22 Unique Places to Take Out-of-Towners This Winter

You want to show your family and friends a fantastic time when they come to visit—and show off what a one-of-a-kind destination New Jersey is. With our list of 22 unique places to take out-of-towners this winter (organized by interest below), you can check off both of those boxes and send your guests home raving about our beloved Garden State.

Fun for families

Did you think you could only go to a waterpark in the summer? Think again! American Dream in East Rutherford wants to help you make a big splash this winter – the mega entertainment complex’s DreamWorks Waterpark is open year-round, so you slip, slide and float with everyone’s favorite movie characters in any season. For more all-ages tubular fun, bring your guests snow tubing at Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah. Peak Bonus: If you have skiers or snowboarders in your party, they can tackle the fresh powder their way too. No need to lug their bulky gear with you – daily rentals are available at the mountain.

New Jersey is also home to some wild curiosities. For creepy crawlies, a visit to Insectroplis in Toms River is a must. Known as The Bugseum of New Jersey, it’s home to thousands of insects and even a “mud tube” guests can crawl through to see what it’s like to be a termite. Or go under the sea (without getting wet!) at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, home to over 15,000 of the most diverse aquatic animals in the world, where kids are invited to get hands-on with some of the friendly residents. 

Even More Animal Attractions

How about visiting two cool zoos? The winter season delivers fewer crowds and a whole new set of animal behaviors to witness. Take your crew to the first zoo in the state – Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton. Here, you can spy over 100 animals from 47 different species – and if you fall for one of them, you may even be able to (symbolically) adopt them. At Popcorn Park Animal Refuge in Forked River, you can find friendly farm animals, exotic big cats, and just about everything in between. These rescued animals are now living their best life in the unspoiled Pine Barrens (some even residing in cozy indoor sanctuaries!)

For a cage-free encounter with four-legged and furry wildlife, schedule a tour (must be reserved online in advance, as openings are limited) at Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia. You’ll find yourself surrounded by four different packs as the resident wolves play with each other—and maybe even treat you to a characteristic ahhhh-woooooooo. Rather meet New Jersey’s most famous pachyderm? Visit Lucy the Elephant (a National Historic Landmark!) in Margate. Important programming note for 2022: Lucy has been getting a makeover, so while you can’t see her from the outside, you can still tour her from the inside.

Beyond the brewery (or winery!)

While the Garden State is known for its thriving winery, brewery and distillery scene, we invite you and your visitors to sip on mighty meads and crisp ciders at a quartet of craft beverage makers—Beach Bee Meadery in Long Branch, Melovino Meadery in Vauxhall, Ironbound Farm Cider in Asbury and Burnt Mills Cider in Bedminster.

Grub, glass & games 

Feeling hungry? Bring your entourage to one of the Best Diners in New Jersey, or grab a slice from one of these top pizzerias. Have a taste for more? The New Jersey Food Tour Trail invites you to eat your way around the entire state through a collaboration of food tour operators covering every region.

Looking for something artsy? WheatonArts in Millville is a full-blown artistic community that houses the highly respected Museum of American Glass, along with artist studios, where you can watch demonstrations in glassmaking and other crafts. Full transparency: The WheatonArts campus is open to visitors through December only. Care to get hands-on? GlassRoots in Newark hosts classes that cover just about every step of the glassmaking process. 

For a one-of-a-kind throwback (and must-do!) experience, you can take your crew to the Silverball Museum Arcade in Asbury Park, where an entry pass allows you to play all of the classic pinball and arcade games for free.

All-in for history 

They say it takes a village, but maybe it takes two! Journey back in time at Batsto Village in Hammonton to explore over two-and-a-half centuries of American history. Or explore a Pine Barrens “ghost town” at Double Trouble Village in Bayville.

And a sense of wonder is sure to STEM from our final two unique places to take out-of-towners. The InfoAge Science History Learning Museum in Wall is a consortium of science and history museums and exhibits (think: a mini Smithsonian) that focus on New Jersey’s innovations in telecommunications, while the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum takes off with interactive exhibits and activities centered around aviation and military history—all housed in a real WWII hangar in Cape May.

Our top tip for ensuring zero disappointments? Check the official websites or social media pages of your desired attractions for all the latest visitation information before arriving with your guests in tow. You can discover even more things to do in New Jersey by downloading our free travel guide—and stay in the know with monthly inspiration delivered to your inbox by signing up for our e-newsletter.