New Jersey is an underrated state, often overlooked in the shadow of the large cities surrounding us, but we have many marvels of our own. There are countless natural and man-made wonders, many of which are most impressive in person. These spectacular shots just scratch the surface when it comes to capturing their beauty. Here are 12 marvels in New Jersey that must be seen to be believed.
1. Lucy the Elephant, Margate City
This massive mammoth is a Jersey Shore icon. Many of us have admired it from the outside; take a tour for the full effect.
2. Lake Hopatcong, Hopatcong/Mount Arlington
The largest freshwater lake in New Jersey, you'll find endless activities here and several private islands. The lake has existed in some form for over 12,000 years, though it's been shaped by several dams.
3. High Point Monument, Sussex
At the peak of High Point Mountain (the highest point in New Jersey) stands this 220-foot obelisk. It was built in 1930 as a war veteran's memorial, and visitors can typically climb to the top. Access to the base is currently restricted for safety reasons, but I do hope that it is open again soon. The views from the top are jaw-dropping.
4. Palisades Cliffs, Fort Lee/Alpine
These stunning cliffs tower 550 feet over the Hudson River, providing spectacular views of NYC. The area is great for hiking, but there are also several scenic overlooks along the Palisades Interstate Parkway that you can just drive right up to.
5. Word War I Memorial, Atlantic City
A little bit of Greece right here in New Jersey, this monument looks lovely in photos but is even more magnificent in person. Step inside to enjoy a 9-foot bronze statue entitled, Liberty in Distress.
6. Sterling Hill Mine, Ogdensburg
The mine and museum are must see attractions in New Jersey. This photo is certainly spectacular, but just imagine walking through the fluorescent "rainbow tunnel" for yourself. A wonderful trip by day, be sure to inquire about special nighttime events.
7. Sandy Hook Light, Sandy Hook
The oldest operating lighthouse in America, you won't want to miss a tour of this historic structure - built back in 1764.
8. Delaware Water Gap
A hikers paradise, this spot is beautiful every season of the year. Enjoy tubing and rafting through Delaware River Tubing in Milford (BBQ meal included!) or soak up some sun on Turtle Beach (off Old Mine Road).
9. Bio-luminescent Shores, Manasquan
This rare phenomenon doesn't occur in many places, but on a dark night in Manasquan, the shore comes alight. Glowing plankton cause a neon spectacle that can't be missed. To up your chances of spotting a show, visit the beach town between mid-July and September.
10. Empty Sky Monument, Jersey City
Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a given, but while you're in Liberty State Park, stop by this monument for a somber, stunning moment.
11. Van Campens Glen, Hardwick
One of New Jersey's wonderful waterfalls, many hike to this area in the summer as a swimming spot. Swimming is actually prohibited, but I prefer a fall hike for fantastic foliage and a more serene experience.
12. Sunset Beach, Cape May
You can't see a concrete ship jutting out of the ocean just anywhere. The SS Atlantus ran aground in 1926 and has slowly been slipping below the surface of the sea ever since.
These incredible places are just a sample of what the Garden State has to offer. What is your favorite natural or man-made wonder in New Jersey? If you’re looking to explore a bit more, check out my previous post featuring
27 architectural marvels.