Things to do in NJ in the Winter
Planning a trip is always an exciting undertaking, but sometimes, even the best planners can get a little bit stuck looking for things to do once they reach their destination.
Luckily for you, there’s never any shortage of fun and exciting things to do in New Jersey, not even in the winter.
So if you’re looking to travel to NJ during the cold months and are stumped for ideas, look no further.
New Jersey is one of the most beautiful destinations you could opt for when planning your winter excursion, particularly since the perfect, white snow tends to make this beautiful city into something stunning.
What’s more, New Jersey is a diverse and varied city that houses a little something for everybody, so whatever your style, rest assured you won’t be bored in New Jersey.
1. A trip to the Ice House!
Let’s face it, New Jersey can get pretty cold during the winter, with temperatures dropping as low as 30 degrees at the peak of January.
But that doesn’t mean you should hunker down inside your hotel room, but rather go enjoy the city in all its frosty glory.
A must-see attraction during the winter is the infamous Ice House of New Jersey. Each year, this popular hub attracts tourists and locals alike to enjoy some relaxing, fun skating.
And if your skating skills are a little bit rusty, that’s no reason to worry, for the Ice House offers skating lessons with professional instructors pretty much all through the winter.
So whether you’re a pro on the ice, or you’ve never attempted skating in your life, the Ice House can be a fun destination for you and yours.
And hey, if none of that sounds appealing, that’s fine, too.
The nice people over at the Ice House also offer various youth activities, as well as organize hockey games regularly. So gather your friends, get yourselves plenty of snacks, and go enjoy some winter competitions.
2. Into the wild – the Watchung Reservation awaits.
The Watchung Reservation is a historic trail in New Jersey that attracts loads of tourists (as well as many outdoorsy locals) all through the year.
Populated by various wildlife, including several types of owls, the Watchung Reservation is a great destination both in the summertime and in the winter, when the sight of the leafless trees and the light snow covering the ground will no doubt make for a view to remember.
The Watchung Reservation allows you to spend some much-deserved time in nature, enjoying some fresh air and getting a bit of exercise in.
All this without being too taxing, so that you don’t necessarily need to be an experienced hiker to go visit the reservation (you just need some thick clothes!).
3. Go skating on a brand new, eco-friendly skating ring!
We know, we know, we literally just encouraged you to try out your skating skills at the NJ Ice House, and we stand by that idea.
But as any experienced skater knows, practicing outdoors is very different from doing it indoors.
While indoor skating rinks are great fun all year round, it’s only outdoor rinks that truly capture the beauty of a winter wonderland.
Most recently, the best outdoor skating rink that will allow you to enjoy the cold, biting weather is the synthetic, eco-friendly rink that’s just opened in Palmer’s Square, Princeton, NJ.
Through the initiative Skating in the Square, this brand new invention invites children and adults alike to take several spins around the ice, and enjoy the pretty Christmas lights, as well as some mood-boosting carols.
4. Get into the holiday spirit at Cape May
Cape May is the place to be during this holiday season.
This little village has something wonderfully Dickensian about it, and really has the power to transport you back in time to the Victorian Age.
Naturally, Cape May is a fun place to visit at any moment of the year, but we suggest you do so this December because the city really outdoes itself when it comes to Christmas partying.
They offer caroling, Christmas House Tours and many, many other wonderful Christmas traditions, all done Victorian-style of course!
5. Try the Polar Bear Plunge.
This one’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but it sure is a great idea for those of you who love a little adventure.
You’ve probably heard about traditions all over the world that involve plunging into ice-cold water during the winter.
Indeed, several countries have this tradition around the beginning of the New Year, and New Jersey definitely follows suit on this one.
Currently held at several locations in NJ, the Polar Bear Plunge invites you to jump or run into ice-cold water to test your resistance (as well as get a delicious adrenaline rush going!).
The Plunge can be good for your health, as it boosts your libido, improves your circulation, and strengthens the immune system.
Pro tip: If you do decide to go along, make sure to bring a towel, and some warm clothes for afterward!
6. Discover the true meaning of Christmas at the Skylands Christmas Light Show
As one might expect, there is no shortage of fun family activities to enjoy around Christmas time.
One of the hottest attractions in New Jersey, both for tourists and locals alike, is the Skylands Christmas Light Show and the adjacent Christmas Village.
What’s truly great about this is that the lights can be enjoyed both by walking around and just admiring the sights, but also from the privacy of your car.
And if you get cold, hungry, or just in the mood for some holiday cheer, you can always hit up the free-admission Christmas Village. Here, there’s no shortage of hot beverages, delicious treats, and fun Christmas activities (such as visiting Santa’s Workshop!).
7. Hit the slopes!
No winter would be complete without at least one visit to one of the great skiing resorts in NJ, would it?
And luckily, if you love hitting the slopes, New Jersey has just the thing.
The Campgaw Mountain Ski Area in New Jersey is easily one of the most popular, busy winter attractions.
It offers fun at any age, including ski tours for children and youth activities (for your moody teen!).
Never put on skis before?
Well, that shouldn’t be a problem and it definitely shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying this great winter activity with your friends.
The Campgaw Mountain Ski Area also offers ski lessons for levels ranging from beginner to advanced. By the end, you’ll be a skiing expert, or at the very least, know how to not fall over wearing skis.
The Skiing Area allows you to choose from five different skiing tracks, ranging in difficulty from beginner to intermediate, and is equipped with chairlifts and conveyors, so what are you waiting for?
8. Go down to Red Bank for a day of culture (or shopping)
No question about it, the infamous Red Bank is the cultural center of New Jersey, and one attraction you should definitely not miss when you’re in the area.
Red Bank is a super fun place to visit with the family, your significant other, or even by yourself, as you’ll never feel truly alone in this busy hub.
While Red Bank is a charming destination all year round, it becomes that much more appealing in winter, when the shops and restaurants are decorated with bright lights and Christmasy cheer.
Red Bank is a great destination if you want to do some serious sightseeing, with several destinations (such as the Count Basie Theatre) open for public admiration. At the same time, it’s also a good idea if you want to get some Christmas shopping done, with a wide range of shops available.
So make sure to spend a day or two at Red Bank, if you’re in the NJ area this winter.
9. Live it up at Atlantic City
No list of NJ attractions could be complete without at least mentioning the infamous Atlantic City.
Considered by many the “crown jewel” of Jersey Shore, this popular attraction is a must-see for every first-time tourist in New Jersey, even those of you who couldn’t care less about casinos, gambling, and all that jazz.
While the nightlife has been toned down most recently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Atlantic City still remains a buzzing center, which you shouldn’t miss while in the area.
Take a walk on the Atlantic City Boardwalk down by the water and enjoy some fine dining in one of the many fabulous restaurants.
Better yet, see how the Atlantic City kings used to live it up at the several casinos available in Atlantic City.
Or check out a show at one of the casinos.
Whether you’re at the City for a weekend or just a brief hour, it will make for an adventure to remember, and it will have you coming back, again and again, each time you’re in New Jersey.
New Jersey is one of the most compelling places to visit, regardless of the season, so you’ll want to organize your trip well, to make sure you get in as many fun activities as you possibly can!