Unashamedly loud, proud, and feisty, arguably one of America’s most fun states sure packs a punch. For such a small place New Jersey has quite the list of impressive cultural connections including being the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, FM radio, drive-in movies, and has also provided a backdrop for two major HBO series and two major reality TV programs. That’s not forgetting its equally impressive scenery.
The beautiful long, wide sandy beaches are the first things people usually think of when they think of New Jersey but explore away from the sunbathing and rollercoaster-riding crowds and you’ll also find some unique and tranquil beauty spots. Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey…
1. Jersey City Skyline – a fabulous view in the cool US state
America’s most diverse city just across the Hudson River, Jersey City is renowned for its gorgeous vistas and exciting cultural scene. A bite out of the Big Apple, Jersey City exudes urban vibes amid the vast green space.
America’s monumental symbol, the Statue of Liberty stands tall in the waters of Upper Bay. Pride of New Jersey, the Liberty State Park offers a perfect spot to watch the towering skyscrapers and colossal buildings transform in all their glittery splendor.
Walk across the iconic Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, a premier riverside hub with iconic vistas of the Manhattan skyline.
2. Ocean City – America’s favorite family-friendly resort town which is home to a very beautiful beach
Nestled in Cape May County, Ocean City is a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Found in 1879, Ocean City’s sparkling ocean and meticulously maintained bay beaches will make you return over and over.
Fill your days with shimmering water and brilliant sunshine in America’s greatest family resort.
With nearly eight miles of pristine waters and white sandy beaches, there is plenty of room for exploring or simply watching the beautiful waves.
Enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk with a magical Music Pier and amusing rides, whatever you do, the fun never ends at Ocean City. Easily one of the best places to visit in New Jersey!
3. Ramapo Valley County Reservation – one of the most stunning places to visit in New Jersey
Surrounding the Ringwood State Park to the north and the Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the south, the Ramapo Valley County Reservation is located in Mahwah.
Covering an area of over 4,000 acres, this Bergen County park is a blend of diversified landscapes.
Visitors can experience the wonderful waterfall, forest, river streams, reservoir, lake, and meadows at this unique county park. Gaze at wonderful views at the Ramapo River, walk around the Scarlet Oak Pond or hike along with a variety of scenic trails, the Ramapo Reservation offers the best way to commune with nature.
4. Atlantic City Pier and Boardwalk – one of the best tourist attractions to visit in New Jersey
The world-famous Atlantic City boardwalk sits at the heart of the city. The six-mile stretch of the Atlantic boardwalk was developed in the 1870s by Alexander Boardman which remains a hot spot for visitors from all over the country to date.
Brace yourself for a thrilling adventure in the majestic Steel Pier featuring a colorful Ferris wheel and amusement park that light up the boardwalk.
Shop your heart out at the Playground Pier’s luxury stores or relive the history in the Garden Pier’s arts and cultural center, the Atlantic boardwalk is the best waterfront fun destination in New Jersey.
5. Seven Mile Beach, Stone Harbor – a picturesque place to visit in New Jersey
Lauded as one of the best beaches on the Eastern seaboard, the Seven Mile Island offers a quaint beach with a beautiful stretch of white sand.
Located on the Jersey Shore in Cape May County, the boroughs of Avalon and Stone Harbor make up this charming little island. A coastal paradise, the clear waters, protected dunes, and wildlife preserves make up this stunning Jersey shore.
Bask in the sunshine, snorkel the beautiful marine life, or sail across the tiny islands, the magical town of Avalon captures a small-town charm. From fine restaurants to museum-quality art, the island is a paradise for vacationers.
6. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – a gorgeous beauty spot and one of the best things to do in New Jersey
New Jersey’s most admired scenic park, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area runs through Sussex & Warren counties in New Jersey. Named after the famous “Water gap” formed in the middle of Delaware River’s passage cutting through the Kittatinny Mountain.
The scenic passage between low forested mountain and rocky mountain ridges has a distinct vacation appeal. Covering a gigantic area of 70,000 acres, the park encompasses Native American sites and structures from early Dutch settlement.
Hike to the Dingman Falls, visit the historic Millbrook Village, or indulge in water sports along the Delaware River valley, the pristine landscape of this recreation area will take you back in time. Expect gorgeous views and equally gorgeous scenery.
7. Island Beach State Park – a captivating barrier island to visit on New Jersey shore filled with beautiful views
State’s largest preserved barrier island, the Island Beach State Park is nestled between the restless Atlantic Ocean and the historic Barnegat Bay.
Stretching over 3,000 acres with 10 miles of coastal dunes, the barrier island ecosystem hosts one of the largest underdeveloped beaches of New Jersey.
A unique national resource with the largest expanse of beach, rolling dunes, lush maritime forests, and tidal marshes, the Island beach is home to diverse fauna and flora. Enjoy picnicking, ocean swimming, hiking, scuba diving, and surfing like no other’s own treasured gem.
8. Cape May – America’s charming and pretty historic seaside resort and a popular tourist attraction
Undeniably one of the best beaches on the Middle Atlantic Coast, beautiful Cape May is located at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula in Cape May County.
A wholly designated national landmark, the Cape May Historic District preserves all the Victorian-era houses with a rich cultural history.
New Jersey’s jewel in the crown, Cape May offers immaculate beaches apart from rich architectural diversity. Take a scenic walk on the promenade, dip your toes in the tranquil beaches, or indulge in water sports, a trip to this seaside town holds endless promise.
9. Wildwood Beach – a sports beach and one of the best places to visit in New Jersey
A prime resort town on the southern shores of New Jersey, the Wildwoods comprises adjacent islands of North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Diamond Beach, and Lower Township.
Stretching over five miles with a beautiful wide sandy shoreline, one-of-a-kind boardwalk, and impeccable beaches, the Wildwoods offers an ideal vacation on the east coast.
Brimming with water sports, history and amusement parks, and antique stores, the Wildwoods has the liveliest stretch of fun and excitement for the family.
10. Barnegat lighthouse State Park – a beautiful protected area to visit with a striking landmark
On the northern tip of Long Beach Island in Ocean County is the memorable Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. The beautiful 32-acre Barnegat Lighthouse Park opened in 1957 with the main attraction of the lighthouse.
Lovingly called the “Beaming Barney”, the Barnegat Lighthouse served as a strategic navigational point for ships bound from New York Harbor.
Get on the top to capture a mesmerizing view of Long Beach Island, Barnegat Bay, and Island Beach from the lofty perch of the lighthouse.
Visit the Barnegat Light Museum or hike the Maritime Forest Trail, the state park offers a great spot to relax and observe nature. Easily one of the best things to do in New Jersey.
11. Asbury Park – an incredible coastal city on the New Jersey shore
A monumental shore town approx. 60 miles from New York City, stunning Asbury Park is also referred to as the “Queen of New Jersey shore”. Located in Monmouth County on New Jersey’s central coast, Asbury city offers endless sands, historic buildings, eclectic restaurants, vibrant nightlife and much more.
Entertaining the crowds for 90 years, the Convention Hall and Paramount Theater is a cultural hub on the Jersey shore.
Music history buffs can visit the legendary Stone Pony while art buffs can explore the vibrant murals along the promenade of Asbury Park. Surf along the cool waves or walk along the beachfront boardwalk, Asbury Park is the best seashore destination for every season.
12. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge – one of the best places outside in New Jersey to go nature and bird watching
The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge located in southern NJ along the Atlantic coast, just north of Atlantic City.
It protects over 47,000 acres of southern NJ coastal habitats and wetlands. Running for 50 miles along the coast between Brick Township and its southern extent, the Refuge has over 300 distinct species of birds and 10 gates through which visitors can access it.
The best place to view these beautiful, exotic, and often rare birds is at the Wildlife Dr. in the Brigantine Division. The 8-mile one-way road runs through awe-inspiring wetlands and woodlands.
The four hiking trails give you appreciable views of the far stretches of the Refuge while there’s also plenty of guided activities in additional to birding and hiking, such as fishing, biking, canoeing, and kayaking.
13. Princeton – go sightseeing in this charming and attractive famous university city
Princeton happens to be one of the best-known small towns in NJ, largely due to its renowned reputation for having the Ivy League Princeton University, as well as the associated research institutes – including the Institute for Advanced Study, an academic setting remembered fondly for it was where Albert Einstein performed his final work.
The school’s 1600-acre grounds are a joy to explore and, in fact, many families and couples alike enjoy taking the student-run tour program.
Another historic site you should visit is Princeton Battlefield State Park – a 200-acre site where the Battle of Princeton took place in 1977 – a hallmark in American history as this is where George Washington triumphed over the British army in the Revolutionary War.
There’s also the Clarke House Museum to explore but if you’re not much of a history or war buff, you can always take a stroll around Palmer Square while browsing through the unique boutique stores or explore the beautiful rolling countryside at your own pace.
14. Gunnison Beach – a beautiful New Jersey beach with sand, sea, and views of NYC
Quite a character, the beautiful Gunnison Beach takes its name from the adjacent Battery Gunnison. A soothing place to swim and surf, Gunnison Beach offers exemplary views of New York City and Long Island.
Nestled within the Sandy Hook Area, Gunnison Beach is the only clothing-optional beach along in New Jersey.
Aside from its excellent outdoor appeal, Gunnison Beach is home to the oldest working lighthouse and Fort Hancock which served as a strategic location for harbor defense during World War II.
15. George Washington Bridge – America’s noblest marvel on the Hudson River and one of the most interesting places to visit in New Jersey
One of the best tourist attractions in New Jersey and the busiest bridges in the world, the George Washington Bridge is an iconic structure of the US. Standing tall above the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge connects New York with New Jersey.
Constructed in the year 1931, the Washington Bridge is a National Landmark. Designed by Othmar Ammann, the GW Bridge extends over 4,760ft between anchorages.
Carrying over 100 million drivers annually, the Bridge is always full of cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians. An engineering marvel, the GWB is a towering symbol of the USA.
16. Ventnor Beach – a quiet and attractive seaside retreat on the Jersey shoreline
A quaint coastal town located few miles from Atlantic City, Ventnor City offers a serene seaside retreat on the East Coast. Founded in 1903, Ventnor City retains the unique charm of a beautiful seaside destination.
With spotless beaches, rocky coastline, and lovely sandy dunes, Ventnor Beach is spacious enough to have a slice of paradise.
A picture-perfect Oceanside resort, Ventnor Beach’s fishing pier provides panoramic views of the vast Atlantic Ocean with its shimmering waters. Featuring the only non-commercial boardwalk of NJ, Ventnor City is a perfect fusion of beachside cottages
17. South Mountain Reservation – one of New Jersey’s natural scenic locations and one of the best places to go outside
Located in West Orange, NJ, the South Mountain Reservation ranges over 2,112 acres of natural land this heart-warming reserve is included in the Essex County Park System and is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey.
With nearly 30 hiking, biking, and running trails, you’re bound to enjoy the scenic views and nature that can overwhelm the senses at times.
There’s a huge reservoir here too where you can go boating on the waterfront or enjoy a swan boat ride. The fantastic Pirate Ship playground is something that not only the young ones but also grownups will enjoy just as much!
18. Hoboken – checking out all the cool spots in Hoboken is a fun thing to do in New Jersey
Hoboken, the NJ city on the Hudson River, was a former industrial port. Today, it features some of the best parks, like Pier A Park, complete with stunning Manhattan skyline views.
Bistros, bars, and global eateries flood Washington Street and riverside Frank Sinatra Drive, named after the heartthrob singer who was born here.
However, Hoboken is also quite famous as the ‘birthplace of baseball’. Not only that, but it’s also famous as “the place” where the very first Oreo cookie was ever sold!
When you’re done exploring the football field-sized Pier A Park, you can walk, bike ride or take the entire family (plus your dog) to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.
The long paths give you a chance to check out some of Hoboken’s best parks and piers – the piéce de résistance offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the skyline which you can enjoy all the way from the north to the south of the city.
19. Paterson Great Falls – a scenic beauty spot to visit in New Jersey
Centered in a historic district of economic importance, the roaring and stunning Paterson Great Falls is where American innovation took flight. America’s first industrial center, Paterson City was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1792.
Right in the middle of urban development, the charismatic Great Falls of the Passaic River plunges at a height of 77ft.
Explore the surrounding historic mills, ancient geology, and engineering landmarks that marked the Industrial Revolution in America.
Perhaps the most unusually situated waterfall, the Paterson Falls is a classic example of resilient nature despite economic advancements. One of the best places outside for taking fantastic photos.
20. Newark – one of the must-see New Jersey destinations which is known for hosting great cultural events
Newark is home to Newark Liberty International Airport and also hosts big-name concerts, shows, and dance performances at the revered NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center).
Newark Museum boasts an art collection which features many famous American paintings and sculptures, including The Voice of the City of New York Interpreted, Party Time: Re-imagine America, Slave Rape Story Quilt, and many more.
While the Branch Brook Park offers alluring pathways and lakes to explore, all surrounded by abundant cherry trees, the towering Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, built originally in 1898, truly is a sight to behold and makes for a great family picnic spot.
Frequently asked questions
1. What is the most beautiful part of New Jersey?
2. What is the number 1 attraction in New Jersey?
3. What is the best area to live in New Jersey?
4. What are the top 10 amazing places to visit in New Jersey?
- Jersey City Skyline
- Ocean City
- Atlantic City Pier and Boardwalk
- Cape May
- Ramapo Valley County Reservation
- Seven Mile Beach, Stone Harbor
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
- Island Beach State Park
- Wildwood Beach
- Asbury Park
5. Where can I go with my family today in New Jersey?
We also have posts on…
- The most beautiful places to visit in New York State
- The most beautiful places to visit in Delaware
- The most beautiful places to visit in Maryland
- The most beautiful places to visit in Pennsylvania
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Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
I’ve been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, express.co.uk, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and metro.co.uk. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.