There’s no place like New Jersey. Whether you’re the Garden State’s number one fan or refuse to say a single good thing about it, our uniqueness can’t be denied. One of the things that makes our state so special is our eclectic mix of towns both big and small. Visit as many as you can, but start with these 14.
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This town is both fun and family-friendly. It offers an amazing boardwalk and the best beach in America (according to Coastal Living Magazine). Don't miss Gillian's Wonderland Pier and try to time your visit with one of the town's many unique events.
Red Bank packs plenty to do in its approximately two square miles. It has a thriving arts and entertainment scene and is home to both Count Basie Theatre and Two Rivers Theatre. There are also many galleries and great restaurants to enjoy - like Jon Bon Jovi's Soul Kitchen.
Jersey City is often overlooked but is finally finding its way into the spotlight. It was recently chosen as New York City's "Neighborhood Of The Year" by Curbed - a big blow to the 5 boroughs. It was also ranked the most livable city in America earlier this year. It has some truly great neighborhoods, fantastic restaurants (Battello, Brownstone Diner) and epic attractions (Liberty State Park, Liberty Science Center).
America's first seaside resort, Cape May is a real gem. The architecture is astounding and the trolley tours are sure to charm. The Washington Street Mall's unique shops can't be missed and, for a bit of history, visit the Emlen Physick Estate. Dine at the Mad Batter, see the ruins of a concrete ship and be sure to hop aboard a boat - Cape May Whale Watcher offers a relaxing experience.
This New Jersey town is steeped in Revolutionary War history, home to numerous notable sites - like George Washington's winter headquarters at Ford Mansion. Don't miss the many other attractions including the Morris Museum and Morristown Game Vault. Dine at Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen or The Committed Pig for a more casual meal.
Princeton, another historic town, is internationally known as home of the Ivy League's Princeton University. The campus and surrounding area have so much to see, including a spectacular art museum and bustling shopping area. You'll also find the governor's mansion - Drumthwacket.
The charming town of Hope is home to an unforgettable family destination - The Land of Make Believe. In addition the the whimsical amusement park, you'll find hiking opportunities at Jenny Jump State Forest. Head to the Inn at Millrace Pond for a good meal and live music (on Fridays).
Paleontologists the world over are familiar with Haddonfield - it was probably Ross Gellar's favorite place. There is plenty to do besides visit the Hadrosaurus discovery site, however. Shop downtown and be sure to stop at The British Chip Shop and The English Gardener for a bit of the UK in the USA.
This former Methodist Meeting Camp town is home to the Great Auditorium, famed for its acoustics. There's also a thriving downtown, beautiful shorefront street (Ocean Pathway) and summertime tent city.
History buffs will enjoy the dozens of historic sites here, one of New Jersey's oldest towns. You'll find both the oldest Episcopal church and oldest operating pharmacy in the Garden State here. There is also a great antiques emporium and wonderful waterfront eatery - Curtin's Wharf.
Barnegat Light is lovely, but there is a specific place I highly recommend you visit - Viking Village. The historic fishing village was founded in the 1920s by Scandinavian immigrants and is now home to charming shops, a maritime museum and several historic structures. They've also got some of the freshest seafood around.
This scenic shore town is home to great grilled cheese and crab cakes, along with a unique historic site. Somers Mansion serves as a museum with a variety of artifacts including local textiles. Another fun spot to visit is the Atlantic County Historical Society Museum. The museum is free to visit and offers a spectacular collection of vintage photos and Victorian clothing. There are over 20,000 items to explore, and guided tours are available upon request.
The mile square city is a haven for the young and hip, but it has something for everyone. Don't miss the spectacular festivals in Frank Sinatra's birthplace, or the Historical Museum - a real treat. Dining and shopping options are seemingly endless, and you'll find great waterfront views.
This sleepy spot along our southern coast has some of the most beautiful beaches. 96th Street Beach scores top honors when it comes to cleanliness and water quality. There are some great galleries and the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary - a nature lover's paradise.
What other New Jersey towns would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments. For more interesting attractions in the Garden State, check out these
17 Places To See In 2017.