Being a born and raised NJ girl, I love my state. We are one of the few states that have so many different things so close to one another. We have so many things, in fact, that sometimes us NJ folk don't even know its there! Since the summer is coming back super fast, I thought I would make a list for my readers with suggestions of things to do in NJ this summer. The list of ideas are in no particular order.
1) Enjoy The Beaches!
NJ resides right along the Atlantic Ocean, so there are many beautiful beaches you can check out. I am going to list you the beaches I have been to, and I am going to break them down into different categories so you can choose which one may be best for you.
Bradley Beach. This is a very family friendly beach. The beaches are always clean and what I love most about this beach is that it never gets crowded. It has a clean boardwalk you can bike or run on, but there isn't a boardwalk with arcade games and tons of food options. I suggest you bring your food onto the beach.
Point Pleasant. This is also a very family friendly beach. These beaches are usually very clean, and Point Pleasant, although can get crowded, has a lot of sand to lay on, so you can usually find an open spot not too close to other people. One major benefit about making your day trip to Point Pleasant is that their Boardwalks are so clean and there is SO much to do on the Boardwalk. They have great food options, fun arcade games, rides, and mini golf. You can make a full day at PP.
Staying Over The Night:
Wildwood: When I was little, my family and I would get a hotel room in Wildwood every single year. It was one of the few things I looked forward to every year. The beaches were always clean, and the area has so many different dining and activity options. It is also one of the most family friendly beaches in NJ, and offers an amazing boardwalk.
Atlantic City: If you are 21 and older, AC is LIT. Atlantic City has cool hotels and resorts like Harrahs and the Borgata. You can gamble in the casinos, (just don't blow too much) delicious dining options, and a variety of different live entertainment shows you can go see. The club scene is really fun there as well, and Harrahs has indoor and outdoor pools which are fun to lounge in. AC has a lot to offer, and also has a nice boardwalk as well. It is cool for families too, but I would suggest this more for the 21 and older crowd.
Belmar: Belmar is the hot spot for people in their 20's. It used to be Seaside, but as the years have gone by, Seaside has definitely gotten trashier and Belmar has become more and more popular to the young people. D'jais is the go to place to drink in Belmar. It is always hopping with excitement, good music and good drinks.
2) Clinton Road
If you are into scary/haunted places, Clinton Road is the place in NJ to visit. Located in West Milford NJ, it has many crazy stories including car accidents, suicide, and the Jackson Whites. I have had my share of scary experiences at this place, but I will save that story for another post. Pretty much, all you need for this trip is a car, a few friends and a penny. Yes, a penny. So, while driving on Clinton Road, make sure you use an attentive driver, because at one point on the road you will reach Dead Man's Curve, a curve in the road that comes up unexpectedly. If you don't cut the turn quick enough, you can crash into the rock, the reason for many of the accidents on this road. PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND DRIVE SLOW. Next, make sure you have a full tank of gas, because legend has it that if you drive on Clinton Road at night, a red truck tails your car the whole time you are on the road until you get off the road, and it's a pretty long road. If you decide to get out of your car, I suggest trying to stay in well lit places, the very few that they have, because rumor has it that the Jackson Whites have been known to come out during this time and abduct people. If you get to the little playground, you can see the swings move when no one is on them and there is no wind. Last thing you can do if you get out of your car is throw a penny over the bridge. Rumor has it that if you throw a penny into the lake, the penny comes back at you. If it comes back to you, make sure you have your car running and the doors wide open to be able to make a quick getaway. This is fun to check out with friends at nighttime Friday and Saturdays.
3) Crystal Springs Resort/ Mountain Creek
Located in Sussex County NJ, Crystal Springs Resort offers golf courses, pools, spas, fitness centers and loads of activities to do during the summer. It is also located 5 minutes down the road from Mountain Creek, which has a water park, ziplining, and a TreeScape. (I highly suggest trying the zipline) Crystal Springs has 7 golf courses, Ballyowen, Black Bear, Minerals, Crystal Springs, Wild Turkey and Cascades. Ballyowen is the most luxurious golf course of the seven, and Black Bear has a driving range if you don't want to actually golf. Minerals golf course is more a family friendly golf course. In the summer, they open up the Mountain Top Experience, a lake on top of the mountain, and they offer a whole range of fun summer activities. On weekends, Crystal Springs have live entertainment including comedians and illusionists.
Crystal Springs Resort has two resorts on the property, so let me break them both down, and you could decide which resort is more appropriate for you.
Grand Cascade: Grand Cascade is Crystal Spring's four star resort, which has a very upscale vibe. The service at Crystal Springs is high quality, and you can choose from a wide range of rooms. You can choose from a basic room, to even booking a villa! They have many food options on site, such as Crystal Tavern, Chefs Garden, Restaurant Latour and Springs Bistro. They also have a very cool Biosphere pool, which has a slide and a cool tropical greenhouse look. One of the main benefits of staying at Grand Cascades are the beautiful views you can from every room, and if you stay at Grand Cascade, you have full access to all the amenities at Minerals, which is a 10 minute bus ride. They also have Reflections, an awesome spa on site.
Minerals Resort and Spa: Minerals Resort is a three star resort on site, and it known as the family resort. It is more affordable to stay at this resort, but the only downside is that it is not as luxurious, you only have three room type options, and if you stay at Minerals, you do not have the option of being able to use the Biosphere at Grand Cascade unless you want to pay $100 a day per person for a pass. Minerals is a great resort to stay at if you want to be near all the activities and don't want to have to take transportation to get to them. Most of the activities at Crystal Springs Resort are held at Minerals. Minerals also has three pools on site. An outdoor pool, a cliff jumping pool and an indoor heated pool with a grotto. Minerals also has the Mineral sports club, which has complimentary fitness classes, a wide range of machines, and a steam room and sauna. Minerals also has Elements Spa, a highly rated spa on site. Activities on site include movie night, Knockerball, Laser Tag, Archery Tag, and many more. Although Minerals only has one restaurant open all year long, Kite. Every weekend they have a DJ come in and a fun club atmosphere. During the summer they open up the Moonshine bar, which is outside BBQ.
4) Six Flags Great Adventure:
Take a day from your every day life and act like a child at Six Flags Great Adventure. Located in Jackson, NJ, Six Flags is a huge amusement park that offers a wife range of rides, from kiddie rides to massive roller coasters. They have fun arcade games and tons of food and beverage spots all around the park. It is the perfect way to spend a full day in the sun. If you are a DC comic fan, they have tons of DC character rides that are so much fun to ride. My favorite is the Superman. Six Flags has some of the tallest roller coasters in the nation, and the rides definitely do not disappoint.
5) Appalachian Trail Boardwalk:
Located in Sussex County, NJ this part of the Appalachian Trail is not only extremely beautiful, but also very easy to walk. In NJ fashion, this part of the trail has a boardwalk that guides you throughout the trail, and is perfect to walk when the actual ground may be wet from the night before, but you still want to go walking. It is also good for those who may not have appropriate hiking boots to walk on uneven grounds, because the man made boardwalk is smooth and even to walk on. It runs 1.5 miles long and has many beautiful spots along the trail to take some nice nature shots.
6) Howling Woods Farm:
Ever want to run with the wolves? Well, you can't run with them, but you can take pictures and pet these beautiful wolf dogs in Jackson, NJ! Their main mission is to provide an on-site learning experience to dispel currently held myths about wolves. They do not have a set fee, but they do ask for a minimum donation of $20 per person.
7) Turtle Back Zoo:
Located in West Orange NJ, the Turtle Back Zoo is a fun and family friendly zoo that offers things for people of all ages. The huge property offers many different exhibits of different animals , and the park is always clean. The zoo has a lot of information on all the animals, and is an awesome place to learn something new and to see animals you wouldn't normally see. It is a fun place you can make a full day out of, and then enjoy the many dining options available in the local area.
Even though New York City is not located in NJ, NYC is 10 minutes away from North Jersey, and is the perfect place to spend a full day without getting bored. NJ offers many different means of transportation to get to NYC, including bus, train and even the ferry on a nice day. NYC has many different food options, museums, live entertainment shows and lots of cool places to take pictures for the gram.
9) NJ Botanical Gardens:
Located in Ringwood NJ, this place really proves why NJ is labeled the Garden State. Skylands is a place of beauty in any season. Here you can walk amid the elegance of formal gardens, or along gentle paths winding through the woods. According to NJBG, It "includes 96 acres of specialty gardens surrounded by 1000 acres of woodlands. You're invited to wander and explore the miles of marked trails. Skylands is also a safe haven for unusual plant species from around the world. The garden protects and preserves these plants as their natural habitats are changed forever by progress." This is an awesome spot for those who are into photography and love to take nature shots.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!