New Jersey is so much more than highways and airports. Those of us who live in the cities and suburbs sometimes forget all the beauty we have to offer. This weekend road trip is the perfect reminder, or a great getaway to embark on with out-of-town guests. It features some of New Jersey’s most scenic places, located all throughout the state.
1. Cape May
What better way to start your trip than in one of New Jersey's most charming towns? Head here on Friday night and watch the sun set at Sunset Beach (pictured). Take in the beauty of the Victorian homes or do some shopping at the Washington Mall. Head back to the lovely Carroll Villa Hotel for the night and enjoy a bountiful breakfast at The Mad Batter (pictured).
2. Wharton State Forest
Pack a picnic lunch and head to the Pine Barrens. Wharton State Forest is the largest state park in New Jersey and offers so much to do and see. Hike, bike, visit one of the historic villages (Batsto, Harrisville or Atsion), kayak, or observe the diverse local wildlife. Be sure to bring your camera.
3. Long Beach Island
No scenic New Jersey road trip would be complete without a trip to Long Beach Island. You'll have easy access to both bay and ocean beaches and the beautiful Barnegat Light. A bit more relaxed than some of our other shore areas, LBI is still bustling. Consider a visit to Fantasy Island Amusement Park or the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History, both in Beach Haven.
4. Grounds For Sculpture
Grounds for sculpture is one of the most magical places in New Jersey and you could easily spend an entire day here. Maybe a month. I could probably spend forever here. The sculptures and atmosphere are surreal and you'll find beauty around every corner. Be sure to dine at Rat's Restaurant for delicious French cuisine and the opportunity to be transported into a Claude Monet painting.
Another place where you could easily pass significant amounts of time, spend Saturday night in Princeton. Stay at the historic Nassau Inn and explore Palmer Square shopping. Grab a treat at Thomas Sweet or The Bent Spoon, or have a side of history with your meal at The Yankee Doodle Tap Room - they're home to the largest Norman Rockwell painting in America and host the only full outdoor breakfast in Princeton (seasonally). Be sure to stop at Princeton University to take in some truly incredible architecture before heading to your next destination.
6. Liberty State Park
Located near the Turnpike, Liberty State Park serves as a reminder of all the beauty hidden just off our highways. You'll find fantastic views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty, several monuments and memorials, the ferry to the statue and Ellis Island, and an abandoned railroad depot. The arrival and departure signs are frozen in time.
7. Buttermilk Falls
Enjoy the natural beauty of New Jersey's tallest waterfall, which is easily accessible and requires no hiking. You'll find viewing areas along with informational markers to enhance your experience. After you've gotten your fill of fantastic photographs, head to The Walpack Inn for a late lunch. The Inn offers magical mountain views, a greenhouse dining room and delicious modern American cuisine.
8. High Point State Park
Head to the top of High Point Monument for breathtaking views of three states (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), hike the trails, or get in some swimming at Lake Marcia. There's plenty to do here, but the scenery makes this spot stand out.
This road trip highlights the beauty of our state, and would make for a perfect summer weekend getaway. Load up the car with friends and family, and check out the map
here. This trip is just as easily done from north to south, with Princeton as the midpoint. If you’re starting up in Sussex County, there are several lovely lodging options to choose from including High Point Country Inn, Alpine Haus Bed & Breakfast, Kymer’s Campground and The Grand Cascades Lodge.