Jersey Shore

Family-Friendly Walkable Towns in New Jersey

Do you ever crave a city scene while living in the suburbs? Like many New Jersey residents, I moved here from Manhattan years ago but still feel that itch for metropolitan perks, like walkability, diversity of restaurants and shops, and an energetic community hub. The good news is, there's no need to leave the state for city amenities. Explore great walkable downtowns right here in New Jersey, where you'll find both chain and independent shops, art museums, unique bookstores, delicious cafes serving up local eats, and more. If you choose to leave the car at home, most of these downtowns are in close proximity to New Jersey Transit trains or buses.

Whether a day trip destination or a quick stop for lunch and shopping, these great walkable downtowns are worth a visit. 

Six Flags NJ: An Amusement Park with Big and Little Thrills

Braving the thrill rides at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari in Jackson, NJ, is practically a rite of passage for kids who live in and around the Garden State. Perhaps for this reason, I wasn't 100-percent sure my young children (ages 2, 5, and 7) were old enough to fully enjoy it—but we decided to test the waters. And as I did my planning, I realized, "Holy cow! There's a ton of things to do at Six Flags!"

New Jersey's largest theme park, Six Flags is known for heart-dropping roller coasters like Nitro and Kingda Ka (the world's tallest coaster)—but there are also plenty of attractions geared toward the smaller set and those who enjoy tamer thrills. You can see zebras, giraffes, and other cool creatures on the Safari Off-Road Adventure; ride the Porky Pig Ferris Wheel in Bugs Bunny National Park; make a splash on the Saw Mill Log Flume; and much, much more. You also might want to set aside another day for Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags' massive water park.

Read on for details of our visit, along with tips for making your trip super-fun for kids of all ages. 

20+ August Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

When it comes to fairs and festivals, August in New Jersey is like one big party! Flutter over to Pennington for a Butterfly Festival, indulge in sweet summer peaches at Princeton's Just Peachy Festival, or enjoy classic fair fun like carnival rides and games at a county fair. With so many options, the family calendar will be packed all month long.

Read on for our top picks, and find more ways to make the most of August with our Summer Fun Guide.

Where To Rent Paddleboats and Rowboats in New Jersey

Looking for a great summer outing that’ll float the family’s boat? A ride in a paddleboat (sometimes called a pedal boat) or rowboat offers panoramic views of New Jersey's scenic parks and lakes, and an opportunity for family time that may actually be peaceful. 

Paddleboat rentals are available throughout the state. Check the specific paddling locations for any age or weight restrictions, then sit back and enjoy the ride. (And don't forget the sunscreen!)

Feeling more adventurous? Find the best places for tubing and rafting in and around NJ.

18 Top Pick-Your-Own Peach Farms in New Jersey

There’s nothing that screams summer more than a warm-off-the-tree peach, with the sweet juices dripping down your chin. With farms a-plenty and peaches ripe for the picking, choose your spot from the list below, grab your baskets and babes, and head to one of these u-pick farms

The peach-picking season in the Garden State really gets going in mid-July and carries on through August and early September at some farms. Before you go, call ahead or check the farm’s Facebook page to make sure crops are still plentiful and what, specifically, is available on any given day. (You might also be able to pick blueberries, which are available at many farms through July.)

Read on to find out where the juiciest fruit can be found.

30 Best Things To Do with Tweens in New Jersey

Your tweens may be too big for bouncy houses and tea parties, yet too young for solo outings with friends. But they still love family fun (even if they won't always admit it). To keep those in-betweeners happy and engaged, find an activity that sparks their curiosity or stretches their growing limbs. When a trip to your local playground is met with eye-rolling instead of cheering, it's time to check out these amazing activities for older kids in New Jersey. The good news? You may genuinely enjoy competing with your tween in bowling and mini golf, tackling the fast slides at a water park, or seeing a play or concert together. Read on for 30 ideas that are cool enough for big kids. 

Visiting Sandy Hook Beach with Kids

There is no shortage of options for NYC beach-goers. We have the Rockaways, Coney Island and Jacob Riis all within city limits, plus the Jersey Shore and the often-overlooked beaches in Staten Island within day-trip distance. Each beach has its own special vibe and its own reasons to put on your flip flops and head to the ocean.

Sandy Hook is another kid-friendly beach destination that's just a short ride away from NYC on the Jersey Shore. And best of all: No car? No problem! A ferry can take you right to Sandy Hook beach from Manhattan. Bring your boogie boards and beach blankets and make your way to Sandy Hook for an unforgettable afternoon at the seashore: Here's what to know before you go.

13 Exciting Boat Rides for Families in New Jersey

Adventures abound on the high and low seas of New Jersey throughout the summer. Young pirates can dress up for a real pirate adventure; sailors can man the rigging aboard the historic A.J. Meerwald; and young naturalists will feel at home in the Meadowland marshes aboard specially rigged pontoon boats. Whalers will enjoy riding ships on the high seas in search of whales and dolphins, and adventurers can always ride the wild white waters of the Delaware River either on rafts or tubes. Who knows when you may regain your land legs?

For more warm-weather fun, check out our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.

40 Things To Do with Kids on a Rainy Day at the Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore is known for its gorgeous beaches, of course, and outdoor entertainment like boardwalk fun. But not every summer day can turn into a sunny beach day. What happens to the family fun when it rains? Beach houses, no matter how grand, start to feel pretty small when you are stuck indoors.

Fortunately, there are plenty of indoor spots to explore along the shore. From Asbury Park to Cape May, we've put together a list of shore activities that will get you off the beach and out of your condo. So whether the rain is spoiling your beach day, you need a day out of the sun, or just a change from the sand and surf, we have you covered.

For more entertaining activities this season, check our list of 70 Best Things To Do at the Shore all summer.

Free Beaches in New Jersey: No-Cost Family Fun in the Sun

If your fun-in-the-sun bucket list includes camp, vacation, and trips to our beloved Jersey Shore, summertime can be a season of major spending. Jersey Shore excursions are a must in the summer, but prices of beach badges and passes can really add up. Luckily, New Jersey is home to some free beaches—that's right, no admission fees required (though some do have parking fees). While some of these free beaches are found in popular vacation hotspots, other quieter and unguarded ones are located by lakes and bays. Read on for 10 of our favorites.

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