GREATER WILDWOODS TOURISM IMPROVEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

When planning your summer getaways close to home, you may want to consider some of the top places to visit in NJ, according to local experts surveyed by Travel & Leisure.

While we are skeptical of lists from people outside NJ, we agree with this list which spotlights the Jersey Shore towns of Ocean City, Cape May, Wildwood, Atlantic City, LBI and Asbury Park. There were some sleeper hits too, like Grounds for Sculpture, Beneduce Vineyards and Frenchtown. Here are some highlights from the list:

istock.com/DenisTangneyJr / Ocean City

The Jersey Shore
There’s no question we’ve got the best boardwalks, with or without amusement park rides and salt water taffy. From the Music Pier in Ocean City to Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, there’s no shortage of souvenir shops, sausage & peppers, funnel cake and fries.

ISTOCK.COM/S. GREG PANOSIAN / Cape May

Cape May and Long Beach Island are a huge draw for families who want to rent a beach house as is the tradition for many.

HARD ROCK CASINO & HOTEL ATLANTIC CITY

Atlantic City has become more family-friendly in recent years, especially with the opening of Island Waterpark and Lucky Snake Arcade, both at the Showboat Resort. A little further north, Asbury Park is beloved for its restaurant and shopping district, festivals at the Grand Arcade and Convention Hall, The Stony Pony and the upcoming Sea.Hear.Now. Festival.

©istockphoto/aimintang / Lambertville Station Restaurant

Small Towns Along the Delaware

Lambertville is an ideal  day trip. You can walk over the Delaware River’s scenic bridge to get to New Hope, PA, but while stateside you can visit many of the restaurants, shops, boutiques and playground space that overlooks the water. Rent a kayak or canoe if you want to see the area from below.

©istockphoto.com/aimintang / Frenchtown

Frenchtown is about 20 minutes away but also along the Delaware. Rent a raft or tube from Delaware River Tubing; plan a hot air balloon ride from Balloons In Flight; or lace up your skates at Frenchtown Roller Rink. For a more lowkey visit, walk, hike or bike through the hills and farms. You can get to PA from here, too, via the walkable Ulherstown-Frenchtown bridge.

AMERICAN DREAM

Entertainment

American Dream in East Rutherford has shopping, elevated restaurants, theme parks, museums and activities all in one place. See eye-tricking exhibits at Paradox Museum and TiLT Museum; bring the kids to Nickelodeon Universe or the indoor Dream Works Water Park; build your own brick city at LEGOLAND Discovery Center; get your game on at Activate; take a ride on the Dream Wheel; stop by the Oreo Cafe for some treats or shop at one of the only Toys R Us locations around.

ADVENTURE AQUARIUM

Adventure Aquarium along the Camden waterfront is perfect for underwater adventures. Permanent exhibits feature little blue penguins, sharks, and starfish and stingrays in the touch tank. Throughout the year there are certain Sensory Sundays and F.I.S.H Nights for those who need less of a sensory overload, the Bubble Bash, a mermaid exhibit and a visit by The SCUBA Tooth Fairy and holiday-themed festivals.

DAVID MICHAEL HOWARTH PHOTOGRAPHY / Grounds For Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton combines artwork with horticulture over 42 acres. Although the Night Forms exhibit just wrapped up, the spring exhibition Slow Motion will debut in May. Aside from walking through the beautiful grounds, you can sign up for a painting class, yoga, kids’ programs or have dinner at Rat’s Restaurant.

BENEDUCE VINEYARDS

Beneduce Vineyards is on a beautiful farm in Pittstown, owned by a fourth-generation family. You can take a wagon ride, join the book club, test your skills during trivia night or sit and overlook the hills of Hunterdon County with a glass of vino in hand.

Here are the top 10 places in New Jersey to visit, according to Travel & Leisure:

  1. Boardwalk, Ocean City
  2. Cape May
  3. Morey’s Piers, Wildwood
  4. Boardwalk, Wildwood
  5. Doo Wop Motel District, Wildwood
  6. American Dream, East Rutherford
  7. Lambertville
  8. Beneduce Vineyards, Pittstown
  9. Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton
  10. Atlantic City
  11. Frenchtown
  12. Cape May County Park & Zoo, Cape May
  13. Asbury Park
  14. Adventure Aquarium, Camden
  15. Long Beach Island

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