New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the United States. We’re also the only state where every county is classified as “urban” based on census designations. Few towns are truly rural; still, there are places you can go if you’re searching for peace and quiet. These New Jersey neighborhoods offer the utmost in serenity.
1. Cape May Point
While Cape May is one of my favorite shore towns, it has a ton going on in the summer. For a more relaxed experience, head to Cape May Point. There are only a handful of shops, but you will find the Cape May Light and some scenic natural areas.
2. Walpack Township
Known by some as "The Town That Time Forgot," Walpack was mostly abandoned in the 1960s to make way for a dam that was never built. There are still about two dozen residents and a museum in the historic Rosenkrans House that welcomes curious visitors. There is little to do here but immerse yourself in nature (the town is located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area) or dine at the charming Walpack Inn. It is quite rare to find a home available here; if you do, snatch it up.
3. Medford Lakes
The motto of this community-oriented town is, "Medford Lakes-in-the-pines, the year-round summer playground." With 22 lakes, the borough has nearly as much water as it does land. Another fun fact? Over 10% of the town's homes are log cabins.
Enjoy a laid-back lifestyle on the lake in Sparta, which offers a number of charming waterfront communities. The views are so scenic and serene, you'll forget you're just an hour from New York City.
5. Manchester Township
Peace and quiet in a town of over 40,000? Just hear me out. According to FBI crime data, it's incredibly safe for its size, and the town is also home to an abundance of natural areas. You'll find the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, Manchester Wildlife Management Area, Whiting Wildlife Management Area and Crystal Lake. Another incredible place to find some serenity? Pine Lake Park. You'll find a stunning man-made lake with its own island.
This beautiful borough is often featured in film and television; it played a major role in the CBS soap opera, Guiding Light. There is a unique lime kiln in the center of town, and the United States Equestrian Team is headquartered here.
7. Harvey Cedars
This sleepy island oasis has under 500 year-round residents. There are just a few shops in town but you'll find easy access to both bay and ocean beaches. Even though the population increases during summer months, there's a laid back atmosphere separating it from nearby shore towns.
This tiny riverfront town is home to about 529 residents and encompasses just .6 miles. It hasn't changed much since the 1800s and is home to the popular Stockton Inn - a centuries old restaurant with gorgeous gardens. The town is also home to the historic Prallsville Mills complex which offers a variety of community and cultural activities. Visit on May 20th or 21st for a free art show with complimentary wine and light fare. A portion of the profits generated by sales will support cancer research.
With a population around 10,000, much of this town is parkland. It is home to Parvin State Park, Parvin Lake, Green Branch Park, Palatine Lake, Centerton Pond, several golf clubs and part of the Union Lake Wildlife Management Area. Though natural beauty abounds, head back to civilization after a hike and stop at Anderson's Country Store or the historic Ye Olde Centerton Inn for a bite.
10. Budd Lake
This unincorporated community is home to about 9,000 residents and the beautiful Budd Lake, a popular ice sailing destination and the largest natural lake in New Jersey. You'll also find several scenic parks including Turkey Brook Park and the Budd Lake State Wildlife Management Area. While here, you won't want to miss a show at the charming Pax Amicus Castle Theatre. Locals love the Budd Lake Diner and Adam's Family Restaurant.
This town on the Delaware River is adjacent to some of the best rapids in the state. It is home to a historic cemetery housing Civil War soldiers, a small museum and Four Sisters Winery. The town also has more certified historic Victorian homes than any other town in New Jersey. Visit during September for the annual Victorian Days festival.
12. Lawrence Township (Cumberland County)
There are two Lawrence Townships in New Jersey, but I'm referring to the South Jersey gem on the Delaware Bay. It is home to multiple wildlife management areas and is surrounded by natural beauty on all sides. Farming is a big industry and there are few businesses. If you're looking to grab some grub, options are limited. You'll have to head to Dino's Pizzeria and Restaurant - luckily, the food is delicious! If you're craving something else, you're only minutes from downtown Millville.