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20 Things To Do in New Jersey Under $20

atlantic city boardwalk
budget wise

New Jersey has many credits to its name, from being the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen to its iconic Jersey Shore, making it an exciting place to take a day trip, visit for a weekend or just do some light exploring. Seeing the Garden State doesn’t have to break the bank, though; there are plenty of cheap things to do in New Jersey that will keep your budget in check.

Anthony Bourdain Food Trail Free

An homage to the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain who grew up in Leonia, N.J., this food trail is a collection of restaurants featured on his famed CNN show, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” Follow the itinerary to a T or pick and choose.

Atlantic City Boardwalk Free

Since its debut in 1870, the Atlantic City boardwalk has made a name for itself as one of the state’s most iconic landmarks. Four miles of shops, rides, restaurants and, of course, beaches will keep you occupied all day long.

BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Free

This extraordinary Hindu house of worship is the second largest in the world, spanning 185 acres and a height of 191 feet. Open to everyone regardless of religious affiliation, guests are welcome to respectfully take in the magnificence and enjoy the grounds.

Cape May County Park & Zoo Free

If you’re looking for fun activities to do in New Jersey with kids, this free zoo is situated within the Cape May County Park and is home to amazing animals like African lions, cheetahs, American black bears and more. Get up close and personal with the adorable capybara, or maybe sign up for a meet and greet with Willy the pig through the zoo’s animal encounter opportunities. (Cape May is one of our favorite cozy small towns, by the way.)

Discovery Seashell Museum Free

As its name suggests, the Discovery Seashell Museum has lots of seashells on view – over 10,000 of them, to be exact. The unique museum has been open since 1960, and through the years, has acquired prehistoric fossils, sea glass and live aquatic animals. There’s even a megalodon jaw reconstruction out back.

DIY Sopranos Filming Locations Tour Free

Grab your “gabagool” and head out for a tour of “The Sopranos” filming locations 🤌. Using this helpful list from The Hoboken Girl as a guide, you can see more than 10 locations where the award-winning show came to life, from the Soprano home to Satriale’s and many more.

Drumthwacket, Governor’s Mansion Free

Tour the stately and historic Drumthwacket, home to the Governor of New Jersey. Learn about the previous owners of the mansion, beginning in 1835 and including Charles Smith Olden and Moses Taylor Pyne. Don’t forget to walk through the Italianate gardens as well. Tours are free but prior registration is required.  

Fairy Trail Free

Experience some real-life magic on the Fairy Trail located in Millburn. The half-mile route leads you to the doorstep of fairy homes – some of which you can even peek inside. Great for kids and adults alike.

Howell Living History Farm Free

Travel back in time to the year 1900 at the Howell Living History Farm, where you can see and experience what it was like to farm and live over 100 years ago. Weekend events include maple sugaring, workhorse rides, beekeeping and even a lambing day where you may see the birth of a lamb!

Lakota Wolf Preserve $15

Encounter the majesty of wild wolves at the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia. Guests are able to observe four packs of wolves from a safe distance while an expert guide explains the fascinating social dynamics of wolves as well as their habits and other behavior. The tour also includes foxes, a bobcat and a lynx.

Liberty State Park Free

With views of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, visiting Liberty State Park is a favorite New Jersey activity for locals and visitors. Guests can enjoy the park in a number of ways, including a visit to the Liberty Science Center, Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area or a ferry ride to and from Ellis Island.

Lucy the Elephant $8.50

Originally built to attract visitors in the 1800s, Lucy the Elephant still has a flock of fans pining to see her in all her pachyderm glory. Guided tours give you an inside look (literally) into Lucy’s construction and the opportunity to take a peek out of her eyes and see the view from the riding carriage on her back.

Montclair Mischief Makers‘ Treasure Hunt $12.99

Think you know Montclair? Test your knowledge by participating in the Montclair Mischief Makers’ Treasure Hunt that takes you on a journey to multiple locations throughout the town searching for your next clue through challenges, riddles and lots of fun.  

Morristown Game Vault Starting at $12

Retro game lovers will have their work cut out for them at the Morristown Game Vault. Play over 110 arcade games and pinball machines from the classics like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to more modern themed plays like South Park.

New Jersey Botanical Garden Free

Spend a relaxing afternoon at this botanical garden where you can take a leisurely stroll and learn about all the different plant species that reside here. Peruse the many different gardens, like the annual garden, lilac garden (over 100 varieties) and the Italianate gardens.

New Jersey Maritime Museum Free

What began as a passion for wreck diving became Deb Whitcraft’s vision for a museum to display her collection of New Jersey maritime history and artifacts. Today, the New Jersey Maritime Museum holds an extensive collection including shipwreck treasures, photographs, model ships and more.

The Pinelands National Reserve Free

As the first national reserve in the nation, The Pinelands National Reserve is 1 million acres of dense forest, public parks, winding rivers, blueberry fields and so much more. So much, in fact, that it’s advised to take several days to experience it all.

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens – Free

Located in Essex County, the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens are a sight to see. At their peak in May, the property boasts over 1,500 varieties of irises resulting in 100,000 vibrant blooms of all colors – so many that locals refer to the gardens as “the rainbow on the hill.”

Sea Life from $18.96 for AAA members

Go under the sea (figuratively) at Sea Life! With amazing exhibits – like the immersive tunnel that gives you panoramic views of the ocean life above – and over 1,000 creatures, including sharks, jellyfish and stingrays, choosing your favorite part is sure to be difficult. AAA members save 30%.

Valley Shepherd Creamery Free

At Valley Shepherd Creamery, there’s something fun to do all year long. Take a wagon ride up the mountain for a farm tour, get a peek inside the cheese cave, hold a newborn lamb, sample a cheese tray – the list goes on.

Find more things to do in the Northeast for under $20.

Need a ride? Rent a car.

What are some of your favorite activities in New Jersey under $20? What did we miss? Tell us in the comments!


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