Great Day Trips in NJ: Princeton

Princeton New Jersey day trip family-friendly

We love Princeton. It's on my swoon-list, and if it weren't a good hour+ drive from my own parents we'd probably have moved in already. Since we are currently (and yes, happily) stuck in Somerset county, Princeton definitely lands in our Mommy Poppins Day Trips in NJ Guide and I'm surprised others haven't realized how much this town has to offer besides the wonderful university. Get ready for some Princeton fun!

First on our go-to stops? MP fave, Terhune Orchards, a pick your own farm that offers all the usual fare; pumpkins, apples, strawberries, flowers,  pears and so on. The farm itself is lovely, but my absolute favorite activity is their “read and pick” program, where children (who must be accompanied by an adult) are read a story pertaining to a certain fruit (or flower) and then they go off to pick it!  There are two programs per day (9am and 11am) and several events a month. In June there will be opportunities to pick cherries, and learn about honey and butterflies!

After all that outdoor fun, it's off to another of our favorite places, the Princeton Record Exchange. It makes me a wee bit sad to think that most kids these days have no idea what a record even is! I like to give my kids a small allowance, and they are allowed to pick one record to groove to. The folks working here are super kind, and it's one of our favorite Princeton pit-stops.

From music to books: Cotsen's Children's Library is a must-experience. Part of the Rare Books collection at Princeton University, this children's space is like something out of a magical wonderland. Nooks to read in, giant topiary animals, and a wishing well--what more could a child ask for? The library is open to the public, and they have several interactive story times for children of all ages (you need to sign up beforehand, so do your research before you go!)

When we get hungry, a stop at the Whole Earth Center is just what this momma ordered. Think of it as an independent Whole Foods, filled with yummy farm-to-shop fare that makes my tummy grumble just thinking about it.  They stress the idea of community and have done an amazing job educating folks on how to live healthier, greener lifestyles. With regular grocery items, and ready-made food it's simply the best place to grab a picnic lunch before you  head to Marquand Park. The park offers 15 acres of lush greenery (plenty of shade), a giant sand pit, arboretum and playground. We have spent entire days wandering and there's still more we have to see!

To end your day with a little downtown shopping, stop at Milk Money to get gently used, designer children's apparel or scoop up a brand new (to you) wooden toy. After you stop for tea at Small World Coffee head to Labryinth Books to gather some reading material for the car ride home.

Princeton is New Jerseys hidden gem. Whether you're looking for a day chock full of adventure, or want to wander Princeton University's leafy campus, there's something for everyone.

photo credit: linkahwai via photopin cc