28 Best Things to Do in New Jersey | 2024 (with Photos)

Katarina P.

Katarina P. - Travel Writer

Published: September 8, 2023

Hey! How’s it going? I’m Katarina, a travel enthusiast who has explored the beautiful state of New Jersey extensively. I can't wait to share with you my top recommendations for the best things to do in New Jersey, so you can have an unforgettable experience during your trip.

Best Things to Do in New Jersey

Welcome to New Jersey, the Garden State. With its beautiful coastline, bustling cities, and historic landmarks, there are countless fun and unique things to do in this diverse state.

Whether you're a nature lover seeking outdoor pursuits or a history buff looking for historic sites, New Jersey has something to offer everyone. F

From the thrilling rides of Six Flags Great Adventure to the natural beauty of Point Pleasant Beach, there's no shortage of exciting attractions to explore.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Jersey Shore.

Top Choice Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Stage Left Steak

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

D'Jais Beach Bar and Nightclub

Best Time to Visit

Spring and autumn provide ideal weather for visiting.

Average Temperature

The average temperature in New Jersey is moderate.

Transportation Options

Buses, trains, taxis, cars, bicycles, scooters, ferries, and walking.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

When in New Jersey, I highly recommend spending time in Jersey City, a vibrant and diverse city offering a unique blend of urban excitement and natural beauty.

Take a leisurely stroll along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, where you can savor breathtaking views of the iconic Manhattan skyline, as well as enjoy numerous recreational activities such as biking, jogging, or a romantic picnic by the water.

Visit the famous Liberty State Park, home to the historic Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of this significant landmark. Additionally, explore the vibrant downtown area, brimming with trendy restaurants, local shops, and art galleries, providing an authentic taste of the city's artistic and culinary scene.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Clothing appropriate for the season and weather
  2. Comfortable walking shoes
  3. Travel documents (ID, passport, etc.)
  4. Money/credit cards
  5. Toiletries and personal care items
  6. Entertainment (books, music, etc.)
  7. Travel adapter for electronic devices
  8. Basic first aid kit
  9. Snacks and water for the journey
  10. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories

What Not to Miss

  1. Liberty State Park
  2. Atlantic City Boardwalk
  3. Cape May
  4. The Jersey Shore
  5. Princeton University
  6. Grounds For Sculpture
  7. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
  8. The Adventure Aquarium
  9. Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial
  10. High Point State Park

What to Avoid

  1. Traffic: Avoid traveling during peak hours to avoid heavy traffic congestion in New Jersey's cities.
  2. Crime-prone areas: Stay away from neighborhoods known for high crime rates to ensure your safety during your visit.
  3. Parking issues: Be careful with parking regulations and avoid parking in restricted areas to avoid getting your vehicle towed or receiving a fine.
  4. Crowded tourist spots: If you prefer a less touristy experience, avoid popular attractions during peak tourist seasons.
  5. Expensive accommodations: Research and compare prices to avoid booking expensive hotels or accommodations that do not fit your budget.
  6. Lack of public transportation: Plan your journey well to avoid situations where you may have to walk long distances without access to public transportation.
  7. Overplanned itineraries: Give yourself some flexibility and don't overplan your trip to allow for spontaneous experiences.
  8. Overpacking: Pack light to avoid the hassle of carrying heavy luggage throughout your trip.
  9. Ignoring local customs: Respect local customs and traditions to avoid unintentionally offending anyone.
  10. Poor weather conditions: Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly to avoid being unprepared for the climate during your trip.

1. Take in the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline at Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park

Located in Jersey City, Liberty State Park offers a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline that is not to be missed. 

The park's waterfront promenade is an ideal spot to take in the iconic skyline of New York City. 

The park features several walkways, picnic areas, and green spaces that offer a relaxing atmosphere for visitors.

You can also take a ferry from the park to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

With breathtaking views of the Hudson River and New York Harbor, Liberty State Park is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the New Jersey area. 

Whether you're a local or a tourist, don't miss out on this stunning experience.

2. Try your luck at the casinos of Atlantic City

Ocean Casino Resort, Atlantic City

Now, let's see some exciting things to do in New Jersey at night. Atlantic City is known for its casinos and bustling nightlife. 

Visitors from all over the world come to try their luck at slot machines, blackjack tables, and other popular casino games.

The city is home to some of the most iconic casinos in the world, including the Borgata, Caesars, and Harrah's. 

Aside from gambling, Atlantic City also boasts a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, making it a popular destination for those seeking entertainment and excitement.

Whether you're a seasoned gambler or just looking for a fun night out, Atlantic City has something to offer everyone. So head to the boardwalk, take a chance, and see if lady luck is on your side.

3. Discover the wonders of science at the Liberty Science Center

Liberty Science Center

The Liberty Science Center is a hub of scientific exploration and education in New Jersey. With interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and immersive experiences, visitors of all ages can discover the wonders of science and technology.

Also, the museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits, including a planetarium, an aquarium, and even an exhibition on the science of the human body.

With so much to explore, the Liberty Science Center is a great destination for families, school groups, and anyone with an interest in science and learning. 

So come and explore the mysteries of the universe, the complexity of life, and the power of innovation at this exciting museum in Jersey City.

4. Hike to the top of the Barnegat Lighthouse for breathtaking views

Barnegat Lighthouse

One of the must-see things to do in New Jersey is hiking to the top of the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park.

The lighthouse, which dates back to 1859, stands 175 feet tall and offers spectacular views of the surrounding coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Visitors can climb the 217 steps to the top of the lighthouse and take in the breathtaking panoramic views.

Along the way, you'll pass historical exhibits that showcase the lighthouse's rich history. The park also offers opportunities for fishing, birdwatching, and picnicking, making it a great destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

So, put on your hiking shoes and make your way to the top of Barnegat Lighthouse for a memorable adventure in New Jersey.

5. Explore the historic streets of Jersey City

Jersey City

Jersey City, one of the most diverse cities in the nation, offers a vibrant mix of history and culture. 

Stroll through the historic downtown area, with its charming brownstones and trendy cafes. Visit the iconic Colgate Clock, which has been a landmark in the city for over a century.

You should take a walk along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway and enjoy the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. 

Explore the contemporary art scene at Mana Contemporary, a hub for artists and creatives.

Jersey City also boasts excellent dining options, ranging from ethnic cuisine to modern farm-to-table restaurants. These are just a few of the many things to do in Jersey City.

6. Experience the best of New Jersey's attractions

Battleship New Jersey

New Jersey offers a variety of attractions that are sure to appeal to all types of travelers. From amusement parks and museums to the beauty of greenery and historic sites, there is something for everyone. 

Families can enjoy exciting rides at Six Flags Great Adventure, while nature lovers can explore the picturesque county parks and trails for hiking.

For a glimpse into the state's rich history, visit Battleship New Jersey or take a self-guided tour of the Revolutionary War Battlefield State Park. 

Art enthusiasts can appreciate the American art on display at the Newark Museum or the galleries in the vibrant art scene. With so many things to do in New Jersey, visitors will be sure to leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

7. Take a trip to West Orange to visit the Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

This is one of the main New Jersey attractions. A visit to West Orange is incomplete without exploring the Thomas Edison National Historical Park. 

As the birthplace of recorded sound and home to the Edison laboratory complex, this park offers an unparalleled glimpse into the life and works of the prolific inventor, Thomas Edison.

Visitors can tour his laboratory and see the machines he used to record sound, create motion pictures, and develop electric lighting. The Glenmont Estate, Edison's former residence, is also open for tours.

With so much to see and learn, the Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a must-visit for anyone interested in science, innovation, and history. Make sure to add this attraction to your list of things to do in New Jersey.

8. Enjoy the sun and sand at Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach is the perfect destination for those seeking sun, sand, and relaxation. 

Located on the Atlantic Ocean, this beach offers visitors miles of beautiful coastline to explore. Lounge on the sandy shore, take a dip in the refreshing ocean or stroll along the boardwalk filled with shops and restaurants.

For a more active experience, visitors can try their hand at water sports such as surfing and kayaking, or take a scenic bike ride along the coast. 

With its beautiful views and fun-filled activities, Point Pleasant Beach is the perfect spot for a day trip or weekend getaway. Don't miss out on this iconic New Jersey beach experience.

9. Visit the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk for a day of fun

Atlantic City Boardwalk

The Atlantic City Boardwalk is a must-see destination for anyone visiting New Jersey. 

It's the longest boardwalk in the world, stretching over 5 miles and offering endless entertainment options. Stroll along the boardwalk and take in the sights and sounds of the bustling seaside city.

Play carnival games, ride roller coasters, and dine at some of the best restaurants in the state. Relax on the beach or take a dip in the Ocean. 

The boardwalk is also home to several casinos, including the iconic Trump Taj Mahal and the luxurious Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Whether you're a seasoned gambler or just looking for a fun day out, the Atlantic City Boardwalk has something for everyone.

10. Pay your respects at the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center

9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center

Whilst not in New Jersey, the 9/11 Memorial at the Trade Center is a powerful tribute to the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001. 

The memorial features two reflecting pools that sit in the exact footprint of the original Twin Towers. The pools are surrounded by bronze panels inscribed with the names of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the attacks.

Visiting the memorial is a somber and emotional experience, but it is also a way to pay your respects to the victims and their families.

The site also includes the One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, offering stunning views of the city skyline. A visit to the 9/11 Memorial is a must for anyone visiting New York City.

11. Learn about the history of Atlantic City at the Historical Museum

Atlantic City Historical Museum

The Atlantic City Historical Museum is a great place to learn about the rich history of this iconic seaside resort town.

Located on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, the museum features exhibits and artifacts that showcase the city's fascinating past. 

You can learn about the early days of the boardwalk, the rise of the casino industry, and the city's role in the entertainment industry.

You'll also get to see historic photos and videos that bring the city's past to life. Whether you're a history buff or just looking for something to do on a rainy day, the Atlantic City Historical Museum is a must-visit attraction. 

Don't miss this chance to learn about the history of one of America's most famous cities.

12. Brave the thrill rides at Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the best things to do in New Jersey for thrill-seekers. 

This jersey attraction has some of the most exciting rides on the East Coast, including Kingda Ka, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. If you're feeling brave, take a ride on El Toro, voted the world's best wooden roller coaster.

But it's not all about adrenaline-pumping rides. The park also has a safari section where you can get up close and personal with exotic animals and a water park with fun slides and wave pools. 

Whether you're visiting with family or friends, Six Flags Great Adventure is sure to be a memorable experience. This is one of the attractions that all thrill seekers must visit.

13. Explore the history of immigration at Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Ellis Island is a must-visit destination for those interested in the history of immigration in the United States. 

The island was the first point of entry for millions of immigrants who arrived in America from around the world between 1892 and 1954.

Today, visitors can explore the beautifully restored immigration station and learn about the experiences of those who passed through its halls.

The museum offers exhibits, interactive displays, and films that tell the stories of immigrants from all walks of life. 

The highlight of any visit to Ellis Island is the Wall of Honor, where visitors can search for their ancestors' names and pay tribute to those who came before them. It's a fascinating and humbling experience that shouldn't be missed when visiting New Jersey.

14. Discover the unique charm of the Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore is a destination like no other. With its beautiful beaches, charming boardwalks, and delicious seafood, there's no shortage of things to do and see.

Whether you're looking to relax in the sun, catch some waves, or explore the local culture, the Jersey Shore has it all. 

Take a stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy some funnel cake or saltwater taffy, or visit one of the many small towns and experience the unique charm of each one.

From Cape May to Sandy Hook, there's no shortage of beautiful beaches and towns to explore. 

Don't forget to try some of the local seafood, like crabs, clams, and oysters. The Jersey Shore truly has something for everyone.

15. Visit the historic lighthouse at Barnegat Light State Park

Barnegat Light State Park

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is one of the most scenic destinations in New Jersey, offering visitors a glimpse into the state's rich maritime history. 

One of the park's main attractions is the historic Barnegat Lighthouse, which dates back to 1857 and has been guiding ships safely into the inlet ever since.

A visit to the lighthouse is a must-do activity for anyone interested in history and architecture, with its distinctive red and white tower and spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Additionally, the park offers visitors opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking, making it a great spot for a family day trip. 

Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or just looking for fun things to do in New Jersey, Barnegat Light State Park is definitely worth a visit.

16. Take a hike through the beautiful trails of New Jersey's parks

Double Trouble State Park

New Jersey's county parks offer some of the most scenic trails in the state. With over 40 parks to choose from, visitors can explore miles of winding trails through lush forests and rolling hills.

Take a leisurely stroll with the family or challenge yourself with a more strenuous hike. Some of the most popular county parks include Watchung Reservation, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, and Hacklebarney State Park.

These parks offer breathtaking views of New Jersey's beauty and wildlife. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just looking for a fun day out in nature, New Jersey's county parks are a must-visit attraction. Don't forget to pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

17. Enjoy the sun, sand, and surf of the Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean

New Jersey's stunning Atlantic coastline is a true treasure, offering visitors the chance to bask in the sun, splash in the waves, and soak up the beauty of the ocean. 

From the bustling beaches of Atlantic City to the peaceful shores of Cape May, there is no shortage of spots to enjoy a beach day.

Sink your toes into the warm sand, dip your feet in the refreshing ocean, or try your hand at surfing or paddleboarding. 

With over 130 miles of coastline to explore, there's always something new to discover. Whether you're looking for a fun family day out or a romantic beach getaway, New Jersey's beaches are sure to delight you.

18. Discover the beauty of New Jersey's state parks

Cape May Point State Park

New Jersey is home to many stunning state parks, each offering a unique outdoor experience. 

From the rugged terrain of the Delaware Water Gap to the tranquil beauty of Island Beach, there's something for everyone. One must-visit state park is Liberty State Park, with its breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Another is Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, where visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a stunning panoramic view of the coast. Other popular state parks include High Point State Park, Stokes State Forest, and the Watchung Reservation.

Whether you're looking for hiking trails, fishing spots, or simply a place to relax and enjoy nature, New Jersey's state parks are not to be missed.

19. Take a trip to the Sterling Hill Mining Museum

Sterling Hill Mining Museum

Located in Ogdensburg, the Sterling Hill Mining Museum is a must-visit destination for those interested in the history of mining in New Jersey. 

The museum offers guided tours that take visitors through the underground mine, where they can learn about the tools and techniques used to extract zinc and other minerals from the earth.

The museum also features exhibits on the geology and mineralogy of the area, as well as the history of the mining industry in New Jersey. 

Visitors can even participate in a mineral collecting activity and take home their own specimens. 

A trip to the Sterling Hill Mining Museum is a fascinating way to learn about the state's rich mining history.

20. Visit the Adventure Aquarium in Camden for an underwater adventure

Adventure Aquarium

The Adventure Aquarium in Camden is the perfect destination for anyone looking for an underwater adventure. 

With over 15,000 aquatic animals to explore, visitors can get up close and personal with some of the ocean's most fascinating creatures.

From playful penguins to majestic sharks, the aquarium offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors of all ages. Interactive exhibits, touch tanks, and behind-the-scenes tours allow visitors to learn about marine life and conservation efforts.

Don't miss the chance to walk through the Shark Tunnel and get a 360-degree view of these incredible creatures swimming all around you. 

The Adventure Aquarium is a must-see destination for anyone interested in marine life and exploring the wonders of the ocean.

21. Visit Six Flags Blvd and the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Six Flags Blvd

Looking for a day of fun and adventure? Look no further than New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure and Barnegat Lighthouse State Park! 

Start your day with a visit to the world-renowned amusement park (popular theme park), where you can experience some of the most amazing rides and roller coasters on the East Coast.

Afterward, head over to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park for stunning views and a hike up the historic lighthouse. 

With both attractions located just a short drive away from each other, it's easy to plan a day of excitement and adventure in New Jersey. 

Don't miss out on these two must-see destinations that offer something for everyone!

22. Explore the natural beauty of the Empty Sky Memorial in Liberty State Park

Empty Sky Memorial in Liberty State Park

The Empty Sky Memorial in Liberty State Park is a beautiful and poignant tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. 

The memorial is a stunning steel structure that is designed to resemble the wings of a bird, with the names of the victims of the attacks etched into the metal. 

Visitors can take a walk through the memorial and reflect on the events of that tragic day.

The park itself is also worth exploring, with plenty of walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. 

If you're looking for a peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the Empty Sky and Liberty State Park are the perfect destinations.

23. Immerse yourself in American art at the Newark Museum

The Newark Museum of Art

The Newark Museum is a treasure trove of American history and their art, housing a vast collection of over 100,000 works of art from around the world. Art museums are a good way to spend a few hours in NJ.

With a focus on American history and art, the museum has a stunning collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts that span the centuries. 

Visitors can see works by American masters like John Singer Sargent and Thomas Cole, as well as contemporary artists like Kara Walker and Willie Cole.

In addition to the art, the museum also has a planetarium, a sculpture garden, and a collection of historical artifacts. The Newark Museum is a must-visit for art lovers and anyone interested in the cultural heritage of New Jersey.

24. Experience the excitement of an amusement park at Keansburg

Keansburg - Runaway Rapids Waterpark

Keansburg Amusement Park is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking for a day filled with excitement and adventure. 

This family-friendly park offers a variety of rides and attractions, including thrilling roller coasters, water rides, and classic carnival games. Visitors can also enjoy the arcade games, food vendors, and live entertainment.

One of the park's most popular attractions is the Runaway Rapids water park, which features a wave pool and numerous water slides. Located in Monmouth County, Keansburg Amusement Park is just a short drive from the Atlantic and the beautiful beaches of the Jersey Shore. 

Don't miss out on the fun and excitement that this New Jersey gem has to offer!

25. Take a trip to Long Beach Island for a day at the beach

Long Beach Island

Long Beach is a must-visit destination for the whole family. With its beautiful beachfront water parks, famous boardwalk, and theme park, there's no shortage of family fun to be had. 

Enjoy live music while strolling along the boardwalk or indulge in some delicious food truck eats for a picnic lunch.

Don't forget to check out the fun places nearby, such as Hamilton Township, for even more NJ attractions. With something for everyone, Long Beach Island is the perfect spot for a day at the beach. So pack up the whole family and come enjoy a day of sun, sand, and excitement!

26. Stroll along the Asbury Park Boardwalk for a taste of the Jersey Shore

Asbury Park Boardwalk

The Asbury Park Boardwalk offers visitors a quintessential Jersey Shore experience. Stroll along the boardwalk and take in the stunning ocean views while enjoying delicious food from the many vendors and restaurants. 

The boardwalk is also home to an array of unique shops and boutiques, perfect for souvenir shopping.

Visitors can also catch live music performances at the famous Stone Pony or Paramount Theatre. 

Asbury Park is a fun place for the whole family, with beachfront water parks, theme parks, and vibrant nightlife. Don't miss the opportunity to experience one of New Jersey's top attractions at the Asbury Park Boardwalk.

27. Step back in time at the Battlefield State Park

Battlefield State Park

The Battlefield State Park is a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike. 

This park offers visitors the chance to step back in time and learn about the Revolutionary War. The park is home to several historic structures, including the Craig House and the Isaac Watson House. 

Visitors can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the park and the role it played in the Revolutionary War.

In addition to the historic sites, the Battlefield State Park also offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It's an excellent spot for a family outing or a day trip with friends.

28. Enjoy a family-friendly day at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo

The Turtle Back Zoo is a popular destination for families seeking a fun and educational day out. 

With over 200 species of animals, including many endangered species, visitors of Turtle Back Zoo can explore habitats from around the world, from the African savanna to the South American rainforest.

Children can learn about animal behavior, conservation efforts, and the importance of protecting wildlife.

The Turtle Back Zoo also features a miniature train ride, a carousel, and a playground for kids. 

Visitors can bring their own picnic lunch or grab a bite from one of the food trucks on site. With its wide range of animal exhibits and family-friendly attractions, Turtle Back Zoo is a must-visit destination among New Jersey attractions.

FAQs: The Best Things to Do in New Jersey

In this section, we'll look at frequently asked questions relating to the best things to do in New Jersey.

What are the best NJ attractions for kids?

There are plenty of great options for families in NJ like the county park for example. Jenkinson's Boardwalk and amusement rides in Point Pleasant Beach are always a hit, as is the Turtle Back Zoo in West part of the city. Kids can also explore the USS New Jersey in Camden or play miniature golf at any of the many courses around the state.

What are the best New Jersey attractions for couples?

Couples looking for a romantic getaway in NJ can visit the Warren Museum and its beautiful gardens or take a stroll through the cherry blossoms at Branch Brook Park. Margate City's beautiful beaches and Delaware Bay's sunsets offer the perfect setting for a romantic picnic, while Ellis Island and its historic site provide a unique and educational experience.

What to visit if you only have a few days in the garden state?

With limited time, I recommend a self-guided outdoor activities tour of NJ's county parks or a visit to the Visitor Center in Egg Harbor Township for information on Central NJ's top attractions, such as the NJ State Museum and the Grounds for Sculpture.

What to explore in New Jersey during spring?

Spring is the perfect time to explore the untouched beauty of NJ, including its stunning cherry blossom displays at Branch Brook Park and its many county parks. You can also visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum or take a tour of the historic sites and museums around the state, such as the Warren Museum and Battlefield State Park.

Summing up: The Best Things to Do in New Jersey

In conclusion, New Jersey is a tourist destination that should not be missed. With a variety of tourist attractions, including the Liberty State Park, Sterling Hill Mining Museum, and the USS New Jersey, visitors can experience history, culture, and entertainment all in one place.

Whether you're here for live entertainment, outdoor recreation, or simply to relax on one of the state's beautiful beaches, New Jersey has something for every kind of traveler.

So pack your bags and come discover all the fun things to do in the Garden State.