Beach day trips near NJ's shore are always popular with kids! Photo courtesy of Wildwoods Tourism
Beach day trips near NJ's shore are always popular with kids! Photo courtesy of Wildwoods Tourism

Super-Fun Day Trips in New Jersey for Families

After months of staying cooped up in the house, it's time to hit the road and explore all New Jersey has to offer this summer. Due to the pandemic and statewide closings, road trip options are a bit more limited than prior seasons, but there are still plenty of fun day trips in New Jersey. NJ state parks are open for hiking and biking. Most of New Jersey's beaches are open with social distancing guidelines. Brand-new drive-through activities offer unique opportunities for family day trips in New Jersey, too. 

Need more inspiration? Check out our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids for even more NJ day trips.

As more destinations open throughout the upcoming weeks, we will continue to update the list.

1. Six Flags Great Adventure Safari Drive-Thru

While the theme park is closed for the time being, Six Flags fans can embark on a wild day trip adventure with the drive-thru safari. Visitors can get a close-up view of 1200 exotic animals from their own vehicles. Reservations must be made online.

2. Wildwood

This Jersey Shore vacation spot is known for its beaches, boardwalk, and amusements. The rides and amusements are closed indefinitely, but shore-goers can kick back in the sand on the free, massive beaches, which are open to the public. Boardwalk eateries are available for take-out. If you're looking for more than a NJ day trip, motels and hotels are open (minus the swimming pools). 

3. South Mountain Fairy Trail

Take a magical walk through this area of the South Mountain Reservation, which is adorned with little fairy houses. The simple trail is decorated with miniature homes created from natural materials. Stop by downtown Millburn for takeout lunch while you're there. 

4. Pick-Your-Own Strawberries

Strawberries are in season and ready to be picked! New Jersey's strawberry farms are open for business with new social distancing guidelines. Many require online reservations. Be sure to bring a mask.

5. Drive-in Movies

Treat the family to retro fun at a drive-in movie theater. New Jersey is home to one permanent drive-in, but many pop-ups are opening in summer 2020 for what is sure to be a favorite day trip in NJ for years to come. Keep tabs on the websites as tickets sell quickly!

Hacklebarney State Park makes a great day trip for outdoor lovers. Photo by Laurie Rein/Mommy Poppins

6. Hacklebarney State Park

Take a hike through this scenic 892-acre Morris County park with shady trails of various levels, the Black River, and a waterfall. Kids especially love climbing the boulders, balancing on the log bridges, and cooling off in the stream.

7. Reeves Reed Arboretum

New Jersey is home to a number of private and public gardens for another type of day trip. Explore the lush gardens and woodland hiking trails at this Union County arboretum, which features some very simple paths for little feet. Take in the peaceful surroundings historic and contemporary gardens. Note that the education center is closed. 

8. Cora Hartshorn Arboretum

Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the beautiful gardens, with exotic flowers, trees, and 100 species of birds. While the Arboretum building is closed, the guided hikes are still on. On weekends, join an educator on a hike through the woods. Masks are required and capacity is limited. 

9. Brookhollow's Barnyard Drive-Through Farm

We've always enjoyed a day trip to Brookhollow's Barnyard and were happy when this little farm got creative to stay open to its youngest fans. It converted to a drive-through! The little ones will love visiting bunnies, llamas, alpacas, horses, and other furry friends from the comfort of the car. The drive-through is open daily. Tickets for the hour-long event are available online each morning for the next day. 

10. Point Pleasant Beach

Hit the beach at this popular shore destination. After a day of soaking in the sun, pick up treats for take-out from the many food stands on the boardwalk. Rides, amusements, and the aquarium remain closed, but batting cages are now open.

Plenty of quiet nature walks can be found in the Watchung Reservation. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala/Mommy Poppins

11. Watchung Reservation

There's so much to do at this 1,945-acre Union County preserve, even with quarantine restrictions. Explore nature on the several hiking trails of all levels, plus take a stroll through the historical Deserted Village and the accessible Sensory Trail. The Watchung Stable complex will possibly open soon for horseback riding. Note that Trailside Nature Center and the Loop Playground are currently closed. 

12. Lakota Wolf Preserve

Bring the kids to learn about wolves and watch them in their natural habitat at the Lakota Wolf Preserve, which is opening soon for tours with a limited capacity. There's lots of shade, so it’s the perfect activity for hot summer days

13. Space Farms Drive-Thru Zoo

This mile-long New Jersey zoo is offering a drive-thru day trip with over 500 wild animals, ready to greet visitors from their cars. You may encounter lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). Reservations should be made online.

14. New Jersey Zoos

Get up close with animals, minus the car, at zoos that have started to reopen. Cape May Zoo and Turtle Back Zoo are among the facilities that are opening with social distancing rules and limited capacity.

15. Historic Village of Allaire

Go way back in time at the Historic Village of Allaire, which opens late June and will require an admission fee on weekends and pre-ordered tickets. Visit the early 19th-century general store, blacksmith shop, row houses, and more. Masks are required in buildings. Plus, take in nature at the hiking paths and trails throughout the park area. 

16. Historic Longstreet Farm

Come see the cows, horses, and pigs at the Historic Longstreet Farm, which has just reopened for summer 2020 day trips in New Jersey. While the farmhouse remains closed, there is plenty of outdoor space to visit the farm animals. Enjoy the beauty of Holmdel Park while you're there.

Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor
1 Six Flags Boulevard
Jackson , NJ 08527

Wildwood Beach and Boardwalk
Wildwood, NJ

South Mountain Fairy Trail
197 Glen Avenue
Millburn, NJ 07041

Hacklebarney State Park
119 Hacklebarney Rd
Chester, NJ 07853

Reeves Reed Arboretum
165 Hobart Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum
324 Forest Drive South
Short Hills, NJ 07078

Brookhollow Barnyard
301 Rockaway Valley Road
Boonton TWP, NJ 07005

Lakota Wolf Preserve
89 Mt. Pleasant Rd.
Columbia, NJ 07832

Watchung Reservation
452 New Providence Road
Mountainside, NJ 07092

Jenkinson's Beach
300 Ocean Ave
Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

Space Farm Zoo
218 Route 519
Sussex, NJ 07461

Allaire - Historic Village
4265 County Road 524
Farmingdale, NJ 07727

Longstreet Farm
44 Longstreet Road
Holmdel, NJ 07733
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