New Jersey Day Trips

With so much to explore, it’s hard to choose a destination when you’re limited on time. But in just one day you can create memories that will last a lifetime. Check out these simple day trips that offer unforgettable experiences for singles, couples, and families alike.

Wildlife in Columbia
Calling all outdoor enthusiasts! A quick trip to Columbia will put you in the heart of the Delaware Water Gap – a nature-lover’s paradise that’s bursting with wildlife. Search for waterfalls on the trails of Worthington State Forest, spot bald eagles on a full- or half-day kayak tour, or wow the kids with a wolf watch at the Lakota Wolf Preserve, where they’ll get the chance to observe four unique wolf packs. 

Revolutionary History in Morristown
The site of Gen. George Washington’s winter headquarters in 1777 and in 1779-1780, Morristown is a prime stop for those making the journey through the Crossroads of the American Revolution – a NJ region that highlights some of the most important sites from the Revolutionary War. Visit Morristown National Historical Park to tour the 18th-century Ford Mansion, peruse the galleries of Washington’s Headquarters Museum, and walk the extravagant Cross Estate Gardens. Then discover the historic sites of downtown Morristown on a self-guided walking tour, stopping for a bite at Revolution Gastropub or an upscale dining experience at 1776 by David Burke.

Museums in Princeton
Home to one of the top universities in the country, Princeton’s devotion to education is proven by the vast number of museums around town. Whether your interests lean toward art or history, there’s an exhibit that will make your day in Princeton. While the famous Princeton University Art Museum is closed for construction, you can visit its downtown galleries: Art@Bainbridge, located in the colonial Bainbridge House on Nassau Street, and Art on Hulfish at 11 Hulfsih Street. History buffs will enjoy Morven Museum and Garden, where you can tour the 250-year-old mansion that housed five NJ governors and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. For even more history, check out the Revolutionary War battlefield at Princeton Battlefield State Park and the Updike Farmstead, headquarters of the Historical Society of Princeton.

Red Mill in Clinton
Grab your camera and head to one of New Jersey’s most photographed sites: Hunt’s Mill in Clinton. The main attraction of the family-friendly Red Mill Museum Village, this landmark industrial mill dates back to 1810 and has been converted into a museum and gift shop dedicated to local history. In the village, you can browse the museum’s 40,000-piece collection of historic artifacts, witness blacksmith demonstrations, and tour the site’s well-preserved 17th-century buildings. Then cross the old-fashioned wrought iron bridge and wander the charming streets of downtown Clinton, where you can grab a bite to eat, shop local boutiques, and experience the work of regional artists at the Hunterdon Museum of Art.

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach
For a full day of family fun, head to Point Pleasant Beach to explore the activity-packed Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. Hit the amusement park for thrilling rides like the Wave Swinger or smaller rides for the little ones. Get up close with penguins and sea lions or watch a mermaid swim at Jenkinson’s Aquarium. Then try your hand at mini golf or head to the arcades for a game of skee-ball. Complete your day with a stop for classic boardwalk fare like hot dogs and funnel cakes.

Allaire State Park in Farmingdale
With 3,000 scenic acres and fascinating history attractions, Allaire State Park is a destination all on its own. Families can roam the centuries-old streets of Allaire Village, a historic factory town that has been restored as a living history museum. There you’ll experience life in the early 19th century through interactive demonstrations by trained artisans. Then take the kids for a ride on an antique steam train at Pine Creek Railroad, part of the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. If you’re looking for a more adventurous day trip, hit the South Side of the park for hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, or head to the Manasquan River for a day of fishing or canoeing. 

Adventure Aquarium in Camden
One word: Sharks. With a collection of more than 5,000 aquatic animals and more sharks than anywhere else in the Northeast, Camden’s Adventure Aquarium is a must see for both kids and animal-loving adults. From hands-on touch pools to virtual reality adventures, you can easily spend the whole day exploring the one-of-a-kind exhibits in this underwater wonderland.

Victorian History in Cape May
While you could enjoy a day lounging on the beach in Cape May, this seaside town also has a rich history to experience. A quick jaunt downtown may feel like a step back in time when you see the late-Victorian-era architecture. Hop on one of Cape May MAC’s cheery red trolleys for a tour of the Historic District and then check out the 1879 Physick House Museum, where you’ll discover the Victorian family lifestyle. End your tour with a Creole-Caribbean meal in the 1840 carriage house at 410 Bank Street or a classic American dinner at the Blue Pig Tavern in Congress Hall, which dates back to the 1700s. 

Need more than one day? Explore places to stay throughout New Jersey.