New Jersey

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.

Statue of Liberty Museum Opens With a New View on Lady Liberty

If you haven't visited Lady Liberty lately, it may be time to add the tourist hot spot to your list of summer must-dos. The brand new Statue of Liberty Museum has now opened, bringing with it an immersive theater, plenty of Statue of Liberty history, and kid-friendly, touchable artifacts that bring a new interactive element to your visit. Read on for a look inside the museum, plus tips on how to visit.

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!

Top Kid-Friendly Resorts in and Near New Jersey

The very best family vacations are the ones where there's something fun for every family member to do, and kid-friendly resorts offer just that. If you can locate a destination that's within an easy driving distance, even better!

Fortunately, the Garden State and surrounding areas offer plenty of spots where you can rest, recharge, and enjoy a little recreation without the hassle of long-distance travel. Whether you want a beachy getaway down the Shore, or indoor/outdoor adventures in the Hudson Valley or the Poconos (including lots of water park fun), we've rounded up a dozen close-to-home holiday havens that all but guarantee a great time for the whole crew.

Weekend Fun: NJ Renaissance Faire, Mayfest, Ocean Fun Days

A busy May weekend is a "shore" thing, with oceans of fun taking place Saturday and Sunday. Head to the Jersey Shore for delicious eats at the 33rd Annual New Jersey Seafood Festival, family-friendly nature activities during Ocean Fun Days, and a lively Mayfest in Historic Smithville. 

Whether your brood is into vehicles or fairies and pirates, this something for everyone to enjoy this weekend. Climb aboard all kinds of vehicles at touch-a-truck festivities in Scotch Plains and Westville, and explore aircraft at Open Cockpit Weekends. Have fantasy-filled fun at the 10th Annual Princess and Pirate Festival and The New Jersey Renaissance Faire. And take time to take in performances, including The Illusionists, Laurie Berkner, Roxey Ballet's Cinderella, and a live version of Double Dare

Find even more weekend options in our Spring Guide, including 13 NJ Restaurants with Kid-Friendly Backyards and Outdoor Dining. And look to our May GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

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. 

12 of the Best Outdoor Water Parks in the US

If your kids love the adventure of amusement parks but are looking for a way to cool off this summer, an outdoor water park might be just the ticket for your family. We've searched out some of the nation's best to compile this list of our favorite family-friendly water parks with relaxing pools, splash pads for toddlers, and thrilling water slides and rides for teenagers.

From New England to Orlando to California, there are plenty of water parks from which to choose. At some of these water parks, visitors can ride the ups and downs of a water coaster, slip through a trap door on a drop slide and spin around an oversized funnel slide for maximum thrills. To truly chill, just pick up a tube and float down a lazy river or rent a cabana with poolside dining.

Have your heart set on a water park vacation but don't want to risk the weather? Check out our list of the 10 Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the US.

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.

10 Great Picnic Spots for Families in Northern New Jersey

Picnics are simple pleasures that kids of all ages can enjoy, so grab a blanket and your favorite goodies and head out to one of North Jersey's best spots for family gatherings. From majestic views and wooded trails to tranquil lakes and shady playgrounds, these parkland treasures are worth a visit. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, planning a family reunion, or just heading out for an afternoon of fun, New Jersey's parks will not disappoint.

For even more warm-weather activities, check out our spring fun guide, featuring our top picks for family campgrounds and more.

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.

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