New Jersey, often referred to as the “Garden State,” is a hidden gem on the East Coast of the United States. With its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and picturesque shorelines, New Jersey offers something for every traveler. From the bustling cityscape of Jersey City to the charming beach towns of the Jersey Shore, there are countless places to explore and discover in this beautiful state.
1. Spring Lake
Located on the Jersey Shore, Spring Lake is a tranquil beach town that offers a perfect retreat for those seeking a relaxing getaway. With its picturesque beach, charming boardwalk, and boutique shops, Spring Lake is a true hidden gem in the Garden State. This idyllic seaside town has long been a popular destination for visitors looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Spring Lake is known for its pristine beaches, which offer ample space to soak up the sun, surf, or simply take a stroll along the shore. The town’s beachfront is lined with beautiful Victorian-style homes, adding to the area’s charm and character. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful day on the sand, taking in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Aside from the beach, Spring Lake is home to a variety of boutique shops and restaurants. The downtown area is filled with quaint shops offering everything from unique clothing and accessories to home decor and gifts. After a day of shopping, visitors can dine at one of the many local eateries, which offer a range of cuisines to suit every palate.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Spring Lake offers the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities. Fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are popular water sports in the area, thanks to the town’s proximity to the picturesque Spring Lake and Barnegat Bay. Visitors can also explore the area’s natural beauty by taking a leisurely bike ride or a scenic hike through the surrounding nature trails.
Throughout the year, Spring Lake hosts a variety of events and festivals that add to the area’s vibrant atmosphere. From summer concerts on the beach to holiday parades and art shows, there is always something happening in this charming beach town. Whether you’re looking to relax, explore, or immerse yourself in the local culture, Spring Lake is a must-visit destination in New Jersey.
2. Cape May
Nestled in the Garden State, Cape May charms visitors with its Victorian architecture and sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Nature lovers flock to the area for bird-watching and the stunning lighthouse, while the town’s dining and shopping options offer a great time for all. With its popularity as a wedding destination and event hotspot, Cape May also offers guided tours of the historic district via horse-drawn carriages, making it an ideal spot to visit in southern New Jersey.
3. Long Beach Island
Long Beach Island, also known as LBI, is a perfect retreat offering idyllic beaches and quaint towns. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in swimming, surfing, and fishing.
Explore the island’s rich history through iconic landmarks like the Barnegat Lighthouse and the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History.
As night falls, experience the lively nightlife at the numerous bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Whether seeking a tranquil beach escapade or an exhilarating vacation, Long Beach Island is the ideal destination year-round, attracting nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
4. Ocean City, NJ
Nestled in the Garden State, Ocean City, NJ, offers a perfect retreat for families. With its pristine beaches stretching alongside the Atlantic Ocean, the town provides an array of water sports and activities. Visitors can relish the vibrant boardwalk scene, encompassing shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Mini-golf courses and historic landmarks further enrich the experience. From the scenic coastline to the bustling boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ, presents a wealth of attractions for a great time, appealing to nature lovers, and enthralling visitors all year round.
5. The Wildwoods
Nestled in Cape May County, The Wildwoods offer a delightful fusion of family-friendly attractions. From the renowned boardwalk to amusement parks and stunning beaches, there’s something for everyone here. Besides The Wildwoods, New Jersey boasts popular destinations like Atlantic City and Liberty State Park.
Outdoor enthusiasts can relish hiking, camping, and skiing in scenic spots such as the Delaware Water Gap and the Pine Barrens. With such diverse options, the Garden State truly has something for nature lovers, history buffs, and adventure seekers alike.
6. Delaware Water Gap
Nestled in the Garden State, the Delaware Water Gap showcases the natural wonder of the Appalachians being cut through by the Delaware River. It offers a great time for nature lovers and enthusiasts seeking adventure.
The area boasts a rich history, including Native American settlements and George Washington’s crossing during the Revolutionary War.
Visitors can indulge in hiking, fishing, and kayaking while witnessing stunning views and wildlife spotting in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This destination is undoubtedly one of the best places in New Jersey, offering something delightful for every visitor.
7. Jersey City
Located near New York City, Jersey City is the second-largest city in New Jersey. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from Liberty State Park. The historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal has been transformed into a museum and transportation center, showcasing the city’s rich history.
Jersey City Art & Studio Tour offers a glimpse into the vibrant arts scene. Food enthusiasts can savor diverse cuisines at the city’s restaurants, while the Newport Centre Mall provides shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Hoboken, a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, offers stunning views of the New York City skyline. This garden state gem is home to Pier A Park and Sinatra Park, providing beautiful waterfront views and recreational activities.
Explore the vibrant nightlife along Washington Street and discover the city’s ties to Frank Sinatra, celebrated with a yearly music festival. The Hoboken Historical Museum showcases the city’s rich history as a major transportation hub, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Princeton, located in the Garden State, is renowned for housing the prestigious Ivy League university, Princeton University. The town boasts beautiful architecture, charming streets, and the Princeton University Art Museum showcasing a vast collection of art and artifacts.
History enthusiasts can explore the Princeton Battlefield State Park, the site of a Revolutionary War battle. Additionally, the McCarter Theatre Center offers theater, dance, and music performances, while the Princeton Farmers’ Market bustles with fresh produce and local food. Nature lovers can also visit nearby Island Beach State Park.
10. Atlantic City
Located on the Jersey Shore, Atlantic City is renowned for its casinos, boardwalk, and beach. Visitors can enjoy rides and entertainment for all ages at the Steel Pier amusement park.
The historic Absecon Lighthouse offers stunning views for those who climb it. Additionally, the Atlantic City Aquarium showcases sea life exhibits and interactive touch tanks, while the Boardwalk Hall hosts concerts, sports events, and shows, providing ample entertainment options
11. Seaside Heights
Seaside Heights, located in New Jersey, is renowned for its lively boardwalk and thrilling amusement park. It’s a delightful spot for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing along the Atlantic Ocean.
The boardwalk beckons visitors with arcades, mini-golf, and exhilarating rides, while seafood restaurants and boardwalk stands cater to a variety of dining preferences. Additionally, Seaside Heights hosts an array of summer events, including concerts and festivals, making it a perfect destination for entertainment enthusiasts.
12. New Brunswick
New Brunswick, located in central New Jersey, is home to Rutgers University, offering a blend of academic and urban experiences. The downtown area boasts numerous restaurants and bars, providing a vibrant social scene for visitors.
The State Theatre hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, catering to diverse entertainment preferences. History enthusiasts can explore the Old Queens Campus, which carries a rich historical legacy dating back to the 1700s.
Outdoor enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the scenic Kilmer Park or take strolls along the picturesque Raritan River, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.
13. Asbury Park
Located on the Jersey Shore, Asbury Park is a beloved beach town boasting a vibrant boardwalk with an array of attractions like restaurants, bars, and shops. Renowned for its music scene and historic venues such as the Stone Pony, the town also showcases stunning Victorian architecture, including the iconic Asbury Park Casino.
Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in activities like surfing, kayaking, and fishing, making it a haven for nature lovers. Asbury Park stands out as one of the best places to visit in New Jersey, offering a mix of history, entertainment, and natural beauty.
Nestled in the Garden State, Morristown holds a significant place in American history due to its role in the American Revolution. Visitors can explore the Morristown National Historical Park, featuring George Washington’s headquarters and the Morris Museum’s diverse exhibits.
South Street offers delightful shopping and dining experiences, while the town also boasts the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Morristown provides a great time for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, making it a must-visit destination in New Jersey.
15. Clinton, NJ
Nestled in the garden state, Clinton, NJ, is a charming small town boasting a historic downtown area. Visitors are drawn to the must-visit Red Mill Museum Village, home to a 19th-century gristmill and various exhibits.
Outdoor enthusiasts can delight in kayaking on the Raritan River and hiking in the nearby Round Valley Recreation Area.
Throughout the year, the town hosts a variety of annual events, including a fall festival and a festive Christmas tree lighting ceremony. With its diverse array of restaurants, cafes, and shops, Clinton offers a delightful experience for all.
16. Point Pleasant Beach
Point Pleasant Beach in the Garden State is a sought-after destination for families, offering a classic boardwalk experience with arcades, amusement rides, and mini-golf. The expansive beach, stretching over a mile, allows for activities such as swimming, fishing, and surfing.
Along the boardwalk, numerous restaurants and bars cater to various culinary preferences, from seafood to pizza. Visitors will also find the renowned Jenkinson’s Aquarium, showcasing marine life indigenous to the area. This captivating location truly embodies the essence of a great time at the Jersey Shore.
17. Six Flags Great Adventure
Six Flags Great Adventure, located in the Garden State, spreads across 510 acres and offers over 100 rides, including 13 roller coasters.
The park is famous for the Kingda Ka, the tallest and fastest roller coaster globally. With numerous attractions for all ages, visitors can enjoy various dining options and entertainment shows.
In addition, during the summer months, guests can explore the adjacent Hurricane Harbor water park, making it a great time of year to visit the park and have a great time while taking a guided tour.
18. Monmouth Battlefield State Park
Nestled in the Garden State, Monmouth Battlefield State Park witnessed significant events during the Revolutionary War. The battlefield, monuments, and museum offer insights into the historic battle and its aftermath.
Nature lovers can explore hiking trails, wildlife, and picnic spots while history buffs will appreciate the park’s guided tours and summer events. A visit to this historic site, managed by the National Park Service, is a great time of year for all, with the park inviting visitors for a memorable experience.
19. Watchung Reservation
Nestled in Union County, New Jersey, the 2,000-acre Watchung Reservation beckons nature lovers with its diverse offerings. From hiking trails and picnic areas to fishing ponds and a scenic lake for boating and paddleboarding, the park provides a great time for visitors. Adventure seekers can partake in horseback riding, mountain biking, and even cross-country skiing and sledding in the winter.
The educational programs at the Watchung Reservation Trailside Nature & Science Center cater to both adults and children, while the historically preserved Deserted Village of Feltville offers guided tours for a deeper understanding of the area’s significance.
20. Theme parks
Luna Park at Coney Island offers a diverse selection of rides and games, providing entertainment for visitors of all ages. Additionally, Diggerland USA stands out as a unique theme park, allowing guests to operate heavy machinery like bulldozers and excavators, offering an unconventional and thrilling experience.
These theme parks, each with its distinct attractions, contribute to New Jersey’s reputation as a prime destination for family-friendly entertainment, attracting visitors from far and wide.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some must-see attractions in New Jersey?
Some must-see attractions in New Jersey include the Atlantic City Boardwalk, known for its casinos, shops, and restaurants. The Liberty State Park offers stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline. Cape May is a charming destination with Victorian architecture and beautiful beaches. The Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton features an extensive collection of contemporary sculptures.
Are there any underrated destinations in New Jersey that are worth visiting?
Underrated destinations in New Jersey offer a unique perspective on the state’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Explore the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Cape May County Zoo, Grounds for Sculpture, Lambertville, Ocean Grove, and Allaire for hidden gems worth visiting.
What are some family-friendly places to visit in New Jersey?
The best places to visit in New Jersey, Looking for family-friendly places to visit in New Jersey? Check out the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, where you can explore marine life exhibits. The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City offers interactive activities for all ages. For thrill-seekers, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township is a must-visit. Don’t forget to stop by Cape May County Park & Zoo for free admission and animal exhibits!
Are there any seasonal events or festivals that take place in New Jersey?
The best places to visit in New Jersey, New Jersey hosts a variety of seasonal events and festivals throughout the year. From the famous Cherry Blossom Festival in Branch Brook Park during spring to the exciting Atlantic City Airshow in summer, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the Sussex County Sunflower Maze in the fall the Annual Christmas Parade in Cape May and Ice Boat Races on the Delaware River during winter.
In conclusion, the best places to visit in New Jersey offer a wide range of attractions for both locals and tourists alike. From picturesque beach towns like Cape May and Spring Lake to vibrant cities like Jersey City and Hoboken, there is something for everyone in the Garden State.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures in the Delaware Water Gap or seeking thrills at Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey has it all.
Don’t forget to explore historical sites such as Monmouth Battlefield State Park and watch the stunning views at Watchung Reservation. So, pack your bags and start planning your next adventure to discover the best places to visit in New Jersey.
Ferona Jose is a passionate travel writer and blogger at Travelistia. She has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her writing focuses on cheap travel destinations, travel experiences, cultural insights, and travel hacks.