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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. 

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.

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.

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

Best Family Campgrounds in New Jersey

There are lots of ways for New Jersey families to experience the great outdoors. From scenic parks, playgrounds, and trails to inviting beaches and lakes, the state offers plenty of places to get some fresh air. But if you really want to get the kids unplugged and at one with nature, it might be time to plan a camping trip. To be sure, camping with little ones isn't always easy; but luckily, there are campgrounds throughout the state that make the experience comfortable and fun for even the youngest campers.

Read on for a dozen campgrounds that offer everything from tent camping to fully appointed cabins, along with a host of family-style entertainment and amenities.

Storybook Land in New Jersey: A Magical Park for Preschoolers and Tots

If you’re looking for an enjoyable amusement park experience minus crazy thrill rides and super-sized crowds, take a day trip to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor. This charming spot, in operation since 1955, was created with younger children in mind—the rides and attractions are all geared toward the under-10 crowd, making it great for toddlers and big siblings alike.

Visiting is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: as you walk through the wooded grounds, you encounter characters from nursery rhymes and classic children's stories, like Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Wonderland. Even if you didn't go there as a kid, as many New Jerseyans did, you're sure to fall under its nostalgia-laced spell. 

My husband and I recently visited for the first time with our two boys, ages 5 and 2, and we all loved it and will definitely go back. Storybook Land is No. 1 on our list of 30 Things to Do with NJ Preschoolers, with good reason. Read on for more about this sweet NJ gem. And find even more fun for little ones in our roundup of Great NJ Amusement Parks for Toddlers and Preschoolers.  

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