Jersey Shore

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.

Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families: Sandy Hook to Cape May

Make your New Jersey kid a beach baby and go "down the shore." New Jersey boasts 130 miles of shoreline and some of the prettiest beaches anywhere. Whether your family is looking for a busy boardwalk with children's rides, a beachside water park or sprinkler playground, towering lighthouses, toddler attractions, or something a bit quieter, the Jersey Shore has it. 

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite Jersey beaches, from a national park on the northern shore down to the busier southern beaches of Cape May and Atlantic City. So pack the car (and the kids) for a beach day trip or a long weekend—the summer possibilities are endless. And for more beach fun, check out our Jersey Shore Family Guide, including a roundup of our favorite boardwalks.

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—including the super-fun Wheeler Spray Park in Linden. (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. 

Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in New Jersey

Looking for a place to take your little ones for gentle thrills and kid-friendly amusements? We've rounded up 14 NJ amusement parks that are perfect for the younger set. Some, like Storybook Land and Land of Make Believe, are geared exclusively toward small children, while others, like Morey's Piers and Jenkinson's Boardwalk, offer a solid selection of kiddie rides in addition to bigger thrills. 

We've limited our list of amusement parks to those located in New Jersey—to search for more tot-friendly spots in surrounding areas, check out the Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC.

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.

Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in New Jersey

Nothing screams springtime in the Garden State like getting your hands dirty picking strawberries, and heading to a pick-your-own farm is an outdoor adventure with a sweet reward.

Whether this is your child’s first time at the strawberry patch or you’re looking to fill pies, jam jars, smoothies, and shortcakes for months to come, you'll want to check out our list of more than 20 New Jersey farms and festivals around the state, where your sweeties can their hands on bushels full of juicy red berries.

Check out our May GoList and Spring Fun Guide to find more events and activities to enjoy with your NJ kids this strawberry season. Happy picking!

40 Things to Do with New Jersey Preschoolers Before They Turn 5

We have just five precious years or so to spend with our little ones before they head off to kindergarten. At this age, kids are growing and developing faster than they will at any other time in their lives, so many of us want to fill their days with as many opportunities to learn, laugh, and love life as possible! That means play spacesmommy-and-me classes, storytimesplaygrounds, and other treasures that the Garden State holds for toddlers.

Take advantage of these great opportunities throughout New Jersey while your preschoolers are young enough to appreciate them—and sometimes even young enough to score FREE admission.

For more can't-miss Garden State destinations, check out 100 Things to Do in New Jersey with Kids Before They Grow Up.

Family-Friendly Mother’s Day Brunch Spots at the Jersey Shore

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and moms everywhere will be celebrating with a fabulous brunch. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back vibe or you prefer something fancy-shmancy, the Jersey Shore has plenty of delicious options to choose from. The extended forecast for May 12 hasn't been posted yet, but if you're down the shore, you'll hopefully be in a sunny frame of mind! 

Check out one of these local favorites for a wonderful meal the whole family will love, no cooking or clean-up required. Relax, enjoy yourself, and have a very happy Mother’s Day! 

See Baby Animals and More at Family-Friendly NJ Farms

Celebrate spring by visiting baby animals and barnyard pets on a local New Jersey farm. In addition to seeing chicks, calves, lambs, bunnies, and piglets, kids can crack corn, collect eggs, and even learn how cheese and bread are made at these family-friendly farmsteads.

Some offer full petting zoos, as well as wagon rides and pick-your-own fruits and vegetables. Read on for more than a dozen of our favorites.

Affordable Summer Camps for New Jersey Kids

Summer camps in New Jersey vary wildly in price, so it’s important to choose a camp that’s right for your child AND your pocketbook. Many camps let you register by the week or even the day, so you don't have to commit to an entire summer. Other options, like three-day weeks and half-day camp, also allow you to keep costs down. The cost of certain camps can be applied against the child care tax credit for children of single parents/two working parents, and some camps offer financial assistance—especially ones that get money from donors. 

Here we've rounded up 15 affordable day camp options for NJ kids. To find more New Jersey summer camps, check out our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings

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