Jersey Shore

10 Great Beachfront Playgrounds in New Jersey

Put your kids in the swings and your feet in the sand at beachfront playgrounds along the Jersey Shore. The beaches of New Jersey are home to playgrounds that are like giant sandboxes, with colorful play structures and ocean views. Swing by some of these beachy-keen playgrounds on your next day trip or vacation to the shore.

Please note that some of these playgrounds may require fees for beach entrance during the summer months

Best July 4th Fireworks for NJ Families from Jersey City to the Shore

From small town celebrations to waterfront extravaganzas, we've got the scoop on NJ's best options for family-friendly fireworks shows on July 4th. You can cheer on the red, white, and blue in Atlantic City, which hosts one of the country's biggest celebrations; spread out a beach blanket and enjoy a display down the shore; take in the fireworks extravaganza at the New Jersey State Fair; or choose from more than a dozen other great shows happening throughout the state. 

In addition to fireworks, these July 4th celebrations include lots of other fun activities, such as parades, a Revolutionary War encampment, live music, and even a canoe race. Read on for more than a dozen picks. 

For even more holiday-weekend fun, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide.

Ocean City: Family-Friendly Summer Fun on the Jersey Shore

Summertime at the Jersey Shore means beach days and boardwalk rides, mini-golf and arcade games, topped off with fresh seafood dinners or pizza and ice cream. Shore towns from Sandy Hook to Cape May offer the best bets for family vacation fun, and Ocean City, a classic family beach destination at the southern shore, is one of our favorites.

Nicknamed America's Family Resort, Ocean City draws families from across New Jersey and Pennsylvania to enjoy its wide beaches, kid-centered boardwalk, and family events. Read on for details about visiting Ocean City with kids. And for more beach vacation ideas, check out our inside look at southern shore gems Wildwood and Cape May

Fun Family-Friendly Bike Rides in New Jersey

Riding a bike is more than a childhood milestone. It develops a sense of balance, strengthens muscles, fosters an appreciation of the outdoors, and makes for wonderful family bonding time. Luckily for NJ families, there are tons of family-friendly bike trails throughout the state, from the Kittatinny Mountains to the Jersey Shore

Read on for 15 of our favorite spots for a family-friendly ride. If you prefer to travel on foot, check out a dozen easy hikes in NJ for families with small children.

Father's Day in New Jersey: 25+ Fun Ways To Celebrate Dad with Kids

Father's Day can be more than golfing and barbecues this year, with such a great variety of family-friendly activities happening across the state. Whether Dad prefers baseball or fishing, airplanes or amusement parks, our list of Father's Day happenings has something for everyone. Read on for our top picks for celebrating Dad this June. 

For more ways to have fun with fathers throughout the month, check out our playground guide, roundup of family festivals, and Event Calendar. And if Dad really has his heart set on golfing, there's always (mini) golf! 

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.

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.

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.

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