20 FREE Things To Do In January 2024

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It’s almost 2024, and with the new year comes fun and FREE things to do with the fam all month long. Watch the beautiful light show outside at Winter Wonderland at Holly Beach Park in Wildwood, bundle up, and spend a cold day with the family enjoying a chili contest, an ice carving competition, and more at the Fire & Ice Festival in Mount Holly, or learn and take part in a centuries-old tradition of Wassailing The Apple Trees in Princeton. (Featured Photo Credit: istock/ Elena Gurova)

(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events.)

First Day Hike
January 1 at 11 AM
Start the new year off on the right foot and in nature with the fam. This hike is an easy 3.0-mile walk through the forest and is suitable for all ages.
Cost: Free
495 Don Connor Boulevard, Jackson, NJ 08527

Titusville Loop First Day Hike
January 1 at 1 PM
This first day hike is an easy 2.5 mile that will take around 2 1/2 hours and allow you to take in the gorgeous views. What a great way to start 2024.
Cost: Free
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, River Drive, Hopewell Township, NJ 08560

Experiential Arts Labs with Appel Farm
January 6 at 7:30 AM
This learning experience is so much fun for everyone in the family, including games, dance and movement, music and sound, and more.
Cost: Free
Cumberland County Library, 800 E. Commerce Street, Bridgeton, NJ 08302

A Twelfth Night Celebration: 1775 On The Eve Of War
January 6 at 1 PM
This colonial celebration includes live music, games, refreshments, and a Twelfth Night cake. This event focuses on the last peaceful holiday season before the Revolutionary War.
Cost: Free
Hancock House Historic Site, 15 Front Street, Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038

Makerspace Saturday
January 6 at 11 AM
Bring your creative spirit and spend some time completing hands-on activities perfect for ages 5-12. Kids can build Legos, paint, make jewelry, experiment with coding robots, and more.
Cost: Free
Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, 23 Main Street, Madison, NJ 07940

NJ Audubon: January Jaunt at Hawk Rise Sanctuary
January 6 at 10 AM
Visit Hawk Rise Sanctuary and take a unique look at nature with the entire family. Make sure you come bundled up and enjoy hot tea or hot cocoa afterward.
Cost: Free
Hawk Rise Sanctuary, Range Road, Linden, NJ 07036

Ice Festival
January 6 at 12 PM
This is one festival you definitely won’t want to miss with the family. Take in the ice sculpting from talented and award-winning sculpting teams nationwide and hang out in the warming house with hot drinks, live music, and firepits.
Cost: Free
Pier Village, 50 Chelsea Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740

Sunrise Walk on the Farm
January 7 at 7 AM
Start your day on the farm with a beautiful sunrise. You can explore the farm before daily chores are started and then head into the Visitor Center for a hot drink.
Cost: Free
Longstreet Farm, 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ 07733

Experience The Battle of Princeton
January 7 at 9:30 AM
This is such a fun experience for all the history buffs in your family. The day includes witnessing British and American reenactments of the Battle of Princeton, talking with living historians, participating in a memorial wreath-laying ceremony, touring the historic Thomas Clarke House, and more.
Cost: Free
Princeton Battlefield, 500 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540

Sunset Beach: A Place For All Seasons
January 7 at 9 AM
Part of the world-famous Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area, the Sunset Beach area hosts an array of birds, including sparrows, warblers, hawks, and waterbirds. You will also explore nearby areas, including the Magnesite Plant, Davey’s Lake, and Pond Creek Marsh.
Cost: Free
502 Sunset Boulevard, Cape May, NJ 08204

Lakeshore’s Fun with Science
January 13 at 11 AM
Get ready for some slime-making. Kids can make slime and participate in hands-on science experiments including building a volcano, growing colorful crystals, creating realistic snow, and more.
Cost: Free
Lakeshore Learning, 2020 Marlton Pike West, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Martin Luther King Jr Ceremony
January 15 at 12 PM
Come to the Music Pier and enjoy a community event that will remember Dr. King through words, song, and dance. 
Cost: Free
825 Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ 08226

Fire & Ice Festival
January 27 at 10 AM
Bundle up and spend a cold day with the family, enjoying all things winter. There will be a chili contest, an ice carving competition, and more.
Cost: Free
1 High Street, Mount Holly, NJ 08060

Rutgers Geological Museum Annual Open House
January 27 at 9 AM
This annual event is fun for the whole family. This year’s 56th open house features crafts, activities, guest appearances, and a mineral sale. The theme this year is Ancient Seas.
Cost: Free
Rutgers Geology Museum, 85 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

15th Annual Yuletide Bonfire and Fireworks Extravaganza
January 27 at 6 PM
This annual event is filled with fun and excitement for the family to enjoy. The evening will include hayrides, hot chocolate, cookies, marshmallow roasting, music, bonfires, and gorgeous fireworks.
Cost: Free
Hunts Mill Park, 32 Haver Farm Road, Clinton, NJ 08809

Ice Harvest
January 28 at 10 AM
Head to Howell Farm, once called the “ice farm,” and learn about the tools and technology that made ice harvesting a successful business. You can also help pull ice blocks up the ramp to the ice house, chip ice to make ice cream and make an ice candle to take home.
Cost: Free
Howell Living History Farm, 70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell, NJ 08530

Seashore Open House
January 28 at 1 PM
Who says you can’t enjoy the seashore in the winter? The family can enjoy hands-on activities to entertain and educate the little ones about the shore and the sea.
Cost: Free
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, 201 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740

Wassailing the Apple Trees
January 28 at 1 PM
Dance and sing, plus re-enact Old English traditional rituals with the fam, including chanting and music making, toasts of hot cider, and placing gifts of cider-soaked bread in the tree branches. End the evening with a bonfire and live music.
Cost: Free
Terhune Orchards, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ 08540

Parlor Games for Wintry Weather
January 28 at 12 PM
No winter blues here – enjoy time with the fam with some healthy competition. Take part in two 1890s board games, including Backgammon, Checkers, Reversi, Halma, and Basilinda.
Cost: Free
Longstreet Farm, 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ 07733

ONGOING EVENTS

Holiday Light Show on the Lake
Now-January 6
Visit Historic Smithville to hear your favorite holiday tunes synchronized to a unique light display. There will be over 120 Christmas trees, constructed from 50,000+ Christmas lights, magically floating atop Lake Meone in the center of the village. When the sky is dark, an orchestrated show of lights dances across the water to Christmas music. The show can be seen from either side of the village or the bridge.
Cost: Free
Historic Smithville Village,
615 E Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ 08205

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About Author

Karen lives in Central Jersey with her two dogs, one cat, husband and daughter Olivia. Graduating from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations, she has been writing and working in the social media field for a few years. One of her proudest moments as a writer so far has been interviewing Tim Gunn from 'Project Runway' and subsequently winning Honorable Mention in NJ for Feature Writing. When she is not busy as a mom, she enjoys reading, going to the beach and watching the Real Housewives. She is very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the NJ Mom team!

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