New Jersey Travel Guides

Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love the state of New Jersey

View of the Paterson Great Falls during a sunny morning in New Jersey
The Majestic Paterson Great Falls

Why We Love New Jersey: The Garden State has often received a bad reputation as a state with nothing to do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With miles of beautiful shoreline, lush, tree-filled parks, and some of the best dining around, New Jersey has a lot to offer. 

Best of New Jersey

🏙️ Destinations

Aerial view of the illuminated Atlantic City at night
Beautiful aerial view of Atlantic City, NJ

Some of the best and most beautiful destinations in New Jersey are near the shore. New Jersey beach towns are the most popular during the Spring and Summer months.

  • Wildwoods – A beach-side town with something for everyone. The quieter Wildwood Crest section caters more to couples and mature visitors looking for a relaxing vacation. Morey’s Piers, however, is geared towards younger, more active crowds. Those with families and kids to entertain will also enjoy Morey’s Piers.
  • Atlantic City – One of New Jersey’s most popular tourist destinations. Atlantic City draws in a whopping 27 million tourists every year. Top favorites include the infamous boardwalk, live entertainment, and shopping.
  • Long Beach Island – A popular vacation destination for resident New Jerseyans especially. This is a renowned family destination that has something for everyone.
  • Delaware Water Gap – This beautiful, scenic area gives a nice view of the Delaware River that runs through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Hiking opportunities and nature trails abound!
  • South Mountain Reservation – Filled with hiking trails, picnic areas, and waterfalls. A nature lover delight.
  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park – A must-see for history buffs. If you love history, then you won’t want to miss this. You’ll get to see the home and lab of the incredibly innovative Thomas Edison.

👉 Explore all places to visit in New Jersey. 

Things to Do

From thrilling theme parks to immersive science centers and everything in between. New Jersey has everything you need for a great vacation.

  • Six Flags Great Adventure – New Jersey’s most popular amusement park. This Looney Tunes-themed amusement park has some of the biggest rollercoasters in the state. Not into rollercoasters? They have a plethora of rides for everyone, including the youngest members of your family. They even have a water park, Hurricane Harbor, right next door.
  • Liberty Science Center – Explore the natural world in a way that immerses you in every facet. Most of the exhibits are interactive, encouraging you and your family to learn about the world around you.
  • Adventure Aquarium – Located in Camden, here you can learn more about the underwater world – there are sharks, stingrays, and even penguins. The touch tanks are a fan favorite.
  • Turtle Back Zoo – One of the most affordable, yet amazing zoos. They’re always adding new exhibits and animals. The free-roaming peacocks and petting zoo are two of the most long-standing and popular attractions.
  • NJPAC – This downtown Newark venue is home to all things performing arts. From dance performances to piano concerts, and everything in between – NJPAC has it all. Check their website to see who’s coming to town next!

👉 Explore all things to do in New Jersey. 

The Liberty Science Center & Planetarium from afar
Liberty Science Center & Planetarium (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Where to Stay

View of the big guitar in The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey
The iconic Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ (photo: Mia2You / Shutterstock)

The Garden State’s eclectic atmosphere gives you the best of both worlds – city and urban. And if you want that exotic resort feel, New Jersey’s cities by the shore can give you that too. 

  • Cape May – A beach-side resort town with old-world flair. Enjoy sea breezes, decadent cuisine, and relaxing beachy vibes as you enjoy the best things to do in Cape May.
  • Atlantic City – A taste of Las Vegas, but in the Garden State. Though often thought of for its casinos, there are many more things to do in Atlantic City. The city is famously home to the boardwalk featured in the Monopoly game and is also known for epic shows, luxury hotels, and great shopping.
  • Princeton – Small town flair mixed with urban vibes. This college town has everything you need for a relaxing vacation. It’s filled with historical monuments and the Ivy League institution of the same name.
  • Jersey City – Dazzling waterfront views await you in Jersey City’s Newport section. They also have great restaurants and ice skating in the Winter.
  • Hoboken – A taste of NYC – without the taxis. Hoboken is home to gorgeous views of the Hudson and some of the best dining around.

👉 Read the complete guide to where to stay in New Jersey.

🛎️ Best Hotels

New Jersey is home to some amazing accommodations with all the amenities you need for a great vacation. Enjoy everything from exclusive beachfront boutique hotels to family-friendly resorts.

  • Hotel LBI, Ship Bottom – This hotel is located in the Ship Bottom section of Long Beach Island. It provides the perfect mix of luxurious surroundings with a relaxing vibe. Each room is appointed with high-quality furnishings, making your stay at Hotel LBI a major highlight of your LBI vacation.
  • Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City – One of the most popular hotels in Atlantic City. Featuring luxurious rooms, a spa, world-class dining, and live entertainment.
  • ICONA Cape May – This beachfront hotel is an elegant spin-off of a bed and breakfast. With beachfront views and exquisite restaurants, it’s the perfect hotel for a couples’ getaway.
  • Westin Jersey City Newport – This beautiful hotel is located close to Hudson River views, and views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s great for business travelers who want top-level amenities and easy access to public transportation.
  • W Hoboken – Hoboken’s luxurious and only hotel that’s situated right on the Hudson River. Some rooms even offer private terraces where you can enjoy beautiful waterfront views. 
View of the Borgata Hotel building in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ (photo: Racheal Grazias / Shutterstock)

🚗 Best Road Trips

Aerial view of Mount Tammany in New Jersey
Aerial view of Mount Tammany by the Delaware Water Gap

They don’t call it the Garden State for nothing! New Jersey is home to beautiful parks and tree-lined roads, making road trips especially breathtaking. 

  • Delaware River Scenic Byway – Take in the majestic beauty of the Delaware River as you pass beautiful foliage and great mountaintop views.
  • Palisades Scenic Byway – This byway is comprised of the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Henry Hudson Drive (in New York). It offers gorgeous views of the Hudson River as well as tree-lined roads. There are even hiking trails if you decide to get out and take a walk.
  • Pine Barrens Scenic Byway – This byway is the very definition of scenic! It features views of lakes, streams, and the Pinelands. This 130-mile route traverses 5 counties and 16 New Jersey towns, giving you a diverse view of New Jersey.
  • Upper Freehold Historic Byway – If you’re looking to take a journey back in time, this road trip is right up your alley. It features historic farmland and historical sites. Areas in this byway were even the scene of many Revolutionary War-era battles.
  • Western Highlands Scenic Byway – Another road trip featuring historical landmarks and beautiful, natural scenery.

⛱️ Best Beaches

View of people in the Sandy Hook Beach and the clear blue sky above it
Sandy Hook Beach

New Jersey is well-known for the Jersey Shore and the many beaches it has to offer. Every beach has a different appeal depending on what you’re looking for.

  • Cape May – Some of the quietest, cleanest beaches are here.   
  • Sandy Hook – Here you can also find quiet, clean beaches. Unlike many NJ beaches, Sandy Hook has no boardwalk, and if you’re attracted to the boardwalk scene then you’ll miss that here. But if you want a quieter beach experience, the lack of a boardwalk will give you a more relaxing day.
  • Seaside Heights – Often confused with Seaside Park, which is more catered to younger, rambunctious crowds. Seaside Heights is its quieter counterpart. Though you can still find a boardwalk, the scene isn’t as congested, lending to a nicer beach experience.
  • Point Pleasant Beach – Though a little more crowded than the previously mentioned beaches, it still provides a great experience. It’s the middle ground between rowdy Seaside Park and quiet Cape May. 
  • The Wildwoods – A great time for everyone. Whether you choose the calmer beaches of Wildwood Crest or the more active center of Wildwood, you’re bound to have a great time.

👉 Read the full list of best beaches in New Jersey.

🎢 Best Theme Parks

View of the Morey's Piers sign on the entrance
Morey’s Piers in Wildwoods (photo James Kirkikis / Shutterstock)

If you want a thrilling good time, check out one of New Jersey’s popular theme parks. They each offer something for every member of the family.

  • Six Flags Great Adventure – The most popular theme park in New Jersey. It features some of the biggest, most thrilling rollercoasters. They even have their own water park, Hurricane Harbor, as well as a drive-thru Wild Safari – both right next door.
  • Land of Make Believe – Fun for the little ones, with some rides and attractions for the big kid in all of us.
  • Casino Pier @Seaside Heights – One of the most popular destinations for teenagers and young adults. Casino Pier is like a fair and theme park in one.
  • Morey’s Piers @Wildwoods – Morey’s Piers is just one of the main reasons Wildwoods is so popular with tourists. It even has its own water park.
  • Jenkinson’s Boardwalk @Point Pleasant Beach – This is more of a Fair/Carnival as opposed to a theme park. Still, with the rides and typical theme park fare, it’s an enjoyable time if you’re visiting the area.

🖼️ Best Museums

View of the Princeton Art Museum from the outside
Princeton Art Museum (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

If you’re into arts and history, take advantage of New Jersey’s rich history at one of these museums.

  • Newark Art Museum – Located in downtown Newark, this museum is home to art from all over the world. They offer tours as well as occasional activities to get children more involved in the world of art.
  • Princeton Museum of Art – This museum is located inside the prestigious Princeton University. It features beautiful art from all over the world, displayed in an elegant setting. 
  • Battleship New Jersey – War history buffs will particularly enjoy this unique museum. It’s set aboard the Iowa-class Battleship, the USS New Jersey. Several tours are available so you can enjoy the rich history of this battleship.
  • New Jersey State Museum – Located in the state’s capital Trenton, this museum features a large collection of art and artifacts from all over the world. 
  • Sterling Hill Mining Museum – A must-see if you’re interested in mining. You get to explore the first level of an actual mine and even do some mining yourself.

New Jersey Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

New Jersey can have some pretty intense weather. But regardless of when you decide to visit, there is always something to do.

  • 🌼 Spring – The weather in Spring, most notably months from April to early June, is at its most temperate. It allows you to enjoy a variety of activities without being too hot or too cold. Carry an umbrella for occasional showers though.
  • 🌞 Summer – Summers in New Jersey can get pretty hot. During a heatwave, you may see temperatures that are as high as 100 degrees, and that’s, unfortunately, humid heat. Keep water handy.
  • 🍂 Fall – Fall is one of my favorite seasons here! The changing colors of the trees highlight the exceptional beauty of the parks. The weather is mild and surprise showers are at a minimum as well.
  • ❄️ Winter – Especially out in the more rural areas, winter here can get brutal. Temps can drop to 10 below zero and high snowfall is always a possibility.

👉 Read the full guide to the best time to visit NJ.

🚌 Getting In & Around

While driving around New Jersey is honestly your best bet, there are a few other transportation options you can explore.

  • ✈️ Airports – Newark Airport is the major one in Newark, NJ. There are other smaller, private airports including Atlantic City International Airport and Trenton-Mercer Airport
  • 🚗 Driving – When visiting the Garden State, driving is your best option. The availability and reliability of public transportation vary throughout the state. Certain areas, especially Southern NJ, have many areas only accessible by car.
  • 🚇 Public Transit – Public transit is best accessible in cities like Newark and Trenton.
  • 📲 Ride Share – Uber & Lyft operate all over. Compare prices between companies as sometimes you can get a better deal with one or the other.
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – A majority of the state is bike-friendly. Many buses and trains even have sections where you can stash your bicycle when you ride. There are even designated bike lanes on the roads. Metropolitan areas such as downtown Newark, Jersey City, and shore points offer bike rentals.
  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – The ability to get around via walking varies depending on what part of New Jersey you’re visiting. Places tend to be far from one another unless you’re visiting a smaller town.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🚗- Drive – Driving to get around is your best bet. Some of the best destinations don’t have public transportation nearby. If they do, it’s not very reliable. 
  • ⛽ – We don’t pump our own gas – In fact, it’s illegal to pump your own gas, unless you’re putting it into an approved gasoline storage container. So sit back, relax, and enjoy someone else doing the work. 
  • 💲 – Tolls are everywhere – If you’re traveling on highways such as the Garden State Parkway or New Jersey Turnpike, expect tolls. Carry some cash for toll unless you come from a state that has an EZ Pass and you have your tag on you.
  • 🏖️ – Expect beach crowding – This is especially the case if you’re headed to a popular beach with a boardwalk, such as Point Pleasant or Seaside Heights. Plan to get there early, or arrive a little later when people start to leave.
  • 🛣️ – Jughandles – A lot of our roads have these ‘fun’ things called jughandles. They’re like roundabouts, but a little weirder. Pay attention to signs and be aware that it can be a bit rough navigating these. Try to ignore the honking behind you as you do…

🧳 What to Pack

  • 👢 – Boots – If you’re going to be visiting us in the winter months, it’s a good idea to pack boots. Winters here can get brutal, and we’re not just talking temperatures. Snow, sleet, and ice are all part of the equation. 
  • 👟 – Sneakers – If you plan on doing any hiking such as through the Watchung or South Mountain Reservation, you’ll need comfortable shoes. These are also good to have if you plan on doing a museum tour or anywhere that requires a lot of walking. Flats are also a good option.
  • 🧴 – Sunscreen – Spending a day at the beach? You’ll definitely need this. A good SPF will help protect your skin from those harmful UV Rays while you’re taking in the beautiful weather on the Jersey shore.
  • 📸 – Camera – Whether video camera, digital, or the one on your phone, you definitely want to bring a camera. The parks here are beautiful, you’ll want to capture every moment.
  • ☔ – Umbrella – Especially during the Spring, weather can be unpredictable. Our forecasted sunny, cloudless day can quickly yield brief showers. You’ll want to be prepared.

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Population – 9.3 million
  • Capital – Trenton
  • Largest Metro Areas – Newark, Jersey City, Paterson
  • Time Zone – Eastern Time (UTC -5:00 / UTC -4:00 during daylight savings)
  • Airports – Newark International Airport (EWR), Atlantic City International Airport (ACY)
  • Colleges & Universities – Rutger’s University, Princeton University, William Paterson University, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
  • Nickname – Garden State
  • Demonym – New Jerseyan
  • USPS Abbreviation – NJ
  • Governor – Gov. Phil Murphy (Democrat)
  • CountryUnited States of America

Read our full list of fun facts about New Jersey.

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • MERIC Cost of Living State Rank – 42nd most affordable
  • 3 Star Hotel Room – $80/night
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – This varies widely depending on the area. But for a safe, nice area, about  $65 – $250/night
  • Rental Car – $30 – $120/day
  • Public Transit Ticket – ~$2 – $10
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $20 – $50
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $50 – $120
  • Draft Beer – $6 – $10

FAQs About Visiting New Jersey

Is New Jersey safe for tourists?

Most of New Jersey is safe for tourists. However, just like most states, there are areas that you want to avoid. Areas to avoid include Irvington, residential areas in Newark, as well as areas of Jersey City not close to the waterfront.

What should I know before visiting New Jersey?

A common word of advice – don’t judge it by the airport. Newark International Airport is bland, and many think this reflects the entire state. Once you leave the airport and head towards your destination, you’ll see the beauty of New Jersey and why they call us the Garden State. 

Is New Jersey expensive?

In relation to the nearest state, New York, New Jersey isn’t as expensive. For example, most places in New Jersey have parking lots where you can park free of cost. In New York, you often need to pay excessive fees at a parking garage. When it comes to meals and lodging, you pay according to the caliber of the restaurant or hotel. But in general, even these come out to be reasonable pricing. 

What is the number one attraction in New Jersey?

Atlantic City is one of New Jersey’s top attractions. The Vegas of the East Coast draws in millions of visitors each year. Just one trip and you’ll see why!

📰 New Jersey Travel Guides

The Garden State has a lot to offer whether it’s your first trip or you’ve visited us before. Check out these guides to see all of the great activities New Jersey has to offer:

Meet Our New Jersey Travel Expert

Yvette Griffith

Yvette Griffith is a New Jersey-based Freelance Travel Writer who loves all things travel! She takes advantage of every opportunity to get away, often with her young daughter, as they explore their state as well as the world around them. From Southern Cali to cruises to the Caribbean, to local adventures, Yvette is always ready for her next adventure.

👉 Read Yvette‘s Articles

🗺️ New Jersey Map