It was almost impossible to make this list because New Jersey is filled with so many natural and man-made wonders. I didn’t even realize just how many there were until I started writing them all down. How do you choose favorites when every option is amazing? I did my best! Here are 7 that I highly recommend everyone visit.
1. Liberty State Park
Abandoned Railroad Terminal
Empty Sky Monument
Liberty State Park offers ferry service to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You'll find breathtaking views of the New York City skyline and Lady Liberty herself, but there is so much more. Reflect solemnly at the Empty Sky Monument which honors the memory of those lost on 9/11 or explore the abandoned Communipaw Railroad Terminal.
2. Island Beach State Park
Island Beach Fox
Island Beach State Park is is the largest reserve of undeveloped barrier island in New Jersey and one of the largest in the United States. It hosts a variety of habitats including tidal marshes, creeks, ponds and open water, along with a wide assortment of wildlife. Rent a kayak (or bring your own) and explore this beautiful area, or travel by foot, making sure to stop at the Emily de Camp Herbarium.
3. Lucy the Elephant
The Margate City Mammoth is a New Jersey icon. Originally built in 1881 to attract tourists, Lucy has served as a restaurant, office, cottage, and tavern over the years. By the 1960s, she had fallen into disrepair, but the Margate Civic Association (later the Save Lucy Committee) raised funds to restore her. She was moved slightly inland and now serves as a quintessential New Jersey attraction.
4. The Pine Barrens
Pine Barrens Swamp
The Pinelands National Reserve was America's first National Reserve, and is comprised of 1.1 million acres of heavily forested coastal plain. This stretch of pristine wilderness helps to recharge the 17 trillion gallon Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, which contains some of the purest water in the United States. In 1988, the area was designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve.
5. Great Falls National Historical Park
View From Above
Possibly one of the most underrated national parks, the 70' waterfall found here is seriously impressive. Located in one of our larger cities, it is easily accessible off Route 80, and definitely worth the trip. Visitors can experience the falls up close via a footbridge, and will be blown away after heavy rains. If you're lucky, you may catch one of the falls' famous rainbows.
6. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
This 70,000-acre park spans portions of both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A perfect hiking spot, you'll find incredible views and numerous trails, including 27 miles of the Appalachian Trail. From rushing waterfalls to sparkling lakes, there is just so much to see here, all year round. Be sure to visit the 200' high Buttermilk Falls during your visit - it's New Jersey's tallest waterfall.
7. Princeton University
East Pyne Hall
One of the oldest colleges in the United States, this ivy league institution was first founded in Elizabeth in 1746. At the time, it was known as The College of New Jersey. The campus moved to Newark, and then to Princeton in 1756. The school was renamed Princeton University in 1896, and has been associated with the most Abel Prize winners and Fields Medalists of any university in the world (five and eight, respectively). Two presidents have gone here, along with 12 supreme court justices, and Einstein lectured at Princeton. As if this wasn't incredible enough, the architecture is astounding.
I could easily have made this list 700 wonders, but I wanted to feature 7 amazing locations throughout our state. Each magnificent in its own way, I doubt any will disappoint. Other strong contenders included Sunfish Pond, the New Jersey State House, Manasquan Reservior, High Point Monument, the Palisades Cliffs, the Navesink Twin Lights and the wreck of the SS Atlantus off the coast of Cape May. What would you include in your 7 must-see wonders of New Jersey? For more natural wonders, check out
The 14 Most Incredible Natural Wonders In New Jersey.