New Jersey

60 Free Things To Do in May with New Jersey Kids

Hooray for May! Bring on the outdoor fairs, festivals, and Memorial Day celebrations. And if you're budgeting for summer vacations and camp, no need to skimp on the May fun. These 60 (!) activities and events are all FREE to attend.

Street fair season is in full swing this month. Check out food vendors, crafts, and live music at neighborhood fairs around the state, including Westfield, Hoboken, Maplewood, and Collingswood, among many others. Head down the shore for admission-free, beachy extravaganzas like the Ocean City Spring Block Party, the New Jersey Seafood Festival, Ocean Fun Days, and the Wildwoods International Kite Festival.

Top off the month with free Memorial Day parades in Freehold, Glassboro, and New Providence, plus the Bradley Beach Memorial Day Festival.

Read on for this month's picks! For more free and low-cost fun, check out our Event Calendar and Guide to New Jersey Parks and Playgrounds

May GoList: Best Things To Do with NJ Kids This Month

May is bursting with springtime fun! It's the perfect month to fly a kite, celebrate moms, and check out the gazillion fairs and festivals happening across the state. You can explore New Jersey's amazing shore at Ocean Fun Days, and travel back in time to the Renaissance and the Wild West.

When the weather's not cooperating, head indoors to see a performance, including Charlotte's Web. It all culminates in Memorial Day weekend, which marks the start of summer fun with the opening of many water parks and amusement parks, including the tot-friendly Land of Make Believe

Read on to see our top picks for the merry month of May. For even more things to do, be sure to check out our Event Calendar, with new activities and events added daily, as well as our Spring Fun Guide for New Jersey Kids. Spring is finally here—soak it up, NJ!

Secrets of Atlantis: 10 Tips for a Bahamas Family Vacation with Kids

Like many kids, my boys started begging to go to Disney around the time they could walk. Once they were swimming, however, the object of their spring break fantasies became Atlantis—the Bahamas mega-resort known for its gigantic water park, marine life encounters, and luxe casino. For years, unsure whether a place nicknamed "Vegas by the Sea" was the best choice for a family vacation, my husband and I brushed aside their pleas. But after another harsh Boston winter, we broke down and booked a trip, figuring our boys were at the ideal ages—12, 10, and 7— to appreciate all the 'tweeny bopper fun that Atlantis offers (and for which it charges big).

We had a fun-packed five-day stay, and along the way, accumulated plenty of advice for other families who are considering an Atlantis trip, including whether or not it is a kid-friendly destination. Here are the main things moms and dads should know to make sure their vacation in Paradise (Island) lives up to the hype.

Find more top places to stay on vacation in our Hotels & Resorts Guide for Families.

Family-Friendly Mother's Day Brunch Spots in Northern NJ

Celebrate Mother's Day in style this year with an indulgent family brunch prepared by someone other than mom. Restaurants throughout Northern New Jersey are cooking up some fabulous luncheons full of breakfast delights, salads, carving stations, and desserts. Some of these eateries offer discounts for children, and others are FREE for young kids. Holiday brunches book up quickly though, and many require reservations.

If you're down the shore, explore these wonderful Mother's Day options.

20+ STEM Summer Camps for New Jersey Kids

When you think "summer camp," you might picture canoeing on a lake, playing capture the flag, and eating s'mores by a campfire. But camp can also be about coding, constructing robots, and building with Legos. We've rounded up more than 20 New Jersey STEM camps that promise a summer of fun for budding scientists, engineers, and computer programmers. Find more New Jersey summer camps in our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings

Weekend Fun: Dino Day, Sesame Street Live, Earth Day Festivals

On your mark, get set for one of the busiest weekends this year to date! April's final weekend is jam-packed with Earth Day celebrations, festivals, street fairs, concerts, and more. 

Party for our planet at Earth Day festivals in Jersey City, Tenafly, Mountainside, and throughout Monmouth County. Learn about healthy habits while having fun at both Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA and Fairview Lake YMCA Healthy Kids Day events.

Spring festival season is well underway this weekend with bustling festivities like Rutgers Day, Smithville's Renaissance Faire, Morris County Park Palooza, and the Cranford Street Fair. And kick back to live music at Rockin' for Autism and the Laurita Bacon Festival

Find even more weekend options in our Spring Guide, including where to see Baby Animals and More at Family-Friendly NJ Farms. And look to our April GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Worth The Drive: 10 Destination Playgrounds in NJ

There's no doubt that New Jersey is home to countless parks and playgrounds, but some go above and beyond, with design features that make them more of a destination than the basic park down the block. 

If you've been to your neighborhood playground so many times that the slides and swings have lost their thrill, now's the perfect time to switch up your kiddo's routine. Spring has sprung, and these 10 amazing playgrounds are worth the trip!

From cool play spaces featuring awesome jungle gyms you won't find anywhere else, as well as playgrounds with water features, zip lines, a carousel, and even a zoo, these stellar playscapes allow kids to slide, swing, splash, climb, and imagine the day away. Pile into the car and visit each at least once—but we bet you'll want to return again and again.

Orlando with Teens: Top 15 Things to Do at the Theme Parks and Beyond

I used to think of Orlando as a destination for little kids, but I discovered Orlando is even better with teens. Amusement parks are so much more fun when you can go on all the rides and don’t have to worry about the dreaded “theme park meltdowns.” My big kids were also able to pack in lots of other adventures and hipster shopping areas as we explored all the fun there is in Orlando beyond the theme parks.

We spent our recent spring break in Orlando with two teens and had a blast.

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! 

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