Sandy Hook
Photo: R.Babakin/Fotolia

New Jersey is renowned for its historic museums and sites to behold. Jersey City is the location of Liberty State Park, where ferries embark for nearby Ellis Island. New Jersey’s coastal region hosts exquisite beach hotels of great architectural design, in which visitors and guests can lodge and relax after a long day of touring the state.

»Cape May Historic District

Cape May Historic District

The Cape May Historic District is a seaside treasure offering beautiful views and classic Victorian architecture. The historic streets host hotels, bed and breakfasts, and churches. For stunning ocean views, take a trip to historic 1858 Cape May lighthouse or World War II Lookout Tower.

Other must-see sites in the district include Emlen Physick Estate, the pedestrian-friendly Washington Street Mall, Cape May Winery, Cape May Stage, and the East Lynne Theater Company. To get an overall view of Victorian equipment and items, visit Mac’s Museum Shops and Caroll Gallery Exhibits. Boat rides, trolley tours, and Cape May Ghost tours are some of the best activities in the district.

401 Washington St, Cape May, NJ 08204-1737, Phone: 609-884-5484 Photo: Paul Hakimata/Fotolia

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»Liberty Science Center

Liberty Science Center

Liberty Science Center exposes guests to the process and ways of communication, from totem poles and body language to sound waves. Guests have the chance to watch how animals catch their food without becoming preyed upon themselves in the exhibit called Eat and Be Eaten. The Energy Quest exhibition allows guest to explore energy choices and learn ways to utilize the earth’s diverse resources.

Guests can get a close-up view of honey bees and hear how they are a vital part of the ecosystem in Honey Bees: Home Is Where the Hive Is. Experience the Infinity Climber, a thrilling, 35-foot-high, multi-story play place that dares you to climb, crawl and balance through the suspended pathway. Be sure to check out the centers most popular experience in the Touch Tunnel, where guests use their sense of touch to navigate through a twisting dark tunnel.

222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 07305, website, Phone: 201-200-1000 Photo: Liberty Science Center

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»Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial

Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial

The Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial was designed to keep the memories alive of those 749 New Jersey natives who died in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. The goal of the memorial is to console the families of the victims, helping them feel that the memories of their loved ones weren’t lost on that fateful day.

The memorial has twin walls, in the design of the former World Trade Center Towers that were destroyed during the attack, on which the names of the deceased are written in a parallel design. The memorial attracts visitors from all over the world who come to pay their respects to the lives lost. The cherry trees surrounding the memorial give it a serene feeling, but nothing can offset the tragedy that took place that day.

1 Audreyzapp Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305, website, Phone: 201-915-3403 Photo: spirit of america/Fotolia

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»Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a laboratory complex of the past, when machines were run using belts and pulleys, and music played on phonographs. It displays a collection of items used by one of the greatest inventors, Thomas Edison. One of the most outstanding items is Edison’s talking doll recordings of 1888, which guests can see photos of and read about.

The collection displays the lab furnishings and equipment used by Edison and his colleagues in the West Orange Laboratory starting in 1881. Guests can also view manufactured goods and materials associated with the research and the development of manufactured goods by Edison and his colleagues.

211 Main St, West Orange, NJ 07052, website, Phone: 973-736-0550 Photo: NPS Photo

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»Ocean City Boardwalk

Ocean City Boardwalk

Ocean City Boardwalk is 3-miles long, and does not seem to lack activities to take part in year-round. Locals and visitors alike stroll, bike, rollerblade, and walk their dogs along this world-famous boardwalk. Landmarks around Ocean City Boardwalk include the United States Coast Guard Tower, the Inlet Indian sculpture, Trimper's Carousel, and Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum among others, all strategically located for the convenience of tourists.

There are several classy hotels overlooking the beach, such as Grand Hotel and Spa, bars with cold beers and fun cocktails to grace your evening, as well as pet stores. The boardwalk is always enlightened with street performers, kite fliers, and beautiful views. Photo: j novack 7/Fotolia

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»Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

This is a facility where effective and sensitive techniques are used to serve people with disabilities. The facility hosts artist events, group activities, and team-building to entertain their guests. Guests with limited mobility have an opportunity to tour the park with a docent-trained Accessibility Assistant on an ADA rated vehicle that can accommodate a wheelchair.

The visually impaired can enjoy touch tours, while others get free tours with the purchase of park admission. Guests can also visit the fully accessible Domestic Art Building that has a museum and exhibition space. There are programs such as hands-on workshops for adults and children, lectures, sculpture hunts, as well as Wellness Walks, Wellness Talks which is a program for adults who want to get fit while learning about leading a healthy lifestyle.

80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619, website, Phone: 609-586-0616 Photo: Grounds for Sculpture

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»Trailside Nature and Science Center

Trailside Nature and Science Center

Trailside Nature and Science Center is Union County’s Environmental Educational Center. It is built on a preserve of woodlands, fields, lakes, streams and hiking trails, making it a wonderful tourist destination. Guests get an opportunity to see the famous 34 foot American beech tree, which fills the whole building’s atrium.

Walking, biking and hiking on the center’s natural surroundings allows for the most memorable moments. The arboretum has classrooms, a library, a children’s discovery room, and a large 250-seat auditorium. These facilities give it the advantage of hosting large groups. It even allows for hosting of birthday parties and other celebrations.

452 New Providence Road, Mountainside, NJ 07092, Phone: 908-787-3670 Photo: Trailside Nature and Science Center

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»Battleship New Jersey

Battleship New Jersey

Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial is the most decorated battleship museum in the country, with a mission to restore, preserve, exhibit and interpret the history of the USS New Jersey. The museum commemorates the brave sailors that served aboard the battleship, and is steeped in history.

Visitors can see the first issue of the Jerseyman newsletter from 1944, as well as the famous BB62, which was built in 1942 after the Pearl Harbor attack, with a long history behind. The museum offers tours lead by expertly trained tour guides, overnight packages, and the ship can even be rented out for events.

62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ 08103, website, Phone: 866-877-6262 Photo: Battleship New Jersey

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»Cape May County Park and Zoo

Cape May County Park and Zoo

Cape May County Park and Zoo provides fun moments for both kids and adults, hosting a wide range of wild animals. Some of the must-see animals in the zoo include the rare Golden-Headed Lion, the Dromedary Camel, Ankole Watusi, American Bison, the Australian Black Swan, the interesting black howler monkey, alpaca, and the African lion, just to name a few.

There are scavenger hunts for both the younger and the older kids, and sleepover and adventure camping can be arranged in the zoo as well. There is a ‘Zoo to You’ program in which some animals are taken to surrounding schools and estates, and lessons on the animals are provided.

707 Route 9 North, Cape May Courthouse, NJ 08210, website, Phone: 609-465-527 Photo: Vladimir Wrangel/Fotolia

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»Lakota Wolf Preserve

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Lakota Wolf Preserve offers an intimate view of wolves in their natural habitat through their Wolf Watch Tours. Once you are in the preserve, you are surrounded by four packs of wolves. You will learn about the social structure of wolf packs, their eating habits and interaction with man, as you watch the wolves playing, interacting, and even howling.

The preserve also keeps foxes and bobcats. Tours are offered during the week with a reservation, and on weekends drop-ins are welcome. Guests are allowed to take photos on the preserve and of the animals. Two tours are offered daily except on Mondays.

89 Mt Pleasant Road, Columbia, NJ 07832, website, Phone: 908-496-9224 Photo: byrdyak/Fotolia

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»Morristown National Historical Park

Morristown National Historical Park

The Morristown National Historical Park commemorates the sites of General Washington and his continental army’s winter encampment from December 1779 to June 1780, which is the longest winter in history.

It has a museum, complete with a library collection on encampments and George Washington, as well as items from pre- and post-Revolutionary America. Guests are exposed to talks and discussions on legends and myths of Morristown in the campfire program, and the ghostly revelations at the Ford Mansion by Gordon Ward are fascinating. For those looking to explore outdoors, there are a number of lovely hiking trails that guests can walk. Special events such as author talks are held for free to entertain and educate visitors.

30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ 07960, Phone: 973-543-1949 Photo: spiritofamerica/Fotolia

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»The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum provides the knowledge and enjoyment of horticulture and the natural world. With the help of volunteers, the Arboretum is helping to preserve this valued community and regional resource. Guests learn the history of, and tricks to grow and cure, garlic, in addition to different recipes.

Additionally, guests can get garlic treats and purchase garlic cultivars and gourmet garlic cloves. Come to the tri-state African Violet Council annual show, which exhibits horticultural designs and architecture, provides the sale of various plants such as the rhizomatous gesneriads, and teaches how to grow them. The Gingerbread Wonderland craft show provides recipes for gingerbread as well as the ‘gorilla glue’ of gingerbread, otherwise known as royal icing. Guests to the arboretum also learn how to prepare fall fruit, both for immediate consumption and later use.

353 East Hanover Ave, Morristown, NJ 07960-1295, website, Phone: 973-326-7601 Photo: Alena Yakusheva/Fotolia

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»Princeton University Art Museum

Princeton University Art Museum

The Princeton University Art Museum aims to provide visual arts to the university students, visitors and other scholars. Tours for university students and other groups are a perfect way to see the museum, due to the comprehensive and large variety of educational displays that are not only academic, but also fun.

The museum has a large collection of art, ranging from ancient art such as African Art, American Art, Ancient Byzantine and Islamic Art, Asian and European Art, to modern and contemporary art, photography, prints and drawings. Special exhibitions such as Remember Me: Shakespeare and His Legacy, and even contemporary literature are part of the museum. Read more

Elm Dr Princeton, NJ 08544, Phone: 609-258-3788 Photo: Princeton University Art Museum

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»Emlen Physick Estate

Emlen Physick Estate

The Emlen Physick Estate educates school children and other interested guests on Victorian-age architecture, decorative arts, customs, and one Cape May family, the Physick’s. The estate is outstanding, with its avant garde Stick Style architecture, uncommon projections such as bays, raised boards, and overlaying clapboarded walls, geometric designed decorations, and asymmetric forms and roof lines. These features make the house really stand out in the neighborhood.

Being in Cape May, which is known for its haunting legends, the estate provides a view and experience of the original haunted house. The house is haunted by a ghost of a Physick family member, who seems to know everything that goes on in the house.

340-1048 Washington St, Cape May, NJ 08204, Phone: 609-884-5404 Photo: Emlen Physick Estate

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»Adventure Aquarium

Adventure Aquarium

Located on the Camden waterfront, Adventure Aquarium maintains high standards of animal care and exhibition. Visitors have the chance to view more than 8,500 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water. Get a view of rare water species such as the only Great Hammerhead Shark on exhibit in the United States, as well as a hippo exhibit.

The Aquarium also exhibits the Little Blue penguin, a rare species of Penguin hailing from New Zealand. There are many exciting activities such as walking in the 40 foot Shark Tunnel, or having fun on the Shark Bridge, the longest V-shaped rope suspension bridge in the world.

1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103, website, Phone: 856-365-3300 Photo: Adventure Aquarium

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»Historic Cold Spring Village

Historic Cold Spring Village

The Historic Cold Spring Village has several buildings, each with its own history and inside experience. Some of the buildings and activities that fascinate visitors include the Spicer-Leaming House, the Dennisville Inn, the wool-spinning and fiber arts demonstration, the blacksmith’s shop, the bakery, the tinsmith, and the Taylor Poultry House.

The Marshallville School portrays a typical school day in the 19th century, while the Marshallville School Outhouse is located behind the school and presents a rare example of a public outhouse. The village print shop exhibits early printing presses and production to guests. The wood working shop displays a velocipede wood cutting machine, and has a carriage that takes visitors around the village by horse and wagon.

720 Route 9, Cape May, NJ 08204, website, Phone: 609-898-2300 Photo: Historic Cold Spring Village

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»Hoboken Waterfront Walkway

Hoboken Waterfront Walkway

The Hoboken Waterfront Walkway is a pathway on the western shore of the Hudson River in New Jersey that runs for 30 feet adjacent to the river, making it a magnificent attraction. Its full length is 18.5 miles, running from the George Washington Bridge to Bayonne, going through several municipalities in New Jersey.

The walkway is color coded to help pedestrians navigate, making it easy for guests and locals alike to use the walkway for walking, biking, and jogging. Some sections of the walkway are even easily accessible by public transportation. Those looking to be in the water will be happy to know that there are also parts along the walkway where visitors can fish, boat, and kayak.

Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy, P.O Box 6217, Hoboken, NJ 07030, Phone: 201-963-3511 Photo: flas100/Fotolia

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»Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is a non-profit organization that stands inside Hangar #1, which houses aircrafts, engines, special exhibits, and thrilling educational displays. It also has a coast guard exhibit that commemorates the defenders of the American Coast.

Families, school groups and organizations get to experience what life was like in the 1940s by learning about World War II history and participating in exciting and interactive activities and lessons. Guests can learn about the science of flight through interactive displays, and even sit in the cockpit of select airplanes and climb an air traffic control tower. Adults and children alike will enjoy the flight simulator games where you can take off, fly, and land a modern Coast Guard aircraft.

500 Forrestal Road, Cape May Airport, NJ 08242, website, Phone: 609-886-8787 Photo: Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

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»Turtle Back Zoo

Turtle Back Zoo

Turtle Back Zoo is a wildlife conservation center offering 15 exhibits featuring animals from all over the world. The Southeast Asia exhibit features the Amur Leopard and the Red Panda, two species that are threatened with extinction.

Guests can ride on a wheelchair accessible train through the South Mountain Reservation, or take a pony ride on the newly constructed pony track. Get adventurous by going through the Treetop Adventure Course, a world-class aerial obstacle course offering adult and junior courses. The zoo also offers food options such as hotdogs, hamburgers, ice cream, Italian ice, cheesesteaks, as well as other snacks and a range of beverages.

560 Northfield Ave West, Orange, NJ 07052, website, Phone: 973-731-5800 Photo: Turtle Back Zoo

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»Howell Living History Farm

Howell Living History Farm

Howell Living History Farm offers its visitors the chance to experience life on a typical farm, all while participating in seasonal activities that are part of the Farm's actual operations. It offers several programs that cater to all ages and preferences.

The Farm is home to several domestic animals, including cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, horses, dogs, cats and chickens. Programs for young children are offered to introduce them to animals, and teach them simple tasks such as egg collection, while older kids undertake a variety of farm activities such as growing and caring for crops and feeding animals. Summer camps allow guests to not only learn animal care and farm chores, but to have fun by exploring nature.

70 Wooden Ln, Lambertville, NJ 08530, website, Phone: 609-737-3299 Photo: Howell Living History Farm

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»Duke Farms

Duke Farms

Duke Farms offers educational programs for students, families, and professionals on land stewardship processes. It provides a farm-to-table market to the locals, where locally-sourced products are accessible.

The Orchid Range provides a view of native displays of plants to guests, while marble statues of human figures give a leisurely mood to the farms. The farms hold a tasting event occasionally, where cooking demonstrations are done and pamphlets on farm-to-fork recipes are offered to visitors. These events often include live music and door prizes. The Couch Barn illustrates local and seasonal ingredients and how to prepare them. Visitors are treated to delicacies from the farm.

1112 Dukes Parkway West, Hillsborough, NJ 08844, website, Phone: 908-722-3700 Photo: Duke Farms

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»Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure provides such a wide variety of entertainment, as well as recreational and interactive activities that one cannot exhaust them in a day, ranging from thrill rides to live entertainment. The park recently introduced a 4D free-fly coaster, and they are always looking for exciting ways to satisfy their guests.

Thrill rides include Batman: The Ride, Bizzaro, Daredevil Dive, El Diablo, and Superman: Ultimate Flight, which makes breath-taking loops, twists and curves. Real thrill-seekers will want to take a ride on the Green Lantern, which reaches record-setting heights. Skull Mountain is great for those who don’t like heights, but prepare for darkness!

1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson, NJ 08527 Photo: Six Flags Great Adventure

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»Sterling Hill Mining Museum

Sterling Hill Mining Museum

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum is a remarkable and world-class geological exhibit of mineral deposits and mystery. It displays rocks and minerals, such as the beautiful and rare fluorescent minerals, from Sterling Hill as well as from all over the world. Guests can visit the Rock Discovery Center, a large area where visitors can learn about earth science and even collect rocks to take home.

The Fossil Discovery Center is designed for Scout and birthday groups only, and helps visitors learn about fossils by digging for them. The Ellis Astronomical Observatory holds monthly viewing sessions, offering stunning dark-sky viewing conditions, far away from any light pollution. The museum has rock hammers for rental, though guests may bring their own if they are approved by museum staff.

30 Plant Street, Ogdensburg, NJ 07439, website, Phone: 973-209-7212 Photo: Sterling Hill Mining Museum

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25 Best Things to Do in New Jersey