Whether you’re searching for a romantic trip or a family vacation, New Jersey and the New Jersey Shore have plenty of attractions for couples and families. Stay in a historic golf hotel, visit 90 miles of beautiful beaches, chill on the beaches of Cape May, or arrange a weekend of spa treatments, beach sunning, and delicious meals at a secluded NJ inn or lodge.
You’ll find plenty of things to do at the popular and hidden vacation spots we’ve hand-selected. Many people come to New Jersey for the beaches, but there’s so much more awaiting residents and visitors in the Garden State and around the Jersey Shore. Check out these New Jersey vacation ideas to learn more.
Vacation Ideas: New Jersey Shore Excursions
90 Miles of Beaches
Families flock to the New Jersey Shore for its white sands, gorgeous coastal waters, and sunshine – lots of sunshine. The Jersey Shore has more than 90 miles of white-sand beaches and is one of the region’s most visited and explored sites, though temperatures, tourism, and vacation rental properties are at their highest during summertime. Miles apart, travelers get to enjoy many beaches across the shoreline, from Lavallette, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, and beyond.
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at picturesque Point Pleasant Beach is another nice summer activity to do while in New Jersey. Jenk’s, which is located next to the Atlantic Ocean’s white-sand beaches, offers it all: well-kept boards for strolls with a sight, carnival-style activities, an aquarium, a plethora of eateries, and a thriving adult nightlife. There are also amusement attractions for all ages, a gaming arcade, a delectable homemade sweets store, a mystical funhouse, a climbing wall, a mini-golf course, and stores where you may shop to your heart’s delight. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has so much to offer that you could comfortably spend a weekend there. Furthermore, hospitality rooms are provided immediately on the main strip of the Boardwalk.
Jenkinson’s Aquarium is one of several tourist attractions throughout the Shore that the entire family will enjoy, and it is one of the best New Jersey Shore vacation ideas. The aquarium, located on the gorgeous Point Pleasant Beach, is one of many popular tourist attractions on the Jersey Shore. Tons of aquatic creatures, including shark species, penguins, sloths, and other species, call the aquarium home. There are numerous interactive displays that enhance seeing all of the lovely species that the aquarium has to offer. There are sea creature and penguin interactions, a shark tank that you can view, and a kid zone ideal for the small ones. A turtle cove and live feeding performances are also available at the aquarium, which is guaranteed to impress your little ones. Make sure to stop by the aquarium’s gift shop to pick up a souvenir.
Crab’s Claw in Lavallette
Visit Crab’s Claw, located in Lavallette, and enjoy a meal in the restaurant’s vibrant atmosphere. Whether alone, with family, or hanging out with friends, you can expect a breathtaking night at one of the best restaurants Lavallette, New Jersey has to offer.
Wharfside Seafood & Patio Bar
Enjoy local, fresh seafood and specialty cocktails at Wharfside Seafood & Patio Bar, located in Point Pleasant Beach. Since 1963, Wharfside has been a Point Pleasant Beach icon attracting many locals and tourists. The bar’s menu is comprised of locally sourced seafood dishes, including delicious lobster, summer comforts, and tasty cocktails. Catch the sunset while listening to a live band and enjoy good company at Wharfside.
Nearby Day Trips in New Jersey
Liberty State Park
Seeing Liberty State Park is one of the top things to do in New Jersey. Visiting the park is a cheap day out, with sights of the New York City skyline, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty from New Jersey soil. The approximately 1,100-acre park, however, provides more than just breathtaking vistas. Plan a picnic with family and friends while taking in the spectacular views of the downtown skyline. Also, make sure you bring some entertaining stuff to play with on the vast expanse of lush green grass. A visit to Liberty State Park in New Jersey is a must because of this, among other things. Nothing compares to a visit to this lovely park!
Princeton University Art Museum
The historic campus of Princeton University is a pleasure to behold for many reasons, but one of the finest things to do in NJ is to visit the University’s Art Museum. Art shows, curated exhibits, and daily seminars and events abound at this culture-rich museum on Princeton University’s New Jersey campus. Women Artists and Abstractions, Blue Green Realms in Chinese Painting, Landscapes of the Mind, and Picasso Prints are just some of the past exhibitions that represent the range you can expect. Aside from its extensive collections and exhibitions, the Princeton University Art Museum regularly conducts artist discussions, live art displays, special guest speeches, and self-guided family-friendly tours.
Cape May County Park and Zoo
The Cape May County Park and Zoo relies on donations to keep its doors open. A scenic trip along the Garden State Parkway to the state’s very tip will take you directly to the symbolic lion’s lair. The Cape May County Park and Zoo offer family-friendly and informative activities, including a bald eagle display, and an African Adventure with zebras, giraffes, and an aviary, among other attractions. You may also schedule a personalized guided tour to make your trip even more memorable.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Do you want to spend time at the beach during your vacation in New Jersey? Then plan to spend some time viewing Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. This magnificent park, located at Long Beach Island, where the Barnegat Bay joins the Atlantic Ocean, is a lovely area to explore, picnic, gather seashells, and snap a few memorable pictures. In addition, the park has a walking track, fishing is allowed, and even a nature observatory. So, for something new and interesting, spend a weekend in New Jersey. Regardless of the weather, a trip to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is one of several fantastic things to do in the Garden State.
Another one of the coolest New Jersey vacation ideas is to visit Turtle Back Zoo. It’s a fantastic thing to do in New Jersey and is a trendy New Jersey vacation spot. That’s especially true if you’re traveling with little children. The Turtle Back Zoo is dedicated to conserving animals while also increasing the visiting experience. The zoo, named after a prominent rock formation that resembles a turtle’s back, has a lot more to offer than its deceptive moniker suggests. Don’t miss the dinosaur play area, boats, mini-golf, face painting, pony rides, butterfly tent, and aviary.
Newark Museum of Art
The Newark Museum of Art is a cultural hotspot, with exhibits of work from all over the world. It’s the state’s most prominent art museum and one of the top tourist spots in New Jersey. Art from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Mediterranean may be seen in the museum’s contemporary halls. Additionally, there are educational exhibitions, decorative arts shows, and even a museum park with rich art on display. You can also attend frequent workshops, seminars, films, concerts, and creative-play activities for families and children. The Newark Museum of Art is a must-see attraction in New Jersey and is close to New York City.
You don’t have to settle for simply seeing Ellis Island. Instead, why not plan a tour of the historic landmark? Millions of immigrants came to America by first passing through Ellis Island. To them, America meant freedom and opportunity. Celebrate their dreams with a visit to this important landmark. You can take a short ferry trip from Liberty State Park in New Jersey to begin your journey back in time. Best of all, the tickets are affordable, so you can take the whole family on an enriching day trip. A visit to Ellis Island is the easiest way to immerse oneself in our country’s history. You’ll have the incredible experience of ‘meeting’ some of our forefathers who came to America via Ellis Island’s hallways. You’ll also learn about the property’s history and how American immigrants utilized it. This engaging experience is just one of the numerous tourist attractions in New Jersey that you won’t want to miss.
Long Branch Beach
Long Branch is one of the more expensive beach towns along the Jersey Shore, and it’s a terrific spot to go swimming, sunning, and shopping. Showers, changing rooms, bathrooms, and a shaded picnic area are available, as well as a playground for children.
The beach snack shop is acceptable for a quick bite, but if you’re looking for something more substantial, walk to Pier Village, home to numerous outstanding eateries. Live entertainment and special events, such as regular music and theatre performances in the summer and free film screenings, are also available here. Pier Village also has several fashionable stores and restaurants.
The Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch is a lovely place to stay and is always available for rent. It’s close to Pier Village and has its own beach, which comes in handy on those sweltering days when the main beach is overcrowded. A few of the perks are free, including safe underground parking, a spacious game room, bicycle rentals, and a lovely outdoor fireplace and lounging area.
New Jersey Vacation Ideas: Start Making Plans to Visit NJ
The Garden State is sometimes overlooked, yet it is one of the most attractive places in the Northeast to visit. Throughout the year, there are several attractions to choose from to make your vacation to NJ a memorable one. There are many family attractions, spring breaks, getaway spots for friends and couples, nature-rich areas to visit, historical sights aplenty, and a variety of other things to do and see.
Nature, natural sights, arts and culture, music and refinement, historic sites and miles of beaches, as well as shopping and food alternatives, are all available. With so many incredible things to see and do in New Jersey, start preparing now; pack your bags, and don’t wait another moment to visit the lovely Garden State.