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New Jersey Family's 2nd Annual Ultimate Bucket List: Outdoor Faves


Favorite NJ Beach

PHOTO COURTESY of Ocean City NJ Facebook Page

Ocean City and Sandy Hook (tie)

oceancityvacation.com; sandy-hook.com

Ocean City, known for its pristine sand, 2 1/2 mile-long boardwalk and hoppin’ mini golf spots, is fun for day trips and family vacays. Sandy Hook, popular for shell collecting and calm waters, is the perfect place to go bird watching or biking with the squad.


Prettiest Hidden Gem


Editor's Pick: Sussex County Sunflower Maze 

There’s a magical farm in Sandyston that comes to life for about a month in August. A visit to this treasure will make you feel like you’ve walked into a field of bright yellow sunshine. You’ll have a blast getting “lost” in the many varieties of this happy flower.


Most Picturesque Lighthouse

Photo courtesy of Susan Krysiak / Cape May MAC

Cape May Lighthouse

Head to the southern tip of NJ for a look at this Cape May Point State Park icon. It’s the third lighthouse to stand proud in that spot over the Atlantic since 1859. More than 21/2 million visitors have traveled up its 199 steps for a view of Cape May, Wildwood and Delaware. Head there for a full moon climb, or stop by on family fun days for activities and performances.


Most Instaworthy Photo Spot

Staff photo

Paterson Great Falls

This National Historical Park in Paterson is one of NJ’s most spectacular natural sites. Formerly the power source for a local mill, the falls are 77 feet high. Now, they’re part of the National Park Service, so visitors can feel the mist for themselves. The best time to visit is in the spring after the snow melts, or any time after a big rainstorm when the falls are rushing at full peak.


More Outdoor Winners

Garden Nature Center or Arboretum: Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton

Playground or Park: Verona Park Playground, Verona

Pick-Your-Own Farm: Alstede's Farm, Chester

Lake: Lake Hopatcong

Bike Path or Hiking Spot: Liberty State Park, Jersey City; Manasquan River Reservation, Howell; Watchung ​Reservation, Union County (tie)

Snow Tubing or Skiing: Mountain Creek, Vernon

Downtown: Red Bank


Pick a category below to see more winners: 

Good Eats 

Me Time 

Fun Stuff

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