No matter what your preconceptions of New Jersey might be, the fact that it encompasses the full range of experiences when it comes to rural, suburban, and urban means that there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the under-appreciated destination. In parts quaint and equally gritty, you certainly won’t run out of things to do if you choose to explore New Jersey. Jersey Shore might be the first thing that you think of, but despite the reputation, there’s far more to New Jersey than that, and it offers the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. If you’re looking for things to do in New Jersey, here are the best places to check out.
Art Lovers will be Very Happy
There are plenty of galleries and museums to visit in New Jersey, but perhaps the most impressive place to visit is the Grounds For Sculpture park. This is a full 42-acre grounds that used to be part of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds, but it’s changed a lot since then. The reason why it’s at the top of the list of places to visit in New Jersey is because it not only boasts a massive number of trees and flowers, but because of the sculptures. With over 240 on display at any given time, the gardens also organize a large number of exhibitions, community events, and educational programs to enjoy. The sculptures themselves are arranged in a variety of ways, with some clustered together and others hidden away in need of discovery. They are made of plenty of different materials, and represent works by some of the most famous sculptors in the world. Definitely worth visiting, the Grounds for Sculpture is one of the most unique things to do in New Jersey.
Get to the Delaware River
While there is plenty of optional activities when it comes to the Delaware, no visit to New Jersey is truly complete without a little tubing. This is one of the most popular activities for those that live in the New Jersey area, and one day of experiencing the thrill of the river will show you why that is. The Delaware River is largely a calm river, but there are plenty of white-water sections for those hoping for a little adrenaline rush too. You won’t have to bring your own tubing equipment, as there are a large number of places renting out the kit you need for the day, and the prices are very reasonable. Some rental companies even include food and drink with the rental costs, so you can enjoy a couple of burgers after your exhausting but fun tubing day. If you don’t know what to do in New Jersey, then this is a great way to spend your first day.
The Colorful Splendor of Sterling Hill Mine
If you’re looking for something that is mind-blowingly psychedelic, then head to the fluorescent rocks of Sterling Hill Mine. It’s hard to find anything quite like this place. One of the oldest zinc mines in the country, the strange lighting effect of the mine makes the zinc rocks shine in a spectacular array of vibrant colors of every shade. There are so many that the mine has become the largest public collection in the world. It can get very busy in Sterling Hill Mine, and tours are very structured, so it’s worth making your booking as far in advance as possible so that you don’t miss out on this colorful and memorable experience. Truly phenomenal, don’t make the mistake of thinking that colored rocks are boring. You will leave the mine with a whole new appreciation of light and color, and people are changed by their time underground.
Fights Through History
The musical ‘Hamilton’ is very popular, and that’s why there has been an increasing number of visitors to the Weehawken Dueling Grounds. This is where Alexander Hamilton was shot in a duel by Aaron Burr, so it’s no surprise that the musical has caused a surge in visitor numbers. Even if you’re not a fan of the musical it’s definitely worth going and taking a look. Everyone likes a good duel, and when you can check out the famous boulder where Hamilton lay after being shot, then it’s definitely worth taking an hour or two from your schedule to have a peek at this unique slice of history.
Where to Stay
If your itinerary ends up taking you anywhere near the beach town of Wildwood, then you might want to take the opportunity to stay in a real doo-wop hotel. Wildwood is a fairly busy destination, and that’s not really surprising considering that it has plenty of boardwalk amusements and enough beach for everyone. Doo-wop hotels used to be much more prolific in Wildwood, but they have slowly faded away, leaving only the best of the best. The architecture of doo-wop hotels is so unique that it’s worth venturing into one even if you’re not planning a night there. The blend of 1950s architecture mixed with a space-age aesthetic makes them something that is sadly a rare sight in America in the modern age. If you’re not sure which is the best place to stay, check out the Caribbean Motel, which is also one of the few hotels that are also registered as a Historic Place on the National Register.
Don’t be put off by the rough and ready reputation of New Jersey. It’s much more accessible than you might have thought, and there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. Plan your trip there right, and you may end up staying even longer than planned.