One of the things that makes New Jersey so special is our diverse, vibrant mix of cities and towns. Even our small towns have so much to offer! We have dozens of incredible neighborhoods and it was nearly impossible to narrow this list, but I’ve tried my best. Here are 12 of the most charming small towns around our state, with populations of under 15,000.
1. Lambertville, Population: 3,863
This quaint riverfront town has a lively arts scene, unique shops and historic buildings. While you're there, check out the quirky Boat House bar and soulful Hamiton's Grill Room.
2. Spring Lake, Population: 3,001
This beautiful beach town has a thriving commercial district and is home to the Scone Pony Bakery, one of the best by the shore!
3. Glen Rock, Population: 11,838
Did you know that Glen Rock was named for a 570-ton boulder, believed to have been deposited by a glacier? I didn't until now. What I did know is that the town is fairly walkable, has a wide variety of public transportation options and offers one of the most unique Starbucks in the state. (Hint: It has a tower.)
4. Clinton, Population: 2,696
Home of the Red Mill, one of the most photographed buildings in America, Clinton also holds the honor of boasting New Jersey's most compact Main Street. Highly walkable, it features great shops and restaurants like Ye Old Sub Base and JJ Scoops.
5. Collingswood, Population: 13,850
This charming neighborhood features a sizable downtown and diverse dining options. Try El Sitio for Ecuadorian cuisine or Kitchen Consigliere for Italian fare. Fun fact: Kitchen Consigliere is owned by former mob associate, Angelo Lutz.
6. Brigantine, Population: 9,406
Located on the beach, just minutes from Atlantic City, Brigantine is home to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which rescues stranded dolphins, seals and sea turtles. Enjoy a selection of boutique shops and fine dining options!
7. Maywood, Population: 9,687
This small town is located right in the heart of North Jersey. Nearby major shopping centers and offering an easy commute to NYC, the town has its own charming downtown and great restaurants like Seafood Gourmet and the Maywood Pancake House.
8. Newton, Population: 7,942
Spring Street is the heart of this charming town. Check out Newton Fire Museum or Spring Street Art Center, along with a selection of dining and shopping options.
9. Chester, Population: 7,838
This small town is home to one of the only two gourmet cotton candy shops in the nation. It offers a wide range of dining options and charming shops like imagiNATIONS and Taylor's Ice Cream Parlor.
10. Allentown, Population: 1,815
This historic town has hundreds of early 19th century homes and buildings, only adding to its charm. It also offers scenic parks and an eclectic mix of shops.
11. Haddonfield, Population: 11,507
Family-friendly with a bustling downtown, Haddonfield offers frequent fairs and festivals, fine dining and loads of history. Check out the Hadrosaurus Monument, Indian King Tavern Museum, English Gardener Gift Shop and the Picket Fence.
12. West Cape May, Population: 1,020
Though not as popular as neighboring Cape May, this tiny town has a lot to offer. Enjoy historic homes, the Willow Creek Winery and the Nature Conservancy's weekly guided bird walks.
As a mentioned earlier, this list is only the beginning! Add your favorite small towns in the comments and let me know what makes them so special!