Aerial panorama of the Jersey City skyline at sunset.

Things to do in  New Jersey

The Garden State will grow on you

New Jersey oftentimes gets overlooked, sitting in the shadow of its flashier neighbor New York. But the US state contains plenty of its own attractions and things to do, including some 130 miles (209 kilometers) of Atlantic coastline. From Jersey City’s Liberty State Park, travelers can head to nearby Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and the towns dotted along the Jersey Shore like Asbury Park and Cape May continue to capture the feeling of Americana summers and draw throngs of people when the weather warms up.

Top 11 attractions in New Jersey

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park, a revitalized urban area in Jersey City, is a departure spot for ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Once an industrial area, the land has always been crucial for arrivals to the Big Apple: The 1,000-acre park has views of the New York City skyline, the Hudson River, and the Statue of Liberty.More

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Situated on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City boasts the flashy style that the popular franchise is known for. Inside, you’ll find a casino, nightclub, theater, multiple restaurants and shops, a sports and concert arena, and of course, a Hard Rock Cafe that serves up classic American cuisine, cocktails, and music memorabilia.More
Medieval Times

Medieval Times

Few dinner shows compare to Medieval Times. The long-running attraction combines an 11th-century feast with an exciting family-friendly performance, complete with jousting and sword fights. Perfect for travelers looking for a not-so-typical night out, Medieval Times is a mix of fairy tale and spectacle.More

Los Angeles Palisades Park

This 26.4-acre (1-hectare) park located along Ocean Avenue is perched above sandstone bluffs in Santa Monica. The waterfront Palisades Park offers guests the opportunity to explore the coast in a delightful outdoor setting. Whether it’s meandering along its paved paths, stopping to smell the roses in the rose garden, or admiring the Pacific Ocean from atop the promenade, the park is a welcomed respite.More
The Mills at Jersey Gardens

The Mills at Jersey Gardens

Shop until you drop at the Mills at Jersey Gardens. Conveniently located close to New York City, the Mills at Jersey Gardens is the largest outlet mall in New Jersey, featuring over 200 stores offering deep discounts, tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes, a movie theater, and plenty of dining options.More
Historic Cold Spring Village

Historic Cold Spring Village

Step back in time to the “age of homespun” (1789-1840) at Historic Cold Spring Village. Spanning 30 acres (12 hectares), Cold Spring Village is the largest open-air living history museum in New Jersey. See history come to life through its 27 restored historic buildings, costumed interpreters, demonstrations, and interactive activities.More

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester

Dedicated to everyone’s favorite Danish building block, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Westchester is open to children 17 and younger, and their adult guardians. The center has a variety of themed rides and activities, and gives you the chance to pedal through the sky in Merlin's Apprentice; meet Lego characters in the 4K theater; and peek at pint-sized replicas of New York City landmarks in MINILAND.More
Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure

Enjoy an exciting day of rides, animals, and fun at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari. Spanning 510 acres (206 hectares, with both a theme park and a safari animal park, it’s one of the largest amusement parks in the world. Offering more than 100 rides and attractions, it’s an ideal destination for families and thrill seekers alike.More
Cape Liberty Cruise Port

Cape Liberty Cruise Port

New Jersey’s Cape Liberty Cruise Port serves as a gateway to New York City, which is located just across the Hudson River. Travel from the port to tour the city, visit its cultural institutions, and see a Broadway show. Cape Liberty is also a jumping-off point for a beach trips to the Jersey Shore and foliage tours in upstate New York.More
Morey's Piers and Beachfront Water Parks

Morey's Piers and Beachfront Water Parks

Enjoy all the fun and games of a classic seaside amusement park at Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks on the Jersey Shore. Spanning 18 acres (7.3 hectares and stretching for six beach blocks, Morey’s is made up of three amusement piers and two beachfront water parks, offering more than 130 rides and attractions.More
Clementon Park and Splash World

Clementon Park and Splash World

Stay cool over the summer and enjoy thrilling rides at Clementon Park and Splash World. One of the oldest theme parks in the country, the park offers more than 25 rides and attractions across the amusement park and water park, including roller coasters, carnival rides, wave pools, waterslides, rapids, and adventure-play areas.More

Top activities in New Jersey

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All about New Jersey

When to visit

Since the northeast winters can be cold and snowy, the best time to visit New Jersey is from late spring to late summer (May to September). This is when you’ll be able to take part in outdoor activities and visit the state’s many beach towns, which draw the biggest crowds in June, July, and August. And thanks to the ocean breeze, the shore offers relief from the summer humidity most inland states are stuck with.

Getting around

Since it’s located between Philadelphia and New York, New Jersey is traversed via several public transport options including ferries, Amtrak service, and NJ Transit, which manages the light rail systems, commuter rail lines, and buses. But most people prefer to navigate Jersey by car, traveling up and down the state along major arteries like the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. Expect traffic jams especially if you’re headed to the shore in the summer months. Also, keep in mind that you’re not allowed to fill up your own tank of gas in NJ; all stations offer full service instead.

Traveler tips

Although New Jersey didn’t invent the diner concept, it definitely popularized it, partly because of the need to feed travelers going between New York and Philadelphia. While residents are usually partial to their local spot, some diners are worth the drive. At the Summit Diner, the oldest still-operating diner in the state, order mini Taylor ham (also known as pork roll), egg, and cheese sandwiches. And at the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, you can get disco fries (Jersey’s version of poutine with gravy and cheese) 24/7, 365 days a year.

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People Also Ask

What is the number one attraction in New Jersey?

Located toward the southern end of the NJ coastline, Atlantic City attracts both gamblers and beachgoers. Known for its casinos and historic boardwalk, the town still maintains some of its nostalgic charm with canopied pedicabs (or “rolling chairs”) and stands selling saltwater taffy. Year round, both locals and visitors try their luck at the slot machines and table games found inside the many resorts.

What should you not miss in New Jersey?

In the northern end of the state, be sure to visit Jersey City and Liberty State Park where you can take in spectacular views of the New York City skyline and wander along the Hudson River. Along the shore, head to Asbury Park to swing by The Stone Pony (where Bruce Springsteen got his start) to catch live music and Atlantic City to roll the dice.

What is New Jersey famous for?

New Jersey is known for its beaches, diners, and famous folks, including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Thomas Edison (who wasn’t an NJ native, but he did develop most of his inventions at his lab there). Most recently, it’s become recognizable thanks to the TV show “The Sopranos,” which follows Tony Soprano, a North Jersey-based Italian-American mobster.

What is the best month to visit New Jersey?

Arguably July, although the summer months in general are considered the best time to visit New Jersey. In July, the average high temperature is 86℉ (30℃), making it the ideal time to head to the state’s beaches. You might also be able to catch one of the July 4th celebrations taking place all around Jersey.

What is the most visited city in New Jersey?

Atlantic City. As the East Coast’s gaming capital, the city attracts over 27 million visitors a year. In addition to casinos, it also boasts plenty of outlet shopping, dining options, entertainment, and hotel accommodations. Plus, beachgoers can stroll the city’s iconic boardwalk and lounge on the sand during the summer months.

What are the best beaches in New Jersey?

New Jersey boasts a total of 44 beaches, which means there’s a sunny spot for everyone. A popular weekend getaway for New Yorkers, Cape May is considered one of the most picturesque beach towns in Jersey with streets that are dotted with pretty Victorian houses and quaint bed-and-breakfasts. Other top contenders include Avalon, Ocean Grove, and Ocean City.

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