22. The Place Where Julius Caesar Was Murdered Is Now A Sanctuary For Cats

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23. Bird’s Eye View Of Venice

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24. Entrance To A Furniture Store My Dad And Stepmom Checked Out Today

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25. This Breathtaking View In Granada, Spain

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26. Sphinx, Back View

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27. here’s Cities, There’s Metropolises, And Then There’s Tokyo

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28. The “Black Crack” Along Utah’s White Rim Trail, A Natural Fissure In The Rock A Few Feet Wide And Deep Enough To Kill You

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29. A Strange Black House In The Middle Of The Town

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30. Photo Of A Residential Subdivision In Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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31. Bird’s Eye View Of Amsterdam

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32. Aerial View Of The Pyramids Of Egypt

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33. Before And After Of The Excavation Of The Ancient Greek Stadium

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34. A Town In Norway Surrounded By Mountains Uses Three Giant Mirrors To Get A Little Bit Of Sunlight For Six Otherwise Dark Months Of The Year

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35. Top View Of The Pyramid Of Khafre In Egypt

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36. Eco House Merisi, A Hotel In Georgia With Amazing Views Throughout Seasons

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37. Night View Of Yokohama City, Japan

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38. Iceland Hvitserkur

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39. Aerial View Of Holland’s Tulip Fields

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40. Aerial Picture Of An Uncontacted Amazon Tribe

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Nate Armbruster

Nate Armbruster is a stand-up comedian and writer based in Chicago who is likely writing a joke as you read this. Find him online at natecomedy.com.

Home & Texture

The Best Places To Live in New Jersey

I f you want to live in a major city with hundreds of entertainment options, finding one in New Jersey is easy. What about settling in a small town with coffee shops and cool architecture? New Jersey has those as well. While cost of living, entertainment options and salary play a role in deciding where to live, having a place that feels like home is important. Voted as the 2023 Best State for Business, New Jersey’s economy and housing market are steadily improving and should not be ignored.

In close proximity to both New York and Philadelphia, people who work in these cities often live in New Jersey because of the lower cost of living. Accessibility isn’t the only perk of living in New Jersey, as there are so many cities in this state with much to offer for adventurers, explorers and those just wanting a calm and cozy place to settle.

For Black families, factors like cost of living and amenities aren’t the only things to consider when choosing a place to live. Diversity of also a factor that heavily impacts Black families and residents, especially considering the barriers that Black homeowners face . Some of New Jersey’s cities have a high population of Black citizens, making this a great state for raising Black families.

Known as one of the best places to live for both families and singles, New Jersey offers great schools, safety, diversity, quality housing and a lot of fun amenities. Offering a unique mix of suburbia , nice beaches, city skylines and gorgeous lakes, some may even argue that this East Coast state is the best one up north.

Narrow down your search with this list of the best places to live in New Jersey.

Jersey City: The Best Place to Live for City Life

  • Population: 286,670
  • Public School Rating: B
  • Average Home Price: $591,988
  • Walkability: High

Just across the water from Manhattan, New York is Jersey City. This part of New Jersey sits along the Hudson River. Lots of people who work in New York live in Jersey City because of its slower pace and access to the city. From suburban neighborhoods to high-rise apartments with a view of the Hudson River and Manhattan, Jersey City has a place to call home for everyone. Transportation in the city is super convenient with transit options to New York and Philadelphia, along with access to Uber, Lyft and taxis. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment here is $2,990 while the average home price is $591,988. This pricing is considered higher because of the city’s large population of 286,670. 

For Black Families: Black residents make up over 23 percent of Jersey City and with incredible residential neighborhoods, it’s easy to call this place home. As the most racially diverse city in New Jersey, the Black community has played an integral role in the development of the city.

For Young Professionals: With technology, finance and healthcare being the major industries and employment opportunities in Jersey City, young professionals in these areas thrive. For those not working in these industries, access to The Big Apple and Philadelphia make it easy to work in whatever industry you want while still living in Jersey City.

Princeton: The Best Place for Small-Town Living

  • Population: 30,377
  • Public School Rating: A+
  • Average Home Price: $848,522
  • Walkability: Moderate to High

Princeton isn’t just known for its Ivy League university. This small town features incredible gothic architecture and unique charm. For the fashionista, this town offers stores from major brands like Hermes, Ralph Lauren and Urban Outfitters. Locally-owned boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops fill the streets of Princeton, offering amenities on a local level. With close access to visit New York and Philadelphia, residents can visit these cities whenever they want to.

For Black Families: While the cost of living is higher in Princeton, this city is one of the best places to live in New Jersey because of the small town feel with access to larger amenities. While less diverse than Jersey City with a six percent Black population, the city does have a lot to offer for families looking for a smaller area to live in.

For Young Professionals: For the professional looking to work in higher education, pharmaceuticals, production and technology, Princeton is a great place to look for in your job search. The average starting salary in Princeton is around $73,000, but of course this depends on your position and industry.

Ocean City: The Best Place for Beachfront Relaxation

  • Population: 11,303
  • Average Home Price: $1.2M

Ocean City, with its fitting name, is one of the best places to experience beachfront resort-style living. With over eight miles of sand, surf and waves, Ocean City has some of the state’s best beaches, along with activities like golfing, amusement parks, boating, water sports and more. The beachfront city has over 11,303 full-time residents and is perfect for families wanting to take a vacation every time they step outside their front door. 

For Black Families: While this town isn’t as diverse as New Jersey’s bigger cities, it is a great place for relaxation. Many residents even purchase homes and rent them out during peak vacation season. 

For Young Professionals: Nothing is better than having a high-rise apartment view of the beach. For young professionals, it’s easy to make this happen if you’re pursuing job opportunities in retail or hospitality and tourism. 

Camden: The Best Place for Diversity

  • Population: 71,791
  • Public School Rating: A
  • Average Home Price: $112,693
  • Walkability: Low to Moderate, depending on the area

Diversity is always an important factor when researching anywhere you want to move . Camden is one of the best places to live in New Jersey for diversity. With over 71,791 residents, Black residents make up 31,323 of that number (43 percent). Because Camden is a larger city, there are many activities and sights to see. From family-friendly amusement parks to bars and nightclubs, the city has something to offer for all age groups. 

For Black Families: Camden has a large Black population, so there are lots of Black families in the area. The city is filled with family-friendly activities like arcades, mini golf, aquariums, children’s gardens and more. Camden offers a lower cost of living, with the average home priced at $112,693

For Young Professionals: Camden is an electric and vibrant place for young professionals looking for a city to settle down in. The average rent is around $1300, making it an affordable city for young people. On top of a lower cost of living, nightclubs, bars, breweries and brunch spots are everywhere in the city for young professionals to enjoy.

Atlantic City: The Best Place for Glamorous Adventure

  • Population: 38,501
  • Average Home Price: $189,928

If you’re always looking for some glam and adventure in your life, Atlantic City is one of the best places to live in New Jersey. This Atlantic coast city is known for its incredible beaches, electric casinos, its iconic boardwalk, and entertainment and food options. But gambling and swimming aren’t the only activities residents enjoy. There’s also plenty of places to shop, amusement parks, museums and more. Because Atlantic City is known as a great vacation destination, average home pricing is a bit lower at a little less than $200,000. 

For Black Families: 32 percent of Black residents live in Atlantic City, making it a great place to raise Black families. Delve into the history of Black people living in Atlantic City at the African American Heritage Museum or the Civil Rights Garden. There are also plenty of Black-owned businesses in the area to support. The family-friendly neighborhoods and activities make this city a great place to settle down.

For Young Professionals: For the young person who loves to go out every weekend, Atlantic City is for you. With tons of casinos, nightclubs, bars and activities, the nightlife scene here is incredible. 

The post The Best Places To Live in New Jersey appeared first on Home & Texture .

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    Steeped in history, Haddonfield is known as one of the oldest communities to be established in the state of New Jersey, as it was originally founded in the 1700s. The town has abundant history to explore and to learn more about the local history, a visit to the former Revolutionary War site or the Indian King Tavern Museum is a must.

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