New Jersey is a commonly overlooked state, but there are a bevy of great day trip locations that set New Jersey apart. Beautiful beaches, boardwalks, and the Pine Lands offer a wide range of experiences great for families and those who need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Here are a few of the best New Jersey day trips:
The Cape May beaches offer miles of sand-soaked land. In the spring and summer, enjoy the sun and water, as well as the beach-side grills. Bring an umbrella, as the sun is intense at times. In the spring months, if lightning is spotted the lifeguards will close the beach and send beach goers away for shelter in the small cafes and curiosity shops. The town of Cape May is often more crowded when rain clouds darken the sky and drive those on the beaches inside as well. Lights adorn the bed and breakfasts on the Washington Street Mall when the holiday season rolls around, which gives the town a thoroughly festive feel.
Meadowlands & Environmental Center
The Meadowlands are a hotbed for environmental learning, and the Meadowlands Environmental Center provides education from K-12 to life long learners and personal environmental researchers. Take sustainability workshops, attend family science nights, and get hands-on experience and knowledge of how this complex and nuanced ecosystem works, and how it must be protected. Rent a canoe or kayak and explore the wetlands that weave through the Meadowlands, or take a guided pontoon boat tour.
On a cold or rainy day, visit the Jenkinson’s Aquarium. While it may be crowded, it also has a variety of fish, seals, penguins, and more. Like the Meadowlands Environmental Center, the aquarium is an educational day trip and the institution is dedicated to education of the public on marine life and conservation. Kids typically enjoy the sharks, turtles, and penguins at feeding times. Outside the aquarium you’ll find a host of entertainment options on the boardwalk. Games and rides, food stands and some of the best beaches on the East Coast make this destination a must see.
The Pine Barrens
The Pine Barrens stretch across seven different counties. It is a place of myth, legends, and folklore. Home of the legendary ‘Jersey Devil,’ the region offers more than just superstitions, but kayak and canoe rentals, deer and duck hunting. Visit the wildlife refuge and enjoy the wilderness, or treat yourself to a winery tour, as the Pine Barrens are home to some award winning wineries. Many festivals are held in this region throughout the year.
Plan a visit on the fourth Saturday in June to check out the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival in the Whitesbog Historical Village. Kids love the pie eating contest, live bluegrass music, and the wagon tours which make this a truly family friendly day trip.