Weekend Getaways in New Jersey for Fun in the Garden State

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The New Jersey resorts in Atlantic City are dazzling at night.

Whether you are a New Jersey local seeking an in-state weekend getaway or you’re coming from New York or Pennsylvania and want to have a fun, short break in the Garden State, there are plenty of options for fun. Family-friendly vacation, couple’s escape, or girlfriend gathering, there’s a place in New Jersey for weekend adventures.

New Jersey’s diverse landscapes, eclectic cities, and cultural diversity mean no shortage of weekend options on the East Coast. Here are the best weekend getaways in New Jersey.

1. Cape May

Cape May is located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey. This charming beachfront town takes visitors back in time with Victorian architecture. Cape May is perfect for both romantic getaways and family trips. Explore pristine beaches, stroll along the historic promenade, and snap a picture of Cape May Lighthouse.

The perfect way to spend a summer evening on a weekend trip, a seafood dinner, and a sunset cruise. Pro-tip: Looking for a beach escape with a private beach vibe?  Check out Pearl Beach. While Pearl Beach doesn’t have as many amenities and services as the more popular Sunset Beach, it does have that secluded feeling that couples might be seeking.

Read More: 12 Things to Do in Red Bank, NJ, Cultural Center and River Town

2. Sussex County

Located on New Jersey’s far northern tip, Sussex County is best known for four seasons of idyllic outdoor scenery and fun, so no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll have lots of choices for things to do.

From horseback riding to ziplining to boat rentals for enjoying the lake to skiing and snow tubing in the summer, the toughest part about planning a weekend trip is deciding what to do because a weekend isn’t enough time for everything.

Sussex Skylands is your best bet for lodging and activities all in one spot. They offer all types of accommodations, from bed and breakfast to family-friendly fun resorts like Crystal Springs Resort to swanky, adult-focused spa escapes.

The Grand Cascades Lodge has a dreamy indoor pool for winter escapes, and other Sussex Skylands properties have outdoor pools to enjoy during the summer. If you want to splurge or get extra cozy, Sussex Skylands properties have several lodging options with in-room fireplaces.

3. The Delaware Water Gap

If you’re seeking outdoor activities, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is for you. Enjoy hiking, biking, paddling the Delaware River, and beautiful waterfall views. Part of the area intersects with the Appalachian Trail, so you can say you hiked the AT, even if it’s just for a short bit.

4. Princeton

Princeton is easily recognizable as the home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, but this is more than just a college town.

Stroll through Palmer Square, check out the Princeton Art Museum, restaurants, art galleries, and explore the history of the area at Princeton Battlefield State Park. And, no visit would be complete without taking a tour of the picturesque PrincetonUniversity campus.  

5. Atlantic City

Charming and picturesque might not be everyone’s jam, so if you’re looking for beach town excitement and high-energy entertainment, Atlantic City may be for you.

Nicknamed the “Vegas of the East Coast,” Atlantic City is perfect for East Coasters who don’t want to fly across the country to find luxe casinos with on-site restaurants offering world-class dining and great shows. In addition to the Vegas-esque choices, visitors can explore Atlantic City’s boardwalk, with a seemingly endless array of dining options and entertainment or relax on the beach.

6. Jersey City

This scenic metropolis sits on the banks of the Hudson River and the Upper New York Bay and offers tons of terrific options for things to do. Check out lively downtown Jersey City and visit a variety of shops, bars, restaurants, and live music venues. Also don’t miss the Empty Sky Memorial, which pays tribute to the lives lost on 9/11.

Liberty State Park is a lush green escape that offers picnic spaces and hiking/walking trails just a hop, skip, and jump from New York City. Liberty State Park is so close to the city that visitors enjoy views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.

7. Asbury Park

Asbury Park was put on the map by its famous native son, Bruce Springsteen. This small town remains a popular spot to visit on the Jersey Shore. Popular activities in Asbury Park include exploring the Boardwalk that’s lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Asbury Park Beach is also great for swimming, sunbathing, and sandcastle building.

If you’re a music fan, check out live music at the iconic Stone Point, which was where The Boss got his start. Visit Asbury Park Brewery and Distillery for a taste of local craft beer and spirits. Tours are also available.

8. Vernon Township

If you’re planning to take the kids, Vernon Township is a weekend spot in New Jersey that deserves a look. From the popular Mountain Creek Water Park to the Castle Fun Center, there are lots of family-friendly activities.

If you’re adventurous or super-fit, challenge yourself with one of the most strenuous hiking trails around, the Stairway to Heaven, a 2.6-mile loop that will reward you with views from a beautiful vista for your efforts.

9. The Wildwoods

The Wildwoods is another New Jersey option for a beach getaway. If you fancy a retro experience, book a room at the Starluxe Hotel, which offers a 1950’s style boutique hotel experience. During your stay, check out the typical “beachy” activities, such as parasailing, bike trails, and beachfront restaurants and bars.

Don’t miss exploring the artBOX, a brightly colored mini village crafted from shipping containers that showcase local handcrafted items and artisans, such as hand-blown glass, jewelry, and surf art.

Jill Robbins is a freelance writer covering lifestyle, travel, health, and commerce. Her writing has appeared in SheKnows, HuffPost, Tripsavvy, Insider, AARP, and other publications. Jill lives in San Antonio with her husband and two youngest kids, although she’s usually somewhere else. You can find out what Jill is up to by reading her blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals.
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