Airports aside, New Jersey can be a pretty magical place. Our diverse landscape and some incredible architecture make for a truly enchanting experience, if you know where to look. Though I have included some more popular locations, I’ve focused on hidden gems that will make you want to get out and explore.
1. Well-Sweep Herb Farm, Port Murray
This beautiful Warren County farm offers one of the largest collections of herbs and perennials in the United States. You'll find nearly 2000 varieties on around 120 picturesque acres. The farm is now open for the season and free to visit. If you're interested in gardening, consider signing up for one of their weekend workshops.
2. Black River County Park, Chester
This 560-acre park will enchant you with all it has to offer - a working gristmill, cottage ruins, an environmental center, arboretum, hiking trails and gorgeous riverfront views. You definitely don't want to miss the mill; the 45-minute tours of Cooper's Gristmill allow visitors the opportunity to see the machinery and mechanisms in action.
3. Wyanokie High Point, Bloomingdale
All of Norvin Green State Forest is beautiful, but Wyanokie High Point may be the most scenic spot - just check out these views.
4. Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton
This 42-acre sculpture park with gorgeous gardens is far from secret, but I can't imagine a more enchanting place.
5. Morven Museum & Gardens, Princeton
While the museum alone is worth a visit, the gardens make Morven magical. You'll find a selection of spring bulbs along with a food garden, which produces fresh fruits and veggies for local residents in need.
6. Leaming's Run Gardens, Cape May Court House
Leaming's Run offers a series of stunning themed gardens, including a bamboo forest. This beautiful location is also a haven for hummingbirds and butterflies.
7. East Point Lighthouse, Heislerville
Our western coastline, along the Delaware Bay, doesn't get nearly as much love as it should. East Point is a striking sight at night, and the surrounding area abounds with unforgettable scenery.
8. Branch Brook Park, Newark/Belleville
Two words: Cherry Blossoms. And a few more words: Branch Brook Park has the largest concentration of Cherry Blossom Trees in the United States. It's truly a sight to see in the spring.
9. Pochuck Boardwalk, Glenwood
This easy to navigate stretch of the Appalachian Trail offers outstanding views.
10. Manasquan Reservoir, Howell
The magical Manasquan Reservoir is where you'll want to be at sunrise. You'll find some fantastic hiking trails and an environmental center along with boating opportunities on the water.
11. Salem County Historical Society, Salem
A beautiful old building and a charming courtyard, what more could you ask for? A lovely museum? No problem, they've got that, too.
12. Kuser Mansion, Hamilton
This historic house museum is loaded with charm, offers guided tours, and is especially wonderful during the holiday season.
13. Princeton University Chapel, Princeton
There are so many beautiful chapels in the Garden State, though this particular church is unique for several reasons. The interfaith chapel was completed in 1928 and is one of the largest university chapels in the world. The spectacular structure seats 2000 and Martin Luther King Jr. once delivered a sermon here.
14. Wharton State Forest, Hammonton
Though nearly every New Jerseyan has heard of Wharton State Forest, very few have explored it all. There's always something new to discover, from Batsto Village to Atsion Mansion, the Emilio Carranza Memorial and the BaToNa Trail.
15. Leonard J. Buck Garden, Far Hills
One of America's premier rock gardens, you'll find 33 acres of woodland, streams, rock outcroppings and picturesque walking paths. Free to visit, guided tours can be arranged for a small fee.
I don’t know about you, but the gardens are my favorite. Which of these enchanting New Jersey attractions are you most likely to check out? What others would you add to this list? If you haven’t had your fill of enchantment for the day, take a look at my previous posts on
Cape May, New Jersey Castles, Peter’s Valley Crafts Center and Palisades Interstate Park. Thanks to www.njhiking.com for several of the photos used in this article.