There are many fun things to do in New Jersey in the summer!
I can hardly believe that Memorial Day weekend, also the kickoff of the summer season, is almost upon us. While millions of people from around the world will trek to New York City over the next several months, thousands of New Yorkers will leave the Big Apple as the temps begin to rise. Some will escape to their beach houses in the Hamptons or Connecticut, and others will travel to international destinations, soaking up rich culture from uncharted places around the globe. And others will opt for an adventure-filled road trip.
For New Yorkers who prefer to stay close to the city but aren’t up for the Hamptons hype, there are countless fun things to do in New Jersey in the summer! Whether you’re looking for sun and sand on one the state’s pristine beaches, gambling and fanfare in Atlantic City, a long weekend in the great outdoors, or a quick day jaunt while you keep an eye on the NYC skyline, the Garden State has you covered. Let’s show Jersey a little love because no matter what type of activities you have in mind, New Jersey has plenty going on this summer.
Farm life in New Jersey.
Strawberry picking is ripe throughout the state this season. Starting at the end of May and and lasting through June in South Jersey and July in North Jersey, strawberries are reading and waiting at favorite spots include VonThun Farms, Alstede Farms, and Oasis Family Farm. A blast for a group of friends, couples, or families, strawberry picking encourages you to get out and select your own berries, which are often tastier and juicier than supermarket varieties.
Jersey promises panoramic views.
Want to escape for just a few hours? New York drivers can cruise up The Palisades Interstate Parkway and discover three overlooks with incredible views of the Hudson River, NYC skyline, and the New Jersey Palisades (a line of steep, rocky cliffs along the west side of the river). Rockefeller Lookout and Alpine Lookout are both open 24 hours a day, and State Line Lookout is open during daylight hours only. The parkway is open to cars and motorcycles.
If sticking closer to New York City is on your agenda, head to Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Not only will you experience dynamite views of Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty, but you’ll have a terrific place to picnic, bike or jog.
New Jersey is for lovers.
Looking for a more romantic getaway? Dine on the terrace at Liberty House one evening. It’s a restaurant with water on three sides, a 10-foot raw bar, and a sushi station. Opt for seasonal eats along with craft cocktails all while gazing at the NYC skyline. Hungry yet?
NJ state parks.
For the true outdoorsman, camping in the state parks shouldn’t be missed. Grab a buddy one Saturday and head to Wharton State Forest in Hammonton, or Worthington State Forest in Warren County. Both parks offer camping, hiking, canoeing, and other adventure-filled activities for nature lovers of all ages.
Are you a beachgoer? Try the Jersey Shore.
When it comes to the coastline, most New Yorkers gravitate toward the North Jersey shore. Towns such as Spring Lake, Long Branch, and Point Pleasant are a short drive and draw many New York City beach lovers. I, however, am fairly biased when it comes to Jersey beaches and prefer South Jersey. I spent childhood summers in kitschy North Wildwood known in the past for its doo-wop motels. In my twenties, I couldn’t get enough of Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, and Avalon, a string of small shore towns known for their beautiful beaches, and each boasting its own distinct personality.
If you opt for the Wildwoods (I recommend Wildwood Crest or North Wildwood), you’ll also have the boardwalk and amusements, such as skee-ball, which can be fun for any age. Beaches are free and clean, but crowded during the height of the season. I like to think of Wildwood beaches as a slice of Coney Island in South Jersey. You’ll see a little bit of everyone and everything on the sand, making a trip to the Wildwoods right up the New Yorker’s alley.
Sea Isle has always been more of a party town while Stone Harbor and Avalon are a bit more family- friendly. No matter which enclave you choose, coastal New Jersey is known for 130 miles of sugar sand and charming downtowns, so I doubt you’ll be disappointed in any town. Bring your bathing suit, flip flops, sunscreen, and a beach towel –– you won’t need to pack much else. The Jersey Shore is worlds away from NYC yet super close. When are you going?
For more New Jersey vacation ideas, go to VisitNJ.org.