When it comes to exploring the United States, many people often overlook New Jersey in favor of its neighboring states like New York or Pennsylvania. However, the Garden State is teeming with hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers. From charming coastal towns to picturesque hiking trails, New Jersey offers a diverse range of attractions that cater to all interests. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through New Jersey’s hidden gems, revealing the best-kept secrets of this underrated state.
- Cape May: Let’s start our exploration with the beautiful coastal town of Cape May. Known for its pristine beaches, Victorian architecture, and vibrant arts scene, Cape May is a haven for relaxation and cultural enrichment. Take a stroll along the historic streets lined with impeccably preserved Victorian homes, indulge in delicious seafood at waterfront restaurants, or soak up the sun on Cape May’s picturesque beaches. Don’t miss out on visiting the Cape May Lighthouse, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: Nestled along the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a nature lover’s paradise. Spanning over 70,000 acres, this protected area boasts stunning waterfalls, meandering rivers, and lush forests. Explore the numerous hiking trails, go fishing or kayaking in the Delaware River, or simply unwind amidst the serene beauty of nature. The park also offers campsites and picnic areas, making it a perfect spot for a weekend getaway.
- Grounds For Sculpture: For art enthusiasts, a visit to Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton is an absolute must. This 42-acre sculpture park showcases over 270 contemporary sculptures crafted by renowned artists. As you wander through the meticulously landscaped gardens, you’ll encounter whimsical and thought-provoking artworks at every turn. The park also features indoor galleries, cafes, and a restaurant, providing a complete cultural and culinary experience.
- Princeton: Home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Princeton is a charming town that seamlessly blends history, academia, and natural beauty. Explore the Princeton University campus, marvel at the architectural wonders of Nassau Hall and the University Chapel, and visit the Princeton University Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of artwork spanning various periods and cultures. Afterward, take a stroll through Palmer Square, lined with boutique shops and eateries, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this college town.
- The Pine Barrens: Escape the bustling cities and discover the tranquility of the Pine Barrens. This vast wilderness spans over one million acres and is characterized by dense pine forests, sparkling rivers, and unique flora and fauna. Embark on a canoeing or kayaking adventure along the Mullica or Batsto Rivers, explore the hiking trails, or learn about the region’s history and folklore at the Batsto Village. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the elusive and legendary Jersey Devil!
New Jersey may be small in size, but it certainly doesn’t lack hidden gems waiting to be explored. From the Victorian charm of Cape May to the natural wonders of the Pine Barrens, this diverse state offers something for every traveler. So, the next time you’re planning a trip, consider venturing off the beaten path and discovering the enchanting hidden gems of the Garden State. You might be surprised by what you find.