Kristen Haas

Kristin Haas

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Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

When the heat becomes unbearable with the kids this summer, you might be yearning to bust open a fire hydrant. Before you do, consider one of New Jersey's splash pads and sprinkler parks, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, organized by region. 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. 

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.

Top Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in NJ

Looking for an outdoor winter activity for the whole family? There are a number of outdoor ice skating rinks in NJ where you can take a skating lesson, play hockey, or just grab a hot chocolate and skate during a public session. Of course, if you feel like staying indoors, you can always check out our list of the Best Indoor Ice Skating Rinks in NJ. And for more wintry sports, try our Ski & Snow Guide.

12 Fun Things to Do with NJ Kids on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve often takes a backseat to December 25, but I personally prefer the laid-back day before. Christmas Eve is the perfect time to remember old traditions or to start new ones with your family. After you've done your pictures with Santa, had some free holiday fun, and attended a quirky NJ Christmas event, it's time to settle in and share some special moments with your family. We've put together a list of a dozen fun things to do with your kids, from tracking Santa to baking cookies and making holiday crafts. Merry Christmas!

If you're looking for daytime Christmas and Hanukkah weekend fun, check out our full weekend events roundup, and more family events can always be found in our Event Calendar.

Best Indoor Play Spaces in Essex County for NJ Kids

It might not feel like it now, but winter is on its way – and that means that you and the kids will soon be spending lots of time inside. The good news? You don't necessarily need to stay home. Battle boredom and fight off cabin fever with a visit to one of these 11 indoor hot spots in Essex County. To find even more indoor fun throughout New Jersey, check out our comprehensive guide to indoor playgrounds, kid gyms, sports centers, and fun zones.

Fun Classes in Hudson County for Kids of Every Age

Tired of driving your kids all over town to their various age-related activities? How about choosing a venue where all your kids can be satisfied (and maybe even their parents?) Ranging from age-combined classes to back-to-back options for various age groups, here are some fun and fantastic options in Hudson County. A lot of these facilities will offer you a free trial class, so be sure to check out each facility’s website for further information.

Find more NJ kid classes in our Classes Guide and comprehensive NJ Directory.

25 Fun Things To Do with Kids in Long Branch, New Jersey

Long Branch is an often overlooked New Jersey beach town steeped in history. One of the largest towns at the Jersey Shore, Long Branch has recently experienced a rebirth and there are plenty of fun activities for children all year long. Walk the boards, grab a bite at one of the many family-friendly restaurants, take in a show, visit an art festival, spend time at the beach, and much more. Here’s our list of 25 fun things to do in Long Branch, New Jersey, for kids and families.

Monmouth County Highlights: Beaches, Forests, Play Spaces

The northernmost county of the Jersey Shore, Monmouth County is home to more than 50 miles of beautiful ocean and bay beaches, including Long Branch, Sandy Hook, and Asbury Park, plus sprawling parks and woodlands, fantastic restaurants, unique coastal culture and much more. It is the perfect place for New Jersey kids and families to have fun—year-round! Here are some of our top picks to get you started with exploring this great county. And for even more shore fun, check out our Jersey Shore Family Guide.