There are less than two weeks left until the start of summer, and I absolutely can’t wait. The Garden State offers enjoyable activities year-round, but some things are just better in the summer. Here are 15 activities in New Jersey that you don’t want to miss this season.
1. Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, Rio Grande
Take a break from the beach and head inland a bit to this unique, interactive museum. Sit in selected cockpits, climb a real air traffic control tower, explore the science of flight, try your hand at simulators and so much more. Open daily from 9-5, April 1st to Columbus Day, adult admission is $12. Active duty military are free with ID.
2. The Stone Pony Summer Stage, Asbury Park
Check out the outdoor area of this iconic music venue, open from May to September. The stage overlooks the beach and features a wide variety of acts from The Go-Go's to Flogging Molly, Deftones and Sugar Ray. Check out the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival this weekend, June 11-12.
3. Delsea Drive-In, Vineland
Take the top down and enjoy a movie under the stars, 1950s-style. This is the last remaining drive-in theater in New Jersey, though if you're further north, options are available in New York State. Delsea offers double features and a fantastic selection of concessions. Check out the classic car cruise on August 6th.
4. Land of Make Believe, Hope
This magical amusement park is not just for kids. A perfect place for family fun, the water park is included with admission. You'll find rides of varying thrill levels, arcade games, picnic areas, delicious treats and top-rated water slides.
5. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
This unique living history farm offers period actors, interactive experiences and special events like butter making and hayrides. Best of all, this farm is free to visit. Upcoming (free) demonstrations include a crochet/lacemaking demonstration on June 11th and a blacksmith demonstration on June 12th. For $15, parents can participate in farm chores with their children (on select days) including milking the cows, collecting the eggs and feeding the animals.
6. Oceanfest, Long Branch
This free Fourth of July event offers activities for everyone and a fantastic fireworks display at night. Enjoy live music, magic shows, fire eaters and more.
7. Navesink Twin Lights, Highlands
You may have visited this fantastic free lighthouse before, but you'll want to go back. A fantastic new exhibit, "Seeing Stars," opened over Memorial Day Weekend. You'll find an incredible collection of flags, including a flag carried into battle by the famous Buffalo Soldiers, in the place where the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited. Did you know that happened right here in New Jersey? Visit on Flag Day (6/14) for a special ceremony and documentary screening.
8. Essex County Environmental Center, Roseland
The center and surrounding park offer easy hiking trails and a wide variety of gardens; the herb garden and butterfly garden are personal favorites. You'll find a variety of exhibits and programs including yoga for adults.
9. Summer Movies at the State Theatre, New Brunswick
Enjoy free family-friendly movies on a 46' screen each week starting in July. Featured films this summer include Frozen, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Despicable Me 2, Babe and more. Shows are presented on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m..
10. New Jersey Astronomical Association, Voorhees State Park
Located on the border of Clinton/High Bridge, this observatory is open to the public most weekends from March - October. Enjoy observatory tours, telescope viewing, solar telescope viewing and guest lectures on 4th Saturdays. Admission is free though donations are appreciated.
11. Strawberry Picking at Battleview Orchards, Freehold
It's strawberry season here in New Jersey and the berries at Battleview are ripe for the picking. Today's hours are 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., and schedule updates are available on Battleview Orchard's
. The cost is $3.75 per pound.
12. Lakeview Marina, Jefferson
I had no idea of all the fun you can have on Lake Hopatcong until I discovered this place. The adventurous will enjoy wakeboarding and waterskiing, tubing is ideal for almost anyone, and kayaks/pontoon boats are available for a more relaxing ride.
13. Summer Concert Series, Hoboken
There are so many free summer concerts in New Jersey, so why Hoboken? Held in Sinatra Park, you'll get gorgeous views of the Hudson River and NYC skyline. Before the 7 p.m. show, grab dinner at one of the city's great restaurants - The Cuban and Grimaldi's Pizzeria are within easy walking distance. Concerts started on June 2nd and will be held on Thursdays until August 15th. Check out the David Bowie tribute on August 4th.
14. Come As You Art! at Garden State Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill
This may be a children's museum, but this FUNdraiser is only for adults. Admission starts at $22, which includes food and live music. $63 will get you food, music, 2 drinks and 10 auction tickets, additional packages are available. The 21+ event will be held on Saturday, June 18th from 7:30 - 11 p.m..
15. Sharrott Winery, Hammonton
This wonderful winery offers a variety of events throughout the summer featuring the perfect mix of live music, food and wine. The live music series, held on varying days of the week, is free to attend, and wine tastings are $8. The tastings include six samples and a souvenir glass. Food is available for purchase. Bring a blanket and lay out on the grass for a perfectly relaxing evening.
Which of these activities would you most like to enjoy? What is your favorite thing to do during the summer in New Jersey? I know we do tend to love our beaches and boardwalks, but I decided to switch it up with some unique attractions and events. For more summer fun in the Garden State, check out this
weekend getaway, these waterparks, and some Atlantic City Boardwalk highlights.