It’s that time of year again to start thinking about holiday cards, which means scouting out places to take pictures in NJ for your family photoshoot. Luckily, you don’t have to go far to score that eye-catching shot—photo locations in NJ range from the magnificent city skyline across the Hudson to the unfiltered natural beach shots on the shore. And documenting your family’s growth in a stunning location and sending cards will be a bright spot in the upcoming holiday season. Scroll down for 9 places to take pictures in NJ that will make your family photo pop, and if spring is more of your thing, check out our guide to instaworthy spring photo locations when the snow melts.
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Here are 9 places to take pictures in NJ for family photoshoots
Northern New Jersey
Fort Lee Historical Park
This scenic spot is a cliffside location, offering the best of both worlds, with the peace of nature on one side and sweeping views of the Hudson and George Washington Bridge on the other. All 33 acres sit atop the Palisades, and it’s also a part of history, with the historic park along the Revolutionary War Trail.
High Point State Park
Not only is High Point State Park the steepest point in New Jersey, but it also boasts unforgettable views of the tri-state area, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. You’ll need permits for pro shoots, but snapping photos with the family camera or phone is allowed. The park borders Wantage Township and Montague Township in Sussex County, within the Skylands region of northwestern New Jersey.
Paterson Great Falls
Known as the city founded by Alexander Hamilton, Paterson is not the first place you’d expect to find stunning waterfalls. But right in the middle of this industrial area, you’ll discover one of the best places to take pictures in NJ. Head here if you want a picturesque backdrop that looks as if you took a trip somewhere far away and see how many of your family and friends ask the locale of this dreamy “vacation” photo.
Central New Jersey
Allaire State Park
Allaire State Park includes a 19th-century iron-making town with antique steam trains located on-site at the Pine Creek Railroad. The park consists of trails and the Manasquan River, but it’s the old buildings, antique trains, and pristine nature views that create one of the most festive places to take pictures in NJ (especially if your crew is clad in holiday tartans). Pro tip: Plan a mid-week photo shoot when the park is less crowded if you want to avoid onlookers.
Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area
With picture-perfect coastal views and plenty of green and beach space, this spot is one of the perfect places to take pictures in NJ for a family photoshoot at the shore. Head to the lighthouse at sunset for a beautiful backdrop, or dip your toes in the sand on the ocean side with crashing waves in the distance.
Sayen House and Gardens
If you’re looking for a beautiful estate with gardens, this spot should be at the top of your list. Unlike other arboretums that request photoshoot permits, this location doesn’t require one for family photo ops. One of the most unforgettable places to take pictures in NJ, it’s definitely worth the drive in the fall—the gardens might be at the end of their season, but the fall foliage and pretty gazebo are just as picturesque.
Southern New Jersey
Atlantic County Parks
Unless you rent a pavilion or building on-site in a park, there are no permits or fees to take family photos in Atlantic County Parks. With over 7,400 acres in the park system in Atlantic County, choose from Lake Lenape, Weymouth Furnace, Whirlpool Island, Leeds’ Point, and many more. Each is unique—you’ll find areas that offer babbling brooks, open green spaces, and wooded settings for whatever your family shoot might need.
Barnegat Light State Park
If you want one of the most iconic lighthouses in NJ as your backdrop, head to Old Barney at the northern end of Long Beach Island. The Barnegat Lighthouse served as a crucial point for vessels traveling to New York along the Jersey coastline and has gorgeous shoreline views, offering a nautical touch to your family’s Jersey shore pictures. Sunset is prime time for photo ops, so plan accordingly if you want to avoid the crowds.
Where else can you find history, gorgeous architecture, and the beach all in one place? The preserved seaside town of Cape May is the ideal setting when you want beautiful coastal shots. For a different look, capture the storybook charm by setting up your photo shoot along the sidewalks with the Victorian-era buildings behind you.