20 of the Best Things to Do in New Jersey!

New Jersey is one of the smallest states in America - but it doesn't lack for a ton of cool things to do.

Whether it's swimming in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean during the summer, to snowboarding in the mountains during the winter, you'll never be bored.

Throw in wineries, unique museums, surprising nature spots, ghost tours - you don't have a moment to lose. So get your Garden State on! Here are 20 super-fun things to keep you occupied, all year long.

The Cherry Blossom Festival

For two weeks in April, the cherry blossoms put on a show to rival the more famous one in Washington, DC. Branch Brook Park in Newark hosts this glorious event, which also includes performances and crafts.

Shad Fest

Lambertville is a charming town near the Pennsylvania border, and Shad Fest is a tradition. Shad is a fish that heads to nearby fresh waters to lay their eggs in spring. To celebrate, the festival features demonstrations on fishing, as well as displays of local art, music and vendors.

Grounds for Sculpture

This fantastic contemporary sculpture park in Hamilton comes alive in the spring with special outdoor celebrations. Day at the Fair is one that includes old-fashioned goodies (like cotton candy), music and fun demonstrations for the whole family.

Cape May's annual Spring Festival

This quaint seaside town kicks off spring in a fun way: with tours of Victorian-era private homes, antique shows, chocolate tastings, and ghost tours.

Kayak the Pine Barrens

It's one of the most unique natural parts of New Jersey, with ancient forests of pine, cedar and oak. Paddling through these quiet acres, you'll hardly believe that busy highways and towns are (sort of) nearby.

The Jersey Shore

A no-brainer. Going "down the shore" is a tradition in the state, and you can take your pick from 141 miles of coastline. Sandy Hook is the northernmost shore-point, Cape May is furthest south.

Atlantic City

It's perhaps the most famous spot on the Jersey Shore and the famed boardwalk is well-worth visiting. At four miles long, it was originally built in 1870 and features historic attractions like the Steel Pier. And of course, you can always duck inside for a show or take your chance at the blackjack table.

The State Fair

Every year, the Meadowlands Fairgrounds in East Rutherford hosts this massive fair. Besides food, shopping, fireworks and games, this fair is home to the biggest "Kiddieland" attractions in the state.

Groove at the Stone Pony

It's an institution, having helped launch music legends like Bruce Springsteen onto the scene. Make the trip to Asbury Park, grab a beer (or three) and join the sweaty throngs as they groove to some of the best music anywhere.

Quick Check Festival of Ballooning

At the end of July, over 125 hot air balloons lift off into the summer sky near Readington. Beyond that spectacle, there are plenty of arts, crafts, vendors and more to keep the whole family entertained.

Step into history

Visit the Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Manalapan. This was the site of one of the biggest battles of the Revolutionary War, as 5,000 Continental soldiers struggled to prevent the British army from retreating from Philadelphia and heading to New York. Besides the historic significance, there's also a hiking trail.

Bike along the Delaware River

As the leaves turn, New Jersey gets really gorgeous. The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park offers 70 miles of pretty spectacular paths for biking.

Go antiquing

Lambertville is one of the most popular towns for seeking out treasures. There are over 20 stores to pick through, offering everything from slightly-fussy 18th century treasures to sleep 20th century pieces.

Explore the swamp

New Jersey's Great Swamp in Morris County consists of 7,600 acres - and is a little over 25 miles from New York City. The fall is a great time to visit, to see this refuge for many forms of wildlife, plants and wildflowers.

Visit a winery

The Garden State is home to over 40 wineries. It's a lovely way to spend a fall day, gazing out on the lush vineyards and enjoying some local varietals.

Get your sport on

The mountainous western part of the state offers great options for winter sports. Mountain Creek is one spot that offers skiing, snow-boarding and more.

Get to know Tom

Thomas Edison is one of New Jersey's famous sons, and Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange showcases his genius. You'll get a close-up look at his lab, and how he pretty much invented the 20th century.

Visit the Great Falls

Paterson was made famous by native son Lou Costello (who regularly worked his hometown into his comedy bits). But the Great Falls are equally-famous, known as New Jersey's own Niagara. The best views are from the footbridge near Falls Gorge. After you take a gander, head over to the Paterson Museum.

Find Nemo

The Adventure Aquarium in Camden is a hugely-popular attraction for parents and kids all over the state. The two-million-gallon aquarium houses 8,500 marine animals, including sharks, penguins, stingrays - even hippos!

Liberty Science Center

When the kids are out of their minds with winter boredom, pack them off to this super-cool museum in Jersey City. There are tons of interactive displays and exhibits that involve dinosaurs, gross body parts and other things guaranteed to capture their imaginations. Even yours.

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Best Things To Do Near You

Photography by Nick Vitillo

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