New Jersey is known as “The Garden State” for an abundance of small farms and agriculture, but gardens are only one part of the state’s claim to fame. It’s also famous for a long list of history makers, cultural celebrities, and one of the world’s most well-known vacation spots. New Jersey is ranked 11th out of the 56 U.S. states and territories in terms of population. That being said, a lot of people call this state home. If you’re already a resident or planning to move to New Jersey, there is always something new to discover in this north-eastern state. Take a look at these 6 best things to do in New Jersey for fun outings, parks to visit, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars to try, and for where to go shopping. There is always something new to discover in this beautiful state.
What Are The Things You Can Do In New Jersey?
Fun Things To Do in New Jersey
One way to get the family out of the house is to plan a fun day visiting one of the many water and amusement parks New Jersey has to offer. But which are the best places to go to? Check out this list for ideas on where to plan your next family outing.
- Best Water Parks and Amusement Parks in New Jersey
- Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks
Morey’s Piers is located on the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey. This classic seaside amusement park is family-owned and operated since 1969 and was voted the second-best seaside amusement park in the world by Amusement Today. Morey’s Piers has over 100 rides and attractions, three amusement piers, two beachfront waterparks, and spans over eighteen acres along with six beach blocks. Morey’s Piers, along with Morey Resorts, combines the pure joy of an amusement park, outstanding accommodations, the sights, and the sounds of a classic boardwalk, together with the rhythm of beach life. Visit the multiple dining options, ride one of the roller coasters or carousels, come aboard a ghost ship, or spend all day at the waterpark. There is something to do here for everyone. Tripadvisor awarded this attraction a trailer’s choice, best of the best for 2020.
Website: Morey’s Piers and Water Parks
- Storybrook Land
Located in Egg Harbor Township, this enchanting Storybrook Land keeps all-time favorite stories and nursery rhymes alive. You are invited to relive your childhood while introducing the innocent themes of wonderment to an entirely new generation. This fun experience will leave memories for your children and grandchild for years to come. Children’s classics are scattered throughout Storybrook Land with exciting new family rides and attractions in a remarkably clean and enjoyable park setting. Storybrook Land has welcomed guests for the past 65 years for memorable family experiences. And this experience is pay-one-price admission, so your trip to Storybook Land includes unlimited rides, along with access to all of the storybook attractions! Besides all the rides, there are plenty of food options available while you’re there. Storybook Land also has special events throughout the year, like trick or treat weekends and Santa’s Grand Arrival Parade. However, this attraction would be more geared towards younger children.
Website: Storybrook Land
Diggerland, located in West Berlin, New Jersey, offers 40+ attractions for every age. This park features multiple water park attractions, including a pipeline slide, water sports, and five different aquatic obstacle courses. There is rock climbing, a ropes course, bumper cars, a digger derby, a video arcade, and several oversized games besides the water park. But the main attraction is all of the construction equipment that you can drive and operate. Adults can experience using a wheel loader, a dozer, an excavator, and even crush a car! There are other tractors and construction equipment for teenagers and children accompanied by an adult that you can drive, dig, and ride on. And if you work up an appetite, there are dining options on-site and lots of special events throughout the year.
- Best Parks in New Jersey
New Jersey is home to some beautiful state parks and natural coastlines for people who love nature and the great outdoors. Plan an outdoor adventure or picnic at one of these top locations.
- Grounds For Sculpture
Ground For Sculpture (GFS) is worth a day trip to see! This forty-two-acre not-for-profit sculpture park and arboretum is located in Hamilton, New Jersey (midway between Philadelphia and New York) and was founded by Seward Johnson. It features a collection of more than 270 contemporary sculptures by renowned and emerging artists. When the weather isn’t cooperating, step inside one of the six indoor galleries with rotating exhibitions. GFS is home to rich educational offerings, a full performing arts schedule, and fun family events; and can be visited year-round. There are also shopping and dining on location. If you enjoy art and nature, this park will be right up your alley.
Website: Grounds For Sculpture
- Hamilton Park
In Weehawken, New Jersey is the historical site where Alexander Hamilton fought the infamous duel with the U.S. Vice Pres. Aaron Burr. The rock on which Alexander Hamilton rested his head while wounded is located here to this day and is now a monument. However, besides the historical significance of this place, there are also fantastic views off a cliff along the Hudson River overlooking the island of Manhattan. Because of the excellent views of NYC out over the water and the sights of all the city buildings, Hamilton Park is definitely a hidden gem.
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Step back in time into Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory located in West Orange, New Jersey. Experience where America’s greatest inventor changed our world forever. Tour his 29-room Queen Ann-style mansion Glenmont Estate which was a marvel of advanced housing in its day. It contained all the conveniences of today’s modern home—hot and cold running water, indoor bathrooms with flush toilets, central heating (via gravity convection), and refrigeration (via ice storage). Thomas later wired the home for electricity in 1887. Don’t forget to walk around the beautiful estate grounds to see many plant life varieties, including several indigenous species native to the area.
- Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Plan a trip to the northern tip of Long Island to see the beautiful panoramic view of Island Beach, Barnegat Bay, and Long Beach Island at the top of Barnegat Lighthouse. While you’re there, walk through the ⅕ mile maritime forest trail dominated by Black Cherry, Sassafras, Eastern Red Cedar, and American Holly, an excellent area to observe many bird species during the spring and fall migrations. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is also a perfect place for saltwater fishing. This picturesque location is excellent for a lovely day out with the family and a great spot to have a picnic. Just make sure to bring a biodegradable bag to carry out and any trash you bring in per park policy.
Website: Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
- Best Restaurants in New Jersey
Though the state of New Jersey is small, it has a plethora of restaurants to choose from. Whether you are a foodie or are a meat n’ potatoes kinda person, you can find a place for any of your food preferences. But to make this list of best restaurants in New Jersey, they must be unique food experiences that are unlike any you’ve seen before. Though they may be out of the way, they will be worth the drive.
- Café Panache
Café Panache is an elevated dining experience located in Ramsey, New Jersey. The chef and owner, Kevin Kohler, uses French, Italian, American, and Asian influence to make his delicious entrees. He likes using only farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, free-range, grass-fed livestock, and the finest quality ingredients in season and local to the area. Some of his standout dishes would include: housemade filet mignon ravioli with truffle butter, crispy confit duck with citrus-ginger gastrique, and panko-crusted halibut with wasabi-sake sauce over black forbidden rice. Make sure to call for reservations to guarantee a table.
Website: Café Panache
- Cellar 35
Plan a unique dinner experience in Jersey City at Cellar 35. This dark Hawaiian themed restaurant was listed in New Jersey Monthly as one of the 30 Best Restaurants in New Jersey for 2020. The menu consists of delicious shared plates like spicy cornbread, avocado fried rice, buffalo style ribs, and tuna tartar, to name a few. Or you can enjoy one of the large format chicken, crispy pork belly, or veggie bao. Don’t forget to get a specialty cocktail usually served in a Hawaiian style tiki cup.
Website: Cellar 35
- Common Lot
This young restaurant is inspired by new American food, which is influenced by the many cultures here in the US and from the world travels that Chef Ehren & his wife Nadine have experienced. The ingredients are fresh with a menu-driven by taste and an eclectic mix of everything currently in season. The restaurant also offers an array of dining options, including the main dining room, with its view to the buzz of the open kitchen, the upstairs Chef’s Library, which features a selection of Ehren’s extensive and beloved collection of cookbooks, and the dry-aged room. Or, weather permitting, you can enjoy outside dining in their beautiful courtyard. Visit this restaurant for a comfortable experience with friends and family to gather and share great food and conversation.
Website: Common Lot
- Best Coffee Shops in New Jersey
Whether you like coffee or tea, there are plenty of cute coffee shops scattered throughout New Jersey to enjoy. Coffee shops are great places to meet up with friends or to sit and read for a few hours. Make sure to check out one of these New Jersey coffee shops to support a local business.
- California Cold Co.
Take a trip to Manalapan, New Jersey, to visit this artsy urban coffee house. Besides coffee, the shop also serves acai bowls. While you’re there, try one of the espresso blends infused with Fruity Pebbles cereal. Or order their signature açai bowl blended with chocolate hemp milk and peanut butter that makes a frozen yogurt-like texture. Other yummy items on the menu include avocado toast, parfaits, and iced coffee with dark roast ice cubes, so your drink doesn’t get watered down while the ice melts. They also offer fun seasonal drinks for fall and winter.
Website: California Cold Co.
- Factory Fuel Co.
This Flemington, New Jersey, based coffee shop is housed inside the 1930’s Stangl pottery factory. Inside, guests find an enormous brick pottery kiln with wraparound seating for guests to sit and enjoy a unique cup of coffee. Like its unusual location, the coffee menu features some interesting coffee flavors, like their hopped nitro. Besides coffees, you can also order chai’s, teas, and out of this world pastries. This hip coffee shop also has open mic nights, storytelling sessions & more. While you’re there, don’t forget to stroll through the rest of the factory, which features an artist-owned gallery, a yoga and physical therapy studio, and even a medium.
Website: Factory Fuel Co.
- Trend Coffee and Tea House
Located in Montclair’s oldest standing house, built-in 1860, Trend Coffee & Tea House is as charming as coffee houses come. The vintage cafe features living room-style furniture. Comfy chairs and couches huddle around tables, while classic and local art bring color to the room. Grab a book from the shelf and a coffee, tea, or pastry. Or, if you would like something heartier, choose from menu items such as lemon lobster on brioche panini, roasted chicken noodle soup, or spinach, mushroom, and three-cheese quiche. They also have open mic nights and live music from time to time. Trend Coffee and Tea House is located in Montclair, New Jersey.
Website: Trend Coffee and Tea House
- Best Bars and Clubs in New Jersey
Plan a fun night out with the girlfriends, guys, or both, at one of these best bars and clubs in New Jersey. This list of ideas may be great places to start your night or finish it; just remember to be safe while you’re out and not have too much fun.
- The Brown Room
The Brown Room located in Cape May is a stylish lounge occupying the same spot as Congress Hall’s first legal post-Prohibition cocktail bar. There isn’t a more sophisticated way to wrap up your day than at this iconic cocktail bar. Get cozy in one of the leather chairs and enjoy the fire and gentle buzz of friendly conversation around you. Meet up with friends after a day on the beach, or meet new friends since there’s something about the Brown Room that seems to encourage people to reach out and connect with each other. The delicious list of cocktails, unique and intimate vibe make this a must-visit bar. If going with several friends, make sure to reserve a table before your planned night out.
Website: The Brown Room
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Plan a fun night out in Atlantic City at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. While you’re there, visit one of the many bars and nightclubs located in this venue. Stop by the eclectic tequila bar called the Gypsy, where you can find live music and a large array of tequila. If you can’t decide on just one, no need to worry; Gypsy Bar offers tequila tasting in the form of flights as well as margaritas and non-tequila cocktails. After that, take your group over to the Premier Nightclub for a sophisticated nightlife experience like no other. Make sure to wear something upscale and fashionable. Don’t forget to purchase tickets in advance. Check out the events calendar for a list of upcoming DJs, and get ready to party!
Website: Borgata Nitelife
- Best Shopping in New Jersey
New Jersey has several great shopping opportunities, but if you’re looking for a variety of stores, below are a few top picks for all your shopping needs.
- Newport Centre
This Simon Mall features several department stores like Sears, Kohls, JCPenny’s, and Macy’s in a climate-controlled indoor mall. Shop to your heart content in any of the 130 specialty shops ranging from women’s apparel to health and beauty to sporting goods. While you’re there, catch a movie or grab a bite to eat at one of the 19 eateries. Located in Jersey City, this mall is a great place to find things for men, women, and children.
Website: Newport Centre
- The Mall at Short Hills
For all things luxury, visit this Short Hills, New Jersey mall for over 150 world-renowned shops and exclusive boutiques. Experience the area’s most extraordinary collection of quality retail in one beautiful location. Featuring four of the world’s most prestigious department stores along with all of your favorite specialty shops, over 40 of which are unique to New Jersey. Shop at Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Fendi, and many more. And if all that shopping makes you hungry, there are plenty of dining options scattered throughout the mall.
Website: The Mall at Short Hills
Biggest Supermarkets in New Jersey
ShopRite is the biggest supermarket chain in New Jersey. The first ShopRite location was in Flemington, New Jersey, and was expanded several years ago. This location offers an in-store cafe, pharmacy, and a child care center. ShopRite of Flemington has also partnered with Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative to deliver produce and dairy from more than 100 family farmers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There are organic and gluten-free options available, as well as online shopping at this location. Check out your local ShopRite store for all your grocery shopping needs.
Best Grocery Store in New Jersey
- Kings Food Market
This New Jersey-founded grocery store chain stocks local farm produce fine meats & cheeses, prepared foods, and other groceries. Headquartered in Parsippany, the chain has more than 20 stores in the state. Known around town as an upscale grocery store, Kings also offers fancy entrées like crab and cheddar quiche and apricot turkey breast, custom cakes, as well as an international bar, which includes a sushi bar and an olive and antipasti bar. At their Short Hills location, you can also take cooking classes.
Website: Kings Food Market
New Jersey is full of great shopping, tasty restaurants, fun amusement parks, and of course, beautiful coastlines. Whether you’re moving to the area or already are a resident, there is always something to do or see. It’s hard to narrow down a list of the best things to do in New Jersey when there are so many unique experiences.
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