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  • New York State Travel Guide Weekend Getaways

Day Trips in New Jersey: Top 23 Most Unique Spots


  • May 23, 2024
  • New York State Travel Guide , Weekend Getaways

Pier in Ocean City, NJ, a fantastic pick among day trips in New Jersey

New Jersey often gets overlooked for the behemoths on either side of it. Like Connecticut , most seem to equate it with driving through to New York City or Philadelphia, respectively.

But the reality is that New Jersey is a pleasant surprise as far as what you can see and do there. The state’s packed with:

Historic sites stretching back to the early days of the state

Botanic gardens blooming with Mother Nature’s finest

And over 130 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline

Fancy a flutter?

Atlantic City’s casinos are the ace up New Jersey’s sleeve.

Take a jaunt through historic towns like Cape May, as well-preserved as grandma’s jam. Or strut down the boardwalks of Ocean City, cotton candy in hand. State parks and forests offer a lungful of fresh air with year-round outdoor recreation. Think hiking, swimming, skiing, or snowshoeing.

Each town in New Jersey is a cultural potpourri, perfect for day trippers who relish a good find in a quirky shop or a tucked-away eatery. This guide is your golden ticket to the best, most accessible destinations for day-trippers. It’s time to play hooky from the office and discover a new side of New Jersey.

Ready to explore the best day trips in New Jersey ? Let’s get into it:

New Jersey is an unsung hero for day trips. There are a ton of unique attractions here, from historic sites to cultural hotspots and coastal retreats. It’s a playground for adventurers and families alike. It’s like the state has a secret recipe for fun!

The highlights of NJ are many and varied. Montclair buzzes with an artsy vibe. The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens are a visual feast, and Morristown’s revolutionary tales grip you like a thriller. Meanwhile, the iconic boardwalks and beaches of the New Jersey Shore are the perfect finale to a day of exploration.

Near major cities, New Jersey is the perfect launchpad for even more adventures. Day trips to nearby states like Connecticut and New York mean maritime escapades and culinary tours are a short drive away.

The Best Day Trips in New Jersey

Scenic view of one of New Jersey's iconic coastal attractions and great New Jersey day trips, Long Beach Island

New Jersey, often the unsung chorus in the grand symphony of states, is a treasure chest of unique adventures. With over 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, it’s the state’s own yellow brick road. This path leads to historic sites that whisper secrets of yore and to a trove of parks and forests. Whether you’re craving a spontaneous day trip or plotting an escape from the daily grind, New Jersey stands ready. With open arms and a cheeky grin, it promises a day full of escapades and cherished memories.

Jersey City

Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey

Facing Manhattan across New York Harbor, Jersey City awaits. It’s a perfect (and easy) pick among New Jersey day trips, with attractions and activities like:

Liberty State Park, offers expansive greenery and a front-row seat to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Liberty Science Center, to delve into the wonders of science

Kayak eco-tours around the Hudson River

Don’t forget to pay homage at the memorials, including ‘Empty Sky’ which commemorates the tragic events of 9/11.

Historic buildings in Hoboken, NJ

Upriver, Hoboken’s waterfront offers postcard-perfect views of the New York City skyline. This town’s rich history is palpable. And it’s home to some unique and historic firsts:

Its the birthplace of baseball

It was also the hometown of Frank Sinatra

Wander the streets and you’ll find a vibrant selection of bars and restaurants, each with its own character.

Chatham invites you to experience its historic Main Street and savor its apple-pie charm. A walk uncovers an array of quaint shops and eateries, such as Sorriso Kitchen . Meanwhile, the Chatham Community Players bring a vibrant arts scene to this cozy corner of Morris County.

Ridgewood is a blend of urban convenience and suburban serenity. The town boasts a historic business district established in 1853 around its train station and town square. Other spots to explore include Graydon Park and Ridgewood Wild Duck Pond.

Westfield’s picturesque atmosphere is palpable as soon as you arrive. The downtown, lined with chic boutiques and historic sites, is a snapshot of New Jersey’s charm.

Westfield’s unique connection to the Addams Family lends an amusing and slightly macabre flavor to your visit. Hometown of the famed cartoonist, Charles Addams, Westfield is where the spooky Addams Family sprang to life.

In Summit, you’ll find a bustling downtown district brimming with a variety of shops and eateries. And all within easy reach of the peaceful Reeves-Reed Arboretum. This town truly delivers the best of both worlds, blending a vibrant urban center with surrounding natural splendor.

Maplewood exudes nostalgia with a diverse community and scenic green spaces like Memorial Park. It proudly claims the title of the birthplace of Ultimate Frisbee, adding a distinctive touch.

Essex County

Historic landmarks in Essex County, New Jersey

Essex County, New Jersey, is more than a destination; it’s a sensation. Here, urban sophistication and suburban charm dance in harmony. The region is a celebration where the arts, history, and nature come together.

Montclair, affectionately known as “the Brooklyn of New Jersey,” is a hub for arts and performances. With a history that includes icons like Yogi Berra and Stephen Colbert, this town is a melting pot of creativity.

The Montclair Film Festival and the Montclair Jazz Festival are just two events that draw thousands to its vibrant streets. And either are great excuses to visit. Though this innkeeper doesn’t need one to visit.

The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens

The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens , known as the “rainbow on the hill,” is a horticultural haven. With over 4,000 varieties of irises, it’s a place where color and fragrance merge to create a feast for the senses. The gardens serve not only as a beautiful retreat but also as an educational resource. Some highlights of the gardens include:

Over 4,000 varieties of irises

A beautiful and serene atmosphere

Educational resources for visitors

Live music events during bloom season

Come and experience the beauty and tranquility of the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.

Warren County

View of the Delaware Water Gap from the top of Mount Tammany.

Warren County, with its sweeping vistas and historic allure, is as a proud representation of New Jersey’s rich tapestry. Here, you can ascend to the skies in a hot air balloon, feeling like you’re on a whimsical journey above the world. Or wander through Shippen Manor, where history resonates within its storied walls. Warren County beckons as a call to embrace the great outdoors and dive into the annals of local lore.

In Columbia, nestled within the scenic Delaware Water Gap, you’ll find a testament to conservation at the Lakota Wolf Preserve. This sanctuary is home to wolves, foxes, and bobcats born in captivity. Through educational tours, visitors can observe these magnificent creatures up close and support vital conservation work.

Delaware Water Gap

The Delaware Water Gap is where the Delaware River carves through the Appalachian Mountains. With over 100 miles of trails, and spots for activities such as fishing, kayaking, and rafting, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

The area’s waterfalls and wildlife management program ensure that the beauty of the Gap can be enjoyed by future generations. So have at it!

Hunterdon County

Red Mill in Clinton, NJ

Hunterdon County beckons with its picturesque rolling hills and charming historic towns. It’s like stepping straight into a storybook. The Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton offers a vivid journey through time. Meanwhile, Lambertville’s artsy vibe showcases New Jersey’s more genteel side.

Clinton enchants visitors. Start at the Red Mill Museum Village, a landmark that’s also a living history museum. The town’s vibrant downtown district further complements the experience. Take some time to poke around the art galleries, cafes, and a sense of community that’s as inviting as it is historic. Plus, the Hunterdon art museum. Located in an 1836 mill building, it showcases contemporary art and craft.


Aerial view of Lambertville, NJ, looking across the Delaware Rive to New Hope, PA

Lambertville’s historic architecture and stunning views of the Delaware River make it a photographer’s delight. Its boutiques and antique shops provide endless browsing opportunities. And events like the Two-Town Turkey Trot showcase the town’s community spirit. And you can easily walk across the bridge to New Hope, PA, one of the coolest weekend getaways in the Northeast .

Sussex County

Snow board at Mountain Creek Resort

Sussex County unfurls a landscape far removed from New Jersey’s urban hustle. It’s a realm where towering trees replace skyscrapers and birdsong drowns out car horns. Here, you can swap your office attire for outdoor gear and embrace nature’s playground.

Mountain Creek, Vernon Township

Mountain Creek in Vernon Township is where adventure seekers get their fix. Some of the activities you can enjoy include:

Zip-lining across the landscape for an exhilarating perspective

Riding the alpine coaster for a thrilling experience

Visiting the water park for some watery fun

In winter, the resort transforms into a snowy wonderland. This ski resort is one of the best spots near NYC for skiing and snowboarding .

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum dives deep into New Jersey’s mining history. Its ADA-accessible underground mine tour takes you to a dazzling rainbow wall. The place is a geological spectacle.

The museum’s educational resources and mineral collecting opportunities make it a unique and informative destination.

Central New Jersey

Man on his phone in Palmer Square in Princeton, NJ

Central New Jersey is a patchwork quilt of pastoral and historical charm. It’s a treasure trove for day-trippers. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find:

Preserved farmland stretching across thousands of acres

Battlefields and historic homes woven into the landscape

Agricultural bounty of the Garden State, offering foodies a slice of local flavor.

Cultural offerings highlight the area’s storied heritage.

Outdoor activities abound, inviting you to answer the call of the wild with every hike and kayak paddle.

Princeton University campus in New Jersey

Princeton is synonymous with its prestigious university, but there’s much more to this town than academia. With:

Historic landmarks like Princeton Battlefield State Park

And a dining scene that ranges from global cuisine on Nassau Street to farm-to-table spots

Princeton is a microcosm of Central New Jersey’s diverse appeal. It’s one of the best road trips from NYC for a reason.

Monmouth County

Monmouth County sparkles as New Jersey’s coastal gem. Each beach town here adds its unique zest to the mix. Meanwhile, the state parks preserve the region’s natural beauty. If a seaside escape is what you’re after, head here.

Asbury Park

Winter surfing, the boardwalk in the background, in Asbury Park, New Jersey

. A unique, historic, beach town, Asbury Park hosts an eclectic scene of bars and restaurants near its boardwalk. Asbury Park attractions include:

That eclectic boardwalk

Iconic music venues like The Stone Pony

Pet-friendly beach

All sorts of dining options

Overlooking Sandy Hook Bay and Atlantic Ocean coastline, Highlands, NJ, offers:

Breathtaking views from its twin historic lighthouses, restored in 1862

Over seven miles of unspoiled beaches along the picturesque Sandy Hook Bay

Proximity to Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean

Signature seafood establishments such as Bahrs Landing Seafood Restaurant and the Lusty Lobster Seafood Market

Highlands is a place of natural beauty and maritime heritage that begs to be appreciated.

Long Branch

Seagull taking off from Long Branch Beach

Long Branch’s vibrant beach scene and chic boutiques provide a lively atmosphere that’s perfect for a sun-soaked day trip. With Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park and a boardwalk lined with enticing eateries, Long Branch is quite the beach town.

Red Bank’s scenic riverside park and thriving restaurant scene are complemented by local breweries. It makes for a dynamic day trip destination. It’s a town that perfectly marries the tranquility of the water with the excitement of urban life.

Allaire State Park

Allaire State Park is a step back in time with its restored 19th-century ironworks site, Allaire Village, and the Pine Creek Railroad. Offering a mix of history and outdoor activities, it’s a park that represents the versatility of Monmouth County’s attractions.

Camden County

A peacock at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township, NJ

Camden County is a blend of historic sites and modern amenities, where you can shop, dine, and delve into the past. Explore the shopping district of Haddonfield and take in the historic significance of Morristown. Camden County offers a multifaceted experience.


Haddonfield’s reputation as a shopping and dining destination is well-deserved. After all, it has over 200 shops and art galleries to explore. Its close to Philadelphia, which only adds to its appeal. It’s an accessible and delightful day trip from anywhere in New Jersey, and beyond.

Rockingham State Historic Site

Rockingham State Historic Site is a jewel steeped in America’s Revolutionary War history. It’s home to the final headquarters of General George Washington. The well-preserved site offers an authentic glimpse into the past at Washington’s Headquarters Museum. Complete with guided tours and educational workshops, it brings history to life for visitors of all ages.

Hamilton Township

Hamilton Township shines with a vibrant art scene. The major draw is Grounds For Sculpture, a 42-acre park filled with stunning sculptures and beautiful landscaping.

A meal at Rat’s Restaurant is the perfect way to end a day of visual splendor. A Wind in the Willows character inspired the restaurant’s name.

Morristown is a haven for history enthusiasts. It boasts sites that played pivotal roles in the American Revolution. From the stately Ford Mansion to the lush trails of Jockey Hollow, Morristown is a living history book where the past is always within reach.

And for more contemporary pleasures, the town’s dining and nightlife scenes do not disappoint.

New Jersey Shore

Scenic view of Cape May, New Jersey shore

The New Jersey Shore is the epitome of summer. Its boardwalks are as iconic as the state’s famed diners. And the beaches are as tranquil as a meditating yogi. Along the Atlantic, this region is like New Jersey’s own festive backyard. Each town, from the Victorian charmer Cape May to the vibrant Atlantic City, offers distinct attractions. Think of it as a beachside ice cream parlor, where every town is a delightful flavor!

Cape May’s allure lies in its:

Historic district, where time seems to stand still among the Victorian homes and quaint bed and breakfasts

Beachfront, which beckons with its soft sand and soothing waves

Washington Street Mall, which offers an array of shopping and dining experiences.

Whether you’re seeking out the Cape May diamonds or embarking on a trolley tour, Cape May is a must-visit for anyone. It’s a sweet taste of New Jersey’s seaside heritage.

Margate City

Margate City, home to the beloved Lucy the Elephant, is a quieter beach experience among busier shores. Its residential charm and lifeguarded beaches create an idyllic setting for a day of sunbathing.

Whether you’re renting a summer home or just passing through, Margate City’s laid-back atmosphere is a refreshing change of pace.

Toms River, a family-friendly destination, boasts attractions including:

The Ocean County Mall


And the River Lady cruises

Its annual Halloween parade is a spectacle not to be missed. It draws crowds from near and far to witness the creative and spooky displays that take over the town.

Point Pleasant Beach

Wildlife taking off from the beach

With award-winning beaches and family-oriented boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach is a staple of New Jersey’s shoreline. Some highlights of Point Pleasant Beach include:

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, with its aquarium, amusement park, and a ton of dining options

The local fishing industry memorial

The annual Festival of the Sea

Long Beach Island

Long Beach Island is a slice of coastal paradise. The island hosts serene beaches, historic Barnegat Lighthouse, and charming towns like Surf City. The island’s laid-back vibe is perfect for a break from the hustle. And attractions like Fantasy Island Amusement Park ensure there’s plenty of family fun to be had.

Tuckerton invites you to celebrate its maritime heritage with events like the Privateers & Pirates Festival. At the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum, interactive exhibits and nature trails allow for a hands-on exploration of the Jersey Shore’s maritime traditions. The town’s dedication to preserving and sharing its coastal culture is clear for all ages to enjoy.

Atlantic City

Rainbow over Atlantic City

Atlantic City is a place of contrasts. It’s where the excitement of casinos and nightclubs coexists with busy beach scenes. The famed Boardwalk is a hub of activity, offering everything from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to the Steel Pier Ferris wheel.

Beyond the glitz and glamour, family-friendly attractions like:

Storybook Land

And the Atlantic City Aquarium

Offer a different kind of entertainment.

More Ideas for Day Trips from New Jersey

The Pocono Mountains are a nature lover's paradise

The areas bordering New Jersey are ripe with day trips, too. The rustic Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania are where towering trees meet fresh air. Or Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach, with its sandy shores and sweet treats. Each destination offers its own distinct charm, inviting new experiences just a short drive away.


Sailing and local history abound in Connecticut

The Nutmeg State is just a hop, skip, and a jump from New Jersey. It’s where to go for day-trippers craving a sprinkle of New England charm. Stroll through Yale University in New Haven, CT , where the academic air might will make you feel smarter by osmosis. Or set sail for a maritime adventure in Mystic, CT , where belugas become your new best friends and historic ships beckon you to take the helm.

Don’t miss Gillette Castle State Park, where a medieval fantasy awaits, sans dragons, in the peculiar abode of a Sherlock Holmes actor. Then dive into the Maritime Aquarium , a place where sharks swim by with a nod and sea turtles seem to ask about your day. Connecticut day trips offer a delightful detour.

Hiking trails from any quaint little town lead to beautiful sights

New York is a day-tripper’s dream, serving up a smorgasbord of destinations. Find tranquility in the Catskills Mountains . Discover the artistic vibe in Beacon, NY, with sculptures and murals at every turn. In Sleepy Hollow, New York , dare to walk the historic streets where the headless horseman roams. Food enthusiasts, rejoice at the Culinary Institute of America, a mecca for culinary delights. Whatever your preference, New York has an activity to match.

More Road Trip Ideas

Architectural detail at the Williamsburg, VA, historical sites and interpretive center

The East Coast is a treasure map. Destinations are marked for exploration, each an invitation to a memorable road trip from New Jersey. Maine’s Portland and Bar Harbor offer the rich flavors of travel, much like their famed lobster rolls. That make perfect New England summer getaways. Maryland’s Eastern Shore beckons with its quaint crab shacks and picturesque lighthouses. In Virginia’s Williamsburg, you’ll find yourself stepping back in time, each path has a story to tell.

Lace up your hiking boots for an ascent through the White Mountains, where the air is as invigorating as a freshly picked apple. Or take a leisurely trip through the Brandywine Valley. Here, art and nature coalesce, reminiscent of long-time friends reuniting at a summer gathering. These summer road trip ideas are akin to sparklers on the cake of adventure, each one igniting a sense of wanderlust with every passing mile.

New Jersey is like a day trip buffet, offering everything from the bustling streets of Jersey City to the soothing sands of the Jersey Shore. If thrills are what you seek, amusement parks await. For those craving serenity, state parks offer peaceful retreats. History enthusiasts can step back in time at Revolutionary War sites. So pack your picnic basket, unfold your map, and set out on a journey. You’ll uncover hidden treasures and popular haunts in the vibrant tapestry of the Garden State. Every turn is a new chapter; every stop, a story waiting to be told.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can i spend a day in new jersey.

In New Jersey, you can spend a day witnessing wildlife in Columbia, delving into revolutionary history in Morristown, and exploring the museums of Princeton. Other memorable experiences include the Red Mill in Clinton, the lively Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, the historical Allaire State Park in Farmingdale, and the captivating Adventure Aquarium in Camden.

How many days do you need to visit New Jersey?

You should plan to stay for at least 15 to 20 days to fully enjoy your visit to New Jersey, considering the coast, adventure sports, and city tours. Enjoy your trip!

How do I spend a day in Delaware?

You can spend a day in Delaware by exploring Downtown Lewes, Tanger Outlets, Downtown Rehoboth Beach, and Bethany Beach in Southern Delaware, or by visiting attractions like the Air Mobility Command Museum and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. Enjoy the beaches, state parks, and biking trails for outdoor activities.

What is a full day trip?

A full day trip is a visit to a destination and returning to the same place in the evening, typically lasting 24 hours or less. It’s like a mini vacation packed with adventure, perfect for a quick getaway or a day of exploration.

What are some family-friendly destinations in New Jersey for a day trip?

Consider visiting Point Pleasant Beach, the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, or Storybook Land near Atlantic City for a family-friendly day trip in New Jersey. Enjoy the boardwalk, aquarium, interactive exhibits, and amusement rides themed around nursery rhymes.

Related posts:

Large lake in Shandaken, NY, of the Catskills, one of the best winter getaways from NYC

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  • Destinations

25 Best Day Trips in New Jersey

Last Updated By VI in New Jersey on November 17, 2023

Best New Jersey Day Trips

Morristown National Historical Park

Beyond the plate food tours, barnegat lighthouse state park.

  • Complete List & Map

Morristown National Historical Park

Morristown National Historical Park , 30 Washington Pl, Morristown , New Jersey 07960, Phone: 973-543-1949

Beyond the Plate Food Tours

Food tours offer a unique way to gain an insight into a town’s foodie scene, taste some regional specialties, and to seek out the best establishments to return to during the remainder of your visit. Beyond the Plate Food Tours , Phone: 551-233-9553

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park , 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, New Jersey 08006, Phone: 609-494-2016

Cape May

More Jersey Shore beaches

Cheesequake State Park

Cheesequake State Park

Cheesequake State Park , 300 Gordon Rd, Matawan, NJ 07747, Phone: 732-566-2161


The Hunterdon Art Museum showcases contemporary art and craft works in an 1836 mill building. Nearby, the city's downtown district is lined with lovely art galleries, cafes, and boutiques. Clinton Map


Visitors can also sample delicious red and white wines at Brook Hollow Winery or stay overnight at the charming Rosemary Inn bed and breakfast facility. Columbia Map


Edgewater is also known for its free-flying monk parakeet colony, which are native to South America and have lived in the region since at least 1980. More Weekend Getaways in New Jersey

Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

More ideas: 15 Must-Try New Jersey Restaurants



Unique stores include eclectic children's toy store Happy Hippo, and vibrant pet accessory store Velvet Paws. Visitors can dine at some of the Philadelphia region's top restaurants and cafes or explore historic attractions like the Historical Society of Haddonfield, which is housed within the 1841 Greenfield Hall. Haddonfield Map


On land, the city's delicious seafood restaurants are known as area landmarks, including the century-old Bahrs Landing Seafood Restaurant and the Lusty Lobster Seafood Market. Highlands Map

Island Beach State Park

Island Beach State Park

Visitors can frolic along the park's white sand beaches, which offer lifeguarded swimming areas throughout the summer months. Dune buggy and four-wheel-drive vehicle access are permitted throughout certain areas of the park. Map

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park , 200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305, Phone: 201-915-3403

Margate City

Margate City

Visitors can view famed sites such as Marven Gardens, noted for its Monopoly fame, and the unique Lucy the Elephant zoomorphic architecture structure, which is more than 130 years old and stands 65 feet tall. Margate City Map

Allaire State Park

Allaire State Park

Allaire State Park , 4265 Atlantic Ave, Wall Township, NJ 07727, Phone: 732-938-2371

Paterson Museum

Paterson Museum

Paterson Museum , 2 Market St, Paterson, NJ 07501, Phone: 973-321-1260

Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach is also known as an antiquer's paradise, home to delightful antique stores like the Point Pavilion Antique Center. Many to-go and full-service restaurants line the boardwalk, including the renowned Europa South restaurant, which serves up delicious Portuguese cuisine options.


Arts lovers can enjoy performances at regional Tony Award-winning McCarter Theatre Center or watch classic and foreign films at the Princeton Garden Theatre. In town, Nassau Street is home to charming shopping destinations and delicious global cuisine options. Princeton Map

Rockingham State Historic Site

Rockingham State Historic Site

Rockingham State Historic Site , 84 Laurel Ave, Kingston, NJ 08528, Phone: 609-683-7132


The town's Colonial Inn offers excellent adults-only bed and breakfast amenities, including rooms with double soaking tubs and steam showers. Map

Toms River

Ocean County Mall is home to more than 120 specialty stores, including name brands such as Victoria's Secret, and H&M. Visitors can also take cruises aboard the paddlewheel riverboat River Lady, learn about exotic insects at Insectropolis, or catch live music performances by the Garden State Philharmonic or the Toms River Theatre Company. Each year, the town hosts one of the nation's largest Halloween events. Toms River Map


Along the city's Main Street, visitors can peruse shops, restaurants, and attractions such as the New Jersey Surf Museum. Map

Wharton State Forest

Wharton State Forest

Wharton State Forest , Hammonton, NJ 08037, Phone: 609-561-0024

Atlantic City

Atlantic City

Kitschy visitor attractions include the Steel Pier amusement park, home to newly-added giant Ferris wheel. Since 1921, the city has been the renowned home of the annual Miss America pageant. Atlantic City Map

  • 1. Morristown National Historical Park
  • 2. Beyond the Plate Food Tours
  • 3. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
  • 4. Cape May
  • 5. Cheesequake State Park
  • 7. Columbia
  • 8. Edgewater
  • 9. Grounds for Sculpture
  • 10. Haddonfield
  • 11. Highlands
  • 12. Island Beach State Park
  • 13. Liberty State Park
  • 14. Margate City
  • 15. Allaire State Park
  • 16. Paterson Museum
  • 17. Point Pleasant Beach
  • 18. Princeton
  • 19. Rockingham State Historic Site
  • 20. Smithville
  • 21. Toms River
  • 22. Tuckerton
  • 23. Wharton State Forest
  • 24. Atlantic City

More New Jersey Getaways:

Resources: Visit NJ , Facebook

More Features

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Beach Destinations: 15 Most Awesome Beach Picnics

Best Jersey Shore Beaches

10 Best Beaches on the Jersey Shore

A view of the city

21 Best Things to Do in Atlantic City, NJ

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cool day trips in nj

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With so much to explore, it’s hard to choose a destination when you’re limited on time. but in just one day you can create memories that will last a lifetime. check out these simple day trips that offer unforgettable experiences for singles, couples, and families alike..

Wildlife in Columbia Calling all outdoor enthusiasts! A quick trip to Columbia will put you in the heart of the Delaware Water Gap – a nature-lover’s paradise that’s bursting with wildlife. Search for waterfalls on the trails of Worthington State Forest , spot bald eagles on a full- or half-day kayak tour , or wow the kids with a wolf watch at the Lakota Wolf Preserve , where they’ll get the chance to observe four unique wolf packs. 

Revolutionary History in Morristown The site of Gen. George Washington’s winter headquarters in 1777 and in 1779-1780, Morristown is a prime stop for those making the journey through the Crossroads of the American Revolution – a NJ region that highlights some of the most important sites from the Revolutionary War. Visit Morristown National Historical Park to tour the 18th-century Ford Mansion, peruse the galleries of Washington’s Headquarters Museum, and walk the extravagant Cross Estate Gardens. Then discover the historic sites of downtown Morristown on a self-guided walking tour , stopping for a bite at Revolution Gastropub or an upscale dining experience at 1776 by David Burke.

Museums in Princeton Home to one of the top universities in the country, Princeton’s devotion to education is proven by the vast number of museums around town. Whether your interests lean toward art or history, there’s an exhibit that will make your day in Princeton . While the famous Princeton University Art Museum is closed for construction, you can visit its downtown galleries: Art@Bainbridge , located in the colonial Bainbridge House on Nassau Street, and Art on Hulfish at 11 Hulfsih Street. History buffs will enjoy Morven Museum and Garden , where you can tour the 250-year-old mansion that housed five NJ governors and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. For even more history, check out the Revolutionary War battlefield at Princeton Battlefield State Park and the Updike Farmstead, headquarters of the Historical Society of Princeton.

Red Mill in Clinton Grab your camera and head to one of New Jersey’s most photographed sites: Hunt’s Mill in Clinton . The main attraction of the family-friendly Red Mill Museum Village , this landmark industrial mill dates back to 1810 and has been converted into a museum and gift shop dedicated to local history. In the village, you can browse the museum’s 40,000-piece collection of historic artifacts, witness blacksmith demonstrations, and tour the site’s well-preserved 17th-century buildings. Then cross the old-fashioned wrought iron bridge and wander the charming streets of downtown Clinton, where you can grab a bite to eat, shop local boutiques, and experience the work of regional artists at the Hunterdon Museum of Art .

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach For a full day of family fun, head to Point Pleasant Beach to explore the activity-packed Jenkinson’s Boardwalk . Hit the amusement park for thrilling rides like the Wave Swinger or smaller rides for the little ones. Get up close with penguins and sea lions or watch a mermaid swim at Jenkinson’s Aquarium . Then try your hand at mini golf or head to the arcades for a game of skee-ball. Complete your day with a stop for classic boardwalk fare like hot dogs and funnel cakes.

Allaire State Park in Farmingdale With 3,000 scenic acres and fascinating history attractions, Allaire State Park is a destination all on its own. Families can roam the centuries-old streets of Allaire Village , a historic factory town that has been restored as a living history museum. There you’ll experience life in the early 19th century through interactive demonstrations by trained artisans. Then take the kids for a ride on an antique steam train at Pine Creek Railroad, part of the New Jersey Museum of Transportation . If you’re looking for a more adventurous day trip, hit the South Side of the park for hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, or head to the Manasquan River for a day of fishing or canoeing. 

Adventure Aquarium in Camden One word: Sharks. With a collection of more than 5,000 aquatic animals and more sharks than anywhere else in the Northeast, Camden’s Adventure Aquarium is a must see for both kids and animal-loving adults. From hands-on touch pools to virtual reality adventures, you can easily spend the whole day exploring the one-of-a-kind exhibits in this underwater wonderland.

Victorian History in Cape May While you could enjoy a day lounging on the beach in Cape May , this seaside town also has a rich history to experience. A quick jaunt downtown may feel like a step back in time when you see the late-Victorian-era architecture. Hop on one of Cape May MAC’s cheery red trolleys for a tour of the Historic District and then check out the 1879 Physick House Museum , where you’ll discover the Victorian family lifestyle. End your tour with a Creole-Caribbean meal in the 1840 carriage house at 410 Bank Street or a classic American dinner at the Blue Pig Tavern in Congress Hall, which dates back to the 1700s. 

Need more than one day? Explore places to stay throughout New Jersey. 

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Best places to visit in new jersey.

Located between the cultural hubs of Philadelphia and New York City, New Jersey often gets overlooked. But with roughly 130 miles of coastline, impressive national historical parks, recreation areas and trails, and a fascinating past, the Garden State has a lot to offer. To help you decide which destination is right for you, U.S. News considered factors like unique attractions, historical sites and beautiful scenery to determine the best places to visit in New Jersey. Cast your vote below to have a say in next year's ranking.

Long Beach Island

Ocean city, nj, the wildwoods, delaware water gap, jersey city, atlantic city, seaside heights.

cool day trips in nj

Located on the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May is the oldest seaside resort in America. Although it receives praise from travelers thanks to its pristine beaches (The Cove and Sunset Beach are two highly recommended spots), this charming coastal town is also home to more than 600 colorful Victorian-style buildings and one of the largest collections of 19th-century framed buildings in the country. When you're not touring the elegant Emlen Physick Estate or climbing to the top of the historic Cape May Lighthouse, check out the retail stores at Washington Street Mall, an outdoor shopping center that's lined with restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.

cool day trips in nj

Accessible by boat or car, this island spans 18 miles and has no shortage of attractions to explore. Watch a live performance at the Surflight Theatre, learn about New Jersey's maritime history at the New Jersey Maritime Museum or catch some sun at Ship Bottom Beach. For panoramic views of Barnegat Bay, head to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and climb "Old Barney," a famous red and white structure located on the northern tip of the island. If you're looking for something the whole family will love, consider spending a day at Thundering Surf Waterpark or Fantasy Island Amusement Park.

cool day trips in nj

Known for its 8 miles of Jersey Shore coastline, Ocean City touts itself as "America's Greatest Family Resort." The bustling boardwalk is the area's focal point, boasting rides, gift shops and tasty restaurants where visitors can refuel after a day at the beach. If you're looking for a break from the sand, stroll past the storefronts along Asbury Avenue or check out Corson's Inlet State Park's numerous hiking trails. Just remember that Ocean City is a "dry" resort town, meaning that alcohol cannot be sold or purchased within town limits.

cool day trips in nj

This family-friendly resort town on New Jersey's southern shore is perfect for travelers who prefer a lot of activity on their beach vacations. Head to the coast for a variety of water sports such as surfing, boogie boarding and jet skiing, or take in the lively atmosphere at the Wildwoods Boardwalk. Here, visitors can grab a bite to eat, pick up a souvenir or ride the iconic Sightseer Tramcar. Opt instead for the Splash Zone Waterpark or Morey's Piers and Water Parks if waterslides and thrilling roller coaster rides are on your agenda.

cool day trips in nj

Straddling the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area covers more than 70,000 acres of forested mountains, small beaches and historic villages. Hikers, hunters and beachgoers flock to this park for its scenic landscapes and ample recreational opportunities. Stay overnight in one park's numerous campsites, then spend the day chasing waterfalls or swimming in the Middle Delaware River. Just remember – the currents are strong and the drop-off is sharp, so a lifejacket is recommended whenever you're getting in the water.

cool day trips in nj

Often referred to as the "sixth borough" of New York City, this metropolitan city is a popular jumping-off point for those wanting to explore the Big Apple. However, savvy travelers know that Jersey City's cultural attractions, ample green space and charming brownstones make it a destination worth exploring all on its own. Check out the exhibits at the Liberty Science Center, stroll the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway or pay your respects at the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial. Save time for a picnic at Liberty State Park, where you can catch a ferry to must-visit sights such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

cool day trips in nj

Bordering the Hudson River, this tiny city spans less than 2 square miles. But don't let its small size fool you – Hoboken's wide range of activities offer something for everyone. Eat your way through Washington Street's trendy restaurants, then grab a drink at one of the city's numerous bars. Meanwhile, fans of the hit TLC show "Cake Boss" can satisfy their sweet tooth at the original Carlo's Bakery, and history buffs will enjoy perusing the Hoboken Historical Museum. Before you leave, soak up some sun at Pier A Park or paddle the Hudson River in a kayak rental (free on select weekends throughout the summer) from the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse.

cool day trips in nj

Although best known for its eponymous Ivy League university, the town of Princeton offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Take a walking tour of Princeton University's historic campus, past famous sights like Nassau Hall and the Princeton University Chapel, then peruse the shops at Palmer Square. For an extra dose of history, pay a visit to the Morven Museum & Garden or check out the site of the Battle of Princeton at Princeton Battlefield State Park.

cool day trips in nj

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, Atlantic City is best known for its energetic beaches and wide array of casinos. Soak up some sun at Atlantic City Beach or hit the slot machines at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa . Just don't miss an opportunity to stroll along the city's roughly 4-mile-long boardwalk – this famous walkway is brimming with saltwater taffy shops, arcade games and glitzy hotels. When you're ready for a change of pace, Atlantic City boasts several championship golf courses where you can work on your swing.

cool day trips in nj

This tiny town north of Long Beach Island draws travelers for its lively atmosphere, friendly beaches and action-packed boardwalk. When you're not watching the sun set over Barnegat Bay or riding go-karts at the Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark, stop in one of Seaside Heights' many arcades. Ample dining and shopping options are available along the boardwalk, and the town is home to a variety of low-key beach bars. Meanwhile, fans of MTV's hit reality television show "Jersey Shore" won't want to miss a visit to the legendary Shore Store and can even tour the original house where cast members stayed during filming.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

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New Brunswick

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Asbury Park

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Clinton, NJ

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New Jersey 101.5

12 great day trips in New Jersey, besides the shore

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Our state is so diverse in its landscape and culture, packed into such a small area, that you can find things to do just about everywhere.

Whether or not they make for a good day trip is yet another matter. We all tend to stay in a fairly tight circle for our entertainment, except for a trip to the shore if you don't already live there or close to it.

We asked our listeners last week to tell us about some unique day trips that everyone might not know about. So, in no particular order of importance or degree of thrills, here goes.

The Cape May County Zoo

Some of our listeners say it is by far the best zoo anywhere in our region.

Round Valley Reservoir

Not too far north, but far enough to have some spectacular views and activities .

Grounds for Sculpture

Anyone who's been raves about it . Usually for adults but some kids might like it too.

Storybook Land

Pretty far into South Jersey. Young kids and young parents absolutely love this place .

Info Age Science & History Museum

It's in Wall Twp . and not your typical science museum.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

If you love wolves, take a ride up to Warren County and check out this one of a kind Jersey attraction .

Adventure Aquarium

AKA the Camden Aquarium. It's been updated over the years, and it's got enough to fascinate young and old .

Billed as the world's largest miniature wonderland. It is certainly more than just model trains. A must-do for every childhood.

Mainland Adventure Park

Not quite at the shore and in the middle of Jersey. It's fairly new and has go-karts, zip-lining, rock climbing and then some . Great hangout for the adults too.

Wild West City

It's in Stanhope, Sussex County so it may be a bit of a ride for some, but well worth the trip. Nothing like it around anymore.

Cape May Diamonds at Sunset Beach

Taking your kids to find "diamonds" on the bay beach of Cape May is a memory you won't forget . Simple, sweet, and inexpensive.

Historic Smithville

Not to be confused with the county park in Burlco., this is in Atlantic County and is a sweet treat for all ages.

We did not forget The Battleship New Jersey , and if you're already in Camden taking in the Adventure Aquarium, it's right next door and worth the extra time. Great view of the Philly skyline and plenty of history.

Don't say there's nothing to do around here. Within an hour drive of you there's something that everyone can enjoy in New Jersey.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis Malloy's own.

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11 family-friendly day trips to take this summer without leaving New Jersey

cool day trips in nj

If you've forgotten how to entertain yourself and your family outside the four walls of your living room, you're not alone.

Though it's hard to remember after the last year, there's a whole world out there full of fun and exciting experiences just a short drive away. For the sake of convenience, we'll stick to New Jersey for this list of places worthy of a summer day trip.

For gut-lurching amusement rides, encounters with strange and no-so-strange animals, fun educational experiences and a ton of great food, check out the following.

Lakota Wolf Preserve, Columbia

At the Lakota Wolf Preserve you can get up-close and personal with wolves. The preserve’s educational wolf tours bring you to an observation area where four different wolf packs live. Owners Jim Stein and Becky Mace lead the tours and provide information about the wolves — how they eat, the structure of their packs and more. Keep your eyes open for foxes, bobcats and lynx, as well. Reservations are required. Price is $15 for adults, $7 for kids up to 11.

Go:  89 Mt. Pleasant Road, Columbia; 908-496-9244, .

Steel Pier, Atlantic City

The Steel Pier is the place to be for classic boardwalk amusement rides in Atlantic City. We’re talking a carousel, bumper cars, Crazy Mouse, slingshot and more. Steel Pier is also home to The Wheel, the 227-foot-tall Ferris wheel with 40 climate-controlled gondolas. Hop on for a 15-minute ride with some of the best views of A.C. and the Atlantic Ocean the city has to offer.

Go: 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City; 609-345-4893, .

Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton Township

Grounds for Sculpture — a 42-acre park scattered with 300 sculptures among the flowers and greenery — is always a good idea. And this summer, Rat’s Restaurant (which is located in Grounds for Sculpture) is offering picnics to enjoy on the grounds. Lunch is packed in a reusable tote bag and includes a bottle of wine, tumblers, flatware and napkins. Each lunch comes with a shared starter and two meals — selections include a caprese sandwich, ham and brie sandwich and grilled salmon Niçoise. Kid lunches include a lunchable, a snack box or a wow butter (a peanut-free spread) and jelly sandwich. Price for the picnic lunch is $60 for two adults and $8 per child.

Go:  80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township; 609-586-0616, .

Smorgasburg, Jersey City

Encourage your adventurous eaters with a trip to Smorgasburg, an open-air food market that originated in New York City and just opened a new location in Jersey City. About 30 food vendors offering unique and portable meals, snacks and drinks hustle at the water-front market every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Go: 200 Greene St., Jersey City; .

Battleship New Jersey, Camden

The Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial is much more interesting than any old museum. Climb aboard the actual BB-62 battleship, built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1942, a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ship’s exhibits are interactive. Guests can sit in the admiral’s chairs, crash on the sailor bunks, and explore a gun turret. The tour will take you through all five levels above-board and the two lower decks.

Battleship New Jersey is open for tours daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $24.95 for adults, $19.95 for veterans and seniors 62 and up, and children 5 to 11. Admission for kids under 5 is $5 and for active-duty military and World War II veterans is free.

Go: 100 Clinton St., Camden; 856-966-1652, .

Second Wind Llama Adventures, New Egypt

Second Wind Llama Adventures is a 3½ acre farm with llamas for sheering and for accompanying people on walks. Yes, you read that last part right. Second Wind has a program where you can go on a walk with a llama. Why? Because it’s relaxing and peaceful to walk through nature with a fuzzy companion. Reservations are required. Ages 12 and up can participate in a walk.

Go: 56 E. Colliers Mill Road, New Egypt; 609-286-2521, .

Ocean City boardwalk, Ocean City

Ocean City calls itself America’s Greatest Family Resort. And though we’d never blindly trust a motto, this one is pretty accurate. Ocean City is a dry town with a bustling beach and a boardwalk bursting with kid-friendly fun. Find rides and games at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier and Playland’s Castaway Cove; thick, crinkle-cut fries at Curly’s; swirls of ice cream at Kohr Bros; and mini-golf and novelty shops every few feet along the boardwalk.

Go: Boardwalk, Ocean City; .

The Funny Farm, Mays Landing

This rambling farm is full of animals that were abandoned or abused. The Funny Farm takes them in and cares for them for the rest of their lives. Plus, folks can visit the more than 550 animals on the 15-acre farm. See horses, sheep, pigs, cats, donkeys and much more at the Funny Farm.

Go:  6908 Railroad Blvd., Mays Landing; 609-742-9410, .

American Dream, East Rutherford

Taking the kids to the mall doesn’t seem like too thrilling an option. But hear us out. The massive mall might just be the place to go when the weather gets too hot outside. Its theme park Nickelodeon Universe is the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere with rides for little kids and thrill-seekers (plus a bunch of nostalgic references to shows like “SpongeBob,” “Rugrats” and “Jimmy Neutron.”) Its DreamWorks water park is full of familiar characters from “Shrek,” “Trolls,” “How To Train Your Dragon” and other DreamWorks films. American Dream also has a blacklight mini-golf course, a mirror maze, Angry Birds-themed mini-golf, Big Snow (an indoor ski slope), Lego Land, an ice rink and the Sea Life aquarium.

Go:  1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford; 833-263-7326, .

Brookhollow Barnyard, Boonton

Escape to the farm for a day at Brookhollow Barnyard. An hour-long walk-through will let you get up close to Brookhollow’s friendly farm animals. Buckets of carrots are available for purchase to feed the animals, as well as tractor rides. Price is $6.88 per person and free for kids under 2.

Go:  301 Rockaway Valley Road, Boonton; 973-917-3060, .

The Raptor Trust, Millington

Slightly different from your average zoo, The Raptor Trust cares for injured, sick or orphaned wild birds. Folks can visit the owls, eagles, hawks, flacons and vultures during a free self-guided visit. Groups of up to eight people are allowed. Private staff-led tours are also available. They run for about 50 minutes and cost $80 per group (up to eight people allowed per group). During the tour, you’ll learn about birds native to New Jersey and about the histories of Trust’s resident birds.

Go:  1390 White Bridge Road, Millington; 908-647-2353, .

Rebecca King is a food writer for For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our  North Jersey Eats newsletter .

Email:  [email protected]  

Twitter:  @rebeccakingnj  

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cool day trips in nj

Lifestyle Jessica

New England Travel , New Jersey , New Jersey Places , New York City Travel , New York State Travel , New York Travel , Pennsylvania Travel , Travel · May 3, 2022

20 Day Trip Ideas From New Jersey (Less Than A 1-3 Hour Drive)

While New Jersey has so much to offer, sometimes it’s nice to get out of state and visit somewhere new. New Jersey’s neighboring states offer a wide variety of day trip options, especially during the warmer months! In this article, you can learn about 20-day trip ideas from New Jersey . Some of the day trips in this post are closer to North Jersey, while some are more convenient for those in South Jersey. Depending on where you reside in New Jersey, some of these options are even less than an hour’s drive! If you are also looking for more spots in New Jersey to explore, then read my article on 50+ Instagrammable spots in NJ . Also, check out my article 15-day trip ideas in New Jersey for more suggestions on what to do locally!


1. coney island, brooklyn, ny.

NYC and its surrounding areas can’t go unmentioned in this article. You can visit Coney Island in Brooklyn for the day and enjoy the amusements, boardwalk, beach, and more fun! Check out the calendar for the Luna Amusement Park here to see their operating hours. Visitors can easily spend an entire day at Coney Island between the amusement park and the beach. You can extend the day by grabbing dinner at a local restaurant. One of my favorite NYC restaurants is Olio e Piú in Greenwich Village! Their ricotta toast and handmade pasta dishes are out of this world! A casual favorite spot of mine is Tacombi, which has multiple locations throughout the city and serves up mouth-watering Mexican dishes!

cool day trips in nj

2. Untermyer Park & Gardens, Yonkers, NY

Untermyer Park & Gardens is a historic garden with European influence located in Yonkers, NY. I visited last year and absolutely adore the beauty of this place. Visitors can spend a few hours walking around and taking photos here, and then enjoy a local eatery for dinner! I enjoyed a delicious meal at Cocina Chente in the Bronx after visiting the gardens. Untermyer Park & Gardens is also on my list of 12 Instagrammable photo spots in NYC !

cool day trips in nj

3. New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is a breath-of-fresh-air spot in the city to admire nature’s beauty. Tickets are required to enter the garden and can be purchased here . The Garden is open from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Sunday and is only open on Mondays when there is a federal holiday. Spend a few hours here and grab a bite to eat on the premises or at a local restaurant. You can also check out the Bronx Zoo nearby and have a fun New York day!

cool day trips in nj

4. Woodstock, NY

Woodstock, New York is only about an hour and a half drive from Bergen County and is a cute town to walk around. I visited about two years ago and made a whole day of it. Grab a bite to eat in the town of Woodstock and hike the nearby Overlook Mountain. Check out my vlog below to see how we spent the day here!

cool day trips in nj

5. Mount Beacon Park, NY

If you are into the outdoors and hiking, then visiting Mount Beacon Park in New York is a great day trip for you! Mount Beacon Park is roughly an hour’s drive from North Jersey, 1.5-2+ hours from Central Jersey, and 2.5-3+ hours from South Jersey. Start the day trip with an incredible lunch at Hudson Taco in Newburgh, and then cross the Hudson River to Mount Beacon Park.

cool day trips in nj

We hiked to the Mount Beacon Fire Tower when we visited, and found the hike to be moderate, with some moderate ascents. The views are stunning, especially during the summer and fall months! Add more to this day trip by making a pitstop in the nearby downtowns of Cold Spring and/or Beacon. Check out my vlogs below to see how I spent two different days in this area.

6. The Town of Cold Spring & Breakneck Ridge Trailhead, NY

Cold Spring is a quaint New York downtown with history, shops, local eateries, and scenic views. I recommend grabbing brunch or lunch at Hudson Hil’s Cafe, which is a casual sit-down restaurant nestled in the heart of Cold Spring. Cold Spring is roughly an hour’s drive from Bergen County and two hours from Monmouth County, and is a worthwhile day trip!

cool day trips in nj

If you are into hiking and like a challenge, I recommend checking out Breakneck Ridge Trail at the Hudson Highlands State Park while here. We trekked the long loop, and found this hike to be pretty challenging with the rock scrambles, but overall enjoyable! The views are stunning throughout the majority of this trail, making this a memorable trek! Check out my vlog below to see how I spent the day here!

cool day trips in nj

7. Bear Mountain, NY

Bear Mountain is a popular New York hiking spot located about a 0.5 to 2-hour drive from those who reside in the top half of New Jersey. This is another great outdoorsy day trip for those who admire a scenic hike. There may be a fee to enter – check out more info here .

cool day trips in nj

8. Harriman State Park, NY

Harriman State Park is very close to Bear Mountain and offers a wide array of hiking trails and scenic woodlands for all levels! One of the best trails to hike at Harriman State Park is the Reeves Brook Loop Trail . This moderately challenging loop offers multiple scenic vistas and has plenty of streams winding throughout the trail. The Reeves Brook Loop Trail is roughly four miles and typically takes around 2+ hours to complete.

cool day trips in nj

Parking and public restrooms are available at the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, which is where the hike begins. When doing this loop trail in the counterclockwise direction (starting on white trail markers), hikers must climb a moderately challenging and steep rock scramble to get to the main vista. It is advised that beginners or families with young children start this hike clockwise (on red trail markers). Visitors who begin the hike clockwise can follow the red trail markers to the blue trail markers and enjoy stunning vistas from the top of the mountain. Hikers who follow this route can then turn around to get back to the parking lot the same way they came, avoiding the steep rock scramble. As a somewhat experienced hiker, I personally loved the rock scramble here and found it to be a fun trek, but please use your own discretion to decide which route is best suited for you! Read more about the other trails at Harriman State Park here.

9. Storm King Art Center, NY

The Storm King Art Center is a unique spot to visit in the summer. Visitors can explore the property and check out uniquely crafted sculptures and large art displays. The Storm King Art Center is closed on Tuesdays and operates Wednesday through Monday from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Tickets must be purchased prior to arrival and more info can be found here.

cool day trips in nj

10. Teatown Lake Reservation, NY

Teatown Lake Reservation in Westchester County, NY is a 1,000-acre nature preserve and education center. The Reservation is roughly a 40-minute to 2-hour drive from the top half of New Jersey depending on where you reside. Hiking trails are open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk , and parking costs $5.

cool day trips in nj

11. Walkway Over the Hudson Bridge & Poughkeepsie, NY

Visiting the Walkway Over The Hudson Park is a great day trip in New York State. This walking bridge is located roughly a 1+ hour drive from North Jersey and a 2+ hour drive from most of Central Jersey. While this may be a bit far from South Jersey, if you get an early enough start to the day, I think this can still be a worthwhile trip!

cool day trips in nj

The scenic walkway connects from Highland, NY to Poughkeepsie, crossing over the Hudson River. Visitors can walk across the bridge and check out the town of Poughkeepsie and Marist College. Marist College has a beautiful campus, and is worth checking out while in the area! Finish off the day by grabbing a delicious dinner at Hudson Taco on the way back down to Jersey. Hudson Taco is a riverfront restaurant located in the heart of Newburgh. This charming, hip restaurant is a must-visit whenever I am up in this area of New York!


12. new haven, ct.

New Haven, Connecticut is a great day trip from Northeast Jersey as it is about a two-hour drive from Bergen County. I visited nearly two years ago and enjoyed visiting the area. While in New Haven, visitors can grab Frank Pepe’s famous pizza and walk around the local neighborhoods and parks. Visitors can also explore the beautiful and historic Yale University campus. Check out my vlog below to see how I spent a fun day in New Haven!

cool day trips in nj

13. Mianus River Park, CT

Mianus River Park , on the Greenwich/Stamford border in Connecticut, is a nature reserve with trails, a 2-mile-long river, scenic forestland, and more nature-esque beauty. If you are looking for an outdoorsy escape, then this is a nice day trip option from Northern New Jersey. This park is roughly a 1-2 hour drive from North and Central Jersey, depending on where you are located.

cool day trips in nj


14. philadelphia, pa.

A day trip from Jersey to Philly is a classic but goodie! Explore the city streets and check out the Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Zoo, Independence Hall, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, and so much more! Enjoy a delicious cheesesteak from Cleaver’s, or one of Philly’s local spots, and have yourself a day!

cool day trips in nj

15. Longwood Gardens, PA

Longwood Gardens is located directly outside of the main city of Philadelphia in Kennett Square, PA. Tickets are required for timed entry to the gardens and can be purchased here. Give yourself at least a few hours to explore the property and take in the beauty of these stunning botanical gardens! A visit to Longwood Gardens can also be combined with a trip to Philadelphia as they are so close.

cool day trips in nj

16. Delaware Water Gap, PA

The Delaware Water Gap lies between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Delaware Water Gap includes 40 miles of the Delaware River, 100+ miles of hiking trails, and even a few beaches. Visitors can go rafting, canoeing, kayaking , tubing, hiking, and more here. I recommend grabbing a sweet treat at the Village and Farmer Bakery while you’re in the area.

cool day trips in nj

17. Allentown, PA

Allentown is an eastern Pennsylvania town not too far from the Garden State! If you are into museums, you can check out the Allentown Art Museum, the Mack Trucks Historical Museum, the America on Wheels Museum, and more. Dorney Park is also right around the corner if you are interested in a summer waterpark and amusement adventure! There are numerous parks in the Allentown area worth checking out such as the Allentown Rose Gardens, which include walking paths, pavilions, and a scenic garden. The charming downtown of Bethlehem, PA is also about a 15-minute drive from Allentown, and it definitely worth checking out if you are into local shopping and eateries!

cool day trips in nj

18. Jenkins Arboretum and Morris Arboretum, PA

There are quite a few arboretums and nature reserves in Pennsylvania not too far from New Jersey. The Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens is roughly a 20-30 minute drive outside of the City of Philadelphia. This Arboretum, located in the town of Devon, is free to enter and offers 48 acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands. Visitors can also enjoy 1.2 miles of walking trails here.

cool day trips in nj

Roughly a 25-minute drive from The Jenkins Arboretum is the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. Entry to the Morris Arboretum is $20 per non-member adult and tickets can be reserved here .

cool day trips in nj

19. Valley Forge National Historic Park, PA

Less than a 10-minute drive west of the Jenkins Arboretum lies Valley Forge National Historic Park. With a history dating back to the late 1700s, Valley Forge is a great spot for those who love nature but also a historic back story. Enjoy many miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, multi-use trails, biking trails, and more! Learn more about Valley Forge here .

cool day trips in nj

20. New Hope, PA

The charming town of New Hope in Bucks County, PA is a popular downtown to stroll on a warm, sunny day. (or really any time of the year)! Go back in time and take in the beauty of the scenic town alongside the Delaware River. Enjoy shopping, dining, and cultural attractions. Visitors can also walk across the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge to Lambertville, NJ for additional shopping and dining options. A popular local attraction in this area is Peddler’s Village. Peddler’s Village is about an eight-minute drive from downtown New Hope and is home to numerous restaurants and shops.

cool day trips in nj

Comment down below if you plan to take a trip to any of these places!

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cool day trips in nj

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Where do Floridians go to escape summer heat? 10 Florida day trips to help you stay cool

The heat of Florida’s summers can sometimes make outdoor activities like hiking or the beach unpleasant.

If you’re looking for a way to have fun and stay cool, Florida’s many freshwater springs or an indoor adventure might be your best bet.

Here’s a roundup of 10 fun things to do in Florida that you can make a day trip out of and will keep you cool in the summer heat.

Where do Floridians go to escape the summer heat?

Of course, where you go to beat the heat depends on who you are and what you prefer. But many Floridians head for Florida’s freshwater springs when the ocean water starts getting warmer in the middle of the summer.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

Here’s a list of 10 places where beating the Florida heat can be fun, from Northwest Florida, to the Southeast coast.

North and Central Florida:

  • Caverns State Park , near Tallahassee: There are tons of caves in Florida, but most of them are full of water, making them unenjoyable to explore for people who aren’t willing to don diving gear and get into some higher-level spelunking. Florida Caverns State Park is unique because its geographical positioning (an elevation of 180 feet) makes it possible for regular tourists — or Floridians looking to beat the heat — to enjoy a cave tour without taking a swim. There are very few state parks with dry caves in Florida and Florida Caverns State Park is the only one that offers cave tours to the public, according to Visit Florida . 
  • Admission to Ichetucknee Springs is $6 for a vehicle of up to eight people, $4 for a single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle and $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Admission to Ginnie Springs is $15-$20 for each adult ticket, depending on the time of year. Tickets for children ages 5 through 12 are $5 each and kids 4 and under get in free.
  • Admission to Devil’s Den requires an online reservation and costs $18 per person from Monday through Friday and $25 on weekends and holidays. You can bring your own snorkeling gear or rent some at Devil’s Den, but a mask, snorkel and fins are required to explore the spring.
  • It’s free to park and enter Dezerland. Each attraction is individually priced and prices for each activity range from around $15 to around $50.
  • Visiting the Kennedy Space Center for one day costs $75 for adults and kids ages 12 and up and $65 for kids ages 3 through 11.

Southeast and Southwest Florida:

  • Children under the age of 3 are not allowed to swim in the pool. Admission to the Venetian Pool is $22 for adults and kids ages 13 and older and is $17 for kids ages 3 through 12. 
  • Visiting Weeki Wachee State Park is $13 for adults, $8 for kids ages 6 through 12. Kids ages 5 and under get free admission.
  • The price for admission to The Florida Aquarium can vary by a few dollars from day-to-day. It usually costs around $40 for adults and $35 for kids.

Enjoy one of Florida’s many waterparks! No matter where you live in Florida, there’s probably a waterpark close enough to you to spend the day. And you don’t have to spend as much as you would at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Universal’s Volcano Bay.

In Jacksonville, there’s Adventure Landing’s Shipwreck Island waterpark . Panama City Beach has a waterpark by the same name , complete with a fake wrecked ship in a pool that you can zipline into. Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach is a 30-acre water park with more than 40 slides and attractions and the park just added a new slide this year, called “Mega Mayhem.” And Florida is welcoming its first Great Wolf Lodge in 2024 , which will bring a huge indoor waterpark to the Naples area.

cool day trips in nj

Day Trips in Vermont: Lakeside adventures, rural curiosities and plenty of creemees

A collage on the background of a lake with mountains includes cut outs of a soft-serve ice cream cone, a sign that says "Bread and Puppet Museum - Open," a Jay Peak aerial tram, a covered bridge, and two tandem canoes.

Summer is a great season to explore a new part of Vermont, or turn down an unfamiliar road in a region you've visited many times before. You may stumble upon a well-stocked farm stand that runs on the honor system, or encounter a rare bird, an ancient fossil or a museum exhibit about dust.

Here, we've collected things to do in the Green Mountain State's most populous area — Burlington and the towns within easy reach of it — and the Northeast Kingdom, its most rural area. We seek to highlight some lesser-known gems because — let's be honest — most of the best things to do in Vermont are off the beaten path. But don't worry, you'll never be too far from a creemee stand.

This guide will be updated with additional recommendations.

Journalists from the New England News Collaborative have been on the road, seeking out the best local spots in the region. Find ideas here for other New England states.

Jump to a section:

Burlington area and northwest Vermont

Northeast kingdom.

As the state’s most populous city, Burlington serves as a cultural and economic hub on the shore of Lake Champlain. The city itself is home to award-winning restaurants, historical landmarks and local arts — plus the vibrancy that comes with being a college town.

With easy access to the lake, and a short drive away from mountains and swimming holes, the Burlington area is a nature lover’s playground.

These recommendations will help you venture outside the city, from the small towns situated near Mount Mansfield to the lakeside spots hiding in the Champlain Islands. All of these activities are roughly within a one-hour drive of Burlington.

What to do if you're a…

Nature lover, take a hike.

A green forested area on a bright sunny day. Below the trees is shaded as sun pokes through leaves onto the green and brown forest floor.

Vermont’s tallest mountain, Mount Mansfield, sits east of Burlington and is equipped with plenty of hiking trails.

Begin at Underhill State Park for the full Mansfield Loop Trail , a challenging nearly 8-mile hike with more than 2,800 feet of elevation gain. That trail may not be for a casual explorer, but the park area has plenty of other hiking options — plus, it’s a wildlife and birding hot spot.

For smaller hikes, try trails in the Jericho/Underhill area.

Mills Riverside Park in Jericho has several hiking trails, open meadow lands and a covered bridge — all topped off with great views of Mount Mansfield. Dogs are welcome in the park — especially in the designated “off leash” area where they can run or swim.

Get your birding on in Franklin County

The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge area in Franklin County is a nationally protected area thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (and any duck stamp fans around).

The refuge has several nature trails that make spotting wildlife easy — it’s especially perfect for birding fans or insect fanatics.

A field of tall prairie/wetlands grass, split in the middle by a maintained grass trail, leads towards a forested area on a bright, sunny day. The grass bends towards the left from wind.

The welcome center in Swanton has visitor information, local wildlife artwork for sale, binoculars for borrowing and even outdoor exploration kits for kids.

Go for a swim on the Champlain Islands

There are plenty of swimming spots across the Champlain Islands. Spend a day beach hopping, or pick one to lounge around on all day.

Alburgh Dunes State Park is a natural sand beach and one of Lake Champlain’s largest beaches. The park is open from 10 a.m. to sunset for a small day use fee, or a punch on a Vermont State Park season pass. Alburgh Dunes is equipped with minimal facilities, and camping is not permitted. Make sure to pack your own drinking water — and if you bring some snacks, you can make use of the picnic area and grills.

If you don’t want to swim, there’s also fishing, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and boating. There’s also a playground for kids.

More from Vermont Public: How three unassuming plants link Vermont to its glacial past

There are, of course, plenty of other places to swim on the islands — like Grand Isle State Park, Sand Bar State Park, or, just across the bridge into Colchester, Niquette Bay State Park .

On a sunny day, tan sand of a beach meets blue lake water, with greenery and a cliff in the background against a bright blue sky.

Curiosity seeker

Browse cool things (and save the planet) in burlington.

Junktiques Collective in Burlington is an opportunity not only to shop for cool old items, but to help reduce landfill waste and give back to the community. Junktiques' inventory is stocked at least in part with salvaged items other people considered junk.

The store also welcomes bartering and trading.

Find fossils on the Champlain Islands

The Chazy Fossil Reef is a stretch of fossils found in New York and Vermont. In Vermont, the Chazy Reef runs across the Champlain Islands. It’s currently known as the oldest diverse fossil reef in the world, and is a protected area through the National Natural Landmarks Program .

There are plenty of stops on the islands to spot some trilobites or stromatoporoids, but Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve in Isle La Motte has free, year-round access to parts of the Chazy Fossil Reef. Take a self-guided tour of the discovery areas trail, and stop by the visitor’s center if the flag is out.

Small swirl patterns can be seen preserved in slab of slate gray rock on the ground.

See some sculptures in Enosburg Falls

If you’re looking for a break from the natural wonders of Vermont, you may want to check out some human-made wonders at the Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Enosburg Falls .

The park has over 70 sculptures made by David Stromeyer on grounds that visitors can walk through free of cost (but donations to support the park are accepted). Stop by the welcome barn for more information, including a map.

Sweet treat connoisseur

Pick up some pie in underhill.

“Pie fixes everything” — at least according to Poorhouse Pies in Underhill .

The bakery specializes in small batch pies, including sweet options like apple or maple cream as well as savory flavors.

If you’re looking for a portable option on your way for a walk in Mills Riverside or Underhill State Park, they’ve got single-serve hand pies, and — pro tip — occasional donut options on scheduled Sundays (check their site and socials or call the shop for any donut information needs).

Consume creemees and cones

If there’s one requirement for a day out in Vermont, it’s a creemee .

If you’re grabbing a cone on your way to Underhill for a hike, stop by Sweet Scoops in Essex off of Route 15 for a classic maple creemee or ice cream sundae.

If you need something to cool down with after exploring the islands all day, grab a cone at Seb’s Snack Bar in South Hero.

And if you’re sticking around closer to Burlington, Winooski’s Offbeat Creemee at Myers Pool is a good option. Their menu is 100% plant-based.

A hand holds an ice cream cone filled with brownish swirled ice cream in front of a red building with people lined up outside to the right against a sunny blue sky.

Visit Vermont’s best-known sweet spot

Vermont's most famous ice cream is not a creemee, but the dense pints of Ben & Jerry’s that are sold worldwide.

Of course you could stop by the iconic Waterbury facilities and grab a scoop after taking the factory tour.

But if you don’t want to travel all that way for a cone, stop by the Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop on Church Street in Burlington. After grabbing your favorite flavor, walk a few blocks to the intersection of College and St. Paul streets and find the plaque where the first-ever Ben & Jerry’s used to stand, in what was originally a renovated gas station. (The building is long gone.)

Music lover

Shop for new/old music.

Record players, cassettes and even CDs are coming back — and plenty of places in the Burlington area can help you stay in style and find new spins.

Burlington Records on College Street has new and used records with daily new arrivals. Speaking Volumes on Marble Avenue in Burlington has tens of thousands of records on sale, and new and used equipment. They also do repairs. And, just across the street you can find their bookstore, which houses tens of thousands of new and used books and magazines — so bring a book-loving friend along.

Autumn Records in Winooski buys and sells new and used vinyl, CDs and cassette tapes. They also host occasional events, which they also upload to YouTube if you can’t make it in person.

Attend a show

If you’re looking for live music performances, try grabbing tickets to one of the many acts Higher Ground in South Burlington pulls into town every year. They’ve got a range of performers on the calendar, from locals to big names.

If you’re looking for a more elevated, laid-back listening experience, Paradiso Hi-Fi in Burlington may be the way to go. The listening lounge just got a James Beard nod for its New England cuisine and creative cocktails.

Paradiso sets each evening’s night service to curated vinyl, played over their custom sound system — which gives this music venue a warmer feel focused on “experience and ritual.”

Dance the night away

If you’re looking for a place to end your day of exploring, do it with music and dancing at Radio Bean in downtown Burlington .

They’ve got a calendar packed with live music, poetry, theater and more. They serve local brews and cocktails to enjoy, too. The venue is 21 years old and up after 9 p.m.

Nectar’s , a music hall on Main Street in Burlington, is another spot for local live music, craft beer and cocktails, and pub food — and a lively 21 and up night scene for their shows. Bonus points for bringing along any history-loving friends to take in the scenery — or any Phish fans that might want to experience the stage that started it all .

More from Brave Little State: Why do people like Phish? A guide for the uninitiated

The term Northeast Kingdom was first popularized by former Vermont Gov. George Aiken to describe three counties — Orleans, Essex and Caledonia — situated in Vermont’s northeast corner.

Canada borders the Northeast Kingdom, or NEK, to the north, and New Hampshire lies to the east, just across the Connecticut River. The Northeast Kingdom is one of the most rural areas in the state, which means its natural beauty — clear rivers and streams, mountains and bucolic farmland — is plentiful.

Small towns dot the region, and each one has something special to offer. Whether you’re looking to surround yourself with nature, seek out unique treasure troves or explore historic buildings, we’ve got a variety of day trip ideas that highlight the best — and most unique — aspects of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

More from Brave Little State: Is The Northeast Kingdom Really So 'Different'?

What to do if you're a...

Take a dip in a crystal clear lake.

Mountains stand near a large lake against a blue sky on a sunny day.

Lake Willoughby is the it-girl of the Northeast Kingdom, and for good reason. It is one of the deepest lakes in the Northeast and the deepest lake in Vermont. It’s flanked on both sides by mountains, making the fjord-like views from either end spectacularly picturesque. (Don’t forget your camera.) Thousands of years ago, a glacier carved out the deep gorge that would become Lake Willoughby. The lake is mainly spring-fed, which means its waters stay cool and clear, even in the summer months.

Willoughby State Forest surrounds the south end of the lake and offers hiking trails, primitive camping areas, boat launches and spots for swimming and fishing . There is also one clothing-optional beach — the southwest cove. A popular hike takes the Mount Pisgah trail (starting at either the north or south ends) to the summit for a panoramic view of the 1,653-acre lake and surrounding mountains.

Take in the views from the region’s tallest peak

In the winter months, Jay Peak is well-known to many skiers in the Northeast, but it also has a lot to offer in the summer and fall. As the highest peak in the NEK, it offers gorgeous views and plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature.

Hikers can hop on Vermont’s famous Long Trail for a trek to the summit — and gorgeous views of the NEK. Park at the parking area on Route 242 and follow the Long Trail North to the summit. This more than 3-mile out-and-back hike does include over 1,500 feet of elevation gain and is rocky toward the summit, so make sure you’re prepared with hiking gear, water and snacks.

A tram with windows on all sides and text that says "Jay Peak" on the bottom half is suspended in the air, with grass and ski lift equipment in the background.

If you aren’t up for the hike, Jay Peak Resort operates an aerial tram throughout summer and the first part of fall. A $25 adult ticket — or a family 4-pack for $75 — buys you a tram ride to the top of Jay Peak and back down, letting you take in views of the resort and surrounding mountains for the entire journey.

Pedal your way through the scenery

If you enjoy taking in scenery on two wheels, you’re in luck. There are a number of options for bikers in the Northeast Kingdom, no matter the type of biking you prefer or your skill level. Kingdom Trails offers a large variety of mountain bike and pedestrian trails around East Burke for all skill levels. Check out their map to find a route that’s right for you. Another great option is the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. The entirety of the mostly flat, 93-mile route stretches across the top half of the state. The eastern side of the trail winds through Northeast Kingdom towns like St. Johnsbury, Danville and Hardwick. There are parking areas and trailheads in each of those communities. Check out the Vermont rail trail website for more information and trailhead locations. Planning a visit in the winter? Consider trying out a fat bike , a type of mountain bike that has large wheels for a smooth ride in the snow.

For more on biking in the NEK, including where to find rentals, visit .

Stop through Newport and have lunch and ice cream by a gorgeous lake

Two people sit near a city boat dock on a large lake with mountains in the background.

Newport is situated on the South end of Lake Memphremagog, which stretches up into Quebec. The city’s boat dock features expansive views of the lake and the mountains that border it. There are picnic tables near the dock, making it a perfect spot to bring lunch or snack. Head downtown to sit down for a meal at Dusit Thai and walk into Newport Natural Market and Cafe to browse the shelves for local Vermont goodies. Afterwards, grab a creemee at Tim and Dougs, the ice cream outpost of the Pick and Shovel — a hardware store that’s full of surprises. The bustling shop has everything from gardening tools to maple sugaring equipment to clothing and shoes, as well as a pet section with live fish, reptiles and hamsters.

Take a scenic drive

Vermont has ten federally designated byways , including a route that runs through the center of the Northeast Kingdom. If you’re driving the upper portion of the scenic Northeast Kingdom Byway , add Shattuck Hill Road to your route between Newport and Derby for views that won’t disappoint.

Shattuck Hill in Derby is beloved by locals for its beautiful view of Lake Memphremagog, which straddles the border between Canada and some of the Northeast Kingdom’s northernmost communities. The Shattuck Hill lookout has been a local hotspot for years, but it’s about to become more accessible. Derby residents Doug and Vivian Spates spearheaded a campaign to help the town purchase the land and create a parking area for sightseers. The scenic pull-off, walkway and picnic area should be completed around September 2024.

Take your best friend to a doggy wonderland

Pack up your pup and head to Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury for an experience neither of you will forget. Dog Mountain is a 150-acre swath of private land owned by the late artist Stephen Huneck and his wife . Now maintained by a nonprofit, the land is open to visitors and functions as a space for dogs and their owners to enjoy together. Leashes are optional, and there are plenty of trails and ponds for you and your dog to explore. Don’t miss the Dog Chapel, where the walls are covered with visitors’ photos and dedications to their beloved pets. You may want to bring tissues.

After Dog Mountain, you and your pup can head to Milkhouse Ice Cream for a maple creemee, or grab food at a restaurant with a dog-friendly outdoor area, such as Papa Tirozzi’s Bakery & Pizza.

Visit a library that straddles borders

A multi-story, gray and orange brick and stone building with a large turret stands against a cloudy sky.

Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec, are neighbors divided. If you’re in Derby Line, you can’t cross into Stanstead without first showing your passport at the official Canadian border crossing — that is, unless you’re inside the Haskell Free Library and Opera House . The library was built at the beginning of the 20th century by Martha Haskell, who insisted it be a free resource for patrons on both sides of the border. It has a selection of books and other resources in both English and French. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and inside, it’s decorated with ornate woodwork and stained glass windows. A line stretches across a section of the wood floor, depicting the international border on which it sits.

The building also includes a historic opera house. The theater is painted in shades of green and pink — a request by Haskell herself — and includes carvings around the proscenium arch and the balcony. An original painted drop curtain depicting Venice, Italy, has been kept intact. Performances, screenings and shows are still held there today .

Stop through a covered bridge haven

Covered bridges are one of the most enduring symbols of rural Vermont, and no town has more of these unique structures than Montgomery. If you’re headed east toward Orleans County, plan a stop through Montgomery. Though it’s technically not in the NEK proper, its mountainous geography is a marked change from the more agricultural feel of northwest Vermont.

A wooden covered bridge painted white on the front stands over a shallow brook.

Located near Jay Peak, Montgomery is a quaint town with historic charm . Six (6!) covered bridges, all of them constructed toward the end of the 1800s, help residents and visitors cross the babbling brooks that run through the town. The Montgomery Historical Society boasts that it has the most covered bridges of any town in the United States. A fun fact for sports fans: Montgomery is also home to Olympian and U.S. track and field record-holder Elle Purrier St. Pierre .

Visit a marvel on Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail

Alexander Twilight, who was born, raised and educated in Vermont, was the first African American to serve in the state’s Legislature — also a first for any state legislature in the United States. Around the mid-1800s, he began plans to construct a large granite house in Brownington. Now known as the Old Stone House & Historic Village , it sets out to tell the history of northern Vermont and Twilight himself . In addition to a tour of the home and nearby barns, you can also walk around the surrounding historic district. To go inside the historic buildings, book a tour ahead of time or upon arrival ($10 plus a small fee for adults).

More from Vermont Public: ‘These Conversations Are Important:' Telling The Full History Of Black Vermonters In Our State

Visit the home base of an iconic performance troupe

Puppets with large faces and fabric clothing are displayed in a wooden room.

If you’re at all familiar with Vermont, it’s likely you’ve heard of the Bread and Puppet Theater . Founded in 1963 by the artist Peter Schumann , Bread and Puppet is known for its larger-than-life papier-mâché puppets and theatrical performances and pageants, which are often rooted in political themes. Stop by the Bread and Puppet compound in Glover to peruse dozens of puppets, paintings and set pieces on display at the self-guided museum. They also have screenprints, books, chapbooks and more for sale in the museum shop. The museum is open daily, or you can check out their show schedule and try to make it to a performance.

Have a pizza at a beloved restaurant in the back of an old general store

The Parker Pie Company , located behind the Lake Parker General Store in Glover, serves up New York-style pizza and offers a selection of local beers on tap. Don’t miss the Green Mountain Special, a pie with bacon, apples, spinach and cheddar cheese, drizzled with local maple syrup.

Walk through a quirky museum that instills a bit of magic into the mundane

The entrance to an old barn has a sign at the top that says "Museum of Everyday Life - Embarking on our mission of glorious obscurity."

Old toothbrushes. Mirrors. Dust — including a sample of cosmic dust from NASA. All kinds of lists. A pink toilet. These are some of the items that you’ll find inside the permanent exhibit at the Museum of Everyday Life . Located off a highway in Glover, not far from the Bread and Puppet Theater, the Museum of Everyday Life is a fascinating collection of items, ranging from the mundane to the unusual and unforgettable. Start with the current exhibit, which, as of summer 2024, is dedicated to the wheel in all its forms. Then, head over to the permanent collection housed inside an old wooden barn. It’s open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is self-guided — so remember to turn off the lights when you leave.

Family trip planner

Visit a stunning natural history museum and planetarium.

If you’re traveling to the Northeast Kingdom with kids, you can’t miss the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury . Its large collection and variety of exhibits include taxidermy (kids will love the polar bear), a summer butterfly house and interactive science stations. The planetarium (recommended for kids ages 7 and up) features astronomy presentations and other films and events . Museum admission is $17 for adults and $15 for kids ages 5-17. Planetarium admission is $8.

Have a glass at one of Vermont’s most awarded breweries

If you love good beer, then you can’t do a day trip to the Northeast Kingdom without having a glass at Hill Farmstead Brewery . Hill Farmstead was named Best Brewery in the World by RateBeer for several years in a row. You can try their local, seasonal brews at their taproom in Greensboro Bend. If you’re not sure what to try first, ask for the “Edward,” a crowd-pleasing American pale ale.

Visit a BIPOC-owned brewery in St. Johnsbury

Whirligig Brewing and Bistro is located on a main thoroughfare in downtown St. Johnsbury. Their taproom offers a selection of the brewery’s beers and other libations, along with a seasonal food menu including sandwiches and rice bowls.

Try local brews in Newport

Another popular NEK brewery is Kingdom Brewing , which serves its beers made with locally sourced ingredients out of its BrewCabin. If you like live music, check out their events calendar to see when they’ll be hosting local acts.

Check the beer list for a unique brew fermented in a cheese cave

Wunderkammer Bier is brewed in an old cheese cave in Albany with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients, making it a truly unique drinking experience. The brew cave is not open for visits, but you can find Wunderkammer products at several restaurants and businesses in the Northeast Kingdom.

Sample other beers from the Northeast Kingdom

If you want to try a selection of local and regional beers, head to Kingdom Taproom in St. Johnsbury. If you’re hungry, grab some of their specialty tacos and wash it down with one of their rotating cast of local draft beers.

Have questions, comments or tips?  Send us a message .

cool day trips in nj

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4 Incredible New Jersey Day Trips You Can Take By Train

cool day trips in nj

Kristen is a writer, editor, and social media maven who loves her state. Born and raised in New Jersey, sharing all it has to offer is her passion. After attending Montclair State University, she continued her education online, obtaining certifications in social media management.

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Life is about the journey, not the destination. And there’s simply no better way to enjoy the journey than aboard a passenger train! Happily, New Jersey has many options when it comes to epic train day trips. So before you search for “spontaneous day trips near me,” check out the following list of incredible adventures on the rails of the beautiful Garden State. All aboard for some of the most incredible day trips in New Jersey !

cool day trips in nj

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cool day trips in nj

cool day trips in nj

Of course, you can always hop on a commuter train to almost anywhere in New Jersey; we have the largest commuter rail system in the United States in terms of track mileage (951 miles). But, I think we prefer these scenic excursions better. Don’t you agree?

Prefer to drive yourself instead? Cool – rent an RV for the perfect adventure on RV Share . Looking for more day trips in New Jersey? We thought you might be! For more stellar day trips in the Garden State, check out: Whitesbog Village , Sahara Sam’s Indoor Waterpark , or this Fairy Garden .

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Day trips in new jersey.

Are there any wine trains in New Jersey?

Yes, there are wine trains in New Jersey.

  • The Warren County Winery Train is one experience where you’ll want to leave the kids at home. It’s perfect for a unique date, girlfriend getaway, or outing with friends. On the train, you will enjoy about 90 minutes of ride time, including a guided tour of the Delaware River Valley.
  • In addition to the train ride, you'll take a short bus ride to the beautiful Villa Milagro Vineyards, where you'll tour the vineyards and learn about their organic farming practices and wine-making process.
  • The tour ends with a wine tasting, making this the best adults-only day trip in New Jersey.

What are the most scenic train trips in New Jersey?

One of the most scenic train trips in New Jersey includes the Black River & Western Railroad's scenic Pumpkin Train rides throughout October.

  • Excursions last two hours in total and will take you through tree-lined passageways that are painted with bright, vibrant fall foliage.
  • An hour into the trip, the train stops by a local fall festival where kids can pick a pumpkin and wander through a corn maze.
  • This is a unique autumn activity that those of all ages can enjoy!

What are the best day trips in New Jersey?

The best day trips in New Jersey include the following:

  • Snow Tubing at Mountain Creek
  • The Liberty Science Center
  • Adventure Aquarium + Battleship New Jersey
  • Asbury Park
  • The Historic Village at Allaire

Plan a year's worth of epic day trips in New Jersey with this handy guide .

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Day trips in maine: 3 itineraries for eating, drinking and adventuring your way through vacationland.

  • Tulley Hescock, Maine Public

Summer day trips are a big part of life in New England. We visit our favorite beaches and ice cream spots, and we discover new bookstores and trails.

Journalists from the New England News Collaborative have been on the road, seeking out the best local spots in the region. Find ideas for Maine and other New England states at .

Maine is known as “Vacationland,” and it really lives up to that name. Whether you want a day trip to the beach, a coastal hike or a mountain lake swim, Maine has it all. As you may have heard, we are known for our seafood, especially our lobster. When it comes to finding the best lobster roll, know that fresher is better, but be prepared to spend some money. We are also known for our spectacular lighthouses and ocean views. You might even see a whale or a moose if you're lucky!

Check out this list of fun things to do, places to see, and food to eat in three key regions of the state — southern Maine and the Greater Portland area; Down East Maine; and the Western Mountains. Know that this is not an all encompassing list but a good place to start your day trip plans.

‎Southern Maine & Greater Portland

Southern Maine and Greater Portland offer a great mix of beach aesthetic and small-city living. Known for its vast array of eateries, Portland in particular is a foodie and beachgoers dream. Plus, there are breweries galore to satisfy all your IPA dreams. As someone who lives here, these are the spots I can thoroughly recommend if you're looking to spend the day eating and exploring in the area.

Sunset at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, in June. (Luciana Santerre/Maine Public)

What to do if you're a ...


If you’re looking to surf, relax with a good book on the sand, or find a spot for your dog to run, these are some of the best beaches in southern Maine.

  • Higgins Beach  — This is a great beach for surfing and for lounging. Parking is limited, so make sure to get there early.
  • York Beach  — A classic Maine beach with miles of sandy beach to walk, run and play beach games.
  • Ogunquit Beach  — A popular beach with a cute downtown within walking distance, Ogunquit also has a natural lazy river that occurs with the tidal change and provides a calm area for kids to play in the water.
  • Old Orchard Beach  — This is a busy location, but the beach and activities are well worth it! Ride the Ferris wheel and get some ice cream while you're there.

Lighthouse geek

  • Portland Head Light  — This is a favorite among lighthouse lovers, and is located in Cape Elizabeth, about a 10 minute drive from Portland. The lighthouse is located in Fort Williams Park, with 90 acres of land for walking and outdoor activities.
  • Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse  — A lesser known lighthouse, and my personal favorite, Spring Point Ledge lighthouse is only a 10 minute drive from downtown Portland and offers a great view of the water. Note that it's not easily accessible as it has some large rocks you have to walk across to get to the lighthouse.
  • Nubble Lighthouse  — Located in York, Nubble is a picturesque lighthouse that's classic coastal New England.

Portland Headlight Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. (Tulley Hescock/Maine Public)

  • Evergreen Cemetery  — Established in 1854, Evergreen cemetery is the largest in Maine and, as a garden-style cemetery, it offers walking trails and a pond. It's also a great location for bird watching.
  • Portland Fire Engine Co. Tours  — Take a guided tour in style! Ride a vintage fire engine while seeing historic landmarks and learning about the city of Portland's rich history.
  • Portland Art Museum  — Located in downtown Portland. Note that there is free admission to all 4-8 p.m. Fridays. Through the Portland Art Museum, you can also get tickets to the  Winslow Homer Studio tour  in Scarborough, and see where the famous Maine painter made much of his work. (Available May 20- Nov. 10, tickets range from $25 to $70.)
  • Longfellow Books  — Located in Monument Square, it is easily accessible by foot as you walk through downtown Portland. They have a robust collection of new books and very friendly staff.
  • Cove Street Arts  — Check out Cove Street Arts to learn about Maine’s place in American art history and see multidisciplinary art exhibits. Note that they are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

With so many good food options across Maine, you'll be happy we have three meals a day. (Or more, if you dispense with formality!)

Scratch Baking Co Maine salt bagels and scream cheese spread. June 21. (Tulley Hescock/Maine Public)

  • Scratch Baking Co.  — Located in South Portland, Scratch is known for their bagels and baked goods. Make sure to grab some Maine salt bagels, and don’t worry, the line moves fast! Note that Scratch is open Wednesday-Sunday.
  • Bird and Co.  — This taqueria serves brunch on the weekends and has a wide variety of delicious vegan options.
  • The Highroller Lobster Co.  — famous for their lobster rolls, Highroller is conveniently located right in the Old Port and has a bright inside seating area as well as outdoor seating. Make sure to check out their merch as well!
  • Duck Fat  — As the name suggests, this restaurant is known for using duck fat to fry their Belgian style fries, giving the food a rich flavor. Don't miss the poutine!
  • Sweet Pea's Ice Cream  — Don't forget dessert! Stop by Sweet Pea's after a day at the beach in Ogunquit, Maine.
  • Eventide Oyster Co . — Grab some oysters and fresh seafood at Eventide, and make sure to try their famous brown butter lobster roll.
  • Crispy Gai  — Incredible Southeast Asian street food in a casual dining setting. You have to try their famous chicken wings, which come with your choice of sweet or spicy sauces.
  • Allagash Brewing  — Take a tour of the brewery, order samples and grab a bite to eat. Allagash White, a Belgian-style wheat beer, put this brewery on the map.
  • Bissell Brothers  — Bissell has a large beer selection as well as fun events happening throughout the year, and especially during the summer.
  • Tomasos Canteen  — This is a great casual spot to grab a beer, share some wings with friends and maybe even munch on some fried pickles. Note that they have limited seating.
  • Oxbow Brewing  — Located in Portland’s walkable East End, Oxbow is a great spot to listen to live music and drink an authentic farmhouse ale in their beer garden. Also make sure to grab some Duckfat frites at their takeout window.

Bar Harbor & Coastal Maine

Tourists sit on the rocks off the Ocean Path Trail in Acadia National Park on June 3. (Esta Pratt-Kielley/Maine Public)

The Maine coast stretches some 3,500 miles, including bays and inlets — meaning there are a myriad of beaches, islands and coastal towns to explore. Bar Harbor is just one part of the Maine coast, but it's a top destination, with Acadia National Park as a backdrop and a beautiful, quintessential downtown as well. Maine’s Down East region is known for its natural beauty and fresh seafood, especially lobster! I grabbed a coworker and spent the day checking out some of these spots.

What to do if you're a...

Nature lover.

Coastal Maine is a nature lover’s utopia. Near Bar Harbor, the go-to spot is  Acadia National Park . Acadia has a perfect mix of coast and mountains and has tons of trails and views for everyone. You will need to purchase a park pass for your vehicle upon entering the park, but note that these passes last for seven days.

If you want a chill outdoors experience

  • The Ocean Path Trail  — This is a flat, 4.5-mile trail along the rocky coastline offering some amazing views of the water and nearby islands. This is a great path for all ages and abilities. You can park along the road parallel to the trail and start walking at any point, or you can park at the start of the trail at Sand Beach. This might be my favorite thing to do in the park!
  • Sand Beach  — The name says it all! This beach is tucked between rocky cliffs and provides a great spot to have a beach day, go for a swim or play in the sand with your kids. Be aware that it can be crowded during peak season. Also make sure to take advantage of the free  Island Explorer  shuttle, which stops at all popular locations in the park, to help you avoid parking in the busy lots.

If you want something a little more challenging

  • Cadillac Mountain  — The Cadillac summit is famous for being the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard and, depending on the time of year, it contends for the first place to see the sunrise in the U.S. You can either reserve a permit to drive up to the top; get an early start and hike up the Cadillac North Ridge Trail, a 4.2-mile out-and-back trail; or cycle up  one of the best-regarded, most challenging bike climbs  in the state.
  • The Beehive trail  — This is a rung-and-ladder trail, which can be challenging for some hikers and not easily accessible. But if you’re up for the challenge, the 1.4-mile round trip promises great views that overlook Sand Beach and the Gulf of Maine.
  • Cafe This Way  — a cozy breakfast spot with outdoor seating and friendly, quick service. This was a perfect way to start off our day in Bar Harbor. You can even get a breakfast sandwich with French toast as the bread!
  • Looking Glass Restaurant  — A great spot for breakfast with a view of the ocean. Make sure to order a Looking Glass-exclusive item.

Cafe This Way in Bar Harbor, Maine, on June 3. (Estra Pratt-Kielley/Maine Public)

  • Geddy's  — A classic Bar Harbor restaurant located right in downtown. The interior highlights a rustic Maine aesthetic with high-quality food and fresh Maine seafood. Don't forget to order a lobster roll!
  • Finback Ale House  — There are a variety of whale-themed restaurants in Bar Harbor, as visitors can spot humpback, finback, and minke whales off of the coast of Maine. I had some fresh clam chowder and, of course, we had to grab a beer to finish off our day of eating and drinking.
  • Thirsty Whale  — If you want more of a tavern feel, visit the Thirsty Whale a few doors down that has a wide variety of seafood, appetizers and specialty cocktails.
  • El El Frijoles  – If you are headed down the coast towards Sedgwick, make sure to check out El El Frijoles (a play off of Maine’s famous L.L.Bean). This family-owned summer restaurant serves homemade Mexican food made with local Maine ingredients that you can enjoy indoors in a beautiful screened-in porch area, or share a meal with friends around the outdoor fire pit.

Lifelong Learner

If you’re a history buff or find yourself in Bar Harbor on a rainy day, there are tons of places to check out.

  • Abbe Museum  — Located right in downtown Bar Harbor, the Abbe Museum is the spot to learn about the Wabanaki Nation’s heritage, culture and homeland.
  • La Rochelle Mansion and Museum  — If you are interested in turn-of-the-century homes, you need to take a morning or afternoon and walk through the Bar Harbor Historical Society’s well-preserved home from the early 1900s. The mansion offers a look into a classic New England high class home with beautiful grounds and views.

La Rochelle mansion in Bar Harbor, Maine, on June 3. (Esta Pratt-Kielley/Maine Public)

If you’re more interested in Bar Harbor’s wildlife and ecology…

  • Mount Desert Oceanarium and Education Center  — Here you can meet Maine’s coastal critters including fish and lobster, and learn about coastal habitats.
  • George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History  — If you’d rather stay closer to downtown Bar Harbor, check out the College of the Atlantic’s Dorr Museum, where there's a touch tank for all ages to get up close and personal with starfish, crabs and other crustaceans. If you are traveling on the free  Island Explorer  bus, the shuttle stops right near the Dorr Museum throughout the summer, making visiting easily accessible to all.

If you are an art lover and are traveling down the coast from Bar Harbor, have you ever heard of the giant trolls of Maine?

  • Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens  — The trolls are a big attraction at the Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Their real name is “Guardians of the Seeds,” and they were made by Danish artist and sustainability activist, Thomas Dambo. The botanical gardens have lots of things to see, including gardens in bloom and a butterfly and moth house. They are open May through Oct. 20, and there is an admission fee. This is a great spot for the whole family!
  • Center for Maine Contemporary Art  — Make sure to visit the gallery in Rockland. This museum focuses on art made by Mainers or people who are inspired by Maine. It’s a great chance to see and support local Maine art.

Rangeley & Western Maine

A waterfall on Cascade Stream Gorge Trail in Rangeley, Maine, on June 19. (Esta Pratt-Kielley/Maine Public)

The western mountain and lakes region of Maine is known for winter season activities including skiing, snowboarding and hunting. But the area also is a great summer getaway, with tons of swim spots, hiking trails and places to eat. I would argue this drive is the most scenic in this guide. I made sure to stop by some of these places and see what Western Maine is all about.

  • Winter skiing  — The mountain region is known for winter skiing. Check out Saddleback Mountain, Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Mt. Abram and Pleasant Mountain.
  • Cascade Stream Gorge Trail  — For a quick day hike for the whole family, check out this short, 1-mile loop that leads you to see a series of waterfalls. This is a great option for kids.
  • Saddleback Mountain via Ski Lodge trail  — If you’re looking for a more challenging day hike, trek the 5.9 miles (about 3.5 hours) up and back.
  • Rangeley Lake State Park  — A great spot to camp, swim or enjoy a picnic lunch by the lake on the public access lawn area.
  • Coos Canyon  — Check out Coos Canyon on Route 17, located right on the Swift River. There are swimming and cliff jumping spots, plus places where you can pan for gold!
  • Looney Moose Cafe  — Located in Stratton, this might have been my favorite meal of the day! Not only can you eat a hearty breakfast, but they also make homemade doughnuts. Stop by on your way to Sugarloaf to fuel up for skiing or hiking.
  • The Red Onion  — Right on Main Street Rangeley, the Red Onion is a local favorite known for their pizza.
  • Classic Provisions  — This is a go-to breakfast and lunch spot in Rangeley. They have a variety of sandwiches and salads, as well as coffee drinks and house-made pastries. Plus you can walk two steps and grab an ice cream next door.

A sandwich at Classic Provisions in Rangeley, Maine, on June 19. (Esta Pratt-Kielley/Maine Public)

  • Rangeley Inn and Tavern  — Not only is this a great lodging spot, but it also has an attached tavern that serves quality food in cozy dining rooms.
  • The Mountain Social Kitchen and Bar  — This is a great fine dining option. They have locally made food and are located right on the main street in Bethel.
  • Furbish Brew House & Eats  – Situated on Main Street in Rangeley, you can sip on your brew while enjoying a view of Rangeley Lake.
  • Outdoor Heritage Museum  — This is a small but robust museum where the whole family can learn about western Maine’s history of hunting, fishing and wildlife from the 20th century. They even have a 100-year-old cabin!
  • Rangeley History Museum  — Stop by to learn about the history of Rangeley and western Maine. This location is right on Main Street.

Lifelong learner

  • Maine Mineral and Gem museum  — Who knew you could hold a piece of the moon in western Maine? Plus, we even got to touch 7 billion-year-old stardust. This museum has the largest meteorite collection in North America, plus tons of beautiful gems and stones. Their staff can answer all your burning questions about space rocks! Note that admission ends at 4 p.m., while the museum closes at 5 p.m.
  • Did you know that Rangeley is located exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole? There’s even a spot on Main Street where you can stand and be exactly in the middle!

A couple eats ice cream by Haley Pond in Rangeley, Maine, on June 19. (Esta Pratt Kielley/Maine Public)

  • Day trips in Massachusetts: Hikes, history made fun, ice cream and unofficial hot dog tours

More from Field Guide to Boston

Heat Wave Cities Along the East Coast Bear the Worst Conditions

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Three people standing under an outdoor shower. One boy is holding a bucket.

On Day 7 of the heat wave, East Coast cities continue to bake, with new temperature records.

Heat continued on Sunday to scorch the Mid-Atlantic and the densely populated region from Washington, D.C., to New York, where the National Weather Service ranked the heat risk as “extreme” when accounting for the high temperatures and their unseasonably early arrival.

Daily temperature records — some more than a century old — continued to fall. In Philadelphia, a reading of 98 degrees beat the record, 97, set in 1888. The high of 101 degrees in Reading, Pa., also beat the daily record, which had been set in 1908 at 96 degrees. It was also the first time that Reading had experienced triple-digit temperatures since July 2012.

The Washington area had record-breaking temperatures two days in a row. On Saturday, Baltimore’s high of 101 degrees broke the record of 100 set in 1988, and on Sunday, an afternoon recording of 98 surpassed the 97-degree record for the day, set in 2010. In Dulles, Va., the temperatures of 100 degrees on Saturday and 98 on Sunday beat records set in 1988. And in Arlington, Va., a 99-degree reading on Sunday surpassed the city’s 1988 record. (June of that year was especially brutal for the capital region, as the extreme heat then heralded a broiling and deadly summer .)

In Trenton, N.J., the temperature reached 98 degrees on Sunday. The heat wave prompted officials in some parts of the state, including Pennsville Township , Moorestown , Vineland, Ridgewood , Denville and Butler to announce mandatory or optional water restrictions, asking residents to refrain from washing their cars or watering their lawns.

But the end of the heat wave that gripped much of the United States over the past week is in sight. The Weather Service predicts that the heat wavewill begin to subside early this week.

Thunderstorms were forecast for parts of the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday afternoon.

“Prolonged periods of heat around here usually end with a bang and that is what will happen later today,” the service’s office serving the Philadelphia area posted on X on Sunday morning.

Relief has begun to arrive in other parts of the country that were hit hard last week, signaling a dip in the heat that’s still gripping the Mid-Atlantic. In New England, record-breaking temperatures have already receded, and Sunday brought lower temperatures to the Ohio Valley and the Midwest.

In Detroit, the heat index fell from a high of 95 degrees on Saturday to 87 degrees by midday Sunday, a more normal level for this time of year. In Cleveland, the heat index fell from a high of 97 degrees on Saturday to 83. And in Chicago, the heat index declined from a Saturday high of 96 degrees to 83 degrees on Sunday.

The health consequences of this heat wave are starting to become clear. Heat-related emergency room visits spiked in regions of the United States that were hit hardest by the heat wave last week, according to a tracker by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Erin Nolan and Mark Bonamo contributed reporting.

— Isabelle Taft and Kate Selig

Heat index forecast for…

The d.c. area has been particularly hot this weekend, with new temperature records..

Several temperature records in the Washington, D.C., area have been broken or tied this weekend.

In Baltimore, temperatures reached 101 degrees on Saturday, edging out the previous record of 100 set in 1988. Just west of Washington in Dulles, Va., the high of 100 degrees surpassed the earlier record of 99, also set in 1988. And in Arlington, Va., temperatures reached 100 degrees — one tick below the record set in 1988 — for the city’s the first triple-digit day in June since 2012.

On Sunday, some places saw records again: Readings of 98 degrees in Baltimore and Dulles broke previous highs set in 2010 and 1988. Arlington’s 99-degree weather broke another record set in 1988.

But the heat hasn’t stopped many residents from partaking in summer weekend activities.

On Saturday afternoon, Dontrell Knighten, 30, braved scorching temperatures to practice drills at a basketball court at the Edgewood Recreation Center in northeast Washington. Sweat trickled off his forehead as heat radiated from the court, but Mr. Knighten kept practicing shots.

“You get used to the heat,” said Mr. Knighten, an I.T. professional at Howard University. He added, “Regardless of the temperature, you’ve got to go outside and get some fresh air every day.”

In Baltimore, tens of thousands of people have been celebrating African American heritage at the AFRAM Music Festival this weekend, undeterred by the stifling conditions. Festival organizers set up extra measures including cooling stations, emergency water distribution and booths offering sunscreen. They expect up to 300,000 visitors over the weekend.

And on Sunday morning, as temperatures crept up again, about 150 people, including Mayor Brandon Scott, jumped into the city’s Inner Harbor during an event celebrating the harbor’s improved water quality.

The extreme heat is expected to subside soon. Temperatures in the area are forecast to fall to highs of 90 degrees by Monday, with winds coming in from the northwest that should feel “refreshing,” according to the National Weather Service.

Adam Bednar and Donna M. Owens contributed reporting.

— Isabelle Taft


As New Jersey bakes, some towns ask residents to reduce water use.

The intense and unusually early heat wave that has blanketed much of the Northeast for the past week continued on Sunday to scorch New Jersey, where excessive heat warnings or heat advisories were in effect in most of the state, according to the National Weather Service .

Temperatures throughout the region were more than 10 degrees above average on Sunday, according to Joe DeSilva, a meteorologist with the Weather Service. Trenton, the state capital, reached 98 degrees — just two degrees shy of the city’s hottest recorded temperature, last logged in 1952, he said.

The worst of the sweltering heat should be over by Sunday evening, Mr. DeSilva said, though temperatures were expected to remain in the 80s in the coming week.

Officials in numerous communities urged residents — especially older people, homeless people and those with chronic health conditions — to prevent heat-related illness by staying hydrated, using air-conditioning, limiting strenuous physical activity and wearing loose, light-colored clothing. Pet owners should also monitor their animals for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting, drooling and lethargy, officials said.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection encouraged New Jerseyans to take advantage of the Chill Out NJ tool , an online map of public places where people can find air-conditioning, pools, splash pads, beaches or shady parks.

The lengthy heat wave also prompted officials in some places, including Pennsville Township , Moorestown and Vineland in South Jersey, and Ridgewood , Denville and Butler in North Jersey, to announce mandatory or optional water restrictions, asking residents to refrain from washing their cars or watering their lawns. And at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, a National Women’s Soccer League game between Gotham F.C. and the Washington Spirit on Sunday was moved to 6 p.m. from 1:30 p.m. because of the heat.

In Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, where the heat index rose over 100 degrees, heat visibly radiated from the surface of Ferry Street as people packed into Sihana Cafe, where they took advantage of air-conditioning and free water.

“It’s ridiculously hot,” said Monica Dos Santos, 24, a cafe employee, as she served yet another iced coffee. “People should stay inside and stay cool, unless they can make it to the beach. And if you can get to the beach, you should live on it.”

In Jersey City, Genevieve Friedman, who had traveled from Brooklyn to meet a friend for brunch in the Paulus Hook neighborhood, said she was making every effort to beat the heat.

“I’m at an all-time high in fluid consumption, and I’m leaving my air-conditioning on at night, which I never do,” Ms. Friedman, 29, an editor at a medical news website, said as she sat on a stoop, sweating and waiting for her friend to arrive.

Though the weather was far from pleasant, Ms. Friedman said she believed that New Jersey residents had better get used to it.

“With climate change, there will be more and more extreme weather coming,” she said. “We can only expect more of this.”

New Jersey is warming faster than any other state in the region , according to its Environmental Protection Department, and extreme heat events are expected to become more frequent and last longer.

Some residents fled North Jersey’s urban areas on Sunday for the relative relief of the Jersey Shore.

Franco Riofrio, 41, a banker from Woodland Park, had traveled with his wife and young daughter to the public beach at Sea Bright, calling the trip “the absolute best way to escape this heat.”

The weather made a sudden shift even as the family arrived on the beach: Mr. Riofrio said his car’s temperature gauge had read 100 degrees, but that it had felt drastically cooler as a strong wind swept in from the Atlantic Ocean.

“It’s been so incredibly hot, then the wind hits us and it feels like we’ve got a wind chill,” Mr. Riofrio said. “I guess we can expect a lot more volatility in weather patterns from now on.”

John Forsman, the captain of the Sea Bright lifeguard squad, pointed out that beachgoers should be careful about ocean swimming, which can be dangerous even during optimal weather.

“Rip currents are real, and beach erosion has worn out the sandbars that helped swimmers in the past,” Forsman, 26, of nearby Little Silver, said.

“This heat wave has definitely made more people go to the beach than normal,” he added. “But they really need to understand that when you swim in the ocean, you have to know your abilities and know your limits.”

— Erin Nolan and Mark Bonamo

In the steamy Florida Panhandle, the homeless feel helpless.

It was a quiet and still Sunday morning in Pensacola, Fla. The sun was beaming, with temperatures going up to 94 degrees.

A small group of homeless people sat on the lawn by the offices of Waterfront Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that caters to the poor and homeless. The organization announced two weeks ago that it would open as a cooling center on certain days, and the people gathered outside were hoping to get some relief from the punishing heat.

But it was closed. Waterfront Rescue opens as a cooling center only when the heat index exceeds 105 degrees, and Sunday’s figure was just a few degrees shy of that level, hovering around 100.

Heat waves, especially extended ones like this one, can be particularly brutal for the homeless. While cities like Pensacola have opened up cooling centers to offer relief, finding places to sleep away from the dangerous heat is no small feat.

“Right now, living on the streets really sucks,” James Beard, 54, said in a biting tone.

This section of Pensacola, on the city’s west side, was once considered a thriving area, booming with the city’s first major shopping center and other commercial properties. These days, Pace Boulevard, a large street near Waterfront Rescue, is lined with worn-down buildings and abandoned gas stations. Homeless people stand on street corners, holding cardboard signs with words such as “Homeless, anything helps” scrawled with a marker.

With strict city ordinances and state laws in place, Mr. Beard and Bobby Green, 34, who have both been homeless for three years, expressed feeling helpless. One ordinance prohibits sleeping or camping of any kind on public property.

“There’s no help for the homeless, except for this shade tree,” Mr. Green said.

Sundays are particularly difficult for Mr. Beard and his wife, Theresa Toney, 55, to find relief and shelter. When they are not at Waterfront Rescue, they usually seek refuge at the Alfred-Washburn Center, another nonprofit organization for the homeless. But it is also closed on Sundays.

Mr. Beard acknowledged that Waterfront Rescue does provide some help on Sundays, such as by shuttling them to Ensley First Baptist Church in the afternoon for food and clothes. But before then, they have nowhere else to go, and “you’re just screwed, “Mr. Beard said.

“You need to drink water — gallons and gallons of water.”

Brandon K. Thorp contributed research.

— Kalyn Wolfe Reporting from Pensacola, Fla.

A sampling of records that were broken in this heat wave.

Dozens of cities around the country have broken daily temperature records in the past week, according to the National Weather Service . Below is a sampling, with the new high for that date.

Yuma, Colo., on June 16 — New high: 101. Previous high: 100.

Green Lake, Wash., on June 20 — New high: 86. Previous high: 74.

Chicago on June 17 — New high: 97. Previous high: 94.

Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., on June 18 — New high: 99. Previous high: 93.

Toledo, Ohio, on June 17 — New high: 99. Previous high: 97.

Cleveland on June 17 — New high: 96. Previous high: 94.

Racine, Wis., on June 18 — New high: 95. Previous high: 94.


Baltimore on June 22 — New high: 101. Previous high: 100.

Dulles, Va., on June 22 — New high: 100. Previous high: 99.

Clarksburg, W.Va., on June 19 — New high: 97. Previous high: 94.

Shippensburg, Pa., on June 19 — New high: 97. Previous high: 96.

Pittsburgh on June 18 — New high: 94. Previous high: 91.

Niagara Falls, N.Y., on June 19 — New high: 91. Previous high: 89.

Snowshoe, W.Va., on June 21 — New high: 82. Previous high: 77.

Manchester, N.H., on June 19 — New high: 98. Previous high: 93.

Boston on June 19 — New high: 98. Previous high: 95.

Hartford, Conn., on June 19 — New high: 97. Previous high: 95.

Woodstock, Vt., on June 21 — New high: 96. Previous high: 94.

Greeneville, Maine, on June 19 — New high: 93. Previous high: 90.

Mount Washington, N.H., on June 20 — New high: 70. Previous high: 64.

Winchester, Tenn., on June 17 — New high: 99. Previous high: 94.

Naples, Fla., on June 20 — New high: 98. Previous high: 96.

Rockport, Texas, on June 17 — New high: 97. Previous high: 94.

— David W. Chen

Older adults in Philadelphia look for help staying cool.

Older adults, especially those who have certain medical conditions, live alone or have limited mobility, are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat, according to the National Weather Service.

And ones in Philadelphia were feeling the struggle this weekend as high temperatures persist there. On Sunday, temperatures reached 98 degrees, beating the previous record of 97 that was set in 1888.

The city heatline, a helpline meant for people who fall ill from the heat or need assistance dealing with it, has been seeing higher call volumes than usual, said Nolan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, which partners with the city’s Health Department. The heatline is an extension of the corporation’s normal helpline for seniors, which Mr. Lawrence directs.

Teams of nurses have responded to four calls, and a woman who may have been suffering from a heat stroke was taken to a hospital for treatment Saturday evening. Many callers have reported malfunctioning window units that they can’t lift, or fans that fail to cool their homes, Mr. Lawrence said.

The corporation also refers callers to the nearest cooling centers, based on an interactive map published by the city. Philadelphia has been operating about 150 official cooling centers since it declared a heat health emergency starting Thursday.

“It’s particularly brutal out here the last few days,” Mr. Lawrence said. “The level of calls that would be considered emergency-based or potential for emergency, those are definitely higher than in years past.”

To provide a respite from the sweltering temperatures, the South Philadelphia Older Adult Center, which normally would be closed for the weekend, opened this Saturday and Sunday.

Larry Guerra, 89, lives about a block and a half from the center and tried to stay in the shade when he walked there on Saturday morning. He made it through the heat but said he was “glad it wasn’t any further.” He planned to return on Sunday.

About 10 seniors spent Saturday in the center, and some of them said that they had no air-conditioning in their homes, said Darryl Gibbs, a clerk at the center who was managing it this weekend.

In the Cecil B. Moore section of North Philadelphia, Derrick Fleming, a 53-year-old chef, said he had checked on some of his older neighbors who don’t go out, and brought them some water and food on Saturday.

Some of them take refuge in an air-conditioned senior center nearby. If any look as though they need medical attention, Mr. Fleming is ready to call an ambulance, he said. But he is thankful that he hasn’t needed to yet.

“Their conditions are not bad, but they are not good,” he said. “They’re on fixed incomes. That’s why I make sure they’re OK.”

— Jon Hurdle and Isabelle Taft Jon Hurdle reported from Philadelphia. Isabelle Taft reported from New York.

Heat-related illnesses spiked in some regions this week, C.D.C. data shows.

Heat-related emergency room visits spiked this week in regions of the United States that have been hit the hardest by the heat wave, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Across swaths of New England, the Midwest, the Rockies and the Mid-Atlantic States, there were “extremely high” rates of heat-related illnesses this week, the C.D.C.’s heat and health tracker showed, with data through Saturday.

The data used emergency room visits associated with the heat to determine the rise in heat-related illnesses, showing which areas had visits that exceeded the 95th percentile of what is typical. The numbers were based on a scale of per 100,000 visits.

In the Mid-Atlantic, including the Washington area and Philadelphia, the number of visits climbed from 290 on Monday, the first day of the heat wave, to 1,150 on Saturday. That was the highest rate anywhere in the country all week. On Saturday and Sunday, several temperature records were broken in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Data also showed a spike in the region that includes Iowa and Missouri, with 1,077 visits on Saturday, up from 267 on Monday. On Saturday, the temperature in Kansas City, Mo., reached 95 degrees, 10 degrees above average for this time of year.

Earlier in the week, as New England states sweltered under record-breaking temperatures, the number of visits climbed from 57 per 100,000 on Monday, the first day of the heat wave, to 848 on Thursday.

The region is less acclimated to having high temperatures this time of year than others, and places like Boston and Hartford, Conn., had record temperatures . Caribou, Maine, reached 96 degrees this week, tying the highest temperature ever recorded there.

Much of the Midwest also had more heat-related emergency room visits than usual, with such trips reaching a peak of 632 visits on Wednesday. Chicago hit a record high of 97 degrees on Monday.

Areas around New York and New Jersey also saw a surge in heat-related medical issues this week, going up to 537 heat-related emergency room visits on Friday, from 141 on Monday. New York City reached daily temperatures it hadn’t experienced in almost two years, going up to 94 degrees in Central Park on Friday.

Deaths resulting from extreme heat have been on the rise in the country in the past few years. The C.D.C. recorded about 2,300 heat-related deaths in 2023, up from approximately 1,700 in 2022 and about 1,600 in 2021.

Global warming has been making heat waves hotter , more frequent and longer lasting. And the longer a heat wave, the more health risks people face because each additional day of extreme heat further strains the body.

Temperatures in New England fell on Friday, but the Mid-Atlantic continued to bake through Sunday. By Monday, cooler temperatures are expected along the populous Interstate 95 corridor on the East Coast, but the National Weather Service predicts intense — and potentially dangerous — heat for parts of the South and the Plains throughout the upcoming week.

— Kate Selig and Isabelle Taft

How to sleep better in the heat.

A heat wave has scorched the Northeast, South, and Midwest this week, and those dangerously high temperatures can make it hard to sleep.

Studies show that extreme heat can affect both how much you sleep and how good that sleep is, said Chad Milando, a research scientist at the Center for Climate and Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. He and other experts said the people who are most vulnerable to poor sleep during a heat wave are low-income families who don’t have air-conditioning in their homes, as well as older adults or people with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to heat-related illness .

That’s why when temperatures rise, it’s essential to have a plan to keep cool when you sleep.

How Heat Affects Sleep

The body’s core temperature naturally drops during sleep, but hot environments can prevent the body from properly cooling. Studies also suggest that lower ambient temperatures signal to your body that it’s time to rest.

If the temperature in your bedroom is too high, it may be difficult to fall asleep , and you may wake up more frequently throughout the night, said Dr. Michael Irwin, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. You may also get less restorative sleep, he added.

To help your body regulate its temperature, your bedroom should ideally be between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, said Rebecca Robbins, an assistant professor of medicine in the sleep medicine division at Harvard Medical School. If your room is far hotter, you may wake up throughout the night, particularly during the stages of sleep when it’s not possible for the body to regulate its own temperature, she said.

“When exposed to extremes, we’re likely to wake ourselves up in order to shiver or wake ourselves up in order to sweat,” Dr. Robbins said.

Set Yourself Up for a Good Night’s Rest

There are steps you can take to sleep better during a heat wave, beyond just turning on air-conditioning, experts said.

“Sleeping well at night starts with staying hydrated and cool during the day,” Dr. Milando said. Drinking plenty of water when it is hot outside ensures that your body has enough fluid to cool down. When you’re dehydrated, you sweat less, and it becomes easier to overheat.

You can also keep your home cooler by closing your blinds or curtains to filter out direct sunlight, experts said. Keeping air circulating in your bedroom can also help. If you don’t have an air-conditioner, install a fan in an open window, which will help bring in the cooler air from outside, Dr. Robbins said.

To lower your body temperature before bed, place a damp rag on your forehead, Dr. Irwin said. “The moisture in that rag is going to evaporate across the night,” he said. But avoid ice packs, experts said, since placing them on your skin for too long can damage skin or cause frostbite .

Dr. Robbins recommended sleeping under a thin top sheet, which can promote airflow and make it easier to stick out your limbs out from under the sheet when you feel too warm. Pajamas should also be thin and loose to avoid trapping in heat. But when it’s extremely hot, “it might be a good time to try your birthday suit,” Dr. Robbins said.

If you are struggling to sleep peacefully during a heat wave, resist the urge to toss and turn in bed — it’ll only make you hotter, Dr. Robbins said.

“Try not to kick yourself for being awake, which we can all do,” she said. “Maybe get up, use the bathroom, try to keep the lights low, and then come back to your bedroom when you’re tired and get into bed when you are ready to sleep.”

— Katie Mogg Home

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cool day trips in nj

Mayor Adams Announces 10,000 Free Tickets For General Public For Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks

June 25, 2024

Nation’s Largest Independence Day Celebration to Return to Hudson River for 48th Annual Fireworks Show

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced 10,000 free tickets to the general public to view the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks from Hudson River Park’s Pier 45 or Pier 84 in Manhattan. To learn more or get tickets, visit . Tickets will go live on Wednesday, June 26th at 10:00AM and will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Each member of the public will be limited to two tickets. The fireworks show will be visible all along the West Side Highway for those who do not receive a ticket. Entry points for the general public are:

  • Christopher Street and Washington Street
  • West 11th Street and Washington Street
  • West 12th Street and Washington Street
  • West 29th Street and 11th Avenue
  • West 40th Street and 11th Avenue

 ADA accessible viewing locations will be located at Christopher Street and Washington Street and West 41st Street and 11th Avenue.

“While all New Yorkers will be able to take part in the illumination of our sky at the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, our administration is making sure that 10,000 lucky New Yorkers have an opportunity to enjoy the show with a front row seat,” said Mayor Adams. “We’re making sure everyone has a fair shot at attending one of the city’s most exciting and iconic events. I look forward to joining the thousands of viewers celebrating America’s birthday right here in the Big Apple.”

“New York City has gone above and beyond to make sure that New Yorkers are able to safely view the spectacular Macy’s fireworks this year,” said  Noreen Doyle, president and CEO, Hudson River Park Trust . “We appreciate all Mayor Adams and his team have done to support this celebratory event, along with the New York City Police Department, Fire Department, and many other agencies, for their careful planning, and we look forward to celebrating with thousands of people on July 4.”

For the first time in over a decade, the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will launch from barges along the Hudson River, lighting up the New York City skyline and providing miles of prime viewing along the West Side of Manhattan. This year’s display will feature thousands of shells, with an array of effects and vibrant colors, shapes, light, and sounds.

Media Contact

[email protected] (212) 788-2958

NHL Draft 2024: This physical prospect made difficult scouting trip ‘well worth it,’ Devils scout says

  • Updated: Jun. 24, 2024, 7:07 a.m. |
  • Published: Jun. 24, 2024, 7:00 a.m.

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard

Norway's Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, left, watches the puck after scoring past Denmark's goalkeeper Frederik Dichow during the preliminary round match between Denmark and Norway at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) AP

  • Ryan Novozinsky | NJ Advance Media for

Another day, another Devils potential draftee to analyze.

The Devils are set to use the No. 10 pick at the 2024 NHL Draft, which takes place Friday at the Sphere in Las Vegas. New Jersey’s scouting team, led by chief scout Mark Dennehy , has selected its fair share of promising prospects in recent years, so let’s see who they snag with yet another high draft pick.

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