Whether you’re a state local or planning a trip, knowing some interesting facts about New Jersey will make your time here so much brighter. I mean, beautiful New Jersey is more than just a pretty face, it’s interesting too.
As a long-time resident of the Garden State, I’m here to present some great fun facts about New Jersey. After all, it’s a state full of “firsts”, “bests”, and “mosts”.
Table of Contents
- 33 Fun & Interesting Facts About New Jersey
- 1. New Jersey Is the Most Densely Populated State
- 2. Atlantic City Streets Are The Same As The Monopoly Game
- 3. The Atlantic City Boardwalk Is The World’s Oldest Boardwalk
- 4. Square Dancing Is The New Jersey State Dance
- 5. New Jersey Has 21 Counties
- 6. Cheerleading Started In Princeton, NJ
- 7. Thomas Edison Perfected The Light Bulb Right Here In New Jersey
- 8. Drive-In Movie Theaters Started In The Garden State
- 9. New Jersey Is The Diner Capital Of The World
- 10. ‘Liberty and Prosperity’ Is The State Motto
- 11. The Blueberry Is The State Fruit
- 12. There Were Almost 300 Revolutionary War Battles In New Jersey
- 13. It’s Home To The Tallest Water Tower In The World
- 14. New Jersey Has Five Distinct Climate Regions
- 15. The Common Blue Violet Is The New Jersey State Flower
- 16. The State Bug Is The HoneyBee
- 17. Newark Is New Jersey’s Biggest City
- 18. New Jersey Was The First State To Sign The Bill Of Rights
- 19. The First Professional Baseball Game Was Played In Hoboken
- 20. Cape May Is The Oldest Seashore Resort In New Jersey
- 21. Parsippany Is Named Tree City USA
- 22. The State Bird is the Eastern Goldfinch
- 23. The First Submarine Ride Was in the Passaic River
- 24. Liberty Island is Located in New Jersey Waters
- 25. It’s One of the Top 5 Richest States in the USA
- 26. Frank Sinatra Called New Jersey Home
- 27. New Jersey Has a Volcano
- 28. The Hindenburg Disaster Happened Here
- 29. New Jersey Has 11 State Forests
- 30. New Jersey Got Its Name From England
- 31. It’s the 3rd Largest Chemical Producing State in The US
- 32. The Northern Red Oak is the State Tree
- 33. The First Native American Reservation Was in New Jersey
- FAQs About New Jersey Facts
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33 Fun & Interesting Facts About New Jersey
1. New Jersey Is the Most Densely Populated State
The Garden State steadily holds its title as the most densely populated state in the United States. There are approximately 1,196 people per square mile. Because of this, certain metropolitan areas such as Hoboken, Newark, and Jersey City tend to see some crowding. Still, it’s a good chance you won’t notice any crowding in most areas as our state is bigger than it seems. [Source]
2. Atlantic City Streets Are The Same As The Monopoly Game
Love the never-ending game of Monopoly? Then you’ll want to pay close attention to the street names the next time you’re in Atlantic City. The street names on the popular board game are named after the streets of Atlantic City. There are so many fun things to do in Atlantic City, but seeing this is always a highlight of my trips to the city.
3. The Atlantic City Boardwalk Is The World’s Oldest Boardwalk
Speaking of Atlantic City, the Boardwalk is another popular feature. The Atlantic City Boardwalk is the not only world’s oldest boardwalk but also the world’s longest. It opened in 1870 and has a length of approximately 5.5 miles. The Boardwalk was even home to the very first Miss America Pageant. Booking Atlantic City accommodations near the boardwalk make taking afternoon strolls super easy.
4. Square Dancing Is The New Jersey State Dance
That’s right, square dancing is New Jersey’s State Dance. In fact, New Jersey is 1 of 31 states that have made this popular folk dance their state dance. This dance is characterized by four couples arranged in a square formation. The dance proceeds with each couple dancing around this square in a way that preserves the shape. Square Dancing is also America’s National Folk dance. [Source]
5. New Jersey Has 21 Counties
While not the most of any state in the US, New Jersey does have a lot of counties. New Jersey has 21 counties and 565 municipalities. At 819 square miles, Burlington County is the largest county, and one of the best places to live in New Jersey. Then at just 50 square miles, Hudson County is not only the smallest but also the most densely-populated county. [Source]
6. Cheerleading Started In Princeton, NJ
While cheerleading in general wasn’t invented in New Jersey, it certainly has some of its roots here! In fact, in the 1860s, cheers became a part of student life at Princeton University. This wasn’t initially related to sports. Later on, however, some of the first cheerleaders cheered at a college football game in Princeton and the rest is history. [Source]
7. Thomas Edison Perfected The Light Bulb Right Here In New Jersey
Thomas Edison did the majority of his work with the light bulb in New Jersey. He had labs in West Orange, Menlo Park, and Edison. But his lab in Menlo Park, NJ is where Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb as we know it today. His New Jersey laboratories became the birthplace of many different innovative inventions. These inventions made Thomas Edison one of the greatest inventors in history. [Source]
8. Drive-In Movie Theaters Started In The Garden State
New Jersey is home to the very first drive-in movie theater. On June 6th, 1933, the very first patented drive-in movie theater opened in Pennsauken, NJ. There were a few drive-in movie theaters in the years prior.
The one opened by Richard Hollingshead, however, was the first official drive-in theater. He used a motion picture projector to show movies. This is part of New Jersey’s history that would be a great idea to bring to the present! [Source]
9. New Jersey Is The Diner Capital Of The World
If you love New Jersey food (like I do!), you’ll love this fun fact about New Jersey. New Jersey holds the title of being the Diner capital of the world. This title goes to the Garden State because of the high concentration of diners throughout the state. Today, there are over 500 diners throughout New Jersey. If you pop through for a visit, don’t miss one of my top faves, Tops Diner in East Newark.
10. ‘Liberty and Prosperity’ Is The State Motto
The state motto of Liberty and Prosperity was never made official. It was adopted because of the State seal. The New Jersey State Seal contains two Roman mythical goddesses. One goddess named Liberty and the other Ceres. Ceres is linked to Prosperity because she was the Roman goddess of crops and agriculture. Because of these two figures, the unofficial, yet accepted state motto has, and continues to be Liberty and Prosperity. [Source]
11. The Blueberry Is The State Fruit
That’s right, the succulent Blueberry is New Jersey’s State fruit. The first NJ Blueberries were cultivated in Whitesbog, New Jersey. Blueberry season in New Jersey runs from about mid-June until its peak in July. This antioxidant-rich fruit is mostly grown in the Southern part of the state due to the soil quality. Next time you’re here in June or July, stop by a local farmer’s market to taste some Blueberry goodness! [Source]
12. There Were Almost 300 Revolutionary War Battles In New Jersey
New Jersey’s rich American history continues with the Revolutionary War. A total of 296 Revolutionary War battles were fought in New Jersey. Some of the most influential battles were the Battle of Princeton and the Battle of Trenton. New Jersey actually had the most Revolutionary War battles because we were centrally located in a highly-desired region. It’s also between New York and Pennsylvania – two other important states in this crucial war. [Source]
13. It’s Home To The Tallest Water Tower In The World
The world’s tallest water tower, or water sphere, is in Union, of Union County. Its statuesque structure can be seen from the major highway, the Garden State Parkway. The Union Water Sphere is about 212 feet high (or about 65 meters) and is known as the tallest water tower in the world. Living close to Union, I’ve seen this water tower many times over the years. [Source]
14. New Jersey Has Five Distinct Climate Regions
The Garden State is bigger than it seems. As such, it has varying climates in certain areas. We actually have five distinct climate regions. The five climate regions of New Jersey are; Northern, Central, Pine Barrens, Southwest, and Coastal. Places in New Jersey closer to the coast tend to be cooler than Northern regions because of the proximity to the water.
Regions out west like Pine Barrens also experience cooler-than-average temperatures. They also get more snow. [Source]
15. The Common Blue Violet Is The New Jersey State Flower
Every state has a signature flower, and the Garden State is no exception. In 1971, the elegant Common Blue Violet has named the New Jersey state flower. You’ll find many of these beauties adorning parks and many front lawns in the Spring and Summer months. New Jersey is home to many beautiful blooms, such as the Purple Coneflower and Butterflyweed. But still, we’ve claimed the Common Blue Violet as our very own.
16. The State Bug Is The HoneyBee
Who better to keep the Garden State flourishing than the industrious honeybee? New Jersey’s state bug, the honeybee, helps keep the lush gardens pollinated and populated. On June 20th, 1974, the Honeybee was officially made the state bug. And who was responsible for spearheading this decision? A group of children in Hamilton Township! [Source]
17. Newark Is New Jersey’s Biggest City
The home of the iconic Prudential Center is one of the most notable New Jersey cities. In fact, Newark is ranked the biggest city in New Jersey, covering an area of 25.88 square miles.
This large city spans through a good portion of north Jersey. It touches several municipalities such as Bloomfield, South Orange, and Belleville. There is plenty to do in Newark, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, one of the most popular places to catch a show in NJ.
18. New Jersey Was The First State To Sign The Bill Of Rights
New Jersey’s rich history doesn’t stop at the Revolutionary War battles. The state was actually the first state to sign the Bill of Rights in 1787. It was also the 3rd to sign the Constitution. A few years later, in 1790, Trenton was named the Capital of New Jersey. [Source]
19. The First Professional Baseball Game Was Played In Hoboken
Baseball fans will like this one! You may find it interesting to know that professional Baseball has its roots in New Jersey. The first professional baseball game ever played was on Elysian Fields in Hoboken, NJ. It was played by the Knickerbockers versus the New York Nine. This historical game was the first of many played in the Garden State. [Source]
20. Cape May Is The Oldest Seashore Resort In New Jersey
This stunning town, with its beautiful Victorian homes, is rich in historical charm and is one of the best weekend getaways in New Jersey. So of course being named the oldest seashore resort is no surprise.
Dating back to the 1800s, Cape May has been a popular relaxing destination for visitors from all over. Its laid-back vibe, ocean views, and lovely Victorian architecture make it a great vacation destination both then and now.
21. Parsippany Is Named Tree City USA
Trees are, of course, an integral part of Garden State’s reputation for lush greenery. But certain areas of the state take it a step further, such as Parsippany, New Jersey. 2022 is the 46th year that Parsippany has been named Tree City USA.
Several factors go into receiving the title of Tree City. Having a program in place to honor Arbor Day, as well as creating a tree care ordinance are just two factors. Paramus has also been crowned Tree City USA 46 times. [Source]
22. The State Bird is the Eastern Goldfinch
The small, adorable Eastern Goldfinch is officially the New Jersey state bird. They love the state’s beautiful, lush meadows. The Eastern Goldfinch is also known to keep allergy-producing plants in check by eating the seeds. This tiny songbird also sings a lovely melody. This adds to the pleasant medley of bird songs we’ve come to love in the Garden State. [Source]
23. The First Submarine Ride Was in the Passaic River
The modern submarine had its start in NJ. That’s right. On May 22nd, 1878, the first submarine was launched in the Passaic River in Paterson, NJ. John P. Holland, also known as ‘The Father of the Modern Submarine,’ launched it here. It was submerged 12 feet underwater and stayed there for about an hour. [Source]
24. Liberty Island is Located in New Jersey Waters
Here’s a fact that many New Jersey locals know, but few outside the region are aware of. Liberty Island and Ellis Island are actually in New Jersey waters, not New York. However, the state of New York has territorial jurisdiction over Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty Monument, and a portion of Ellis Island.
Take a stroll along the promenade in Liberty State Park and you’ll see just how close this iconic statue is. It’s almost as if you can touch it. You can even hear the intercom of the tour boats as they arrive and depart Ellis Island.
25. It’s One of the Top 5 Richest States in the USA
New Jersey has very diverse municipalities and neighborhoods, but the concentration of wealthy areas earns it a very special spot. New Jersey is among the top 5 richest states in the USA. Just visit neighborhoods like Short Hills, Upper Montclair, Millburn, and Glen Ridge. You’ll find high concentrations of homes with mansion proportions. These are also great NJ towns and places to live.
26. Frank Sinatra Called New Jersey Home
Yep, even Ol Blue Eyes called the Garden State his home. Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, NJ in 1915. This classic singer was highly respected and loved. He was a very charitable person, earning him the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1971. Then in 2002, the Hoboken post office was even renamed in his honor. [Source]
27. New Jersey Has a Volcano
That’s right, New Jersey has a dormant volcano, and today it’s called Rutan Hill. Rutan Hill is located in Sussex County’s Wantage, NJ. But no need to panic, this volcano is dormant and has been for over 300 million years. Today, it’s been developed into real estate that a small number of people call home. [Source]
28. The Hindenburg Disaster Happened Here
The Hindenburg was a famous passenger zeppelin that departed Frankfurt, Germany on May 3, 1937, headed for America. Then, on May 6th, 1937, this pride and joy of the Nazi Germany fleet burned up after touching its mooring mast in Lakehurst, NJ. It was a sad incident, as 36 people lost their lives that day, but definitely an interesting part of New Jersey’s history. [Source]
29. New Jersey Has 11 State Forests
We’re not called the Garden State for nothing! New Jersey is home to 11 lush State Forests. We’re also home to 34 beautiful State Parks, many of which I love to visit. These parks and forests feature beautiful natural wonders such as amazing waterfalls, streams, and hiking trails. [Source]
30. New Jersey Got Its Name From England
New Jersey’s name has British roots. New Jersey was named after the English Channel island of Jersey. Sir George Carteret was one of the men that the land, which would become New Jersey, was given to. He also had a hand in defending Jersey in the English channel during the English Civil War. [Source]
31. It’s the 3rd Largest Chemical Producing State in The US
Not known to many, New Jersey has a very active and profitable industrial aspect. New Jersey is actually ranked as the 3rd largest chemical producer in the United States. It comes in right after Texas and Louisiana. You’ll find a lot of NJ’s industrial areas in Newark, Jersey City, and Fairfield. [Source]
32. The Northern Red Oak is the State Tree
The Northern Red Oak is New Jersey’s official tree. The Northern Red Oak Tree can be found in many parks and is characterized by its stunning red leaves in Autumn. This is actually one of the most beautiful sites to see in Fall’s palette of colors, and one of my personal favorites. Those stunning red leaves get me every time. [Source]
33. The First Native American Reservation Was in New Jersey
New Jersey was also an important state when it comes to relations with the Native Americans. In August of 1758, the first Native American Reservation was established. It was located in southern New Jersey. This reservation, called the Brotherton Reservation, was near Sussex County. Unfortunately, due to sustainability issues, the Brotherton Reservation no longer exists today. [Source]
FAQs About New Jersey Facts
What is the oldest thing in New Jersey?
The oldest thing in New Jersey is the Nothnagle Log House in Gibbstown, New Jersey. It was constructed between 1638 – 1643.
What are 3 fun facts about New Jersey?
Three fun facts about New Jersey are that the Eastern Goldfinch is the state bird, the first submarine ride happened in the Passaic River, and that The Statue of Liberty is actually in Jersey City, not New York. However, New York still has jurisdiction over the iconic landmark.
What is New Jersey famous for?
New Jersey is famous for many things, but one of the most popular is the Jersey Shore.
What is New Jersey’s most famous food?
New Jersey’s most famous food is the Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese. Some say Taylor Ham instead of Pork Roll.
Did any dinosaurs live in New Jersey?
The Hadrosaurus foulkii was the most prominent dinosaur skeleton found in Haddonfield, NJ. It was also the first complete dinosaur skeleton ever found.
The Garden State has a rich history along with some interesting facts! If you’re in the planning stage of your trip, then check out my guide to safety in New Jersey!
(Featured Image Credit: mia2you / Shutterstock)
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