Jersey Shore

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.

Iconic Asbury Park Bowling Alley Reopens After Major Makeover

Asbury Lanes will reopen on Friday, May 18, with a nod to the center's past and an eye to the town's future. The bowling alley-turned-music venue, which first opened in 1962, has been rebuilt with state-of-the-art bowling technology by Brunswick, and its performance space has been retooled to accommodate more than double the venue's old capacity of 300. 

The new Asbury Lanes features six lanes and will offer bowling lessons for children and adults, while the performance space will host concerts and other performances for all ages. The reinvented space marks another step in Asbury Park's renaissance as both a hipster retreat and a great getaway destination for New Jersey families. 

Get Merry and Go Round on Unique Carousels with NJ Kids

With all the crazy thrill rides found in theme parks these days, there’s something simply magical about taking a spin on an old-fashioned carousel. Often one of the first rides a child gets to experience, carousels have a special way of making even the most timid tiny ones crack a smile, and they’re a treat for all ages. New Jersey is home to both traditional and turned-up-a-notch carousels, and you don’t have to trek far to find one. Hop on a carousel at one of the area malls for a year-round shopping distraction, go for a spin in a park or zoo, or catch views of the Atlantic from a Jersey shore carousel on the Boardwalk.

We’ve rounded up 15 of the best and most unique carousels in and around NJ, so pack up your little ponies and give them a whirl.

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 berry 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 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 kids this season. Happy picking!

Best Miniature Golf Courses for New Jersey Kids and Families

Summer is on the horizon, and that means day trips, swimming, water parks, adventures with the small people, and yes, putt-putt. New Jersey apparently has a thing for windmills and teeny-weeny pencils—there are at least 53 miniature golf courses in the Garden State!

We're highlighting nearly half of these courses, with themes ranging from pirate shipwrecks and African safaris to NJ landmarks and a medieval castle—so get out that little pencil and make your way around the state. 

NJ Cat Cafes: Purr-fect for Feline-Loving Kids and Families

If you're a cat-lover who craves a new place to sip a cappuccino while enjoying some downtime with your kids, then you're in luck: the cat cafe trend has officially arrived in New Jersey. Three kitty cafes have opened in the Garden State since July 2016—in Asbury Park, Rahway, and Palmyra—and the best part is, they're all kid-friendly. Guests big and small are encouraged to pick up a toy and get down on the floor to interact with the cafe's feline friends. For kids who go gaga for kitties, it's a cool alternative to a traditional indoor play space—and, since all of the four-legged residents are up for adoption, you just might leave with a new best friend.

Read on for more about NJ's three cat cafes and get ready to plan an a-meow-zing visit. 

New NJ Spray Park Will Provide Fun for Kids of All Abilities

Construction of a new spray park in Toms River was recently announced, and kids of all ages and abilities have something to celebrate. The park is slated to be all-inclusive, meaning accessible for children with disabilities. “We are focused on all abilities being able to interact with each other at this splash pad,” says Erica Cirillo, co-president of Fountains of Hope, the organization fueling the project.

100 Things To Do in New Jersey with Kids Before They Grow Up

Now that my oldest child is a 'tween, I understand that phrase I heard often during those difficult baby/toddler times: "The days are long, but the years are short." Thankfully, filling those short years with quality bonding time is even easier with our top 100 not-to-be-missed family activities right here in New Jersey.

From indoor play to awesome zoos, and from quiet fun to thrill-seeking adventures, there's tons of incredible stuff to make memories that will last forever. We have beautiful forests for hiking, beaches for lounging, and cool playgrounds and parks—all of which make for a great day trip with Jersey kids.

NEW: We have a free printable version with the best anytime NJ activities from this list. Print it out and stick it on your fridge to inspire you any time you need an activity idea.

Read on for our 100 best things to do right now in NJ.

Best Nature Centers in New Jersey to Visit with Kids

If you’re feeling burned out on indoor play spaces and museums, and longing for spring, try a visit to of New Jersey's awesome nature centers. No need to worry if the weather's still a little iffy—there are plenty throughout the state with programs happening year-round.

We've rounded up 10 nature centers that combine both indoor and outdoor fun for kids of all ages. Spend some time exploring nature and checking out hands-on exhibits and activities that explain our local flora and fauna. Most places on our list are open year-round, except for major holidays.

Birthday Party Spots for NJ Kids with Both Indoor and Outdoor Play

Every fall, I face the same dilemma planning my girls’ birthday party. Do I take advantage of the crisp autumn weather with an outdoor venue? Or do I play it safe with something indoors? Planning a party is stressful enough in any season, without the added anxiety over weather. If an outdoor party is what you have in mind, don’t let Mother Nature put a damper on your child’s special day. From nature centers to water parks, the following party venues offer outdoor party options with indoor alternatives.

For even more ideas for fun in our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Guide.

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