New Jersey is often overlooked in favour of its famous neighbour New York, but the beachside state has plenty to offer travellers in its own right. Whether you're looking for all-night parties, stunning National Parks, world-class museums or endless boardwalks, New Jersey has a little of something for everyone. In fact, New Jersey can be a cheaper alternative if you've visited New York before and want to stay close enough to explore sights like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, but don't want the expense of staying in Manhattan.
Read on to find out about the top things to do in New Jersey so you can start to plan your next vacation.
Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park in New Jersey is perched perfectly in line with Liberty Island and Ellis Island to allow you great views and easy access via Statue Cruises to these must-see sights! The park features water on three sides as well as a number of walking and cycling trails which make it a picturesque place to spend an afternoon. Liberty State Park is also home to Liberation, a Holocaust memorial and Empty Sky, a memorial to the September 11 attacks of the World Trade Center.
George Washington Bridge
The duel-layered suspension bridge named after George Washington crosses the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York. The bridge is bike and pedestrian-friendly so both tourists and locals alike love to traverse the bridge, taking in the sights en route. The towering steel bridge is a real work of architecture and engineering and is a must for everyone visiting New Jersey.
Lucy the Elephant
A slightly quirkier sight in New Jersey is the 65ft elephant Lucy who resides in Margate City, New Jersey. Inside Lucy the Elephant is six stories, a spiral staircase and even a 360-degree viewpoint at the top! Guests can take a guided tour or simply choose to admire Lucy from the outside.
Liberty Science Center
Located in the Liberty State Park is the Liberty Science Center, a four-storey museum and gallery with hands-on exhibits and ever-changing exhibitions. This center is fantastic for both adults and children alike, who are all sure to learn something new! There is even an IMAX Dome Theater on-site for those who want to witness movies on the big screen in a whole new way.
The Newark Museum is New Jersey's largest museum and is home to an interesting range of art, artefacts, and exhibits under all sorts of topics. Whether you're into nature, space, American art or contemporary collections, The Newark Museum has something to keep you intrigued and entertained.
Beaches and Boardwalks
Atlantic City Boardwalk
Arguably one of the most iconic sights in the state, Atlantic City Boardwalk which stretches for two miles along New Jersey's shore is a fun spot for everybody. With shops, rides, restaurants, and casinos, not to mention the expanse of sand and the rolling ocean waves, the Atlantic City Boardwalk should be on everyone's New Jersey bucket list.
Cape May is a picturesque resort town with traditional 18th-century houses, Presidential holiday homes and a famous historic lighthouse built by the US Army in 1859. The whole area is utterly photogenic and is a lovely place to while away an afternoon visiting the beach, museums, and dining in seaside restaurants.
Six Flags Great Adventure
For adrenaline-pumping thrills, you and your family may want to head to Six Flags Great Adventure theme park which is filled with rides to get your heart racing! With coasters for the kids and scarier options for teens and adults, Six Flags Great Adventure has something for everyone. This epic amusement park also features the Hurricane Harbor water park so you can get wet and wild on a hot summer's day.
The Adventure Aquarium is a great option for families, especially in winter or on a rainy day as the inside arena is packed full of marine creatures and interactive experiences. With daily events, live feeds, a 3D theater, and a kid's zone, everyone will have a fun and educational day out. You will have the chance to see penguins, sharks, rays and even hippos – the only aquarium in the country to have these mammoth creatures.
Another famous amusement park in New Jersey is Morey's Piers on the boardwalk in Wildwood. The park features over 100 rides and attractions as well as plenty of restaurants, shops, and hotels so you can stay for hours on end and be entertained. Morey's Piers and Water Parks offer everything from quaint kiddie rides to extreme thrills and spills so no matter your fear level there is something for you.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
If outdoor activities are more your thing, head over to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to see the 77ft waterfall that flows from the Passaic River. The park is home to a wealth of history and culture since it was a planned industrial city that sourced its power from the falls. Choose a park tour or simply opt to roam the grounds in search of a secluded spot.
Another epic spot of natural beauty is The Palisades on the banks of the Hudson River. The rocky bluffs rise up to 540 feet above the Hudson and were created during the Triassic Period over 200 million years ago! Today, The Palisades is a great place for outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, camping, and fishing.
Island Beach State Park
The rugged landscapes of the Island Beach State Park are a wonderful place to soak up the coastal atmosphere, with tidal marshes, creeks and open water as well as swathes of sand and wetlands. The park is home to a range of fascinating flora, birds, and wildlife, some of which are best seen while kayaking through the park.
This list is just the beginning of everything that New Jersey has to offer, but hopefully, it has persuaded you that it's well worth a visit.