Sure, summer at the Jersey Shore is one of the best things to do in New Jersey, but there are plenty of other fun places to visit and NJ attractions throughout the state to entertain everyone in your family all year long. Whether seeing lions roar at the Turtle Back Zoo, spending time on a real wartime NJ Battleship, or hopping on the world’s tallest roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure, you can find a new place to explore or hit again (and again) with your crew. Read on to find fun things to do in New Jersey and places to visit this weekend and attractions near you for tons of fun in any season. (Featured Photo Credit: American Dream Mall)
Fun Things To Do In NJ And Places To Visit—Guaranteed Fun For The Whole Family At These NJ Attractions
New Jersey’s largest and most popular theme park, Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari Drive-Through, should take a top seed on your list of New Jersey attractions. The main park opens in the spring and stays primarily open through Christmas with Halloween and holiday events. Aside from thrilling rides for kids of all ages, their drive-through safari allows the whole family to experience elephants, giraffes, lions, bears, and more—up close and personal, from the comfort and safety of your car. From May to September, get wet and wild at Six Flag’s water park, Hurricane Harbor, and spend the rest of the day sliding and splashing on the lazy river and pools.
1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson, NJ 08527
Liberty State Park is one of our favorite places to visit in New Jersey and is a Hudson County gem with breathtaking views of the NYC skyline and ample outdoor space (1,212 acres, to be exact). Pack a picnic lunch, take in views of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty, play on the large playground, stroll the 2-mile Liberty Walk Promenade, and enjoy the urban outdoors. And keep a watch on this park becoming even more fun—the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection plans to design a new area of this northern NJ attraction.
200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305
With so many New Jersey attractions under one roof, American Dream has it all any time of the year. Kids will make a beeline to the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park with thrilling coasters and themed rides and the Dreamworks Water Park, where it’s paradise every day. And if you’re up for skiing, you don’t have to pray for snow—this is the only place with a year-round ski and snow resort in the country. Other fun sites at American Dream include the wacky Tilt Museum, Angry Birds indoor mini golf, and Sea Life Aquarium.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073
The Cape May County Park and Zoo is one of the must-do attractions in New Jersey, and it’s free (donations are appreciated). Head on an adventure where you’ll see animals like alpacas, snow leopards, and everything in between. Inquire about a private zoo tour or “adopt” an animal where your family can provide care for a year (and receive an official adoption certificate too). The zoo is open daily, but check ahead because their hours change with the seasons.
707 North Route 9, Cape May, NJ 08210
With games and rides, a long sandy beach, a variety of food stands, and an aquarium worth checking out—Jenkinson’s is an entertaining way to spend the day or weekend. Whether your littles like to play boardwalk games or take a spin on a train ride in their ride park, there is no shortage of things to do. Sample some boardwalk food like Kohr’s ice cream, crispy fries, or fresh seafood and then cool down with some indoor arcade games or step outside to take a swing at mini golf. And if you’re up for more exploring, Point Pleasant Beach is an adorable downtown area with shops, restaurants, and more.
Ocean Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
Sink into the ocean and go deep diving at Adventure Aquarium in Camden. As you meander through the aquarium (rated #8 in the country by USA Today), you’ll see tropical and colorful fish, lovable hippos, super-sized sea turtles, and the largest collection of sharks in the Northeast. Plus, it’s one of only six facilities in the United States to have Little Blue Penguins, the smallest species of penguins in the world. Get up the courage to walk down the V-shaped rope shark suspension bridge hovering above the 21-foot-deep Shark Realm exhibit, and you’ll be rewarded with amazing up close views of the 550,000-gallon tank with sharks swimming underneath your feet.
1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103
One of the most popular national parks in the country because of its unique ecosystem (it has a beach and a maritime forest with a large population of wildlife), Sandy Hook is where you can spend a family day connecting with nature. There are designated picnic areas, basketball and tennis courts, and of course, the beach.
128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732
The Turtle Back Zoo is a zoo made up of different animal habitats, from the barnyard to the Great Plains, making it one of the best NJ attractions around. Over 33 animals call this zoo home in a hilly layout where they hang out in natural environments. Littles will love the old-fashioned choo-choo, which gives you a scenic ride around the adjoining pond and wooded areas. After, check out the African Adventure section, the newest part of the park, which features lions, giraffes, hyenas, and the recent addition of penguins. Finish the day with some delicious shaved ice before heading home.
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
Reconnect with nature at this national historical park and New Jersey tourist attraction home to the awe-inspiring Paterson Great Falls, a 77-foot-high waterfall nestled within the Passaic River. Rich in history, this landmark and surrounding park is home to Alexander Hamilton’s plan to make Paterson the center of the Industrial Revolution. You can bring a picnic and take in the breathtaking sight on a gorgeous day.
72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson, NJ 07501
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park – Closed for interior renovations until June 2023
Heading down to LBI? Be sure to stop by Barnegat Lighthouse State Park at the northern tip. This NJ lighthouse is known to have been one of the most important navigational points for ships at one time. With a historic lighthouse that offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s considered one of the top NJ tourist attractions. This 32-acre park makes for a great day trip any time of the year, and with a recent renovation, it’s worth a visit to learn more about our state’s nautical history.
208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
At the western heritage-themed Wild West City, littles can get their cowboy fix and travel back to Dodge City circa 1880. The train, pony ride, mini-golf course, barnyard zoo, and select “living history” stations are perfect for your little cowboy or cowgirl. This Wild West town is open from May through September, with Haunted Wild West Fest activities starting in October.
50 Lackawanna Drive, Stanhope, NJ 07874
Kids who love dump trucks and watching construction vehicle Youtube videos will be in awe at Diggerland USA —America’s only construction theme and water park. Families can operate specially engineered machinery and swim, soak, and slide in the themed water park area. In the fall, check out the annual Diggerfest from September to November, and starting in mid-November, get into the holiday spirit at Winterfest and the Holiday Light Show. Use this code for $4 off per ticket at Diggerland USA.
100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091
Twin walls transect a gently sloped mound leading directly toward Ground Zero at the Empty Sky Memorial. The length of each division at the memorial is precisely equal to one side of the former World Trade Center Towers, as the wall’s height reflects the proportion of the former buildings sideways. There are 749 New Jersey victims named on the stainless steel walls, and give any visitor pause looking at them. This memorial is located at Liberty State Park and is open to visitors.
1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Timeless childhood tales come to life in rides and kid attractions at this beloved 20-acre family amusement park. And you’ll love seeing your kids’ faces as they ride spinning teacups, a carousel, a railroad train ride, flying elephants, and meet their favorite storybook characters in person. Storybook Land is open from March-December with special events all year round.
6415 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
The 6-story Lucy The Elephant was built in 1881, and it is the oldest roadside attraction in the world, even earning the honor of being a US National Landmark. Sign up for a tour of this historical NJ attraction, which once housed a tavern and has also been an Airbnb. Don’t miss Lucy’s birthday party every July when she gets a new pedicure for the big event every year. While Lucy is currently under construction for restoration, all guided tours are slightly modified (you won’t get to go up into the covered tent on the top), and the gift shop remains open during construction.
9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate City, NJ 08402
Ready for action? Step into the Land of Make Believe for a day of water park and amusement park fun for all ages. The whole fam will have a blast on the Rockin’ Tug Thrill Ride, or if you’re more daring, try the Scream Machine 360. When it’s time to cool off, check out the water playground featuring Black Beard’s Pirate Ship, where littles can scramble up the plank and practice their best “ahoy there, matey” impressions. This New Jersey attraction is open from May to September.
354 Great Meadows Road, Hope, NJ 07844
Step back to prehistoric times at this northern New Jersey attraction featuring over 30 moving and roaring life-size dinos. Kids will love being paleontologists for the day, and you won’t believe how realistic the T-Rex and other dino species look and react. Beyond the dinos, watch the exciting shows, fossil digging, and a sky-high Jurassic Jump. The Field Station: Dinosaurs is open from May to November, with Dinosaurs After Dark in September and October.
Overpeck County Park Henry Hoebel Area
Fort Lee Road, Leonia, NJ 07605
Hop aboard “Big J,” “BB 62” (for Battleship #62), “Black Dragon,” or what we all know today as Battleship New Jersey (America’s most decorated Battleship). Take a tour of this historical ship, exploring everything from the crew’s mess to turbines and propellor shafts. The Battleship is open for self-guided Power Tours on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can add extension tours.
62 Battleship Place
Camden, NJ 08103
Grounds for Sculpture is one of the most popular New Jersey attractions featuring nearly 300 contemporary sculptures covering 42 landscaped acres. Check out the larger-than-life art, or wander through the landscape to view ponds, wildflowers, and architectural reflecting pools on the grounds—your kids will be in awe of this interactive museum, which showcases art in an unusual way.
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619
Your budding scientist will be thrilled to see Liberty Science Center’s 12 museum exhibition halls, 110 species of animals, and the biggest planetarium in America. This Jersey City must-see attraction also has hurricane and tornado simulators, aquariums, and new exhibits added all the time. And don’t miss the Infinity Climber—it’s the world’s first suspended play space of its kind.
222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305
Heading to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is more than just checking out the amazing landscape—it’s a park that spans 70,000 acres between NJ and Pennsylvania and the Appalachian Mountains region. Get back to nature while enjoying calming landscapes, rich history, and year-round recreation, including hiking, paddling, fishing, and camping.
Blue Mountain Lakes Road (in New Jersey) above the Blue Mountain Lakes trailhead parking area – closed January 1 until the snow has melted in the spring (usually mid-April)
Skyline Drive (in New Jersey) – closed January 1 until snow has melted in the spring (usually mid-April)
When springtime is about to bloom, Branch Brook Park in Newark is the top spot to visit. With 5,200 cherry trees that blossom in April, this park is the nation’s first county park, and it’s noted to have the largest collection of cherry blossoms in NJ and the United States, rivaling the famous Washington DC blooms. Don’t miss their annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival on April 1-16 during the peak blooms, offering events for the whole family.
Park Avenue and Lake Street, Newark, NJ 07104
The Western Hemisphere’s Largest Indoor Theme Park at American Dream has some of the steepest, tallest, and longest rides in the world. Take a ride on Blaze’s Monster Truck Rally, the Rugrats Reptar Go-Round, SpongeBob’s Jellyfish Jam, and the Skyline Scream. You can even meet your favorite characters like Blue’s Clues, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and SpongeBob Squarepants. After, you can head to the other parts of American Dream, including shopping, yummy snacks, and an indoor water park.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073
This narrow barrier island stretches for 10 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, with dunes, freshwater wetlands, tidal marshes, white sandy beaches, marine plants, and wildlife that looks the same way it did thousands of years ago. But this is more than just a beach—with hiking trails, biking along the main road, and areas to kayak and paddle board, a day at Island Beach State Park can be full of adventure.
2401 Central Ave, Seaside Park, NJ 08752
Boardwalks are some of the best things to do in New Jersey, and Casino Pier in Seaside Heights is one of the most popular. Take a spin on the Ferris wheel, find speed in the roller coasters, or whirl around in family-friendly coasters. If you need a break from the rides, putt-putt at one of two mini golf courses, test out the Go-Kart track or let your kiddos play a variety of games. Starting Memorial Day, you can get wet and wild at Breakwater Beach, the waterpark at Casino Pier, with a wave pool, lazy river, and thrilling slides.
800 Ocean Terrace, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) is a cultural institution for the city of Newark and the state of New Jersey, offering world-class performances on its stage. From concerts to children’s programming to comedians, you can stay updated with NJPAC events with their calendar. There are also educational programs, free events, and sponsored festivals across the city.
1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Explore galleries with art from Global Africa to a Museum Garden with rotating exhibits at The Newark Museum of Art. There is no shortage of interactive activities for kids that will engage them in geology, fire safety, renewable energy, and outer space. They won’t want to miss MakerSPACE, where little ones are introduced to the museum’s collections through songs, art, and storytelling. And if you are looking for things to do in New Jersey to fill up your calendar, don’t miss their special family events, such as movie nights and community art projects.
49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102
No matter what season it is, Mountain Creek is full of outdoor fun. In the winter, ski, snowboard, or even take a SNO-Go bike on the mountain in the fresh snow. In the spring, test out their bike park, and in summer, take in the thrills and spills at their water park and Alpine adventure area with zip tours and a ropes course. Because there are so many things to do, plan an overnight vacay at the nearby Crystal Springs Resort.
200 Route 94, Vernon, NJ 07462
Morey’s Piers in Wildwood is the quintessential Jersey Shore boardwalk—with three separate oceanfront piers, two water parks, and plenty of spots to have an afternoon snack—everyone can have a blast on the boards. Hop from pier to pier filled with attractions where you can splash down a water slide, reach the sky on the Ferris wheel, or test your mini-golf skills at the Starlux. There is no shortage of summertime fun at Morey’s Piers, one of our favorite things to do in New Jersey.
3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260
Rides, amusements, games, food, and drink — Steel Pier in Atlantic City is one of the most iconic and historic boardwalks in NJ (it opened over a century ago) and is world-famous, having been the backdrop to countless movies and TV shows. You can take a pedicab on the boards and stop by the rides, including the carousel and 277-foot tall Ferris wheel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. And during the summer, Steel Pier heats up with festivals and specials—check their Facebook page to keep up with upcoming events.
100 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
What things to do in New Jersey are on your bucket list?
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