100+ Free Things To Do with Kids This Summer in New Jersey

Summer is the season for no-cost fun all across New Jersey. From fireworks and festivals to free outdoor movies, we’ve rounded up more than 100 family-friendly events to enjoy all summer long that won’t break the bank.

You can find even more cool seasonal activities and destinations in our Summer Fun Guide and Event Calendar. Have a fabulous (and free) summer, New Jersey!

Camping Adventures Await in Connecticut

When done right, camping is a blast. It brings to reality idyllic stories of roasting marshmallows over a fire and telling imaginative stories while gazing at a night sky. Once the initial equipment is purchased, camping can be a frugal way to vacation – averaging about only $30 a night. Opportunities to camp around the country are endless, but if you’re new to camping or have young children, “experts” recommend beginning the adventure close to home. It just happens that Connecticut offers some fantastic campgrounds. We have five recommendations  for tent camping that your family can try out.  If you don't feel quite ready to pop up a tent, we mention a few locations that provide cabins for rent, while still keeping things basic. In addition, we offer some camping tips that will help make the experience that much more enjoyable.

For more ideas on how to have a great summer, browse our Summer Fun Guide.

Revamped Saxon Woods Park Playground in White Plains Is Worth a Visit

Westchester and the Hudson Valley have no shortage of great playgrounds—whether you’re looking to entertain your toddler, host a party, or even make an entire day trip out of your visit. And now there’s one more to add to the list: the playground at Saxon Woods Park in White Plains, which was recently renovated.

Looking for even more outdoor fun? Check out our summer guide for ideas!

Island Beach State Park: A Haven for Nature-Loving Beachgoers

There's more to the Jersey Shore than rides, salt water taffy, and (let's face it) crowds. Island Beach State Park (IBSP) may well be one of NJ most beautiful and unique beaches, drawing thousands of nature enthusiasts every year.

Though you'd get to Island Beach from the same Garden State Parkway exit as Seaside Heights, the two beaches are worlds apart. Ten-mile long Island Beach is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay and is one of the last few undeveloped barrier beaches on the North Atlantic Coast. From hiking to bike riding, and, of course, swimming, here are some things outdoorsy families will love about Island Beach.

New Mini Golf Course Set to Debut on Governors Island This Weekend

Putt-putt lovers take note: A brand new, 18-hole mini golf course on Governors Island is set to debut Saturday, June 23, just in time for the Figment Art Festival this weekend.

Brought to life by the folks behind Adventures at Governors Island (which also introduced a zip line and climbing wall to Governors), the new miniature golf course is located on the island's western shore, with breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor beyond.

Caribbean Coast: Flamingos, Macaws, and Bush Dogs Debut at New Stone Zoo Exhibit

Situated on 26 acres in the quiet northern 'burbs, Stone Zoo is beloved by many as the smaller, simpler counterpart to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. But recently, Stone Zoo has been busy setting itself apart—with a modern new entrance, and now, an innovative exhibit celebrating the exotic, colorful creatures that live as our neighbors to the south. Caribbean Coast will be a permanent fixture in Stoneham, and, as my kids and I recently discovered, a big reason to make the trip.

10 Great Beachfront Playgrounds in New Jersey

Put your kids in the swings and your feet in the sand at beachfront playgrounds along the Jersey Shore. The beaches of New Jersey are home to playgrounds that are like giant sandboxes, with colorful play structures and ocean views. Swing by some of these beachy-keen playgrounds on your next day trip or vacation to the shore.

Please note that some of these playgrounds may require fees for beach entrance during the summer months

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Shakespeare, a Campout, and a STEAM Fair, June 23-24

Summer officially arrives on Thursday so maybe that's why this coming weekend feels absolutely jam packed with summer time fun. You can kick off the weekend with a movie in the park on Friday night - Despicable Me 3 in New Fairfield or Hidden Figures in New Haven - and then spend Saturday and Sunday consorting with orcs and goblins at a Renaissance Faire, exploring the latest in robotics and makerspaces at Danbury STEAM, or stopping by Neverland in an inventive new production of "Peter Pan" in New Canaan. For the camping curious, the Great American Campout at the New Canaan Nature Center is a fantastic introduction to sleeping out of doors, with easy access to bathrooms and guided activities (and who doesn't love s'mores?)--just be sure to register in advance.

If you're in the mood for a little multicultural exploration, check out the Irish Festival in North Haven, the Italian Feast in New Haven or Latino Fest in Hartford. And just in case you've already thinking about fireworks, check out the pyrotechnic displays at Branford Point and following the New Britain Bees' baseball game (and check out our definitive fireworks post to start planning for Independence Day.) 

For even more options, check out our Event Calendar, which we update frequently with new listings from across the state. To keep up with everything going on in CT, follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Have a wonderful weekend!

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