41 Things To Do in New Jersey this Summer: Summer Fun Guide

Cascade down the lazy river at Ocean Oasis at Morey's Piers. Photo by Kip Dawkins
Cascade down the lazy river at Ocean Oasis at Morey's Piers. Photo by Kip Dawkins

New Jersey offers tons of amazing things for families to do over the summer, and we've rounded up dozens of our top picks. Whether you're looking for a beach adventure or want to visit a local farm or museum, it'll be easy to fill up your calendar during school break.

Be sure to check out our Ultimate New Jersey Kids Summer Vacation Guide for additional suggestions, which includes lists of the best water parks, lakes, and amusement parks in the state. 


Subscribe to our newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox. 

Best Summer Activities on the Jersey Shore

1. Visit a Lighthouse

National Lighthouse Day is celebrated every August. Commemorate the occasion by visiting one of the Jersey Shore’s seven great lighthouses.

2. Plan a Beach Day

Soak up the sun at one of the Jersey Shore’s beautiful beaches.

3. Go on a Pirate Cruise

Set sail with the Jersey Shore Pirates in Brick! Kids will love dressing up in pirate gear, searching for treasure, and battling rival pirates along with the crew.

4. Take a Ferry Ride

Try a day cruise and enjoy a ferry ride in Cape May. Reservations are required.

5. Spend a Day at Point Pleasant

Head to Point Pleasant and spend the day enjoying the beach, boardwalk, aquarium, mini golf, fun house, and more!

6. Meet Lucy at A.C.

There's so much more to Atlantic City than just casinos. Go outlet shopping, play at the arcade, hang out at Steel Pier, or meet Lucy, the giant elephant.

7. Walk the Ocean City Boardwalk

The lovely 2.5-mile Ocean City boardwalk will keep you busy with food, arcades, mini-golf, shops, and more.

Great Lakes, Parks, and Playgrounds to Visit this Summer in NJ

8. Cool Down at a Water Park 

Beat the heat at NJ’s awesome action-packed water parks like Hurricane Harbor in Jackson or Morey's Pier in Wildwood.

9. Try a New Spray Park 

Splash around at a local spray park. The John Russell Wheeler Park in Linden and Asbury Splash Park in Asbury Park will keep the kids busy for hours. 

10. Have a Picnic

Stop by your local farmers’ market and purchase some delicious goodies for a picnic in the park.

11. See an Arboretum

Enjoy spending some time in nature at one of NJ’s beautiful arboretums. Take a family hike or participate in scavenger hunts and other fun programs.

12. Rent a Paddle Boat

Cool off on a hot day by renting a paddle boat.

13. Go Swimming

Visit a local swimming hole or try a pool that offers day passes.

14. Explore a Nature Center

Bring the kids to a local nature center for a combination of indoor and outdoor fun. They’ll have a blast playing, exploring, and participating in fun activities.

15. Go on a Hike

Get outside and enjoy a nature hike. A great way to bond as a family and get some exercise too.

RELATEDNew Jersey Beaches, Lakes, Pools, and Water Parks Guide

Things to do in New Jersey this summer with kids: New Jersey Festival of Balloons.
Watch the sky fill with balloons at the New Jersey Festival of Balloons. Photo courtesy of the festival

Top Annual Summer Events in New Jersey

16. Experience Renaissance Fun

Go back in time and see knights in shining armor at the NJ Renaissance Faire, Saturday, May 20, 2023, through Sunday, June 11, 2023.

17. See Hot Air Balloons

See the skies over Readington come alive with a glorious display of hot air balloons at the annual NJ Festival of Ballooning, July 28-30, 2023.

RELATEDJersey Shore Travel Guide for Families

Things to do in New Jersey this summer with kids: State Fair Meadowlands
The jam-packed State Fair Meadowlands returns for 18 days with more than 100 rides and attractions. Photo courtesy of the event

18. Spend a Night at the State Fair Meadowlands

It's 18 days of rides, food, shows, and fun at the State Fair, Thursday, June 22, 2023, through Sunday, July 9, 2023.

19. Swing by the Monmouth County Fair

The 48th Annual Monmouth County Fair boasts outdoor entertainment, strolling performers, main stage entertainment, carnival rides, and competitions. The fair takes place Wednesday, July 26, 2023, through Sunday, July 30, 2023.

On-the-Farm Events in New Jersey

20. Pick Berries

Pick your own summer fruits and veggies at one of NJ’s wonderful farms. Alstede's is definitely day-trip-worthy, with many fun activities to keep the kids busy.

21. Make a Bouquet

If you've never tried to pick your own, get ready to make some incredible memories and snap some amazing pics at a PYO flower farm!

22. Visit a Living Farm

Check out one of NJ’s Living History Farms like Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville for a hands-on day trip that’s both fun and educational.

RELATED10 Swimming Pools in NJ with Day Passes

Things to do in New Jersey this summer with kids: Grounds for Sculpture.
Wander the imaginative and mind-bending Grounds for Sculpture. Photo by David Michael Howarth Photography

Outdoor Summer Fun in New Jersey

23. See Animals at the Zoo

Spend the day at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange. This Essex County gem is perfect for kids of all ages. There’s also mini-golf and a treetop adventure course nearby.

24. Have Some Thrills at Six Flags

Whether your family is into white-knuckle coasters or kiddie rides, Jackson's Six Flags Great Adventure theme park has got you covered. Or try another NJ theme park.

25. Visit Grounds for Sculpture

Pack a picnic lunch and see amazing larger-than-life sculptures at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton.

26. See Wolves

Go on a tour of Columbia's Lakota Wolf Preserve and see wolves in their natural habitat.

RELATED100 Things To Do in New Jersey With Kids Before They Grow Up

Things to do in New Jersey this summer with kids: Sterling Hill Mining Museum.
Tour the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum

27. Tour Underground Mines

On weekends, tour the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensberg and see mines from the early 1800s for a unique day trip your kids will love. It's said to be the fluorescent capital of the world.

28. Visit a New Downtown

Play tourist and visit one of NJ’s great small towns. Stroll the streets, do some shopping, and grab a bite to eat with the kiddos.

29. Go to Storybook Land

Take little ones to this sweet amusement park that's perfect for toddlers and younger children.

RELATEDBest Sprinkler Parks and Splash Pads in NJ

Things to do in New Jersey this summer with kids: Liberty Science Center.
The Infinity Chamber is a classic attraction at the Liberty Science Center. Photo courtesy of LSC

Best Indoor Things To Do in New Jersey this Summer

30. Experience the American Dream

The American Dream Mall has all the makings of the perfect staycation. Fill your agenda with things like the indoor Dreamworks Water Park, Angry Birds Mini Gold, Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park, and Big SNOW.

31. Have a Science-Filled Adventure

Liberty Science Center is a great way to spend the day at any time of year. Current exhibits include Wobbly World for kids 41 inches and under and the Infinity Chamber—plus an enormous planetarium.

32. Go Bowling

Bring the family to your local bowling alley for some indoor fun! 

33. Climb the Walls

A great option for older kids is rock climbing at one of NJ's indoor centers.

34. Do Dinner and a Movie

Summertime is a great time for movie-watching! Indulge in dinner and a movie at one of NJ’s dine-in theaters 

35. Try a Trampoline Park

Bounce the day away at one of NJ’s indoor trampoline parks.

36. Go to the Museum

Head out to a local museum for some hands-on fun with your kids. Visit the creepy crawly creatures at Insectropolis or check out the Montclair Art Museum.

37. See the Aquarium

Adventure Aquarium is a world-class aquarium where you'll see sharks, hippos, penguins, and too many fish to count.

Low-Cost and Free Summer Fun for NJ Kids

38. Do Water Games in the Yard

Stay home and play your own water games.

39. See a Movie Outside

Check out a local outdoor screening.

40. Camp Out

Camp out in your backyard. Make s’mores, tell ghost stories, relax under the stars, and cuddle up next to the kids in sleeping blankets. (If your children are too little, try it out indoors first.)

41. Save Your Pennies with No-Cost Activities

Don’t miss the abundance of FREE activities offered throughout NJ this summer. There are no-cost movies, concerts, festivals, and more!

This piece was originally published in 2014 and has since been updated. 

Places featured in this article:

John Russell Wheeler Park

New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning

NJ Renaissance Fair, Liberty Lake