The school year is winding down, and summer fun is heating up. Most of NJ's amusement and water parks are now open for the season, and Jersey Shore beaches are ready for summer revelers.
June also brings a fresh crop of fairs and festivals, along with strawberry picking, Father's Day fun, and the start of free summer movies. You can camp out by a lake, celebrate fireflies and fairies, and step back in time to the Italian Renaissance and the American Civil War.
Of course, you can always find more fun in our Event Calendar.
Read on for 15 of our favorite family events of the month. Enjoy the start of summer, and happy June!
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox.
Asbury Park Bonfire on the Beach – Asbury Park
Every Friday, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
At a different beach each week. FREE
FREE (and practically free) Summer Movies – Various locations
Starting Friday, June 1
Beginning this month, it's all about free movies—in theaters and under the stars. Free options include Gloucester County's Movies in the Park (June 1, 8, 13, 15, 25, 27, 29) and Jenkinson's Movies on the Beach (June 22, 29), where this month's screenings include Despicable Me 3 and The Emoji Movie. Check our Event Calendar for more.
Shrek the Musical – Morristown
Friday–Sunday, June 1–3
Shrek the Musical, a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure, takes the stage at Mayo Performing Arts Center, as its 6th annual spring production.
Watch brave knights joust at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire in Bordentown.
New Jersey Renaissance Faire – Bordentown
Saturday–Sunday, June 2–3
The Faire wraps up this weekend, so get thee to Bordentown for maidens, minstrels, jousting, giant turkey legs, and more. Nearly 80 cast members will recreate the Italian Renaissance at Liberty Lake, where the entertainment will also include jugglers, aerialists, fire breathers, sword fighters, and glass blowers, as well as comedy, live music, food, a Merchant Village, and a "Meade Garden" for the grown-ups.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – New Brunswick
Sunday, June 3
Don’t miss Steven Spielberg’s cinematic masterpiece E.T., with John Williams’ Academy Award–winning score performed live by the NJSO.
Maplewood–South Orange Book Festival – Maplewood
Friday–Saturday, June 8–9
Book lovers of all ages are sure to find something of interest at this annual festival. Meet authors of all genres, from children's books to young adult and adult, fiction and non-fiction, and browse through exhibitors featuring everything for book lovers. Children's activities include games, music, food, and face-painting.
Civil War Weekend – Morristown
Saturday–Sunday, June 9–10
The Civil War comes to life at Historic Speedwell, where re-enactors from the 2nd NJ Brigade will demonstrate musket and bayonet drills, canon firings, skirmishes, and more. Get a taste of soldiers' daily lives at the camp, where you can see authentic cooking demonstrations, and visit the medical area to watch soldiers care for the "wounded."
State Fair Meadowlands – East Rutherford
Thursday, June 21 – Sunday, July 8
More than 150 rides and attractions provide hours of non-stop fun for the whole family at this enormous fair. Try out classic carnival games, indulge in “fair food” (funnel cake, anyone?), and enjoy live circus shows daily. Don't miss the Great American Thrill Show, featuring daredevil acrobats and aerialists.
Campout on the Beach – Morristown
Friday, June 22
Camp under the stars at Sunrise Beach, where you can enjoy a campfire, s'mores, storytelling, and socializing with other families before retiring to your tent for the night. This is a popular event, so register now! (Or sign up for the second campout on August 3.)
Whitesbog Blueberry Festival – Browns Mills
Saturday, June 23 – Sunday, June 24
Celebrate the delicious berries of summer at the 35th annual Blueberry Festival. Held on the beautiful grounds of Whitesbog, where the first commercial blueberries were cultivated, this festival includes blueberry picking, live music, kids' activities, historical presentations and tours, and lots of great food.
Red, White & Blueberry Festival – Hammonton
Sunday, June 24
The blueberry festivities continue in Hammonton, the town that proudly calls itself The Blueberry Capital of the World, at this 31st annual event. Head over for fair food, kiddie rides, crafters, children's craft activities, entertainment throughout the day, blueberry pie–eating contests, and a classic car show.
Wear your wings to Frelinghuysen Arboretum for Fairy Day.
Fairy Day – Morris Township
Sunday, June 24
This sweet festival at Frelinghuysen Arboretum is for fairy lovers big and small. Participants can use natural materials like bark, moss, feathers, and leaves to build a fairy house, which will be on display at the arboretum through the end of July. Summon fairies with music and fairy snacks, and learn which plants and trees attract these tiny visitors. Register by June 14.
Firefly Festival – Princeton
Sunday, June 24
Terhune Orchards stays open late for this special evening of outdoor fun, music, wagon rides, and firefly hunting. Rock out to the music of Grammy Award–winning Miss Amy and her Big Kids Band, snack on goodies from Pam's Firefly Tent, and watch students from Circus Place perform aerials, acrobatics, and juggling. Kids can make their own wings, bug boxes, and antennae. Admission to the festival is FREE; craft activities have a $5 fee.
Kiddie Beach Show – Point Pleasant
Monday, June 25
This weekly summer series kicks off today on the beach in front of Jenkinson's Amusement Park. Entertainment includes cowboys, pirates, comedy, and magic. Takes place every Monday at 7pm. FREE
Shark Fest – Atlantic Highlands
Saturday, June 30
Head down to Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor Marina for a day of shark and marine–themed activities, including vendors, food, live music, crafts, a free fishing derby for kids, and a shark weigh-in. There's also a beer and wine garden for the grown-ups! FREE
All photos courtesy of the events/venues.