7 Reasons You Should Visit New Jersey
New Jersey is not a state that comes up very often when people are compiling North American travel bucket lists. One clear reason for this is that it neighbors New York, where there are plenty of reasons to visit that generally overshadow New Jersey. Another reason is that Atlantic City – perhaps the state’s premiere destination several years ago – now has a reputation as being somewhat rundown. If you ignore these kinds of comparisons and stigmas however, there’s actually quite a lot to love about the Garden State. And it may just make for a more interesting vacation than you imagine.
These are just a few of the reasons you should include it on your list of North American destinations to pass through and enjoy.
1. The Jersey Shore
The Jersey Shore may have a little bit of a strange reputation because of the absurd reality television show of the same name. But this is actually a pretty fun beach area that technically stretches just about the length of the state. Encompassing places like the Ocean City Boardwalk and the famously lovely Cape May, New Jersey’s coastal region can be wonderful to visit in warm weather – as good as any other northeastern beach getaway, really.
2. Paterson Great Falls
Also called the Passaic Falls, this destination – primarily a sightseeing spot – has been called a most unlikely place to find an impressive waterfall. That’s because it’s more or less in the middle of an urban area, yet constitutes an awfully beautiful bit of New Jersey nature. Cascading down into a narrow gorge of sorts, the falls have a history of having been crucial in the industrial revolution’s hydro power movement, but are now just a peaceful stop on a tour of the state.
3. The Atlantic City Scene
Atlantic City has suffered a little bit over the years. A few lousy hotel and casino deals hurt the city’s economy, essentially, and the image of the city as a one-time “East Coast Vegas” has taken a hit. However, it seems to be bouncing back. New Jersey, New York, and Delaware are among the states where online gambling is legal, which has allowed a casino industry to thrive online and actually bring in some money. And a few new resorts are either being built or in the works. Catching it one its way back up, Atlantic City is a fun city to visit for all kinds of Vegas-like entertainment.
4. Appalachian Trail
Most people familiar with the general layout and terrain of the United States, as well as some of the country’s primary outdoor attractions, think of the Appalachian Trail as being farther to the south. And that’s true, for the bulk of it. However, the trail actually stretches all the way from Georgia to Maine, and a fairly substantial stretch of it moves through New Jersey. For those who like a little bit of the outdoors in their vacations, it’s an excellent opportunity to hike and/or camp on one of the most famous trails in the United States.
5. Six Flags Great Adventure
Theme parks aren’t for everybody, but if you happen to enjoy them, you’ll find an excellent one in New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure. Counted as one of the 25 best parks in the U.S. (which is really saying something when you consider that about a third of the list is in Orlando), it’s packed with rides and has several distinct areas with different themes. Six Flags in New Jersey can keep you entertained for a full day of your trip at least, and more if you like. We’d point you toward El Toro and Nitro as perhaps the two best rides in the park.
6. Historical Attractions
If you like to learn a little bit while you travel, you’ll find no shortage of opportunity in New Jersey. The state is almost surprisingly packed with historical areas, landmarks, and monuments. There’s a historical park dedicated to Thomas Edison, a decommissioned battleship, a national historic park dedicated to George Washington’s movements during the American Revolution, and a memorial to 9/11, to name just a few interesting places to see. Really, you can design quite the history buff’s tour of New Jersey, if you feel so inclined.
7. Hoboken Waterfront
While this is typically more of a stepping stone to New York, the Hoboken Waterfront is a gorgeous area these days. It’s a developed area on the west bank of the Hudson River, just across from lower Manhattan, meaning it gives you some incredible views of New York City. This, plus the fact that Hoboken has grown up quite a bit as a city over the last decade or so, makes this an excellent place to visit.