18 Activities in NJ that Visitors From Out Of State Should Hit up First

Aerial view at the boardwalk amusement park at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights New Jersey

The Best Activities in New Jersey

If you’ve never been to New Jersey and you only have a short visit in the great Garden State, here are the best fun activities here to partake in!

No matter the time of season, NJ has it all. In the winter we have Skiing, In the spring we have fishing, in the sultry season, there are many popular summer activities New Jersey has to offer its visitors, most notably our beaches!

And in the Fall we have some of the best scenic drives to take to see the color changes of the beautiful foliage on our abundance of trees.

Image of beautiful fall foliage at Dallabach Lake in East Brunswick NJ

1. Arts Culture – Some of New Jersey’s Top Museums

We are going to list 6 of our favorite museums but count them as just 1 activity. How is that for being thorough!

If you only have a short time here in New Jersey. just pick one of these.

1. Montclair Art Museum

Montclair Art Museum was established in 1914 and offers an acclaimed collection of American paintings and Native American art, comprising 12,000 objects such as paintings, prints, original works on paper, photographs sculpture and both traditional and contemporary Native American pieces.

The Museum boasts an outstanding collection, as well as lively exhibitions that take place within its galleries. Additionally, it houses The Yard School of Art which serves as an artistic hub where students of all ages and abilities discover their creative spark and build supportive connections to art in an inclusive community environment.

Additionally, the museum provides virtual and in-person professional development workshops for teachers. Family programs at the museum include in-person and virtual family tours of gallery exhibits.

2. Morris Museum

The Morris Museum offers interactive exhibits and programs for family fun. My son loved exploring their mega model train room! In addition, there are exhibits about local wildlife, musical boxes and automata, history and geology/paleontology on display.

The museum houses an expansive and historical collection of dolls and toys, costume and textiles, lace quilts and samplers as well as mechanical musical instruments and automatons that has long been an attraction.

The Morris Museum also houses a 312 seat Bickford Theatre which hosts family friendly performances such as jazz, classical, children’s theater and community concerts.

3. Newark Museum

The Newark Museum boasts an expansive art and science collection. Highlights of its offerings include 19th and 20th century American paintings, sculpture, decorative arts; Asian, African and Egyptian art as well as 75,000 natural sciences specimens.

The Seeing America galleries challenge traditional approaches to American art by spotlighting under-recognized artists and communities. Ten thematic galleries highlight Latin American, Asian American, and African American artwork alongside major schools and movements from American art history.

Ballantine House, a restored Victorian mansion; Dreyfuss Memorial Garden and an authentic schoolhouse from 1784 are also highlights of the Museum, with free admission for members, Newark residents and children under two.

4. New Jersey State Museum

The New Jersey State Museum (NJSM) boasts outstanding collections in science, history and art that reflect New Jersey’s rich cultural diversity within a global perspective. As a center of cultural, educational and scientific engagement, NJSM promotes innovation and lifelong learning through its exhibits and collections.

Discover dinosaur fossils and casts, explore Native American artifacts or venture into outer space at our Planetarium! In addition, the museum offers guided tours, lectures and activities tailored specifically for school groups.

NJSM, located in the historic State House Historic District, features three floors of exhibits on archaeology, fine arts and cultural history as well as its planetarium.

5. Old Barracks Museum

Built originally as British soldiers quarters, the Old Barracks is now a museum and educational center celebrating New Jersey’s role in America’s history. Through engaging experiences that take history beyond books, students learn more than ever about our history!

Immerse yourself in life during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War with a tour of this museum, which allows guests to meet 18th century tradespeople, soldiers’ bunks and medical rooms used for smallpox vaccination. Plus,
The Old Barracks often hosts exciting events or reenactments during your visit – check their website to see what is scheduled!

6. Museum on NJ Maritime History

Deborah Whitcraft had always dreamed of opening a museum. Her passion for all things nautical led her towards this goal.

Her efforts led to the creation of this museum dedicated to preserving Massachusetts’ maritime history. Complete with shipwreck data, a gift shop and library access – it offers ocean lovers an oasis of information.

The Museum’s archaeology collection serves as the primary repository for New Jersey archaeological collections. Furthermore, its ethnographic collection offers a vast array of Native American textiles and beadwork. Additionally, their Discovery Den provides an ideal family engagement space where children can discover nature.

2. Take a stroll on the Boardwalk at Asbury Park

The Boardwalk at Asbury Park is a bustling hub of activity, offering a perfect blend of history, entertainment, and fun. With its beautiful seaside location, this boardwalk is the perfect spot to take a leisurely stroll and soak up the ocean breeze.

But it’s not just about the scenery – the Asbury Park Boardwalk is also home to a variety of exciting attractions, including an arcade, a carousel, and a wide range of shops and restaurants.

And don’t forget about the live music! Asbury Park has long been a hub for music, with a thriving music scene that has produced legends like Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny. Today, the boardwalk is home to a variety of live music venues, offering a range of styles and genres to suit every taste.

So whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll, catch a show, or just soak up the sun, the Boardwalk at Asbury Park is the place to be!

3. Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture, located in Hamilton, NJ, is a hidden gem that offers a one-of-a-kind experience for art enthusiasts. Nestled among 42 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, this outdoor sculpture park boasts over 270 contemporary sculptures from both established and emerging artists.

As you wander through the serene gardens, you’ll encounter a wide variety of sculptures that will delight and inspire you, ranging from abstract works to life-size sculptures of animals and people.

But it’s not just about the art – Grounds for Sculpture also offers a range of events and programs, including art exhibitions, concerts, and educational programs for children and adults.

So whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for a relaxing day in nature, Grounds for Sculpture is the perfect destination for a cultural and creative adventure!

4. Six Flags Great Adventure

Image of the swing ride at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson NJ

Get ready to buckle up and hang on tight, because Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ is the ultimate thrill ride destination for all you adrenaline junkies out there!

With heart-stopping roller coasters, wild water rides, and pulse-pounding live shows, this place has got enough excitement to make even the bravest thrill-seeker a bit loopy!

Whether you’re looking to conquer the world’s tallest coaster or just get a little silly with some zany shows, this park has got something for everyone. So don’t wait, hop on the next coaster and hold on for dear life, because Six Flags Great Adventure is the bee’s knees when it comes to thrills, chills, and spills! 🤠

5. Nighttime Horseback Riding

Echo Lake Stables is a hidden gem in New Jersey, offering a unique and thrilling experience for horseback riding enthusiasts. Every Friday and Saturday evening, you can embark on a one-hour trail ride through the scenic landscape, followed by a delicious Western-style BBQ.

As you gallop through the trails, you’ll be immersed in the natural beauty of the area, with views of ancient rock walls, swiftly running streams, and mountain vistas that will take your breath away.

And the best part? This experience is available year-round, so you can enjoy the thrill of nighttime horseback riding no matter the season. So what are you waiting for? Saddle up and experience the magic of Echo Lake Stables for yourself!

6. Visit a real Rodeo!

Get ready to saddle up and experience the wild west right in the heart of New Jersey! Cowtown Rodeo, “The Best Show on Dirt,” has been thrilling crowds since 1929 and is the only professional weekly rodeo in the state.

As the longest-running weekly rodeo in the country, Cowtown Rodeo is steeped in tradition and offers visitors a taste of the American West that is both exciting and authentic. From bull riding to barrel racing, this rodeo has it all!

7. Visit Long Beach Island

Long Beach Island, also known as “LBI,” is a barrier island located off the coast of New Jersey that’s known for its rich history and distinctive cultural heritage.

From the iconic Barnegat Lighthouse to the Long Beach Island Museum, visitors can discover the island’s unique sense of heritage that’s deeply rooted in the history of New Jersey and the United States.

But LBI isn’t just about history – its pristine beaches, lively boardwalk, and diverse range of shops and restaurants make it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

So whether you’re looking to soak up some sun, explore the local culture, or just relax and enjoy the island life, Long Beach Island has something for everyone!

8. Atlantic City

Atlantic City, also known as “America’s Playground,” is a famous beachfront resort city located on the Jersey Shore. It’s well-known for its casinos, boardwalk, beaches, and nightlife, making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation.

For those looking for some gambling fun, Atlantic City has nine casino resorts, each offering a unique experience with a variety of games, including slots, table games, and poker.

The iconic Atlantic City Boardwalk is a must-see, stretching for over four miles and featuring a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

And let’s not forget the beaches! Atlantic City’s beaches are known for their soft sand and crystal-clear waters, making them perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beach sports.

So whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the beach, a night out on the town, or a chance to try your luck at the tables, Atlantic City has it all!

9. Go on a Party Fishing Boat

The back of a fishing party boat in NJ

Party fishing boats are a popular attraction in New Jersey, offering a unique opportunity to catch fish in the Atlantic Ocean while socializing with fellow anglers.

Some of the top-rated party fishing boats in New Jersey include the Queen Mary Party Fishing Boat in Point Pleasant Beach, Captain Cal II in Belmar, and Misty Morn in South Amboy.

Each boat offers a variety of fishing trips, from half-day excursions to full-day charters, and provides all the necessary gear and bait for a successful fishing trip.

But it’s not just about catching fish – party fishing boats offer a fun and social experience, with many boats featuring bars and food service on board.

10. Check out The Lakota Wolf Preserve

The Lakota Wolf Preserve is a must-see destination for nature lovers and animal enthusiasts. Located in the stunning Delaware Water Gap, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to the care and preservation of wolves, bobcats, and foxes.

Visitors can participate in guided educational tours, where they can learn about the biology and behavior of these magnificent creatures and see them up close in their natural habitat.

The preserve also offers private photography shoots, allowing visitors to capture the beauty of these animals in stunning detail.

With its dedication to conservation and education, the Lakota Wolf Preserve is not only a great attraction, but also an important contributor to the preservation of these beautiful animals and their habitat.

11. Check out Princeton NJ

Princeton, New Jersey is a must-see destination for anyone looking for a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

First and foremost, it’s home to Princeton University, a world-renowned institution that has produced some of the most influential minds in history.

The town itself is steeped in history, with landmarks like the Princeton Battlefield State Park and the Morven Museum & Garden offering a glimpse into the past.

And if you’re a nature lover, you’ll love exploring the many parks and trails that surround Princeton, including the Princeton Battlefield State Park, which offers stunning views of the Delaware River and surrounding countryside.

12. Spend a night in Cape May

Cape May, located on the southern tip of New Jersey’s coast, is a charming seaside town that’s packed with activities for visitors. From its quaint shops and restaurants, to its beautiful beaches and parks, Cape May has something for everyone.

And for those who love to shop, Cape May has been named one of the best small towns in the country for shopping, with a variety of unique boutiques and antique stores lining its streets.

But that’s not all! Cape May is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, offering visitors a chance to soak up the sun, swim in the ocean, or just relax on the sand.

13. Sandy Hook Lighthouse

The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is a true gem of American history. First lit in 1764, it is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the United States!

Financed by a lottery, the lighthouse was built by the Colony of New York to help keep ships safe as they passed by Sandy Hook on their way to and from New York Harbor.

Over the centuries, the lighthouse has undergone several renovations and upgrades, but its original design and purpose have remained largely unchanged.

Today, visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area, as well as learn about the rich history of this iconic structure.

So whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun day out, a visit to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse is definitely worth it!

14. Hit up the Jenkinson’s Boardwalk and Aquarium

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk and Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach is a popular destination for both locals and visitors to New Jersey.

This seaside attraction boasts a beautiful boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, and amusements, making it the perfect place to spend a day by the sea.

The real star of the show, however, is the Jenkinson’s Aquarium. Here, you can explore exhibits featuring a wide variety of marine life, from colorful tropical fish to fascinating sea turtles.

The aquarium also hosts special events throughout the year, such as behind-the-scenes tours and educational programs for children.

But that’s not all! Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is also home to an amusement park, complete with rides, games, and an arcade.

15. American Dream Mall

The American Dream Mall is a perfect activity for familes because it boastsan incredible indoor amusement park called Nickelodeon Universe, complete with roller coasters, rides, and plenty of colorful characters.

Next, there’s the DreamWorks Water Park, a huge indoor water park that’s home to wave pools, slides, and even a lazy river.

And for those who prefer a bit more relaxation, the mall also has an observation wheel that offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, as well as a dining and shopping district with everything from high-end retailers to delicious food and drink options.

16. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

This stunning area, located along the Delaware River, straddles the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is a nature-lover’s paradise.

Here, you can hike along scenic trails that offer breathtaking views of the river and surrounding landscape, go kayaking or canoeing on the calm waters, or simply relax and take in the beauty of the area.

The park also boasts a rich history, with remnants of early American settlements, abandoned railroad tracks, and historic buildings scattered throughout the area.

17. Go Dolphin Watching

Dolphin watching in New Jersey is an absolute treat for both locals and visitors alike! One of the best places to spot these beautiful creatures is Cape May, located at the southernmost tip of the state.

See more New Jersey famous places to visit.

18. Go Tubing on the Delaware

New Jersey is so unique that on the East Coast you have the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, and if you had west you’ll eventually hit the Delaware River. The Delaware River separates New Jersey from Pennsylvania. There are three outfitters that serve the river where you can go tubing from miles down the river and taking the serene surroundings. Here are the best places to go tubing on the Delaware River.



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