Summer break is the season of relaxation and rejuvenation, and there’s no better place to experience it than in New Jersey. The Garden State offers a wide array of destinations, perfect for a weekend escape. Whether you’re looking for a romantic beach trip with your partner or a fun camping adventure with your friends, there’s something for everyone in NJ. So, let’s explore the best weekend trips for summer break, from North to Central and South Jersey. Pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to explore NJ’s summer wonderland!
For nature lovers and camping enthusiasts, North Jersey offers plenty of options for a weekend getaway. From the beautiful Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to the serene High Point State Park, North Jersey is a nature lover’s paradise.
If you’re looking for a secluded spot to camp with your loved ones, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a must-visit. This park spans across two states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and boasts stunning mountain vistas, waterfalls, and lush forests. Campers can choose from primitive sites to RV-friendly camping areas. You can spend your days hiking the scenic trails, canoeing on the Delaware River, or just relaxing and enjoying the natural beauty.
Located in Sussex County, High Point State Park is the highest point in New Jersey, offering panoramic views of three states. The park features over 50 campsites, including tent and RV camping options, and also has yurts available for rent. The park offers numerous activities like hiking, fishing, boating, and bird-watching, and during the summer months, visitors can also cool off at Lake Marcia Beach.
If you’re looking for a more primitive camping experience, then Worthington State Forest is an ideal option. Located in Warren County, this forest has a rustic camping area with no showers or flush toilets, perfect for the adventurous at heart. Visitors can enjoy hiking the Appalachian Trail, fishing, kayaking, and swimming in the Delaware River.
Lakes and Pools
If you’re looking to cool off and enjoy some aquatic fun in North Jersey, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Here are some options for lakes and pools to visit during your weekend getaway:
Lake Hopatcong: This picturesque lake in Morris and Sussex counties is the largest freshwater body in the state. You can rent a boat or jet ski, fish, swim, or simply enjoy the scenic views. There are several marinas, restaurants, and bars around the lake as well.
Spruce Run Recreation Area: This state park in Hunterdon County has a 1,290-acre reservoir with a beach for swimming and sunbathing. You can also go fishing, boating, or hiking in the surrounding hills and woods. Even better, this incredible state park is a only short drive from The Residences at Raritan Town Square.
Mountain Creek Waterpark: If you’re looking for some thrills and spills, head to this water park in Vernon. It features dozens of water slides, pools, and attractions, as well as a zip line, mountain biking trails, and an adventure course.
No matter what your preference or budget is, you’ll find plenty of options for water fun in North Jersey. Just don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a towel!
If you’re looking for a change of scenery without venturing too far from home, a weekend trip to a North Jersey city might be just what you need. Here are a few options to consider:
Hoboken: This waterfront city is just across the Hudson River from New York City, but it has a charm all on its own. Spend the weekend strolling along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, visiting the bars and restaurants on Washington Street, and taking in the city’s impressive art scene at galleries like the Hoboken Historical Museum.
Jersey City: Like Hoboken, Jersey City boasts stunning views of Manhattan, but it also has its own attractions. Take a stroll through Liberty State Park, visit the interactive exhibits at the Liberty Science Center, or catch a show at the historic Loew’s Jersey Theatre.
Morristown: History buffs will love Morristown’s connection to the Revolutionary War, but there’s plenty to do for everyone. Walk through the lovely gardens at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, visit the Morris Museum for a dose of art and culture, or simply enjoy the quaint shops and restaurants in the downtown area.
Newark: Often overshadowed by its bigger neighbors, Newark is worth a closer look. Take a guided tour of the city’s street art, catch a show at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, or explore the unique Ironbound neighborhood, known for its Portuguese cuisine.
If you’re looking for a rustic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then camping in Central Jersey is the perfect weekend getaway. The area offers a wide range of campsites that cater to every type of camper, whether you’re looking for a luxurious glamping experience or a rugged tent in the wilderness. Here are a few top spots to pitch your tent:
Round Valley Recreation Area: Located in Clinton Township, Round Valley Recreation Area offers 85 campsites spread out across four different camping areas. Each campsite comes with a fire ring and picnic table, and the park also offers access to a beach and a variety of hiking trails.
Allaire State Park: Situated in Wall Township, Allaire State Park offers both primitive campsites and sites with electrical hookups. In addition to camping, visitors can also enjoy hiking, fishing, and even horseback riding.
Cheesequake State Park: Just a short drive from New York City, Cheesequake State Park offers tent and trailer campsites in a beautiful, wooded area. The park also has access to a swimming lake, a playground, and a nature center, and is only a twelve-minute drive from London Terrace.
Central Jersey is the start of the Jersey Shore, where you can find dozens of beaches, each with their unique character and atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly spot, a romantic retreat, or a bustling boardwalk, the Jersey Shore has it all.
Asbury Park is a lively beach with a bustling boardwalk, great for people-watching, and catching live music shows. In addition to its serene beaches, Asbury Park is also known for its rich music scene. Whether you’re into rock, blues, jazz, or jam bands, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste in Asbury Park.
Another popular destination is Sandy Hook, a 7-mile-long peninsula with stunning views of the ocean, nature trails, and more. Be sure to pack your meals if you’re going to Sandy Hook for a beach day, as this is a protected area with no retail businesses in it.
You can also enjoy Point Pleasant Beach, a family-friendly destination with rides and arcades along its award-winning boardwalk full of rides, arcades, restaurants, bars, and more. Living at Green Meadows at Pleasant Plains, you’re in for an easy beach, boardwalk, or bar trip to the famous Point Pleasant Beach Boardwalk!
If you’re looking for a weekend escape that involves exploring some of New Jersey’s charming cities, then Central NJ is where you should head to. With plenty of great options to choose from, you’ll find that there’s something for everyone in the Garden State. Here are some fun cities in Central NJ that you won’t want to miss.
Known as the home of Rutgers University, New Brunswick has plenty of attractions for visitors of all ages. Catch a show at the State Theatre, explore the Zimmerli Art Museum, or visit the historic Rutgers Gardens. Foodies will love the diverse dining scene in downtown New Brunswick, which offers everything from Thai street food to modern American cuisine.
Princeton is an Ivy League town famous for its picturesque campus and quaint downtown area. Take a walking tour of Princeton University, admire the architecture of the Princeton Chapel, or explore the numerous boutiques and restaurants on Nassau Street. If you’re a fan of the arts, then you won’t want to miss the Princeton University Art Museum or the McCarter Theatre. In fact, we love Princeton so much, we built a community there: Windsor Woods.
Located along the Navesink River, Red Bank is a charming town that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. Shop at the unique boutiques along Broad Street, stroll through the beautiful Riverside Gardens Park, or catch a concert at the Count Basie Center for the Arts. Foodies will love the culinary offerings in Red Bank, which range from Italian classics to creative modern cuisine.
If you’re looking for a weekend escape in nature, camping in South NJ is an excellent choice. From the lush forests of the Pine Barrens to the sandy beaches of Cape May, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few camping options to consider:
Located in Cape May County, Belleplain State Forest has over 20 miles of hiking trails, three lakes, and several campsites for tents and RVs. The park also offers bike rentals, fishing, and hunting.
Located in Salem County, Parvin State Park offers primitive and tent camping, as well as cabins. The park has a lake for swimming and boating, several hiking trails, and picnic areas.
Located in Burlington County, Wharton State Forest is the largest forest in NJ, with over 122,000 acres of land. The park has several campsites for tents and RVs, as well as cabins. The park is home to the Batsto Village, a historic village that’s worth visiting.
South Jersey Beaches
For those seeking some fun in the sun, South Jersey is home to some of the best beaches in the state. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day lounging on the sand or a more active beach experience, there’s something for everyone.
One of the most popular destinations for beachgoers in South Jersey is Long Beach Island. This beautiful barrier island is 18 miles long and boasts some of the best beaches in the state.
Strathmere, located in Cape May County, is another great option for a beach day. This quiet beach town is known for its clean beaches, tranquil atmosphere, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Avalon is another favorite among locals and tourists alike. Known for its pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, Avalon is the perfect place to relax and unwind. In addition to the beach, there are also plenty of restaurants and shops to explore in town.
Cities in South Jersey
When it comes to weekend trips in South Jersey, there are plenty of exciting cities to choose from. Whether you want to spend your days soaking up the sun on the beach, strolling through charming streets, or trying your luck at a casino, there’s something for everyone in these destinations.
First up is Cape May, known for its beautiful Victorian architecture, quaint boutiques, and wide range of dining options. Spend a day exploring the Cape May Lighthouse or take a stroll through the beautiful Cape May Point State Park. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to go whale watching or take a sunset sailboat ride.
Next, head to Atlantic City for some high-energy entertainment. Test your luck at one of the many casinos or take in a show at one of the top-rated venues like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Atlantic City also boasts an array of dining options ranging from high-end restaurants to quick bites on the boardwalk.
Finally, Ocean City offers a more family-friendly atmosphere with a 2.5-mile boardwalk packed with amusement parks, shops, and restaurants. Take a dip in the ocean or one of the city’s many pools, and don’t miss the opportunity to catch one of the nightly fireworks displays during the summer months.