Heat Wave Hot List: 27 Cool Things To Do in New Jersey with Kids

Floating through the water at Morey's Piers is a great way to beat the heat this summer. Photo by David Howarth
Floating through the water at Morey's Piers is a great way to beat the heat this summer. Photo by David Howarth
7/9/23 - By Rachel Sokol

If you're suffering from hot-weather burnout, don't sweat it: New Jersey has tons of things to do to help the whole family chill out when the temperatures soar. From beaches on the Jersey Shore and splash pads in parks throughout the state to blissfully air-conditioned bowling alleys and cool arcades, we've got the best ways to beat the heat during the hottest days of the year.

Check out even more refreshing activities in our Ultimate New Jersey Kids Summer Vacation Guide–and stay cool, NJ!


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Water Fun to Beat the Heat in NJ

1. Cool Down at a Splash Park

Take the kids to one of NJ's many spraygrounds and splash pads, including the huge, amazing John Russell Wheeler Park in Linden. Or check out free options like Newport Green and Dorbrook Recreation Area.

2. Play Water Games

Try one of these 25 water games to play with kids right in your backyard.

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beat-the heat-NJ: the jersey shore
Be sure to hit the Jersey Shore when the temps rise this summer. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

3. Visit the Jersey Shore

Spend a day at a Jersey Shore beach. In August, the temperature of the water is perfect for a refreshing dip. Don't forget about these FREE NJ beaches and seaside hidden gems!

4. Go Swimming

Cool off in a swimming pool that offers day passes for non-residents.

5. Enjoy a Water Park

Hit the water slides and lazy rivers at one of these 15 awesome water parks. Or, plan an overnight trip and stay at one of these great hotels with outdoor water parks.

Beat the heat NJ: Totally Tubular Aqua Park
Totally Tubular Aqua Park offers 5,000 square feet of wet-and-wild fun in Ocean City. Photo courtesy of the park

6. Bounce Around at an Inflatable Water Park

These floating obstacle courses are popping up throughout the state. 

7. Jump in a Lake

Skip the Shore traffic and head to one of New Jersey's lakes for a day of swimming

RELATEDBest Kid-Friendly Museums in Northern New Jersey

Beat the Heat NJ: Adventure Aquarium
Watch the graceful hippos glide through their underwater home at Adventure Aquarium. Photo by Kaylynn Ebner

Heat Wave Indoor Activities in NJ

8. Visit an Aquarium

Chill—literally—with the adorable penguins at Jenkinson’s Aquarium, or watch the hippos glide through the water at Camden's Adventure Aquarium.

RELATEDBest New Jersey Arcades To Visit with Kids

Beat the Heat NJ: Arcades
Stay cool at an indoor arcade this summer. Photo by Mommy Poppins

9. Challenge Yourself to a Game of Pac-Man at a Classic Arcade

Enjoy some indoor gaming at Yestercades or the Silverball Museum.

10. Check Out an Indoor Playground

Visit one of the state's many indoor play spaces. Find a fun one near you in our Guide to Indoor Play Spaces for NJ Kids.

11. Enjoy Boardwalk-Type Fun at iPlay America

Enjoy some boardwalk-style rides in the indoor amusement park at iPlay America.

12. Play a Round of Indoor Mini Golf

Challenge the kids to a round of indoor mini golf, including Monster Mini Golf.

13. See an Indoor Movie for Free

Mayo PAC and State Theatre New Jersey host big-screen hits for FREE on Tuesdays in August.

14. Play Laser Tag

Grab some friends, gear up, and play some laser tag.

15. Go Skating

Refresh yourself with a blast of winter and go ice skating at an indoor arena.

16. Make an Escape

Relish the air conditioning while the whole family figures out how to flee these NJ escape rooms.

17. Get Artistic

Create a masterpiece at a drop-in pottery or painting studio.

18. Visit LSC

Spend a day at the Liberty Science Center or another great museum in northern NJ, including the Morris Museum and the Newark Museum.

19. Go Bowling

Hit the lanes at one of NJ's family-friendly bowling alleys, which range from thoroughly modern to charmingly retro.

20. Jump Away!

Jump and play without breaking too much of a sweat at one of NJ's indoor trampoline parks and bounce houses.

Beat The Heat NJ: KidStreet shaded playground
Stroll into the shaded playground KidStreet for some cool play on a hot day. Photo by Kaylynn Ebner

More Outdoor Fun in the Not-Too-Much-Sun in NJ

21. Check out a Shaded Playground

Duck into an awesome shaded playground.

22. Head to Sterling Hill Mines

Go underground to the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Always a cool 56 degrees, the mine offers tours at 1pm every day. Reservations are required.

23. See a Waterfall

Visit the state's awe-inspiring waterfalls; Hemlock Falls at South Mountain Reservation has a wading pool to cool off in after a small hike.

24. Go Fishing

Bait a hook and go fish!

25. Watch a Free Summer Movie

Take in a FREE summer movie under the stars. Palmer Square Movie Nights in Princeton and the Ridgewood Movies in the Park are just two spots to catch a FREE summer flick.

Beat The Heat NJ: Tubing on the Delaware River
Tube down the Delaware this summer. 

26. Go Tubing

Spend the day tubing or rafting on the Delaware River.

27. Kick Back to Free Music at an outdoor concert

Listen to local music groups after the sun sets at an outdoor concert.

This article, first published in 2014, has since been updated.

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