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New Jersey 101.5

21 top spots to take a first-time visitor to New Jersey

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🏖 Where in New Jersey would you take a first-time visitor?

🌭we asked our listeners for some help, 🍷 these are the top 21 spots.

Someone from out-of-state, or maybe even out of the country, is visiting New Jersey for the first time. Where do you take them?

We asked New Jersey 101.5 listeners for help with this one. There were hundreds of responses, and they were great. We narrowed the list to the top 21.

After grabbing a bagel and before chowing down on a slice of Jersey pizza, be sure to treat your out-of-town guest to a day in the Garden State with some of these places in mind.

1. Jersey Shore Beaches

“Cause down the shore everything’s alright,” as Bruce Springsteen sings in Jersey Girl. The number one response from our listeners was a Jersey Shore beach. It makes sense.

With 130 miles of Atlantic coastline and over 60 designated beaches, New Jersey offers plenty of options for a beach day or a beach getaway. Not only are the beaches and ocean clean and beautiful but many offer boardwalks, amusement park rides, arcades, restaurants, shopping, live music, and so much more.

Pick a Jersey beach and your out-of-town guest is sure to have a good time.

2. A real Jersey diner

You can’t visit New Jersey for the first time and not visit one of our diners. As of August 2023, there are 530 diners in the Garden State, the highest number of any state in the U.S. Make sure to try a plate of disco fries, a Jersey diner staple, and favorite. Two famous diners in New Jersey, Tick Tock in Clifton and Bendix in Hasbrouck Heights, are known for their celebrity sightings and have been featured in TV shows and movies, as well.

3. Lucy the Elephant

Billed as a U.S. national historic landmark, and the world’s greatest elephant, Lucy , the six-story pachyderm was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty as a spectacle to attract prospective real estate buyers to Margate. Lucy has continued to be a tourist attraction since then. In fact, she’s the oldest surviving tourist attraction in America. Lucy is available for guided tours, and she can be reserved for private dinners, fundraisers, and other special events.

4. Historic Smithville

Take a step back in time in Historic Smithville. What started as a simple, one-room stagecoach stop, has now blossomed into a popular day trip for many. With more than 50 shops, you’ll feel that small-town hospitality and local charm. Stroll along cobblestone walkways and over footbridges, and enjoy all that Smithville has to offer. Besides shops, there are food stores, European shops, wine tasting, restaurants, a train, a carousel, and so much more. Smithville is especially beautiful during the holidays and there’s a light show on the water, too.

5. Atlantic City

After visiting Smithville, scoot on over to Atlantic City, which is just minutes away. Try your luck at one of the nine casinos the resort city has to offer. Enjoy the beach and the iconic boardwalk. There are also many glitzy high-rise hotels to stay over at and nightclubs for dancing. In addition to gambling at slot machines and table games, the casinos offer spa treatments, performances by famous comedy and music acts, as well as high-end shopping and off-the-chart restaurants.

6. Historic Cape May

Someone visiting New Jersey for the first time must be exposed to the Victorian charm of Cape May. The resort town’s historic district was designated a National Historic Landmark in May 1976, and is a showcase of late-Victorian-era architecture. Take a stroll through town to capture the beauty of these preserved buildings from the 1800s. Stay at a bed-and-breakfast. Visit the beach. Go shopping. Dine at one of the many charming restaurants the town has to offer. Visit the Cape May County Zoo and the Cape May Bird Observatory. Even on a rainy day, you won’t be bored.

7. The Stone Pony

Celebrating its 50th birthday, The Stone Pony has been the anchor of the Asbury Park music scene. Locals like Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Little Steen Van Zandt, and others helped put the Pony on the map. Take in a concert here and enjoy the many shows on the Stone Pony’s Summer Stage. It’s always a fun time, and you just never know who you’re going to run into while taking in a show.

8. Asbury Park

While visiting the Stone Pony, you must enjoy some time in Asbury Park. This seaside city is known for its eclectic art scene, as well as its sandy shore and beachfront boardwalk lined with a ton of shops, restaurants, and arcades. The Silverball Museum’s video games and pinball machines date back from the 1930s to the present. Convention Hall, The Wonder Bar, and the Paranormal Museum are key spots to check out, as well.

9. Grounds for Sculpture

Located in Hamilton Township, Grounds for Sculpture is a museum, sculpture garden, and arboretum are where art and nature come together. Outdoors, nearly 300 contemporary sculptures are sited across 42 acres. Indoors, temporary exhibits from artists are featured in six galleries. More than 700 artists have had their work on view here. Dine at Rat’s Restaurant, the Peacock or Van Gogh cafes, and do some shopping, as well.

10. Rutt’s Hut

This was a fan favorite among the responses. Located in Clifton, Rutt’s Hut is known for its style of deep-fried hot dogs. The original process of frying causes the hot dog casings to crack and split, which has led to the nickname, “Rippers.” The original roadside stand opened in 1928. Don’t forget the relish, which is just as famous as the hot dogs, made with a secret blend of mustard and spices. If you’ve never had one, you must visit this cool place. Your out-of-town guest will thank you.

11. Popcorn Park Zoo

What is so special about this zoo in Lacey Township is that it is a sanctuary for unwanted or abused animals, who face desperate circumstances. Popcorn Park began in 1977 when they rescued and treated a raccoon caught in a leg-hold trap. He was given a home for life at the zoo because he could never be released and survive. Soon after, Popcorn Park became a permanent home for exotics, wildlife, farm animals, and birds who suffered abandonment, cruelty, illness, injury, handicap, exploitation, and other unimaginable circumstances. There are about 200 animals at the zoo. Admission is only $5 and a box of popcorn to feed the animals is $2.50.

12. New Jersey Winery

There are more than 50 wineries across every region of New Jersey: North, Central, South, and the Jersey Shore. Pick one. Any one. You’ll have a great time experiencing New Jersey wines during wine tastings, events, luncheons, and other activities that many of the vineyards have to offer. There’s usually something going on at a winery in New Jersey like food truck festivals, live music, murder mysteries, and more. There are over 1500 acres of land in the state operating as vineyards, according to the Garden State Winegrowers Association . Jersey wines now regularly receive critical acclaim and high scores in major wine publications like Wine Enthusiast and Wine Advocate. Try a Pinot Noir or a Chardonnay from here. You won’t be disappointed.

13. Lambertville

A great way to spend a day in New Jersey is to head to Lambertville. Founded in 1705, this Hunterdon County city and its charming streets are lined with Victorian homes and well-preserved federal townhouses. Savor in the gathering of antique shops, eclectic art galleries, and cute little coffee shops clustered on the banks of the Delaware River. The city’s architecture is very interesting. A restored 19th-century train depot houses the Lambertville Station, a popular waterside restaurant, and a cozy inn. Hidden treasures can be found in so many of the shops. Like art? The Artists’ Gallery has fair pricing and lovely artwork. If you go on the right day, there’s the Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market that’s open three days a week, too.

14. NJ Farmer’s Market

Who doesn’t like fresh fruits and vegetables? Community farmers' markets are more popular today than ever because many people are becoming more and more interested in buying fresh produce directly from local farmers. New Jersey is home to Jersey Fresh, an advertising, promotional, and quality grading program launched in 1984 to help farmers inform consumers about the availability and variety of fruits and veggies grown in the Garden State. Seasonal markets sprout up in the spring and summer from Sussex down to the Jersey Shore. Be sure to pick up Jersey Fresh tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, corn, apples, asparagus, lettuce, cucumbers and so much more, when in season.

15. Delaware Water Gap

For the nature lover, be sure to visit the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The park offers tranquil landscapes, and striking scenery along 40 miles of the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi. The park offers year-round recreation including hiking, paddling, and fishing. If you’re visiting in the fall, this is a beautiful place to check out the fall foliage.

16. A ‘Soprano’s’ Tour

You can't get much more Jersey than this. Fuggettaboutit. When you think of New Jersey, how can you not think of the HBO award-winning mob drama series created by David Chase which starred James Gandolfini, Steven Van Zandt, Edie Falco, and other well-known actors? For the Sopranos fans in your life, you may want to take them on a tour of some of the Sopranos hot spots.

Think about visiting Holsten’s in Bloomfield where you can visit “the booth” where “The Sopranos” wrapped their iconic run. Pizzaland in North Arlington is one of the many spots in the opening credits of the show as Tony Soprano drives by. Go to The Sopranos house, 14 Aspen Drive in North Caldwell. The house’s exterior was seen throughout all six seasons of the show. A tour would not be complete without visiting Centanni’s Meat Market in Elizabeth. Satriale’s Pork Store was a fake location in Kearny which followed Centanni’s, featured in the pilot episode. Then there is Bada Bing, aka Satin Dolls. The strip club has remained open, amid its own legal run-ins over the years. For a complete list of Sopranos hot spots, visit here .

17. Six Flags Great Adventure

The most popular amusement park to take a guest when visiting New Jersey is, no doubt, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson. Home to 14 world-class roller coasters, thrilling family rides, a 350-acre drive-thru safari, and Hurricane Harbor, you’ll have a jam-packed day. In the fall, make sure you visit the park during Fright Fest, and during the holidays, Six Flags is open for Holiday in the Park.

18. Liberty State Park

This is one of New Jersey’s most dramatic parks. At Liberty State Park , you can get breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. It serves as a gateway to the region’s rich, natural, cultural, and historical resources. The historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, which was a grand setting for much of the state’s transportation history, sits prominently at the north end of the park. Walk the two-mile promenade, and enjoy the picnic and playground areas, as well as the nature center. All types of recreation are welcome in the wide, open fields, pathways, and outdoor performance areas. At the northern end of the park is the expanded state-of-the-art Liberty Science Center, which is a must-visit.

19. Sandy Hook

The Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area is a park that draws more than two million visitors a year to enjoy its historic landmarks, natural areas, and recreational facilities. Sandy Hook has great ocean and bay beaches for swimming, fishing, and boating. Its recreational areas are perfect for biking, camping, running, and walking. For nature lovers, the park has salt marshes, a holly forest, and more than 300 species of birds. Within Fort Hancock is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse in America and a National Historic landmark. which served as an active The National Park Service

20. Howling Woods Farms

How would you like to spend some time with wolves in New Jersey? You can. Howling Woods Farm is an educational facility in Jackson Township, with the primary purpose of teaching visitors about the true nature of wolves. Howling Woods Farm rescues wolfdog hybrids and northern breed canines. Situated on 10 acres of pinewood forests in the Pinelands National Reserve, one-hour guided walking tours are offered during which you can interact with the wolfdogs, and learn about them and the rescue mission. Appointments must be made to visit.

21. The Wildwoods

This family-friendly resort shore town is perfect for travelers visiting New Jersey and want a little beach vacation. At the Wildwoods boardwalk, you can grab some food, pick up a souvenir in a shop, or visit the Splash Zone Waterpark or Morey’s Piers. Of course, you can’t go to the Wildwoods and not ride the iconic Sightseer Tramcar. The famous yellow tramcar has been operating since 1949. Trams operate beginning May during the season along the two miles of the Wildwoods Boardwalk. A one-way ride takes about 30 minutes and costs $5 pp. “Watch the tram car, please!”

There are so many places to take a first-time visitor in New Jersey. No matter what fun things you decide to do, your guest will surely have a blast visiting the Garden State.

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15 Best Places to Visit in New Jersey, According to Local Experts

Don’t miss these awesome spots in the Garden State.

Lindsay Cohn is a writer, editor, and avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents — and counting. She contributes to Travel + Leisure, Hotels Above Par, InsideHook, Well+Good, The Zoe Report, and more.

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Bordered by New York to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Delaware to the south, and Pennsylvania to the west, New Jersey stretches 150 miles from top to bottom. And while some may joke that it’s just one big highway, residents and return visitors know of its many charms. The Garden State has something for just about every type of traveler (not to mention some great places to live ), whether you prefer the sandy beaches and Victorian homes of Cape May, the nostalgic fun of the Ocean City Boardwalk, or the live entertainment in Atlantic City.

We talked to insiders to get the scoop on the best places to visit in New Jersey.

Ocean City Boardwalk

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“The Ocean City Boardwalk is a famous promenade that’s been a source of entertainment for more than 100 years,” says Diane Wieland, chairperson of Southern Shore Region DMO. The wooden walkway has amusement rides for all ages, mini golf, arcade games, souvenir and sweet shops, and iconic boardwalk eats — hot dogs, burgers, fries, pizza, and soft serve.

Situated at the tip of the Cape May peninsula, Cape May boasts sandy beaches, historic trolley rides, a striped lighthouse, and Victorian architecture. More than just a summer destination, the charming Jersey Shore town gets into the spirit for all the seasons — especially the holidays with festive decorations, tree lighting ceremonies, and a vendor village at Congress Hall .

Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks

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For summertime fun, look no further than Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks. “Families can spend the entire day on more than 100 rides, splashing around the two water parks right on the beach, and lounging in private cabanas,” says Jeffrey Vasser, executive director, New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism.

Wildwoods Boardwalk

Courtesy of Wildwoods New Jersey

In a state known for its seaside amusements , the Wildwoods Boardwalk stands out from the pack. Composed of more than 70,000 wooden planks, the 38-block oceanfront stretch draws crowds with everything from amusement piers featuring rides and games galore to water parks to classic eateries and shopping.

Wildwood’s Doo Wop Motel District

“Walking around Wildwood’s Doo Wop Motel District is like being transported to the 1950s,” says Vasser. Dotted along the two-mile stretch between Atlantic and Ocean Avenues sits the largest concentration of mid-century motels in the country. “It’s really neat to see all the neon signs and retro details.”

American Dream

Courtesy of American Dream

“ American Dream is, quite literally, an indoor vacation one-stop shop that’s open year-round,” raves Vasser. From the Nickelodeon Universe theme park and the DreamWorks Water Park to skiing at Big Snow and surf lessons at Skudin Surf to the hundreds of stores (​​it’s the second-largest shopping mall in the United States) and restaurants, it provides endless fun for the whole family.

Lambertville

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Founded in 1705, Lambertville brings history to life through its well-preserved federal townhouses, Victorian homes, antique shops, restored 19th-century train depot, and the James Wilson Marshall House . “The charming town also supplies family-owned wineries and photogenic vantage points such as Goat Hill Overlook,” adds Vasser.

Beneduce Vineyards

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"Most people don’t realize New Jersey is home to more than 50 wineries,” says Vasser. “One of my favorites, Beneduce Vineyards , has great wine and fun year-round events such as live music and food trucks on Saturdays.” Plus, it’s located less than 75 minutes from New York City and Philadelphia.

Grounds for Sculpture

Courtesy of Grounds for Sculpture

Located on the former site of Trenton Speedway, Grounds for Sculpture is a 42-acre sculpture park and museum. Visitors can spend the day ogling art and grabbing a bite at the restaurant. The Hamilton cultural institution also hosts special events such as after-dark light and sound experiences in partnership with Klip Collective and the upcoming Def Poetry Jam Reunion .

Atlantic City

Approximately two hours from the Big Apple, Atlantic City — the East Coast's answer to Las Vegas — dazzles visitors with its casinos, live entertainment, glitzy hotels, and big-name restaurants like Nobu . While Steel Pier offers games, entertainment, boardwalk fare, an observation wheel with sweeping views, and the only helicopter ride at the Jersey Shore.

Nestled along the banks of the Delaware River in Hunterdon County, Frenchtown is a vibrant community with plenty of Victorian architecture, art, and culture to keep travelers entertained year-round. Vasser suggests visiting over Labor Day weekend because that's when Frenchtown Riverfest takes place. “There are all kinds of street fair activities along the river,” he says.

Cape May County Park & Zoo

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Located in the Cape May Court House section of Middle Township, the Cape May County Park & Zoo houses more than 550 different animals and is free to the public. There are also awesome playgrounds for kids of all ages just outside the entrance. "It's truly one of the best-kept secrets in the area," says Wieland.

Asbury Park

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Over the last decade, Asbury Park has become a creative hub and music mecca. There are so many venues to catch a show. Wieland recommends The Stone Pony , which is best known for launching the career of Bruce Springsteen. Asbury Lanes combines bowling, dining, and live entertainment. To admire eye-catching artwork, head to the boardwalk. The Wooden Walls Project collaborates with artists to turn blank walls into colorful photo ops.

Adventure Aquarium

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Adventure Aquarium protects more than 8,500 aquatic species, including penguins, turtles, stingrays, and the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast. It also gives visitors the chance to interact with hundreds of sea creatures at the touch tanks. “It’s a favorite for kids of all ages, especially if you’re looking for an indoor activity,” says Wieland.

Long Beach Island

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With 130 miles of Atlantic Ocean real estate, there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches in the Garden State . But the shores of Long Beach Island are particularly lovely. Besides its scenic Atlantic Ocean coastline, vacationers go for the water sports, charming towns like Barnegat Light, and laid-back lifestyle.

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Best places to visit in new jersey.

Located between the cultural hubs of Philadelphia and New York City, New Jersey often gets overlooked. But with roughly 130 miles of coastline, impressive national historical parks, recreation areas and trails, and a fascinating past, the Garden State has a lot to offer. To help you decide which destination is right for you, U.S. News considered factors like unique attractions, historical sites and beautiful scenery to determine the best places to visit in New Jersey. Cast your vote below to have a say in next year's ranking.

Long Beach Island

Ocean city, nj, the wildwoods, delaware water gap, jersey city, atlantic city, seaside heights.

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Located on the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May is the oldest seaside resort in America. Although it receives praise from travelers thanks to its pristine beaches (The Cove and Sunset Beach are two highly recommended spots), this charming coastal town is also home to more than 600 colorful Victorian-style buildings and one of the largest collections of 19th-century framed buildings in the country. When you're not touring the elegant Emlen Physick Estate or climbing to the top of the historic Cape May Lighthouse, check out the retail stores at Washington Street Mall, an outdoor shopping center that's lined with restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.

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Accessible by boat or car, this island spans 18 miles and has no shortage of attractions to explore. Watch a live performance at the Surflight Theatre, learn about New Jersey's maritime history at the New Jersey Maritime Museum or catch some sun at Ship Bottom Beach. For panoramic views of Barnegat Bay, head to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and climb "Old Barney," a famous red and white structure located on the northern tip of the island. If you're looking for something the whole family will love, consider spending a day at Thundering Surf Waterpark or Fantasy Island Amusement Park.

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Known for its 8 miles of Jersey Shore coastline, Ocean City touts itself as "America's Greatest Family Resort." The bustling boardwalk is the area's focal point, boasting rides, gift shops and tasty restaurants where visitors can refuel after a day at the beach. If you're looking for a break from the sand, stroll past the storefronts along Asbury Avenue or check out Corson's Inlet State Park's numerous hiking trails. Just remember that Ocean City is a "dry" resort town, meaning that alcohol cannot be sold or purchased within town limits.

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This family-friendly resort town on New Jersey's southern shore is perfect for travelers who prefer a lot of activity on their beach vacations. Head to the coast for a variety of water sports such as surfing, boogie boarding and jet skiing, or take in the lively atmosphere at the Wildwoods Boardwalk. Here, visitors can grab a bite to eat, pick up a souvenir or ride the iconic Sightseer Tramcar. Opt instead for the Splash Zone Waterpark or Morey's Piers and Water Parks if waterslides and thrilling roller coaster rides are on your agenda.

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Straddling the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area covers more than 70,000 acres of forested mountains, small beaches and historic villages. Hikers, hunters and beachgoers flock to this park for its scenic landscapes and ample recreational opportunities. Stay overnight in one park's numerous campsites, then spend the day chasing waterfalls or swimming in the Middle Delaware River. Just remember – the currents are strong and the drop-off is sharp, so a lifejacket is recommended whenever you're getting in the water.

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Often referred to as the "sixth borough" of New York City, this metropolitan city is a popular jumping-off point for those wanting to explore the Big Apple. However, savvy travelers know that Jersey City's cultural attractions, ample green space and charming brownstones make it a destination worth exploring all on its own. Check out the exhibits at the Liberty Science Center, stroll the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway or pay your respects at the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial. Save time for a picnic at Liberty State Park, where you can catch a ferry to must-visit sights such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

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Bordering the Hudson River, this tiny city spans less than 2 square miles. But don't let its small size fool you – Hoboken's wide range of activities offer something for everyone. Eat your way through Washington Street's trendy restaurants, then grab a drink at one of the city's numerous bars. Meanwhile, fans of the hit TLC show "Cake Boss" can satisfy their sweet tooth at the original Carlo's Bakery, and history buffs will enjoy perusing the Hoboken Historical Museum. Before you leave, soak up some sun at Pier A Park or paddle the Hudson River in a kayak rental (free on select weekends throughout the summer) from the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse.

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Although best known for its eponymous Ivy League university, the town of Princeton offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Take a walking tour of Princeton University's historic campus, past famous sights like Nassau Hall and the Princeton University Chapel, then peruse the shops at Palmer Square. For an extra dose of history, pay a visit to the Morven Museum & Garden or check out the site of the Battle of Princeton at Princeton Battlefield State Park.

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One of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, Atlantic City is best known for its energetic beaches and wide array of casinos. Soak up some sun at Atlantic City Beach or hit the slot machines at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa . Just don't miss an opportunity to stroll along the city's roughly 4-mile-long boardwalk – this famous walkway is brimming with saltwater taffy shops, arcade games and glitzy hotels. When you're ready for a change of pace, Atlantic City boasts several championship golf courses where you can work on your swing.

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This tiny town north of Long Beach Island draws travelers for its lively atmosphere, friendly beaches and action-packed boardwalk. When you're not watching the sun set over Barnegat Bay or riding go-karts at the Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark, stop in one of Seaside Heights' many arcades. Ample dining and shopping options are available along the boardwalk, and the town is home to a variety of low-key beach bars. Meanwhile, fans of MTV's hit reality television show "Jersey Shore" won't want to miss a visit to the legendary Shore Store and can even tour the original house where cast members stayed during filming.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

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New Brunswick

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Asbury Park

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Clinton, NJ

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Trump uses George Clooney to mercilessly attack Biden

  • Updated: Jul. 11, 2024, 10:05 a.m.
  • | Published: Jul. 11, 2024, 9:54 a.m.

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) AP

  • Matt Arco | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Donald Trump wasted no time in calling attention to George Clooney calling for Joe Biden to step aside.

The former president put a mashup of Clooney’s performance in the 2009 movie “Up in the Air” and mixed it with a recent Biden interview and posted it to his social media site.

Clooney played a character in the film where his job was to travel around the country and fire people.

“Although I wish I was here with better news, the fact is that you and I are sitting here today because this will be your last week of employment. This is not an assessment of your productivity. Try not to take this personally,” Clooney said in the clip Trump posted, shifting between Biden looking at him with an open mouth and blank stare.

“Well, I just had a bad night,” Biden responded.

Clooney penned a devastating op-ed for Biden in The New York Times Wednesday, calling on him to drop out.

“It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “big F-ing deal” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate,” Clooney wrote.

“I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As a vice president and as president. I consider him a friend, and I believe in him. Believe in his character. Believe in his morals. In the last four years, he’s won many of the battles he’s faced,” he wrote. “But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can.”

He concluded: “Joe Biden is a hero; he saved democracy in 2020. We need him to do it again in 2024.”

Last month, Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand were among those who took the stage for a fundraiser that took in a record $30 million-plus for Biden, in hopes of energizing would-be supporters for a White House contest they said may rank among the most consequential in U.S. history.

Luminaries from the entertainment world have increasingly lined up to help Biden’s campaign. Leading up to the fundraiser, Clooney’s name appeared on numerous fundraising missives from the campaign, which he called “the fight of our lives.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matt Arco

Stories by Matt Arco

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Matt Arco may be reached at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter at @MatthewArco .

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When is Joe Biden's ABC interview? How to watch president's sitdown with George Stephanopoulos

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President Joe Biden's first television interview following the presidential debate will air Friday, as some call for him to step down as the Democratic candidate for president.

Biden will sit down with "Good Morning America" and "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos in Wisconsin on Friday for the interview, ABC News confirmed.

Biden has come under recent criticism and is facing pressure from Democrats following his disastrous debate performance against former President Donald Trump . His team previously attributed his raspy voice to a cold, but on Tuesday he blamed jet lag from recent travels overseas for his poor performance on stage.

Here's how to watch Biden's interview with ABC News.

New poll: Michelle Obama would beat Donald Trump in 2024

When is Biden's interview with ABC News? How to watch

Biden will sit down with Stephanopoulos for an interview that will air across ABC News platforms on Friday, July 5 at 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT, the news outlet confirmed.

"A transcript of the unedited interview will be made available the same day, Friday, July 5," a press release from ABC News states.

A first look at the interview is scheduled to air on the Friday edition of "World News Tonight with David Muir," which begins at 6:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. CDT.

The interview is scheduled to air again Sunday on "This Week," which is hosted by Stephanopoulos, and showtimes vary by local listings.

Who is George Stephanopoulos?

George Stephanopoulos is the current anchor of the ABC News programs " Good Morning America " and "This Week."

He is a former Democratic Party advisor and served as the White House communications director and later a senior advisor for President Bill Clinton.

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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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New Jersey Tourism Research and Information

Tourism insights.

Welcome to the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism (NJTT) creates awareness of all that New Jersey has to offer as a destination in order to enhance the quality of life for New Jersey residents and their communities. NJTT is the only organization in New Jersey providing marketing strategy and industry leadership for tourism sector stakeholders through:

  • Domestic and international marketing programs; ad sales, please contact  Dana Communications , our agency of record 
  • Grant programs and Cooperative Marketing Programs
  • Comprehensive economic research
  • Tradeshow Collaboration
  • Travel Agency & Tour Groups personalized service
  • Public Relations training and education
  • Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) and stakeholder outreach and consultation services

NJTT aims to provide diverse and memorable experiences for our visitors and engender pride among New Jersey residents about where they live, work and play. As such, our organizational values focus on collaborative and proactive processes where we function as state ambassadors with a commitment to serve.

In 2023, tourism in New Jersey generated $78.3 billion in total economic impact, with visitor spending reaching $49.1 billion in the Garden State. Traveler activity continues to re-energize the state economy, evident in the $5.2 billion produced in state and local taxes, reflecting a strong demand for the state’s robust travel product portfolio.

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Dec. 15, 2023 - NJ News 12 - Lt. Governor Tahesha Way featured for National Cupcake Day

Tourism Research Studies

Economic impact & leisure visitor profile studies, 2023 tourism economic impact study.

  • $78.3B Total Visitor Economy Impact
  • $49.1B Direct Visitor Spending
  • 501,000 Total Jobs Generated
  • $5.2B State & Local Taxes Generated

2023 Tourism Economic Impact Study

2023 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2023 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2023 Day Trip Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2023 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2022 Tourism Economic Impact Study

  • $73.5B Total Visitor Economy Impact
  • $45.4B Direct Visitor Spending
  • 479,558 Total Jobs Generated
  • $5.0B State & Local Taxes Generated

2022 Tourism Economic Impact Study

2022 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2022 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2022 Day Trip Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2022 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2021 Tourism Economic Impact Study

  • $37.3B Direct Visitor Spending
  • 1 out of 20 Jobs Supported by Visitor Spending
  • 96.6M Visitors
  • $4.6B State & Local Taxes Generated

2021 Tourism Economic Impact Study

2021 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2021 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2021 Day Trip Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2021 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2020 Tourism Economic Impact Study

  • $29.4B Direct Visitor Spending
  • 1 out of 24 Jobs Supported by Visitor Spending
  • 84.6M Visitors
  • $4.0B State & Local Taxes Generated

2020 Tourism Economic Impact Study

2020 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2020 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2020 Day Trip Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2020 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2019 Tourism Economic Impact Study

  • $46.4B Direct Visitor Spending
  • 9000 Jobs Supported by Visitor Spending
  • 116M Visitors
  • $5.1B State & Local Taxes Generated

2019 Tourism Economic Impact Study

2019 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2019 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2019 Day Trip Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2019 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2018 Tourism Economic Impact Study

  • $44.7B Direct Visitor Spending
  • 9.8% Jobs Supported by Visitor Spending
  • 110M Visitors

2018 Tourism Economic Impact Study

2018 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

2017 tourism economic impact study.

  • $42.9B Direct Visitor Spending
  • 6.9% Jobs Supported by Visitor Spending
  • 100M+ Visitors
  • $4.8B State & Local Taxes Generated

2017 Tourism Economic Impact Study

2017 Overnight Leisure Visitor Profile Study

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New Jersey Image and Advertising Return-on-Investment

2011 New Jersey Tourism Statistics Presentation

2011 New Jersey Tourism Statistics Presentation

2021 Tourism Economics NJTIA Presentation

2021 Tourism Economics NJTIA Presentation

New Jersey Image Study

Literature distribution policy, new jersey tourism team members.

Here are 9 things to do in North Jersey, July 5-7

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It's Fourth of July weekend and we've got your big lists of Independence Day events , but if you're not into fireworks and parades, here are nine other things to do.

Need some sports? We've got Jackals baseball in Paterson, Big3 basketball in Newark and roller derby in East Rutherford.

Summer concerts in local parks are underway, including some soul music in Rockaway. If you prefer your music indoors, there's an emo night in Rutherford.

If you want to enjoy nature this weekend, there's the Butterfly House in Tenafly and the Falling Waters Hike at Pyramid Mountain.

Plus, foodies can take a tour of South Orange's eateries and art enthusiasts can check out a gallery in Bogota that's kicking off the Creative Bergen Arts Amble.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

See below for more details and for the weather, too! Enjoy your weekend.

July 4th: Where to see the best fireworks in North Jersey: Check out these 7 massive displays

North Jersey weather forecast for July 4 through July 7

According to the National Weather Service:

  • Independence Day: Partly sunny with a high in the upper 80s and a 30 percent chance of showers and possible thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Evening lows in the low 70s
  • Friday : Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. High around 90, low in the mid-70s.
  • Saturday : Mostly cloudy with a high approaching 90 and a 60 percent chace of showers and thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening. Low in the low 70s.
  • Sunday: Partly sunny with a high around 90. Partly cloudy at night, with a low in the low 70s.

North Jersey: Get a great view of the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks from these spots in NJ

Butterfly House at Tenafly Nature Center

Looking for a nature-experience for all ages? This is the final weekend to enjoy time among the free-flying native butterflies and moths of the Tenafly Nature Center Butterfly House. Take a peek in the chrysalis box and observe how butterflies create delicate chrysalises; with patience and good timing you may be able to see a butterfly emerge.

The Butterfly House is a 12-by-24 foot structure located outside near the Native Pollinator garden and Visitors’ Center. Open only in the summer, a visit to the Butterfly House offers guests an immersive experience and an introduction to the wonders of metamorphosis. Educational displays help guests understand the life cycles of butterflies and moths, supporting observation of a variety of native species of live butterflies and moths. Observe these winged jewels sipping nectar and taking flight. While you are visiting, chat with staff or volunteers, ask questions, or simply relax and enjoy the space while butterflies flit and fly about.

North Jersey restaurants: Enjoy summer salads and crispy chicken at 12 new restaurants

Want to see more pollinators in action? Visit the Native Pollinator Garden and observe the diversity of native pollinators such as bees, beetles and, if you’re lucky, hummingbirds. You may even find a few ideas to try in your own garden.

Butterflies are less active when temperatures are cool (below 70° F) or if it is overcast and/or raining. In the event of rain the butterfly house will be closed. Species vary by season and supplier availability. All species in the Butterfly House represent what can be found in the Tenafly Nature Center preserve during the spring and summer months.

Go: Butterfly House at Tenafly Nature Center, 313 Hudson Ave. Visits are available at 1, 1:15, 2, 2:15, 3, 3:15, 3:30 and 3:45 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Guests who have missed an admission time will be asked to wait until the next time slot. Free for TNC members; $3 for non-members; free for young children who will be held off the floor by an adult the entire time. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Butterfly house admission does not include trails. tenaflynaturecenter.org . 201-568-6093, [email protected].

Jackals baseball at Hinchliffe Stadium

The Jackals are home in Paterson this weekend, with a three-game series against the Lake Erie Crushers.

Friday is Larry Doby Day, with a Larry Doby poster giveaway. Saturday is Star Wars Night, with a lightsaber giveaway for kids age 14 and under, and a Star Wars jersey auction. Sunday is Family Day with $5 tickets for kids age 12 and under and seniors age 55 and over.

Go: New Jersey Jackals at Hinchliffe Stadium, 1 Jasper St., Paterson. 6:35 p.m. Friday, 6:05 p.m. Saturday, 4:35 p.m. Sunday, $5 to $25. jackals.com , 973-746-7434, [email protected]. Gates open an hour prior to the start of the games.

Falling Waters Hike

Explore the wonders of the Yellow Trail at Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area in Boonton, Montville and Kinnelon. Explore the different landscapes of Turkey Mountain on moderate to difficult trails. Be sure to pack a snack and plenty of water and wear appropriate footwear. Well behaved, leashed dogs are welcome. For ages 10 and up with an adult.

Go: Falling Waters Hike at Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, 472 Boonton Ave, Boonton. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The event is free, but advance registration is required. morrisparks.net/events . 973-635-6629.

July 4 weekend in NJ: 8 more things to do in North Jersey, including live music, roller skating

Food tour of South Orange

The Village of South Orange will launch its first-ever guided food tour on Saturday. These weekly, 2.5-hour walking tours will usher guests behind the counter at some of the downtown commercial district’s eateries, where chefs will provide exclusive tastings and an inside perspective on the town's culinary scene. The weekly tours - hosted by local writer and New Jersey native Max Gray of Chow Town Food Tours - will also visit local landmarks and delve into the history of the community.

Tours include artisanal domestic and international cheeses, handmade small-batch baked goods, authentic Mexican street tacos, and a historic local restaurant featuring American pub fare.

Go: Chow Town Food Tour of South Orange, downtown commercial district. 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. $55. Meeting location and tour details provided with ticket purchase . chowtownfoodtours.com , @chowtowntours on Instagram.

Graffiti, street art and pop art at Bogota gallery

Twenty Four River Gallery is an alternative space located in a historic paper mill in Bogota. The gallery is run as a collective featuring New Jersey-based artists working in graffiti, street art, pop art and traditional styles, and will be featured as the opening location for the 2024 Creative Bergen Arts Amble on Saturday.

The artists include Rita Flores (@ritafloresart), Olga Correa (@olgacorrea_art), Marsha Heller (@marshaheller), MariaTeresa Ortiz-Naretto (@mton_193), Leon Rainbow (@aerosoleon), LadyKFever (@ladyk_fever), PK (@pk_official_gallery), Rendawriter (@rendawriter), Myrna Richards (@myrnarichardsart), Angelina Salgado (@angelinapaintsauroras), Sisco (@takart2.tds), Joel Yobe Beleno (@art.yobe), John Zollo (@portraitsNJ) and the Temple of Graffiti Hackensack (@d.smooov.fc) - the majority of whom are New Jersey residents. The curator is Christine DeFazio (@christine_defazio_arts) of Bogota.

This program is made possible in part by a grant administered by the Bergen County Division of Historic and Cultural Affairs from funds granted by the New Jersey State Council of the Arts. Venues and artists are participating under the umbrella event, Arts Amble 2024.

Go: Graffiti, street art and pop art pop-up at Twenty Four River Gallery, 24 River Road, Bogota. 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Rain date is Sunday. @twentyfourriver  on Instagram.

Emo Night with Chris Kamrada in Rutherford

Welcome to Emo Night at the Williams Center. This.is.emo and Emo Social present this Saturday dance party blasting the emo and pop punk jams. Chris Kamrada from Dashboard Confessional will even join the party. Special guests also include a Royden reunion show (15 years later), Ashlee Holmes, Aaron Rosa (Palisades) and guest live act Gina Fritz. Get ready to scream your lungs out, mosh and dance. Dress to impress at the Social Fest for Emotional Distress! Bring a date or come solo and make new friends. There will be a photo op area, merch giveaway and music blasting all night.

Go: Emo Night at the Williams Center, 15 Sylvan St., Rutherford. Doors open at 8 p.m. Saturday. Age 18 and older. $20 in advance; $25 at the door; $35 for early entry (7 p.m.) for meet-and-greet and photo ops. williamscenter.co .

Big3 three-on-three basketball in Newark

Big3 tips off its seventh season of three-on-three basketball with a 10-week series that will stop at Prudential Center on Sunday.

“The Big3 is coming in hotter than ever for season seven,” said CEO and co-founder, Ice Cube. “Four-point shots, no garbage minutes and players actually playing defense – everyone knows you can only get that in the Big3."

Go: Big3 basketball at the Prudential Center, 25 Lafayette St., Newark. 1 p.m. Sunday. Doors open at noon. $35.50 to $856. prudentialcenter.com . 973-757-6000.

Soul Groove at the Rockaway Gazebo

The Rockaway Gazebo 2024 Summer Concert Series kicks off Sunday with Soul Groove, playing pop, dance, R&B and soul hits of the current and past.

Go: Soul Groove at the Rockaway Gazebo, Mt. Hope Road, Rockaway Township. 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. soulgrooveband.com .

Gotham Roller Derby at American Dream

Gear up for adrenaline-fueled action and fierce competition, and watch as skaters clash in high-speed battles on the track, with Gotham Roller Derby. Gotham is a founding member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.

Go: Gotham Roller Derby at the Rink, Level 1 at American Dream in East Rutherford. 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. The first game whistle is at 4 and the second game whistle is at 6. $10 to $40. americandream.com , gothamrollerderby.com .

Have an event coming up? Tell us about it. Write to Daniel Galioto at [email protected].

Visit New Jersey TV Spot, 'Wow: Summer Wows'

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Visit New Jersey TV Spot, 'Wow: Summer Wows'

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Check out Visit New Jersey's 30 second TV commercial, 'Wow: Summer Wows' from the Cities & Destinations industry. Keep an eye on this page to learn about the songs, characters, and celebrities appearing in this TV commercial. Share it with friends, then discover more great TV commercials on iSpot.tv

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Biden campaign announces $50M July ad buy, more travel for prez, Kamala Harris despite calls to drop out

P resident Biden’s re-election campaign announced Friday it is launching a $50 million ad buy, coupled with a travel push by both the incumbent and Vice President Kamala Harris across battleground states — even as some in the Democratic Party call on the 81-year-old to step down following last week’s debate.

The media blitz will target big events held this month, including the Summer Olympics and the Republican National Convention, the campaign said in a statement, adding that it will also have an ad presence during Monday night’s season premiere of “The Bachelorette.”

Democrats have been in disarray since the president’s disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump on June 27, with party lawmakers and donors openly questioning whether Biden can win a second term — and even whether he should be the nominee.

“Following his campaigning in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania this weekend, President Biden will return to Washington, DC for the NATO summit, where he will continue to demonstrate strong US leadership as we unite our allies,” the campaign said. “The President will deliver a keynote address and participate in a press conference in his official capacity.”

Biden will also travel to the Southwest to court black and Latino voters, hitting up Las Vegas for the NAACP and UnidosUS annual conferences, both of which overlap with the RNC’s July 15-18 gathering in Milwaukee.

The campaign announced its plans hours before Biden was set to sit down for an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that many observers see as crucial to revitalizing his campaign.

Curiously, the campaign noted in its statement that Biden “can also be expected to engage in frequent off-the-cuff moments over the course of the month.”

Harris, who would have the easiest time replacing Biden if he did decide to drop out, will also continue her travel plans, along with first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.

“Harris will speak at ESSENCE Festival of Culture on Saturday in her official capacity, before traveling to a campaign event in Las Vegas on Tuesday,” the campaign said. “Also this month, Vice President Harris will speak at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s 71st Boulé and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s Grand Boulé in her official capacity.”

The July push will emphasize Biden’s messaging on abortion, the economy “and the threat Donald Trump poses to our democracy.”

“This will be a close race, decided by battleground voters who require consistent time, outreach, and attention,” the readout argued.

“While Donald Trump is on the golf course, we are putting in the work to reach critical voters and frame this election as a choice between Joe Biden – a fighter for American families – and Donald Trump – a convicted criminal who is running a campaign of revenge and retribution focused only on himself.”

Biden campaign announces $50M July ad buy, more travel for prez, Kamala Harris despite calls to drop out

July 4 fireworks set New Jersey forest fire that burned thousands of acres

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TABERNACLE, N.J. — Authorities say fireworks sparked a fast-moving forest fire that has consumed thousands of acres in southern New Jersey.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service said Sunday that “a fireworks device” set alight in the Wharton State Forest late on the Fourth of July started the fire. The blaze was spotted from a fire tower shortly after 9 a.m. Friday burning near Apple Pie Hill and the Batona Campground, which was evacuated as a precaution.

Officials asked anyone with information about the fire to call the state park police tip line. The forest fire service led the investigation in collaboration with state park police, the state division of fire safety and the Burlington County fire marshal’s office, officials said.

Authorities said Sunday that the blaze had burned an estimated 4,000 acres but that it was believed to be 75% contained. Officials said earlier that crews were using a backfire operation to fight the fire, burning areas ahead of the main fire in a bid to stop the flames from spreading. Several roads and trails had been closed.

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