If you’re looking for a nearby escape, have you considered New Jersey? Whether you prefer a relaxing day on the beach, the heart-pumping fun of an amusement park or exploring art, culture and history, the Garden State has a little bit of everything. Take a trip and enjoy one of the following weekend getaways in N.J.
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
Once summer hits, Cape May is the place to be.
The oldest seaside resort community in the country, laid-back Cape May is home to beautiful beaches and year-round attractions. Find Southern hospitality during your weekend getaway in N.J. at the AAA Four Diamond Rated bed and breakfast, The Southern Mansion, built in 1860, like much of Cape May’s historic buildings. Attractions including the Cape May Winery, Washington Street Mall, Cape May County Park and Zoo all provide options for a fun family weekend exploring South Jersey.
College towns like Princeton, home of Princeton University, aren’t just for students – the arts and culture scene makes for a great getaway at any time of the year.
When you’re not strolling through one of Princeton’s museums and gardens, or touring the university’s campus, you could be trying artisan ice cream at The Bent Spoon. History buffs can also enjoy Princeton, the location of the first sessions of the Continental Congress, and its many historical sites and buildings, like the Princeton Battlefield State Park or Rockingham, where George Washington stayed during the Revolutionary War.
The “garden of the Garden State,” the New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands in Ringwood, is perfect for a romantic weekend getaway, and among one of the best day trips in N.J.
In addition to the lovely gardens and 1,000 acres of woodlands for you to wander, there’s also the Skylands Manor, a beautiful granite Tudor revival mansion. Staying in the manor will make you feel as if you’re living in a European castle, and the pampering you’ll receive by the staff will make you feel like royalty. Couples will enjoy the chance to live in the lap of luxury for the weekend, while day trippers can tour the manor and gardens or take a family hike.
The first blueberry was cultivated in Whitesbog Village, a historic town in Brown Mills, where families looking for a relaxing weekend getaway in N.J. can escape in nature.
Explore the village, from the Whitesbog General Store to the Agricultural Museum, and the surrounding cranberry bogs, blueberry fields, reservoirs, sugar sand roads and forests of the Pine Barrens. Take advantage of the guided tours of the village’s museums and gardens to learn about the historic area. City slickers in Whitesbog will feel like they’ve stepped into a time capsule. It’s the perfect spot for anyone yearning for the tranquility of a simpler life.
This costal spot – home to one of New Jersey’s favorite beaches – has something for everyone.
Those seeking some adventure can try watersports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, parasailing and surfing. On land, you can spend a day at the beach and/or explore the two and a half miles of boardwalk lined with shops, eateries and amusement parks. Music-lovers will enjoy live performances at the Music Pier while sightseers and exercise enthusiasts will like cycling on bike paths around the city. Go solo or or use a surrey (multiple-person bike). Rentals are widely available.
Get a taste of the Jersey Shore at Asbury Park, a historic town with a thriving nightlife and a musical mecca or two.
Swim and lounge in the sun on Asbury Park Beach, then head to the Asbury Park Boardwalk to shop, grab a bite to eat at one of the diverse restaurants and check out the artsy murals along the oceanfront. Catch a show at The Stone Pony, one of the world’s most famous music venues, hosting performers like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Convention Hall is another staple of Asbury Park, having hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones and Elton John. Stop in the Grand Arcade to see what events are going on and shop at its unique stores. A fun-filled weekend isn’t far away at Asbury Park.
Kittatinny Mountain Range
Kittatinny Mountain runs through northwestern New Jersey and provides the perfect backdrop for a weekend in the mountains, no matter the season.
The AAA Four Diamond Rated Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg has all the amenities you need for a weekend getaway. Swim at the Biosphere Pool Complex, get a massage at the Reflections Spa, take a wine cellar tour, participate in various family and kids’ activities or try outdoor activities like skiing, archery and zip lining. Outside of the resort are plenty of opportunities for shopping and entertainment.
No list of day trips or weekend getaways in N.J. can be complete without Atlantic City, the casino capital of the Northeast.
Being on the coast, Atlantic City has beautiful stretches of sand, but what sets it apart from the rest of the region are its casinos. Roll the dice, take your chances and play away at one of the city’s casino resorts, like Harrah’s Atlantic City or Caesars at Atlantic City. When hunger or thirst strikes, choose from any of the Italian and seafood restaurants, bar and grills, and steakhouses in the area.
What are your favorite weekend getaways in N.J.? Tell us in the comments below!
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This article has been edited and expanded to include suggestions from our members.