Central Jersey

30 Super-Fun Summer Day Trips for New Jersey Families

Road trips rock! And we've got 30 ideas for NJ summer day trips that minimize the drive time and maximize the fun time. Whether it's gathering fresh fruit at a pick-your-own farmswimming at a lake, hitting the Jersey Shore's beaches and boardwalks, or visiting an amusement park, get ready to hit the road to one of these favorite summer destinations.

Need more inspiration? Check out our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids for even more ideas for family fun.

And, if it's too hot or rainy to head outside, look to our indoor guide and rainy-day suggestions to keep the good times rolling. 

Great Day Trips to New Jersey State Parks and Forests

While most non-residents don't equate New Jersey with beautiful green spaces, there are a whopping 36 state parks and 13 state forests to explore in NJ—and at least one of them should be on your summer fun to-do list.

We've picked nine destinations that are perfect for a fun-filled day trip, where hiking, biking, swimming, and boating are just some of the fun outdoor activities to enjoy. Add acres of gorgeous scenery and some wildlife-spotting, and NJ state parks and forests make for an ideal day of family fun in the fresh air.

Best Pools with Day Passes in New Jersey

If your summer plans include camp and vacation, you may not be willing to take the plunge on the price and commitment of a pool membership. Luckily, pool clubs throughout New Jersey offer guests the opportunity to spend the day swimming without membership or residency. Read on for 10 NJ pools that offer day passes without restrictions.

The Best Lakes for Swimming with Kids in New Jersey

New Jersey is known for its outstanding beaches, but it also has some of the best lakes for swimming in the Northeast. This summer, if you want a break from the pounding waves, dive into the calm waters of one of these beautiful New Jersey lakes.

For more wet (and dry) summer fun, check out our NJ Kids Summer Activities Guide—and sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox!

10 Awesome Accessible Playgrounds for New Jersey Kids

New Jersey has a growing number of parks and playgrounds that cater to every outdoor adventurer, particularly children with special needs. Every child has a right to play in his or her own special way, so we’re recognizing some of the best all-access playgrounds the state has to offer.

Featuring ground-level playthings, wide ramps for wheelchairs, belts and buckles for added protection, and plenty of rest and reflection areas to retire to between bouts of fun, these playgrounds are beyond special and well-deserving of their shout-outs!

And now that summer is on the horizon, find more inclusive outdoor fun at the Watchung Sensory Trail, and at Van Saun Park's Harmony Playground, featuring a pond-themed, ADA-accessible splash pad

15 Awesome Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families

New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach! From big-name parks and boardwalk favorites to the state's first municipal water park, we've rounded up 15 of New Jersey’s best water parks and an overview of what to expect from each one. We've even included a couple of fantastic indoor water parks to keep kids splashing on rainy days.

If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads roundup. For more summer awesomeness, visit our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.

In Bloom! NJ Farms Where You Can Pick Your Own Flowers

Nothing says "Garden State" like a New Jersey farm. One of the best things about our state is its bountiful pick-your-own farms—you can load up the family and pick strawberries in late spring, raspberries and sweet corn in the summertime, and apples and pumpkins come fall. But what many people may not know is that in addition to fresh produce, NJ farms are overflowing with acres of beautiful flowers. 

Flower-picking season begins in late June or early July. So plan to spend a day on the farm this summer, and bring home a fragrant assortment of Jersey-grown blooms!

Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

Who doesn't love running through a sprinkler on a hot and steamy summer day? Bring it to the next level at one of New Jersey's splash pads and spraygrounds, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, some of which are newly renovated or even brand-new for the 2019 season. (And we’ve even got our splash pad radar at the ready for parks poised to open next summer—like North Bergen’s Paterson Plank Road Park, which just broke ground last month.)

Remember, these are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of cattails (Van Saun Park); animal fixtures (Bridgeton); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Visit our Best NJ Water Parks article to go all in for theme park fun. Or strap on those water shoes, pack the towels, and read on for some of New Jersey's best water playgrounds and spray parks in your neighborhood. 

Family-Friendly Vineyards and Wineries in New Jersey

When planning a family day trip, vineyards and wineries may not be the first destinations that come to mind. Believe it or not, New Jersey is home to relaxing and scenic vineyards that welcome kids, and even pets. These vineyards offer outdoor fun that includes food truck events, music, farm activities, spacious fields, and of course, the Garden State’s homegrown wines.

Not all local vineyards and wineries permit children on the premises, but raise your glass to these seven that do! And be sure to check the policies on children in the tasting areas before you visit.

SeaQuest Aquarium Coming to Woodbridge, NJ This Fall

Calling all marine and wildlife enthusiasts: SeaQuest Woodbridge, a 24,000-square-foot, hands-on global sea life education and entertainment experience, is coming to Woodbridge Center this fall.

Visitors will be able to travel through a variety of realistic environments like rainforests, deserts, caves, coastlines, and oceans to meet stingrays, fish, birds, snakes, caimans, iguanas, turtles, and more. SeaQuest will be the latest family-friendly attraction to open at Woodbridge Center, whose recent additions include a Dave & Buster's and an All In Adventures escape room center.   

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