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:
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.