New Jersey is a small state with lots to discover. There are so many places that we all enjoy, from our most popular attractions to top-rated restaurants. There are also incredible places that fly under the radar which deserve just as much attention. Some of these spots are more popular than others, but they are all wonderful gems that can’t be missed.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Green Sergeant's Covered Bridge, Stockton
This beautiful bridge is one of New Jersey's last remaining covered bridges. There were once over 75 covered bridges in our state.
2. Asbury Park Pedal Boats, Wesley Lake
These lovely boats are located on Wesley Lake, between scenic Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. A favorite attraction from the 1930s-1960s, the swans returned in 2011. Though these foot pedal boats are not the same as the massive motorized original, they still offer a trip down memory lane.
3. The Brewer's Apprentice, Freehold
This unique spot offers visitors the opportunity to make their own beer, wine, mead, or soda on premises. You'll learn a lot and have a blast. They also offer private parties and in-home options.
4. Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown
These gorgeous gardens are free to visit and offer a greenhouse for year-round beauty. Visit the horticultural center to borrow a "garden safari backpack," offering everything you need to explore and fully enjoy the gardens. Tours, classes, and special events are available regularly.
5. Papa's Tomato Pies, Robbinsville
Opened in 1912, Papa's is the oldest family-owned pizzeria in the United States. Both CBS and NBC ranked the pizza here among the top 20 pies in the country. If you're feeling adventurous, try the mustard pie - a local favorite.
6. The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Morris Plains
This historic home and museum celebrates the life of Gustav Stickley, creator of the Arts and Crafts architectural movement. His philosophy emphasized simplicity, honesty and quality. Today guests can explore his home and grounds, enjoying programs and lectures focused on the link between design and daily life. A truly charming spot, it will take you back to simpler times.
7. Silverball Pinball Museum, Asbury Park
This interactive museum allows visitors of all ages to both learn and play. Enjoy classic arcade and pinball games dating back to 1950 - see if you can spot some of your old favorites! Guests over 50 can enjoy the current 50s days promotion, offering a 20% discount for a limited time.
8. Valley Shepherd Creamery, Long Valley
This working farm focuses on artisanal cheeses and offers tastings, tours and classes. Watch sheep being sheared, make your own cheese, or enjoy fine wine and fantastic flavors.
9. Gardner's Basin, Atlantic City
This historic area of Atlantic City often goes overlooked in the shadow of the casinos. Its biggest attraction is the Atlantic City Aquarium, though there are many lovely shops and restaurants in the neighborhood; Back Bay Ale House and Bayside Antiques are local favorites. You can also take short cruises departing from the basin through Atlantic City Cruises. Enjoy sightseeing, wildlife and a full service bar.
10. Franklin Mineral Museum, Franklin
Nearby Sterling Hill Mining Museum gets all the attention, but Franklin Mineral Museum is just as special. Enjoy a life-size mine replica and massive collection of fluorescent minerals. Visitors also have the opportunity to dig for their own rocks and minerals. Open seasonally from March - November.
11. Cowtown Rodeo, Pilesgrove
Who would have guessed that the oldest weekly running rodeo in the United States is right here in New Jersey? If you live in the area, you may be aware of this unique attraction, but many don't know it exists. From barrel racing to bull riding, this rodeo has it all.
12. Jersey Shore Pirates, Brick
If you're looking for a swashbuckling adventure off the Jersey Shore, look no further. Children are immersed in a pirate's tale, participating in the story. They'll fire water cannons, find hidden treasure, battle enemy ships, and more!
13. The Hermitage Museum, Ho-Ho-Kus
Built in 1763 and expanded in 1847, George Washington stayed for several days in this historic home during the Revolutionary War. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton also spent time here, and Aaron Burr was married on the property. History buffs will love the Civil War Encampment Weekend, from January 30-31. This unique experience will take you back in time with period actors, live demonstrations, interactive activities, and displays of Civil War artifacts.
14. Yankee Doodle Tap Room, Princeton
Besides being a lovely place to stay, Nassau Inn is home to the magnificent Yankee Doodle Tap Room. The gastro pub, a tavern for over 200 years, is home to a savory selection of brews and Norman Rockwell's largest mural. A favorite among Princeton locals, Albert Einstein was a fan.
15. Buttermilk Falls, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
The DWG National Recreation Area is home to several waterfalls including the beautiful Buttermilk Falls and stunning Silver Spray Falls. Buttermilk Falls is easier to access, with a developed viewing area, wooden walkway, and interpretive display. While this could easily be part of a lovely hike, there is parking available nearby.
Have you been to any of these amazing places? I know there are so many hidden gems, they can’t all fit in just one list! What others would you add?