New Jersey is a bustling state between two major cities and is by no means known for simple living. While many New Jerseyans do tend to move at a faster pace, there are plenty of places in the Garden State where residents enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Mullica Hill
This charming community is home to about 4,000 residents and the entire village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You'll find a lovely Main Street shopping district and events like the Antique Street Fair on June 11th. Check out the Amish Farmers Market, Repeat Boutique, Harrison House Diner and Holy Tomato Too.
2. Cape May Point
Cape May is an amazing small town, but life just moves a little slower in Cape May Point. With a population of under 300 residents, you won't find many shops here, though you will find a lovely lake, the lighthouse, a state park and a bird observatory. If you do happen to need something here, head to the quaint Cape May Point General Store (The Red Store).
With less than two dozen residents and an abandoned town center, you can rest assured that life is very relaxing here. Enjoy scenic mountain views and Delaware River access.
4. Mount Arlington
This lovely town on Lake Hopatcong has a population of around 5,000 and was once a popular summer resort. Nature lovers will enjoy the adjacent county park and wildlife management area, and foodies will love Davy's Dogs, Blossom Asian Bistro and Pub 199.
This tiny town comes in well under two square miles, with a population of around 1,500. Still, you'll find a thriving downtown area with unique businesses like Pulp Vegetarian Cafe, Early Bird Espresso & Mercantile, The Book Garden and The Bridge Cafe. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy the Delaware River views and access to the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park.
6. Port Republic
There are only about 1,000 residents in this eight square mile town which mainly consists of open space. There are few businesses here, but you'll find the Mullica River and multiple wildlife/natural areas. Check out Honey & Sweets Farm Stand from mid-April until the end of October.
There are about 2,500 residents in this tiny town with an area of under one square mile. There are many historic buildings in Swedesboro (which dates back to the 1600s) including the Old Swedes (Trinity Episcopal) Church, built in 1784. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden visited the town in 1976. There a quite a few fantastic restaurants to enjoy in Swedesboro including Botto's Italian Line and Tavro Thirteen. Stop by Swedesboro Pastry Shoppe for dessert and find your favorite new sweet treat.
This teeny tiny town (.6 square miles) is located near the more well-known Cherry Hill, Haddonfield and Collingswood, but can definitely hold its own. While more laid-back than its larger neighbors, you can still find a farmers market, frequent community events and a thriving downtown. Check out Blue Monkey Tavern, The Station, Cafe BellaVita and Aunt Charlotte's Candies.
This town of about 1,800 is .6 square miles of pure charm. Enjoy gorgeous waterfront views of Conines Millpond, loads of history and quaint shops. The Old Mill, pictured, operated between 1713 to 1963 and now houses several storefronts. Be sure to visit the mill, along with the Earth Goddess eco-friendly jewelry and gift shop.
This town of 7,000 is one of the largest on the list but offers a special, slow-paced surprise - Barley Point Island. This inhabited private island is part of Rumson and located on the Navesink River. You'll find boats and beach homes here, but residents need only cross a bridge to access the many amenities of mainland Rumson including dining options like The French Market, Cups and Cakes, Val's Tavern, Barnacle Bill's, Crazees and Salt Creek Grille.
11. Upper Deerfield Township
This town has around 7,500 residents and 31 acres, mainly farmland. An agricultural hub, you'll still find shops and businesses on NJ-77 and in the southern portions of the township, bordering Bridgeton. Don't miss the Red Barn Deli, or unique Jantiques, pictured, offering 3.5 acres of outdoor and garden items and three floors of eclectic antiques. You never know what you'll find.
There are about 7,000 residents in the town's 50 square miles, so the population density is quite low. Portions of Wharton State Forest are located in the town, including Apple Pie Hill, the highest point in the Pine Barrens. Most of the businesses (like the Tabernacle Inn and One More Bar & Grille) are located along Route 206. In 2009, Tabernacle was ranked the number one small town by South Jersey Magazine.
The largest "small town" on this list, there are 12,000 residents in Ringwood, a town surrounded by natural beauty. You'll find Ringwood State Park here along with the New Jersey Botanical Garden, Skylands Manor, Ringwood Manor and the Shepherd Lake Recreation Area. There are also several smaller lakes and a few shopping centers on Skyline Drive.
14. Old Tappan
You can find most everything you need on Old Tappan Road including Mooyah Burgers & Fries, Vicolo Ristorante, Hoshitori and Butterworths Bagel Bakery. Enjoy access to Lake Tappan and the Old Tappan Country Club.
15. Harvey Cedars
This lovely LBI community has only about 350 residents, though it is a popular destination for summer shore rentals. You'll find both bay and ocean beaches along the entirety of this easily walkable town where life is laid back. There is only one main road, Long Beach Boulevard, which offers a selection of restaurants between 78th and 81st street. Check out Black Eyed Susans, Harvey Cedars Shellfish Co., Neptune Market, Plantation and Harvey Cedars Pizza Shack, open seasonally. Enjoy community events including Craft Day by the Bay on July 2nd.
Which of these slow-paced small towns is your favorite? There are so many charming small towns in New Jersey, are there any others that you would add to this list?