Summer is the perfect time to start planning some road trips. If you’re a beach lover, there are a myriad of options to dig your toes in the sand, but there’s also a rich choice of other destinations to discover and experience. Whether it’s a day trip, quick getaway or week-long vacation, make this summer extra fun by exploring some of these favorite hot spots and hidden gems around the Garden State!
Jersey Shore Beaches & Boardwalks
Asbury Park – Made famous by Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi this is a popular beachside destination with a classic boardwalk promenade. Asbury Splash Park and mini-golf is a unique experience for the family.
Not-so-hidden gem: The legendary rock venue The Stone Pony opened in 1974 and continues to be a stage for nationally touring acts as well as many local musicians.
Atlantic City – This well-known resort town is home to casinos, a classic boardwalk, entertainment, and great beaches. Visitors should check out Steel Pier for over-the-ocean outdoor fun.
Hidden gem:Absecon Lighthouse, NJ’s tallest lighthouse, offers amazing views.
Cape May – Known as the “nation’s oldest seashore resort”, this hot spot sits at the southern-most tip of N.J. It has the second largest collection of Victorian houses (behind San Francisco) in its historic district, and the second largest fishing port on the East Coast.
Hidden gem: Built during World War I, the historic wreck of the S.S. Atlantus in the Delaware Bay is visible from Sunset Beach. Also, keep an eye out during low tide and you might see the train tracks which date back to the early 1900s.
Point Pleasant Beach – With its mile-long boardwalk, expansive beach and activities for the entire family, Point Pleasant Beach is the quintessential shore town.
Hidden Gem – Drive south on Route 35 about 15 miles to Island State Beach Park--this NJ state park is located on Barnegat Peninsula. The entrance fee is $10 per a car and the perfect spot for those looking for a less crowded beach tucked away from the more traditional boardwalk areas. Arrive early before the park reaches capacity!
Wildwood – This shore destination is known for its sandy beaches and boardwalk. Five Mile Beach is a highlight and the boardwalk is a host to three miles of entertainment, shopping and games plus it has tram cars if you need a ride!
Hidden gem:The Doo-Wop District is like stepping back into the 1950s and a must-see if you like retro architecture highlighted by the light of neon signs.
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Outside Adventures & State Parks
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – This 40-mile stretch running through NJ and PA is considered one of the most scenic drives around. Here you can access the Delaware River, get on the Appalachian Trail, canoe, kayak, hike, and horseback ride. Experiences for every nature lover are available.
Hidden gem: Check out Millbrook Village for a glimpse at how inhabitants used to live in the early 1800s--it’s also a good place to start the Appalachian Trail.
High Point State Park – Drive north on Route 23 to visit the highest elevation in New Jersey. This state park offers hiking, picnic areas, fishing, camping and swimming. The park has a rich history, access to the Appalachian Trail and mountain-top panoramas of the tri-state area from an elevation of 1,800 feet.
Hidden gem: The High Point Monument was built in 1930 to honor all New Jersey veterans of war. The 220-foot hollow obelisk is open to the public--take a climb up the staircase to the top for a peek of the surrounding views.
Liberty State Park – Based in Jersey City and a can’t-be missed destination, Liberty State Park offers access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island against a backdrop of dramatic views of the NY city skyline.
Hidden gem: Visit the state-of-the-art Liberty Science Center–it’s a cool interactive museum that everyone will enjoy!
Parvin State Park – This state park is located in the southern part of the state and sits near the edge of the Pine Barrens in Pittsgrove. It offers camping, swimming, fishing, picnicking and other activities for families and outdoor enthusiasts.
Hidden gem: Take a drive to Millville to visit WheatonArts. It’s located in the center of the nation’s first glass industry and features the most comprehensive collection of glass produced in America at the Museum of American Glass. The museum has earned world-wide recognition for its unique collections and programs plus offers artist demonstrations, special events, and workshops.
Historical Sites & Museums – these are all gems!
Morristown National Historical Park – During the 1779-1780 Jockey Hollow encampment, over 10,000 soldiers serving in the Continental Army under General George Washington endured the Revolutionary War's most severe winter. According to the National Park Service, the park preserves, protects and maintains the landscapes, structures, archeological resources, and collections of the Continental Army winter encampments, the headquarters of General George Washington, and related Revolutionary War sites at Morristown.
The Red Mill Museum Village -- Preserving the industrial, social and agricultural history of Hunterdon County, this museum sites on a 10-acre site adjacent to the banks of the South Branch of the Raritan River in downtown Clinton. The museum is located in the mill which ceased to operate in 1928 and it hosts car shows, concerts, and charity fundraisers throughout the year.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park – Step back in time and discover Thomas Edison’s residence and laboratory located at 211 Main Street in West Orange. Edison purchased the Glenmont Estate in 1886 and spent years researching and developing many of his famous inventions here until he died in 1931 at the age of 84.
Grounds For Sculpture – This museum, sculpture garden, and arboretum is framed by nature on 42 picturesque acres and located in Hamilton. More than 270 sculptures by renowned and emerging contemporary artists are on display throughout the grounds and are complemented by thousands of exotic trees and flowers. Explore the six indoor galleries, enjoy performances and lectures or make an art project at one of the many workshops.
Tip: Check out 5 Summer Budget Tips for Families for fun ideas to save!
A variety of adventures await you in the great state of NJ this summer. It’s definitely worth the time to explore the sights and sounds in your own backyard! And when you hit the road, be sure to take Lakeland along with you—it’s easy to manage your finances on-the-go with Digital Banking or find the nearest Allpoint® ATM. Fun Fact - did you know we are now located in various locations at the Jersey Shore? Find a branch near you today - we're happy to assist you in any way we can!