Few visitors know anything about New Jersey outside of the Shore or Atlantic City. But there are plenty of things to do once you venture into the countryside. The crown jewel is of course the Jersey Shore, a 130-mile stretch of Atlantic coast with dozens of beaches, waterfront towns and marine sports like deep-sea fishing, surfing and sailing.
Inland, the scenery turns to green rolling hills and forests. New Jersey deserves its moniker, the Garden State, with over 50 state parks and 50 historic sites to explore. There are farms and orchards where you can pick your own produce, and over 30 wineries open for tours. Gambling is another recreational highlight of New Jersey, centered around legendary Atlantic City. Don't be put-off though because families love New Jersey for its huge amusement parks, zoos and other kid-friendly activities.
The Jersey Shore is one of the main reasons people visit the Garden State. Beaches like Cape May and Sandy Hook provide beautiful sand and sea, and buzz during the summer (currently in a state of rebuilding since the devastation of Hurricane Sandy). There are a lot of activities like sailing, fishing, and surfing to go with the great beach towns such as Ocean City and Wildwood with their classic boardwalks. Let Summer Breeze Sailing Charters or Calypso Sailing Adventures take you on a memorable day out on the Atlantic.
There is great hiking throughout New Jersey in its 50 state parks and hundreds of county parks. The one million-acre Pinelands National Preserve is the best site for escaping into the wild though the Delaware Water Gap is equally scenic as it winds down the Appalachian Mountains. New Jersey Adventure Tours can arrange just about any outdoor excursion you could imagine.
The biking in Jersey is also superb thanks to its flat terrain and miles of dirt and paved trails. The Pinelands is one of the top destinations for all kinds of riding due to the sheer size of the park. But for more excitement, mountain bikers head to Mountain Creek’s Diablo Freeride Park with its 40 dedicated downhill trails and gondola to make the uphill part a breeze. Outfitters like Pour & Pedal combine countryside cycling with winery tours for an upscale adult experience.
Another kind of fun is on hand in New Jersey’s amusement parks such as Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson and Mountain Creek Waterpark in Vernon. Six Flags is the country’s largest seasonal theme park, with 100 rides and one of the world’s biggest drive-through safaris. There are also fun, old-time boardwalk games at Wildwood’s Morey’s Piers and Atlantic City’s Steel Pier Amusement Park.
Adult fun is in full force in Atlantic City. This huge gambling and entertainment complex sits right on the water and boasts the best casino scene in the country outside of Las Vegas. With 11 resorts to choose from, you can play by night and hit the beach and boardwalk by day. Don’t worry, there is plenty for the kids to do in AC, too!
The Garden State’s excellent soil has sprouted over 30 wineries, most of which happily welcome visitors to tour their vineyard and sample the goods. There are several wine trails that make it easy for day-trippers and those in search of an overnight stay. South Jersey Wine Tours can arrange stylish transportation if you prefer to indulge at the tasting rooms than drive.