7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey

7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey

New Jersey is a majestic state filled with over 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, beautiful beaches, historic towns, and breathtaking natural beauty.  

There’s a little something for everyone in the Garden State, whether you’ve lived there since birth or are visiting for a short time.  

Searching for places to visit in or near New Jersey? We’ve done the legwork for you and rounded up seven-weekend road trips from New Jersey that anyone can enjoy for people of all ages, covering some of the most sought-after family vacation spots on the east coast.  

So buckle up, grab some snacks, and head out on your next New Jersey road trip adventure!  

Note: We’ve chosen Jersey City as a reference point for drive times, so don’t forget to plug in your own starting point for accuracy.  

7 Day Trips From New Jersey 

Asbury Park, NJ  

Distance from Jersey City: 53.4 miles ~ via Garden State Parkway (1 hour)  

USA 7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey - Asbury Park, NJ 

Asbury Park is one of Jersey’s most beloved beach towns, offering some of the best shorelines in the state. Plenty of events and activities year-round make it a popular destination for families. You can easily spend the day or choose to make it a weekend stay just an hour away.  

In addition to its surf and sand, Asbury Park also features a Boardwalk full of mouthwatering food, unique shopping experiences, and the historic Paramount Theater and Convention Hall. Downtown Asbury Park also hosts events ranging from parades and fireworks to the annual world-famous NJ Zombie Walk. 

If you’re spending the night, consider checking into The Asbury Hotel, a restored Victorian-age hotel with tons of one-of-a-kind charm. There are many other great choices as well, including the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel and Mikell’s Big House. To round out your trip, grab a bite at Jimmy’s Italian Restaurant before taking in a classic broadway show by The Premier Theater Company.  

Asbury Park Beach Fees: $6 per person Monday through Friday, $9 per person on Weekends and Holidays (Kids 12 and under are FREE)  

Delaware Water Gap, PA   

Distance from Jersey City: 71.3 miles ~ via I-80 W (1 hour/18 minutes) 

USA 7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey - Delaware Water Gap, PA

If you’re interested in spending the day out in nature, the Delaware Water Gap in the Pocono Mountains is one of the best places to visit near New Jersey. A paradise for nature lovers and tourists alike, The Gap offers picturesque camping spots, miles of hiking trails, and more.  

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area offers sweeping views of the mountain ridges and endless birding and wildlife-watching opportunities for hikers. You can also bike along McDade Recreational Trail, which is particularly beautiful each autumn. During the colder months, be sure to explore the many winter activities available at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area.  

Did you know that you can see two separate waterfalls during your visit? The Delaware Water Gap Natural Recreation Area is home to both the tallest and second-tallest waterfalls in Pennsylvania! Capture the breathtaking views of Raymondskill and Dingmans Falls, sights you’ll remember for years to come.  

Pro Tip: Take the boardwalk trail that leads to the base of Dingmans Falls for a perfect photo opportunity.  

Long Beach Island, NJ 

Distance from Jersey City: 96.5 miles ~ via Garden State Parkway (1 hour/36 minutes) 

USA 7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey - Long Beach Island, NJ

The beautiful thing about Long Beach Island – aside from its pristine white beaches – is the easy travel distance. You can easily access the island by boat or car from Atlantic City, New York, or Philadelphia. The island itself is a treasure trove of diverse cultural events, historic landmarks, fabulous food, and more.  

Families with children will enjoy visiting “Old Barney” at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, located on the island’s northernmost point. Sunset Park also offers many family-friendly activities throughout the year, and everyone will love some fun in the sun at Fantasy Island Amusement Park.  

The island’s southern end has attractions for every interest, including Thundering Surf Water Park & Adventure Golf in Beach Haven. Ship Bottom acts as the Gateway to the island and offers a famous beach, many restaurants, and seasonal recreational activities.  

The Wildwoods, NJ  

Distance from Jersey City: 152 miles ~ via Garden State Parkway (2 hours/26 minutes) 

If you’re looking for ideas for summer New Jersey road trips, The Wildwoods is a must. The Wildwoods offers family-friendly beaches, an action-packed Boardwalk, diverse entertainment, and countless historical and cultural opportunities.  

The Wildwoods’ five miles of beaches feature powder-fine sand and endless summertime fun with plenty of activities for people of all ages. Dogs are also allowed, and there are even dog beaches for your best friend to splash around in! There are also three amazing beachfront waterparks where the whole family can cool down.  

USA 7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey - The Wildwoods, NJ

The Wildwood’s 38 blocks of Boardwalk is also a sight to behold, with countless shopping opportunities, eateries, entertainment, amusement rides, and attractions. So whether you’re visiting during daytime or evening hours, the Boardwalk is always “on.”  

Pro Tip: Did you know that The Wildwoods has been named The Event Capital of the East Coast? Many events are free to the public, so be sure to check the calendar and plan accordingly!  

Greenwich, CT 

Distance from Jersey City ~ via I-95 N  (1 hour/1 minute) 

USA 7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey - Greenwich Point Park, CT

Greenwich has long been named one of the best weekend getaways from New Jersey, and for a good reason. Just an hour away from Jersey City and a short train ride from NYC, it’s an ideal escape from life’s everyday hustle and bustle.  

You can find the charming coastal town of Greenwich on Long Island Sound. It’s filled with many exciting things to see and do, like shopping at the many stories or visiting the art galleries in Downtown Greenwich. Science and art enthusiasts will love touring The Bruce Museum, and history lovers will love seeing the Greenwich Mansion and Putnam Cottage.  

There are also many opportunities to explore the outdoors in Greenwich. Walk the peaceful trails in Greenwich Point Park, where you can also admire the gorgeous NYC skyline. Take in a game of polo at the Greenwich Polo Club during the summer, or spend a day at the fascinating Montgomery Pinetum and Pomerance Park, the birthplace of the Boy Scouts!  

Pro Tip: If you love art, schedule your weekend road trip from NJ to Greenwich in May. This is when the annual Art-to-the-Avenue Festival takes place, and it’s quite a sight to behold!  

Baltimore, MD  

Distance from Jersey City: 184 miles ~ via NJ Tpke S and I-95 S (3 hours/3 minutes) 

USA 7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey - National Aquarium, MD

Baltimore is also another excellent option to add to your list of New Jersey road trips. It’s full of family-friendly destinations and activities, and you can easily spend a few days or a long weekend exploring all these fascinating city offers.  

Families with younger children will love visiting the Maryland Science Center in Downtown Baltimore. The center’s three floors feature many kid-friendly displays and exhibits, and it also has a planetarium, observatory, and IMAX theater! The Port Discovery Children’s Museum is also a fun-filled adventure and is ranked as one of America’s top five children’s museums.  

One can only find many one-of-a-kind destinations in Baltimore, such as the National Aquarium, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, and more. If you can stay the night, check out the 1840s Carrollton In, which is conveniently located near Little Italy and Inner Harbor.  

Philadelphia, PA 

Distance from Jersey City ~ via I-95 S  (1 hour/29 minutes) 

USA 7 Drivable Vacations from New Jersey - Liberty Bell Center, PA

Philadelphia is one of the most richly historic cities in the United States, with countless fascinating attractions for all ages and interests. One of the best things about visiting Philadelphia is that there is no “wrong time” to do it. So whether you’re planning a weekend road trip from NJ in September or January, there are many things to see and do. 

Must-see Philadelphia sights include visiting the famous Liberty Bell at the Liberty Bell Center, touring the historical Independence Hall where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, and running up the 72 “Rocky Steps” at the eastern entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pro Tip: Don’t forget to take a selfie with Rocky’s statue at the base of the steps!  

History buffs of all ages need to schedule a half day to explore the museums along Philadelphia’s Museum Mile before digging into an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak at one of the city’s finest eateries. Try Pat’s King of Steaks, Jim’s on South Street, or visit a local favorite like Dalessandro’s. You can easily spend weeks exploring Philadelphia, and it’s worth visiting more than once.  

Final Tips on Visiting Places In and Near New Jersey  

  • Let the attendant fuel up if you’re traveling in New Jersey and need to gas up. It’s actually illegal to pump your own gas in The Garden State.  
  • As of December 11, 2022, New Jersey is moving to cashless tolls. The New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway are two of the busiest toll roads in the United States, so expect to pay if you’re traveling those routes.  
  • Although many of the attractions listed in our chosen locations are free to the public, we suggest budgeting for museum and park entry fees and any other specific events you’d like to attend while visiting your destination.  
  • The beaches at popular tourist destinations in New Jersey and surrounding states can often get crowded during the summer. Plan on arriving early if you’re headed to a beach with a boardwalk.  
  • Pack the proper footwear for the weather. Bring a warm and sturdy pair of snow boots if you’re traveling during winter. Comfortable sneakers are also a must during summer, especially if you plan on hiking or walking most of the day.  
  • Never forget a road trip essential again with our downloadable family road trip checklist. 

© Family Road Trip 2024

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