New Jersey may be a small state, but it certainly isn’t short of top-quality tourist attractions. With its museums, historical sites, and national parks, the Garden State is a joy to explore. Whether you long to visit one of the quaint harbor resorts or whether you crave the thrills of Atlantic City, there’s no shortage of fun to enjoy in the Garden State.
Visit Atlantic City
When you think of New Jersey, there’s a good chance that the first place that comes to mind is Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk. Extending for four miles, this promenade was built back in 1870, and even now it’s the spot where you’ll find most of the attractions of the city.
Tourists flock to the Steel Pier with its family-friendly amusement park, while children and adults alike love the classic rolling chairs, electric tram and rental bikes that represent a fun way to explore the Boardwalk.
Of course, you can’t overlook the thrill of placing a bet in one of the casinos such as the Borgata Casino and Hotel where you can indulge in the luxurious surroundings while you place a wager on your favorite table!
Step back in time at Cape May, a stunning resort which first took off during the 1700s. No less than 6 American presidents had their summer homes in this delightful spot on Delaware Bay, and even now you can still see beautiful Victorian-style properties including the Emlen Physick Estate which currently houses a museum. While you’re here, you should take a whale and dolphin-sighting cruise on the 80-foot tall Yankee schooner and explore the harbor.
Liberty State Park
There’s no better place in the Garden State to admire amazing views than Liberty State Park. Boasting panoramic vistas over Ellis Island, Liberty Island and Upper New York Bay, this waterside park also offers a host of interesting monuments, memorials and natural highlights including the Empty Sky memorial to the local victims of 9/11 and the Liberation memorial to the Holocaust. Take some time out here to enjoy a picnic or to get active with fun sports like cycling and kayaking.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
This national recreation area covers over 70,000 acres, straddling the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey and encompassing a protected 40-mile length of the Delaware River. Two visitor centers serve the Garden State section, with Millbrook Village recreating a traditional 1800s community and Kittatinny Point being a key point for accessing the famous Appalachian Trail.
While you’re here, you can also discover 10,000-year-old remains of a settlement at the Minisink Archaeological Site or enjoy fun activities like fishing, swimming, and canoeing.
Battlefield State Park and Princeton
Princeton is best known for its famous university and for its links to Albert Einstein, who worked at the Institute for Advanced Study here. Explore the 1,600-acre grounds of the 18th-century school by taking an hour-long student-run tour then discover the Battlefield State Park where the 1777 Battle of Princeton took place that saw Washington emerge as the victor over the British. You can also visit the 18th century Clarke House Museum as well as the Ionic Colonnade where you can remember both American and British soldiers.
The Adventure Aquarium
Whether you’re traveling with the kids or whether you just love getting up close to marine life, you’re sure to love the Adventure Aquarium. As one of the USA’s top aquatic facilities, this aquarium (which holds 2 million gallons of water) houses over 8,500 marine creatures, including sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, and penguins.
Even more fascinatingly, it’s the only aquarium anywhere around the world to have hippos on display. Why not take the opportunity to have an in-person encounter with a sea turtle, penguin, stingray or shark?
Battleship New Jersey
While you’re visiting the Garden State, you should take the time to see the most decorated vessel in the USA, the New Jersey floating museum which is moored up on the Delaware River. Tour the ship and see artifacts on display that document the involvement of the ship in numerous conflict zones between the 1940s and 1980s.
You can also visit the bridge from which Admiral Halsey took command of the Pacific Fleet. You may even be able to have the chance of spending a night on the ship or participating in a twilight tour.
Cape May County Park and Zoo
Families love the Cape May County Park and Zoo thanks to its amazing free attractions. Take a hike or bike one of the trails, play tennis or volleyball or enjoy a BBQ or picnic without paying a cent. You can even explore the zoo which is home to a number of exotic and native species. With creatures such as lions, giraffes, lemurs, zebras, and eagles to discover, you’re sure to have a memorable visit.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
One of the most famous former residents of New Jersey has to be the inventor Thomas Edison, and at the National Historical Park that bears his name, you can find his former lab and home. Discover the place where he invented amazing new technologies like sound recordings, batteries and movie cameras and get close up to a host of original artifacts.
You can also tour his Queen-Anne style mansion with its 29 beautifully preserved rooms. Take an audio tour or join a guided visit for the best experience but remember to arrive early since when all the tickets are gone there are no more for the rest of the day!
Enjoying a lovely location on Cape May’s shores, Morey’s Piers water and amusement parks cover an impressive six blocks right behind the beach. Over the last half-century, the Morey brothers have continued to expand their operation from its humble beginnings back in 1968 to its current family-friendly incarnation with bumper cars, Ferris wheel, and tilt-a-whirl. For adrenaline seekers, the roller coasters and other daredevil rides won’t disappoint while the interactive attractions such as the Ghost Ship will thrill and delight in equal measure. For water lovers, the two waterparks are the perfect entertainment with pools, a lazy river, and chutes to enjoy.
Liberty Science Center
If you’re bringing the kids to Liberty State Park, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Liberty Science Center. This interactive museum is a fun way to get up close and personal with science thanks to its hands-on interactive displays and exhibits. The Planetarium is a particularly exciting attraction with its regular shows which explore outer space and the night sky. You’ll also enjoy the 3D theater which shows interactive movies about technology, nature and science, as well as the Infinity Climber, pixel art wall and educational presentations which include such diverse attractions as animal encounters, lightning shows and a sea creatures touch-tank.