Have a blast on the Stirling Hotel's back patio when the weather's nice.
Have a blast on the Stirling Hotel's back patio when the weather's nice.

Outdoor Restaurants in NJ with Kid-Friendly Backyards and Outdoor Seating

If you've been itching to go to a restaurant after months of eating home, the wait is over. NJ restaurants have been approved to open their outdoor dining areas as of June 15, with social distancing precautions in place. Lingering over a summer meal with children is always more relaxing outside, where restless kids are free to stretch their legs, explore, and watch the world go by. Warm-weather dining options abound in New Jersey, from waterfront decks and sandy patios to tree-shaded courtyards and grassy gardens.

Read on for our top picks for kid-friendly outdoor dining, and don't miss our round-up of NJ themed restaurants with interactive dining, and our run-down of places where kids eat free.

There are plenty of little activities to keep kids busy at the Elysian Cafe. 

1. The Corner Cafe Bistro- Long Branch

Opening around weekend of June 20.
Have a light bite while taking in ocean views, as well as the hustle and bustle of Pier Village, at The Corner Cafe Bistro. Grab coffees, sandwiches, salads and desserts at the outdoor dining area right on the pier. 

2. Elysian Cafe – Hoboken

Open for outdoor dining with tables spaced apart.
Bistro fare or weekend brunch at the sun-dappled corner sidewalk cafe are ideal for lazy summer weekends. The mussels and pommes frites or French-cut chicken breast are treats for you, while chicken fingers, pasta, and grilled cheese make the kids happy. Little ones can totter around the fenced-in sidewalk cafe, stacking pebbles from the tree beds or clambering atop the small, stone garden walls.

3. McLoone's Boathouse – West Orange

Open for outdoor dining.
Within the South Mountain Recreation Complex, this waterside family restaurant features classic American fare with a lovely view of the Orange Reservoir. A kids' menu offers pasta, chicken, grilled cheese, hot dogs, and burgers. Other favorites include crab cakes, calamari, lobster mac and cheese, along with steaks, burgers and seafood. Enjoy a post-meal stroll around the reservoir, go for a spin on the paddle boats, or burn off energy at the Regatta Playground.

4. Nomad Pizza – Princeton and Hopewell

Open for outdoor seating.
Wood-fired pizza on a wide, umbrella-shaded patio makes for a perfect summer evening. Throw in locally sourced pizza toppings, select Sonoma wines, or BYO beverages—plus kid-friendly service—and everyone's happy. 

5. O'Brian's on the Green – Clark

Outdoor seating open with reservations for 1.5 hour slots. 
Overlooking the Hyatt Hills Golf Complex, this scenic restaurant boasts a kid-friendly array of burgers, pizzas, salads and sandwiches. On weekends, local musicians entertain diners. Treat the family to a round of mini-golf while you're there.

6. Pier 13 – Hoboken

Open for outdoor dining.
The Hudson River is the backdrop for this eclectic collection of food trucks, serving everything from Thai and falafel to gourmet pizza and street tacos, not to mention ice cream, coffee, sangria and beer. Grab a table at the end of the pier, snag a bench along the riverfront, or spread out a blanket in nearby Maxwell Park to enjoy an al fresco meal while the kids play. 

7. Porta Pizza – Asbury Park and Jersey City

Open for outdoor dining.
Neapolitan pizzas made with filtered water, imported flour, and tomatoes, then topped with house-made ricotta and mozzarella, are delicious anywhere you eat them. Spread out on picnic tables on the beachy patio in Asbury, they are a summer treat to be savored. Wait times for a table can be long, so plan accordingly. 

8. River and Rail Cantina – Cranford

Open for outdoor seating.
lassic Mexican fare including sizzling fajitas, cheesy quesadillas, and tangy fish tacos all taste better under the fairy lights on this cantina's patio. Kids can run around in the grassy yard playing games like corn hole or giant Connect Four and Jenga, while dinner is prepared. 

9. Rusty Nail – Cape May

Open for outdoor dining.
Gather 'round the sandy fire pit at this re-imagined surfers' hangout, or let the kids play with pails and shovels while you enjoy live music. Send the older kids off to play ping pong, and watch them from the Adirondack chairs. Children's menu items at this southern shore fave include hot dogs, mini pizza, and mac and cheese. Kids meals are served on a Frisbee with a chocolate chip cookie on the side, and there's even a menu for pooches!

10. Stage House Tavern – Scotch Plains, Mountainside & Somerset

All locations open for outdoor seating. Reservations are required. 
Early dinners on the broad, shady patio are family affairs, with top menu picks including homemade ravioli, tacos, pizza, and salads. An extensive cocktail menu and live music make the Stage House a great destination for the whole fam.

RELATED: New Jersey Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Enjoy a meal in the Stirling Hotel's lovely back garden in the nice weather. 

11. Stirling Hotel – Stirling

Open for outdoor seating, including the beer garden. Reservations are required, and slots are for 2 hours. Masks must be worn if leaving the table.
A rustic interior gives way to a sunny back garden, where in summer months parents can enjoy craft beer and comfort food while kids play backyard games like bocce and corn hole. Live music in the garden makes for a mellow weekend afternoon, and an outdoor barbecue pit adds to the homey vibe. 

12. Boardwalk Bar and Grill- Point Pleasant

Open for outdoor dining.
Take in relaxing ocean views while chowing down on seafood, salads, pasta plus burgers and pizza for the kids at this popular boardwalk eaterie. Diners can sit just steps away from the sand or on the rooftop for views of the beach and boardwalk action.

RELATED: Themed Restaurants and Family-Friendly Interactive Dining in NJ

Kids can walk around on the huge deck at the Windlass Restaurant and Marina. 

13. Windlass Restaurant and Marina – Lake Hopatcong

Outdoor dining open. Reservations are required.
Rebuilt in 2015, this lakeside treasure features breezy outdoor seating on the deck and special events throughout the summer season. The menu features Italian favorites like calamari and eggplant parmesan, plus new international fare like sushi and carne asada, in addition to the Jersey club and specialty pizza and burgers. As a bonus on busy summer evenings, you can play a round of mini-golf at the adjacent course while you wait for a table. 

14. Zeppelin Hall Biergarten and Restaurant – Jersey City

Opening soon for outdoor seating.
Pretzels, pierogies, bratwurst, and beer are served up at long, shared picnic tables at this large hall and outdoor garden. Families are welcome during the day and early evening—a kids' menu featuring burgers, chicken, and mac and cheese is offered until 8pm, and a full brunch menu is served on weekends until 4pm. If you visit on a weekend, don't miss the brisket, only available Friday through Sunday. Grab a seat under an umbrella on a sunny afternoon. 


Saved room for dessert? Check out our favorite NJ ice cream shops and doughnut spots. And for even more family restaurant options, visit our NJ kid-friendly dining guide

Photos courtesy of the restaurants

The Committed Pig
168 Main St
Manasquan, NJ

The Committed Pig
28 West Park Place
Morristown, NJ

The Committed Pig
339 Springfield Ave
Summit, NJ

Elysian Cafe
1001 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030

McLoone's Boathouse
9 Cherry Lane
West Orange, NJ 07052

Nomad Pizza
301 North Harrison St
Princeton , NJ

Nomad Pizza
10 East Broad Street
Hopewell, NJ

Pier 13
1301 Sinatra Drive N
Hoboken, NJ

Porta Pizza
911 Kingsley Street
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Porta Pizza
135 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ

River and Rail
230 South Ave East
Cranford, NJ

The Corner Cafe Bistro
110 Centennial Drive
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Oh Brian's on the Green
1300 Raritan Road
Clark, NJ
Online Information Session
Online - Zoom - 9:00 AM
Annual Antique Toy Train Show
The Museum of American History at Deptford, NJ - 10:00 AM
LSC Junior Days
Liberty Science Center - 10:00 AM
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Coloring Book Pickup
Arts Council of Princeton - 10:00 AM
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Blue Cross RiverRink - 11:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides