The Red Mill Museum Village boasts more than 200 years of history, featuring 12 buildings located on 10 acres, with exhibits and special events. Photo courtesy of the Red Mill
The Red Mill Museum Village boasts more than 200 years of history, featuring 12 buildings located on 10 acres, with exhibits and special events. Photo courtesy of the Red Mill

Things To Do in Clinton, NJ: Small-Town Charm, History, and Culture

For many locals, one of the most picturesque spots in Hunterdon County is Clinton. This New Jersey town boasts lovely views of the Raritan River running through the historic downtown area, and a majestic red mill that's one of the most-photographed buildings in NJ. Clinton is just 1.5 square miles, but what it loses in size it makes up for in atmosphere—there are great nature spots for hiking, picnicking, and swimming, as well as museums and historic sites, holiday-themed festivals and parades, and family-friendly restaurants.

This charming small town makes for a picture-perfect family day trip all year round. Read on for the highlights.


The Red Mill hosts events all year long. Photo courtesy of the Red Mill

The Red Mill
Once a working grist mill (and then a granite and talc mill), Clinton's famous Red Mill is now a unique historical site—and one of most photographed in buildings in NJ. The 10-acre Red Mill Museum Village is home to the Hunterdon Historical Museum, which has a collection of more than 40,000 agricultural, industrial, and domestic artifacts. Explore the campus on a self-guided tour featuring a log cabin, replica school house, a blacksmith house, and more. Keep an eye on the calendar of events for fun programs like movie nights (free!), summer music shows, a winter village, ghost tours, and, of course, the annual Haunted Red Mill Halloween event.

RELATED: Historic NJ Villages for Kids and Families


Grab some friends and head to Just Chill for a sweet treat. Photo courtesy of Just Chill

Downtown Desserts and Dining
Cross the metal bridge outside the mill, and you'll find yourself in a quaint shopping and dining area with lovely historic buildings, many of which have outdoor eating areas overlooking the water or the street. Among the 30 or so businesses are several that will satisfy your sweet tooth. There's the adorable Main Street Candy shop, where kids will go crazy over the bins of taffy, jelly beans, chocolate, and tons of old favorites. And, The Clinton House Bakery is the perfect place for cookies, hand pies, cupcakes, tarts, and other sweets. For frozen sweet treats, JJ Scoops is just the place for ice cream lovers, or get creative and make your perfect fro-yo sundae at Just Chill. This great shop also has crepes and acai bowls.

Looking for more than a sweet bite? Try Clinton Burger Co. or Designer Dawgs, each of which have tons of options both kids and their parents will enjoy. 

Clinton Station Diner
If you've ever headed west on I-78 and noticed a blue train car filled with happy diners, you've likely come across the Clinton Station Diner. Have a meal on the Blue Comet's Biela observation car, and if your family is up for an eating challenge, see if you can finish off one of the ginormous burgers on the menu, ranging from 3 to 105 lbs. (No, that's not a typo!)

RELATED: 20+ Things To Do with Kids in Somerville, NJ


Hunterdon Art Museum offers classes and workshops where kids can experiment with a variety of materials. Photo courtesy of the museum

Hunterdon Art Museum
The Hunterdon Art Museum has several exhibits to see, but what's really fun are the hands-on programs for kids. The museum hosts more than 300 classes and workshops each year for adults and children in disciplines like drawing, sculpting, painting, photography, glass fusing, and more. Attend camp or have a birthday party here, too.

Spruce Run Reservoir
Totaling 1,290 acres (including 15 miles of shoreline), Spruce Run is the third largest reservoir in NJ, and is perfect for picnics, swimming, fishing, boating, and camping. There are beach areas, too, some of which have showers and concessions. 

Round Valley Reservoir
Round Valley is a great spot for hiking, with a 0.5-mile family hiking and biking trail loop through the pinewoods. There's also swimming, camping, and boating. Three areas are designated for picnics; one at each end of the beach, and a third on a hill overlooking the park. Each picnic area has tables and grills, restrooms, and playgrounds. 

RELATED: Favorite NJ Reservations with Fun Outdoor Kids' Activities and Hikes 


Cllnton hosts a number of special events like Haunted Red Mill. Photo courtesy of the Red Mill

Festivals and Parades
Tons of seasonal fun happens every year in the downtown area, including the Christmas Parade (held the first Friday in December), the Festival of Trees and Dickens Days weekend, Flag Day Parade, Egg Hunt/Town-Wide Scavenger Hunt, St. Patrick's Day Parade, and Pumpkinfest, where carved and painted pumpkins decorate the street and compete for prizes.


Clinton Area Stage Troupe presents kid-friendly productions like Beauty and the Beast. Photo courtesy of CAST

Clinton Area Stage Troupe
This awesome community theater group often has a summer shows that appeal to children, like Beauty and the Beast in 2019.


The Red Mill Museum and Village
56 Main Street
Clinton, NJ 08809

Main Street Candy
2 East Main St.
Clinton, NJ 08809

JJ Scoops
1 Main St.
Clinton, NJ 08809

Just Chill
47 Main Street
Clinton, NJ 08809

The Clinton House
2 W Main St.
Clinton, NJ 08809

Clinton Burger Co.
10 Leigh St.
Clinton, NJ 08809

Designer Dawgs
3 Main Street
Clinton, NJ 08809

Clinton Station Diner
2 Bank Street
Clinton, NJ 08809

Hunterdon Art Museum
7 Lower Center Street
Clinton, NJ 08809

Spruce Run Reservoir
68 Van Syckel's Rd.
Clinton, NJ 08809

Round Valley Reservoir
1220 Lebanon-Stanton Road
Lebanon, NJ