27 FREE Things To Do In January 2022

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It’s a new year—and this 2022, make your resolution all about spending more time doing FREE things with the fam. Catch the last of the twinkling lights at the Smithville Holiday Light Show on The Lake, set your calendar ablaze with the Winter Festival Bonfire and Fireworks in Warren, take part in a virtual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. with the Newark Museum of Art in Newark, and the Fire and Ice Festival in Mount Holly. And for more ideas and places to go, check out our Winter Festivals in NJ.

Since COVID-19 rules and regulations are continually changing, it’s best to check ahead for in-person events.

Featured Photo Credit: @mattbaronphoto and @historicsmithvillenj

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First Day At The Beach
January 1
Get ready to get wet and dive into 2022 with Ocean City’s First Dip in the ocean for the new year.
Beach Adjacent to the Music Pier, Ocean City, NJ 08226
1-800-BEACH-NJ

Lighthouse Open House
January 1
Celebrate the history at the top of the North Tower at Twin Lights by climbing 64 steps to the top. This easy hike is open to all ages. No registration is required.
Twin Lights Historic Site – 2 Light House Road, Highlands, NJ 07732

Old Dutch New Year: Talk of the Taverns
January 1
Take a walk in historic Somerset and learn about George Washington’s Passage through the area 245 years ago. The hike will be 3 miles, and it is for all ages. Registration is required.
Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Parking Lot – 71 Somerset Street, Somerville, NJ 08876

First Day Dog Hike
January 1
Explore Cape May County and bring your dog too. This moderate trail is for ages 10 and up. Registration is not required.
Belleplain State Forest Office – 1 Henkinsifkin Road, Woodbine, NJ 08270

Discover Double Trouble First Day Jaunt
January 1
Explore the historic village, Mill Pond Trail, and Cedar Creek. This easy trail is open to ages 10 and over. Registration is required.
581 Pinewald Keswick Road, Bayville, NJ 08721

Parvin Walk in History
January 1
Learn all about Parvin State Park while taking an easy hike. Children with parents and guardians are welcome, and registration is required.
Parvin State Park, Island Point Nature Pavilion – 701 Almond Road, Pittsgrove, NJ 08318

Thomas Sweet’s Holiday Village
Now-January 3
Stop by Thomas Sweet Chocolate for their annual Winter Village, a miniaturized winter scene in the store windows. You can gaze upon this gorgeous lit village for the entire holiday season. While you’re there, go skating on the square, or enjoy the beauty of the Christmas tree.
Thomas Sweet Chocolate,
29 Palmer Square West, Princeton, NJ 08542

Smithville Holiday Light Show On The Lake
Now-January 6
Over 120 Christmas Trees with over 50,000 Christmas lights float on Lake Meone in the center of Historic Smithville. When darkness falls, an orchestrated show of lights and music plays across the lake. The show can be seen from either side of the village and the bridge.
Historic Smithville, 615 E. Moss Mill Rd., Smithville, NJ 08205

(609) 748-8999

Winter Beach Walk at Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area
January 6
Stroll with a Park System Naturalist along the beach at Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan, collecting and identifying some of the ocean’s natural treasures. Make sure you dress warm and bring along something to carry shells.
391 Third Avenue, Manasquan, NJ 08736 

Three Kings Day Celebration Belleville
January 6
Children of all ages can look up to the sky on January 6, 2022, and follow the lights to the Third Annual Three Kings Day celebration. The light will be leading all to make the pilgrimage to Belleville High School- 100 Passaic Ave. Participants will enter this drive-thru via Division St. and exit via Passaic Ave.
100 Passaic Ave., Belleville, NJ 07109
(973) 450-3345

Guided Nature Walk
January 6, 9, 13, 15, 20, 23, 27, 29
Try a 1.5-2 mile guided nature hike for ages 8 and older. Dress for the weather; dogs are welcome on a leash and call on the day of the event to check for weather cancellation.
Cheesequake State Park, Trailhead Parking area
(732) 566-3208

King George’s Winter Walk
January 6-February 22
Run, walk, or roll 22 miles from the Twelfth Night (January 6) through Washington’s Birthday (February 22). This walk is open for all ages. Return a completed walker’s log by March 1 to enter a lottery for a Washington’s Birthday surprise. Donations are appreciated.
Virtual
(908) 725-1015

Winter Festival Bonfire and Fireworks
January 8
It’s time to light up the sky and the ground below at the Winter Festival Bonfire and Fireworks. This evening celebration is fun for the whole family.
Warren Municipal Baseball Fields – 4 Bardy Road, Warren, NJ 07059
(908) 753-8000

Fanwood’s Famous Christmas House
Now-January 8
See over 30,000 lights at Fanwood’s Famous Christmas House, which has bright displays and a light show every evening. Donations will be accepted for the NJ Institute for Disabilities.
82 Paterson Road, Fanwood, NJ 07023

(908) 403-6486
Queen’s Cottage by Candlelight
January 9
Learn about the early history of Queen’s College, the first tutorials at the Sign of the Red Lion, and the metaphor of Enlightenment and illumination in the 18th century of New Jersey. This event is for ages 10 and up.
Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage State Historic Site – 71 Somerset Street, Somerville, NJ 08876
(908) 725-1015

Community Day: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Newark Museum of Art
January 18
Start your MLK Jr. Day with an inspiring musical performance directed by Chinah Blac. There will be other events throughout the day.
Virtual

(973) 596-6550

Wonderous Winter Walk at Thompson Park
January 19
Toss on your winter gear and tag along with a Park System Naturalist as you explore Thompson Park, Lincroft, in the wintertime. Meet in the Old Orchard parking lot. Open to all ages; under 18 with an adult. Please Note: Sturdy footwear is recommended since the trails have inclines or tree roots to step over.
805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738
(732) 842-4000
Nature Lecture Series: Chickadees of Monmouth County
January 20
At the Freneau Woods Park Activity Center in Aberdeen, there will be a talk by a Park System Naturalist. Learn about these adorable birds, how to identify them, and how to attract them to your bird feeders.
360 Monastary Lane, Aberdeen Township, NJ 07747
(732) 264-7277
Nature on the Move – Winter Days: Adaptations – How Do Animals Stay Warm in the Winter?
January 22
Take a 45-60 minute hands-on interactive program at Turkey Swamp Park. Learn how nature survives the winter through fun games and activities.
200 Georgia Road, Freehold, NJ 07728
(732) 462-7286
The Casual Birder at Seven Presidents Ocean Front Park
January 25
Join a Park System Naturalist for a laid-back morning bird walk at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch. Open to all ages, under 18 with an adult.
221 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 229-0924 
Wonderous Winter Walk at Hartshorne Woods Park
January 26
Get ready for a winter walk along with a Park System Naturalist as you explore Hartshorne Woods Park in the wintertime. Meet in the Rocky Point parking lot in Highlands. Open to all ages; under 18 with an adult. Sturdy footwear is recommended.
1402 Portland Road, Highlands, NJ (Rocky Point Entrance) 07732
(732) 872-0336 
Fire and Ice Festival
January 29
On the last Saturday of January, Mount Holly hosts about a dozen professional ice carvers and chili chefs from up and down the east coast. This 28th annual free family-friendly event has lots of photo opportunities.
Downtown Mount Holly, NJ 08060
Ice Harvest
January 29
Howell Living History Farm was once known as an “ice farm” because people could buy ice from the pond to keep their milk cold on the way to the train station. Visitors can learn about the tools and technology that made ice harvesting successful. Visitors can help pull blocks up the ramp to the ice house, chip ice to make ice cream, and make an ice candle (small fee).
70 Woodens Lane, Lambertville, NJ 08530
(609) 737-3299
Seashore Open House at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park
January 30
The Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park Activity Center in Long Branch has its annual Open House to enjoy seashore fun. The whole family will love engaging in hands-on activities about the shore and the sea. Speak with a Park System Naturalist about your own shell collection or the aquatic animals on display. Don’t forget to take a beach keepsake to take with you.
221 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 229-7025 

Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market – Grow It Green
Now-March 27 (except December 26)
The Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market features more than 20 farmers and local food vendors to develop a local food system that patrons can eat locally and seasonally. There will be freshly grown produce, farm-raised beef, pork and poultry and fresh seafood, baked goods, farm eggs, and so much more.
Convent Train Station, Convent Road, Morris Township, NJ 07960 

2nd Annual Winter Wonderwalk
Now–into Winter 2022
Wrap yourself in the warmth of the season as the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate will be lit up and glowing. Join the Winter Wonderwalk to walk the grounds and view these fun and whimsical display of winter’s past. And continue the festivities by walking along the streets of Cape May’s decorated homes.
1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ 08204

(609) 884-5404

RWJBarnabas Health: Cooking Classes for Kids
Dates and times vary depending on the program
Kids of all ages will love cooking up healthy treats in these virtual hands-on cooking classes (adult supervision required during class): Try Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen for kids 8-12, where they’ll learn to use a recipe, cook with nutritious ingredients, and utilize kitchen basics or try Taste Testers in Hannah’s Kitchen, a Mommy and Me style class for 2-4-year-olds.
RWJBarnabas, Virtual
(973) 926-7371

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.

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