Discovering New Jersey: A Traveler’s Guide to the Garden State

Discover Lake Hopatcong

Lake Hopatcong, often considered the crown jewel of New Jersey’s lakes, stands out as the largest freshwater body in the state and a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Nestled in the scenic Highlands region, this expansive lake spans over 4,000 acres and boasts 45 miles of picturesque shoreline. Its crystal-clear waters provide an ideal setting for various recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and water sports. Lake Hopatcong State Park offers public access, ensuring that the community can fully enjoy the lake’s offerings. Surrounded by rolling hills and lush greenery, Lake Hopatcong’s beauty extends beyond its waters, making it a sought-after destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful lakeside retreat in the heart of New Jersey.


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3 Interesting Facts about New Jersey


First Boardwalk

The world’s first boardwalk was built in Atlantic City in 1870. Initially constructed to reduce the amount of sand tracked into beachfront hotels, the boardwalk became a popular attraction and set the trend for beach destinations around the world.


High Population Density

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S., with a mix of urban and suburban areas. Despite its small size, it is home to over 9 million people.


Tomato Capital

New Jersey is sometimes called the “Tomato Capital of the World” and is known for its delicious tomatoes. The state’s tomatoes are often featured in a variety of culinary dishes and celebrated at local festivals.


Must See Attractions

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Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

Nature & Parks

Located in Paterson, New Jersey, this park preserves the stunning natural wonder of the Great Falls and commemorates the city’s significant role in the early industrialization of the United States.

Cape May Lighthouse

Speciality Museums

Cape May Lighthouse, situated at the southern tip of New Jersey, stands as an iconic maritime beacon, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay from its historic vantage point.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Speciality Museums

This museum preserves the laboratory and home of the prolific inventor Thomas Edison, providing visitors with insight into his work on the development of electric light and sound recording innovations.

Where to Sleep

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New Jersey Lakes

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1. Hightstown Lake

20 Miles

A small yet charming lake, Hightstown Lake provides a peaceful environment for fishing and enjoying the park, making it an ideal spot for a day outdoors.

2. Round Valley Reservoir

36 Miles

With its crystal-clear waters, Round Valley Reservoir is a tranquil spot for boating, fishing, and hiking in the heart of Hunterdon County.

3. Spruce Run Reservoir

40 Miles

Nestled amid lush greenery, Spruce Run Reservoir is a popular destination for water enthusiasts, offering sailing, kayaking, and fishing.

4. Lake Hopatcong

62 Miles

Lake Hopatcong offers scenic beauty and a variety of water activities, including boating, fishing, and lakeside dining, making it a popular recreational destination.

5. Lake Aeroflex

70 Miles

Located in Kittatinny Valley State Park, Lake Aeroflex is a serene and pristine natural lake, attracting anglers with its fish population and tranquil surroundings.

6. Swartswood Lake

79 Miles

New Jersey’s third-largest lake, Swartswood Lake is surrounded by Swartswood State Park, providing a peaceful retreat for boating, fishing, and picnicking.

7. Greenwood Lake

96 Miles

Greenwood Lake is a picturesque freshwater reservoir known for its vibrant activity including boating, lakeside communities, and stunning sunsets.

8. Shepherd Lake

98 Miles

Set within Ringwood State Park, Shepherd Lake offers a escape with swimming, fishing, and hiking opportunities, making it a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Annual Events and Festivals

Friday, August 16 – Saturday, August 17, 2024

Atlantic City Airshow

The Atlantic City Airshow, held annually along the iconic Atlantic City beachfront, is a spectacular event that captivates audiences with breathtaking aerobatic displays and thrilling military demonstrations. Against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, attendees are treated to the sight of high-performance aircraft, from fighter jets to vintage planes, soaring through the sky with incredible speed and agility. The event often includes flyovers by military aircraft, parachute demonstrations, and aerobatic teams, creating an exhilarating experience for all who gather along the shoreline to witness the dynamic aerial performances.

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Summer 2025

QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

The event stands as a mesmerizing spectacle, transforming the skies over Readington into a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. Recognized as the largest hot air balloon festival in North America, this annual event draws enthusiasts and families from far and wide. The festival showcases a dazzling array of hot air balloons, with their vibrant hues and imaginative designs and taking flight in synchronized ascents. Attendees can embark on tethered balloon rides for a unique perspective or simply marvel at the breathtaking mass ascensions that paint the sky with a palette of colors.

October 2024

Hoboken Arts and Music Festival

The Hoboken Arts and Music Festival is a vibrant celebration that transforms the streets of Hoboken into a bustling showcase of creativity and culture. Held annually, this festival draws both locals and visitors with its diverse array of artistic expressions and musical performances. The event features multiple stages where talented musicians from various genres entertain the crowds, creating a harmonious atmosphere that permeates the entire city. The festival is not only a haven for music lovers but also a haven for art enthusiasts, with streets lined with booths displaying unique crafts, paintings, sculptures, and handmade creations.

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Top Hiking Trails

Mount Tammany via Red Dot and Blue Dot Loop Trail

Hardwick Township, New jersey 07832

The 3.6 mile hike offers a thrilling and picturesque hiking adventure in the heart of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. As hikers ascend, they navigate steep rock scrambles and dense woodlands, rewarding their efforts with panoramic views of the Delaware River and surrounding landscapes. Reaching the summit of Mount Tammany, hikers are greeted with a breathtaking vista that stretches across the expansive Kittatinny Ridge. The descent along the Blue Dot Trail provides a contrasting experience, winding through lush forests and revealing cascading waterfalls. The hike takes about 3 hours to complete.

Visit their website for more information

White Shore and Long Path Loop Trail

Alpine, new jersey 07624

Meandering through a mix of woodlands and along the shores of pristine lakes, this trail provides hikers with a diverse and immersive experience. As hikers continue along the 4 mile loop, hikers traverse through peaceful forests and enjoy occasional glimpses of wildlife. The serene beauty of the lakeside and the quietude of the forest make this loop an ideal choice for those seeking a peaceful day in nature.

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 Stairway to Heaven Trail

450 Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Vernon Township, new jersey 07462

This captivating 2.3 mile hiking route leads adventurers through the heart of the Appalachian Trail and Wawayanda State Park. Renowned for its stunning scenery and diverse landscapes, the trail begins with a gradual ascent through verdant forests, eventually revealing a panoramic view of the Pochuck Valley and the lush farmlands below. The highlight of the trail is a unique boardwalk section, often referred to as the “Stairway to Heaven,” which traverses a field of wildflowers, creating a picturesque setting.

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Best Golf Courses

Twisted Dune Golf Club

2101 Ocean Heights Ave, Egg Harbor Township, new jersey 08234

Twisted Dune Golf Club is a golfing gem that stands out for its unique and visually striking design. Crafted by architect Archie Struthers, the course artfully mimics the windswept, links-style courses of Scotland and Ireland, creating an immersive and challenging golfing experience. The course’s contoured greens, strategically placed bunkers, and natural dunes contribute to its reputation as one of the most distinctive and enjoyable courses in the region.

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Neshanic Valley Golf Course

2301 S Branch Rd, Neshanic Station, new jersey 08853

Boasting 27 championship holes divided into three distinct nines—Lake, Meadow, and Ridge—the course provides golfers with a diverse and challenging experience. Designed by renowned architect Michael Hurdzan, Neshanic Valley integrates the natural beauty of the Somerset County landscape with strategic bunkering, rolling fairways, and pristine greens. The course’s unique layout allows golfers to tailor their experience, whether enjoying a quick nine holes or a full 18 hole round.

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Crystal Springs Resort

1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, new jersey 07419

Crystal Springs Resort, nestled in the picturesque Kittatinny Mountains of New Jersey, boasts an impressive collection of award-winning golf courses that draw enthusiasts from far and wide. The resort is home to seven distinct courses, each designed by golf legends such as Robert Trent Jones, Sr., George Fazio, and Robert von Hagge. From the challenging layout of Ballyowen Golf Club, designed to evoke the spirit of Irish links courses, to the scenic beauty of Wild Turkey Golf Club and the mountainous challenges of Crystal Springs Golf Club, golfers at Crystal Springs Resort find a diverse range of courses to suit every skill level and preference.

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Water Sports

Swartswood Park Boat Rental


Exploring the tranquil waters of lakes such as Lake Aeroflex, Swartswood Lake, and Wawayanda Lake by kayak or canoe allows for a more intimate connection with nature and the surrounding landscapes. Swartswood Park Boat Rental offers kayak and other paddling rentals.

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Lake Nockamixon Sailboat Rental


Sailing on Lake Nockamixon, nestled within Nockamixon State Park in Pennsylvania, offers enthusiasts a serene and picturesque experience. With its expansive waters and consistent breezes, the lake provides an ideal setting for sailing adventures. The gently rolling hills and lush greenery add to the charm of this sailing destination. For those looking to embark on a sailing excursion but lacking their own boat, Lake Nockamixon Sailboat Rental provides an excellent solution. This rental company offers a fleet of well-maintained sailboats, including Sunfish and Catalina boats, allowing both novice and experienced sailors to explore the lake at their own pace.

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Devils Lake Fishing


Anglers flock to Devils Lake to pursue various species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, catfish, and panfish. The lake’s expansive surface area and varying depths provide a range of fishing opportunities, from trolling the deeper waters to casting along the shallower shores. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of landing a trophy-sized bass or enjoying a peaceful day of casting lines, Devils Lake caters to anglers of all skill levels.

Visit their website for more information


01 / Snow Tubing

Snow tubing is a thrilling and family-friendly winter activity that transforms New Jersey’s hills into snow-packed playgrounds. Various parks and resorts, such as Mountain Creek and Campgaw Mountain, offer designated tubing lanes, providing an exhilarating experience for participants of all ages. The simplicity of snow tubing, combined with the excitement of speeding down hills, makes it a perfect winter pastime for families, friends, and individuals seeking a fun-filled adventure without the need for extensive equipment or skills.

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02 / Downhill Skiing

Skiing in New Jersey offers outdoor enthusiasts a delightful escape into the winter landscapes of the Garden State. Mountain Creek Resort, situated in Vernon, stands as a premier destination for skiers seeking slopes within the state. Boasting a variety of trails catering to all skill levels, Mountain Creek provides a winter playground with scenic views of the surrounding hills. From gentle beginner slopes to more challenging terrain, the resort—and New Jersey—offers a diverse skiing experience.

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03 / Ice Skating

Ice skating in New Jersey provides a charming and festive winter activity for individuals and families alike. The state offers a mix of outdoor and indoor rinks, creating a variety of settings for skaters to enjoy. In Liberty State Park, the outdoor rink with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop creates a picturesque atmosphere for a day on the ice. Additionally, The Pond at Bryant Park in New York City, easily accessible from New Jersey, offers a magical outdoor skating experience during the winter months. For those preferring indoor rinks, facilities like the Codey Arena in West Orange and the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne provide well-maintained ice surfaces for year-round skating.

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Resorts to Explore

Crystal Springs Resort

Recreational, Luxury
1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, New Jersey 07419

Marriott’s Fairway Villas

500 E Fairway Ln, Galloway, New Jersey 08205

Montreal Beach Resort

Beach front
1025 Beach Ave, Cape May, New Jersey 08204

Tips on Vacationing in New Jersey


New Jersey is well-connected by highways, trains, and buses. Consider public transportation options like NJ Transit for convenient travel within the state or to nearby cities like New York.

Visit Cultural Sites

Visit cultural attractions like the Liberty Science Center, the Newark Museum, and the Thomas Edison National Historical Park for a diverse range of experiences.

Explore the Outdoors

Take advantage of the state’s parks and outdoor spaces. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Palisades Interstate Park offer hiking, picnicking, and scenic views.

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Jet Skiing

Lakes in New Jersey

Are you considering a vacation in New Jersey and looking for some waterfront fun? Exploring the beautiful lakes in the Garden State might be precisely what you’re searching for.

One of the most popular lakes is Lake Hopatcong, the largest freshwater lake in New Jersey. Located just 1 hour from NYC, Lake Hopatcong offers various water activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating. You can find many lake house rentals around this area, including some with kayaks and hot tubs available to enjoy and relax.

Culver Lake is another excellent choice for a lakeside vacation. This 555 acre paradise is a favorite for fishing, boating, and kayaking enthusiasts. With plenty of nearby lake cabin rentals, you’ll find the perfect place to unwind after a day of fun in the sun.

But continue there. There are 403 lake rentals scattered across New Jersey. Many of these rentals have amenities like spectacular lake views, direct lake access, and BBQ facilities on the deck.

For an urban environment, consider Newark’s Branch Brook Park. This picturesque park offers a lovely lake and is renowned for its cherry blossom trees. Although it might not be the ideal spot for water sports, it’s a fantastic destination for a tranquil stroll or picnic by the water.

Rental Locations in New Jersey

Jersey Shore Vacation Houses

Are you visiting the picturesque beaches of the Jersey Shore? Consider staying in a charming beach house steps away from the beautiful shoreline. Ocean City, for example, is popular for its quaint coffee shops, boutiques, beaches, and boardwalks. Find unique vacation rentals near the beach and boardwalk, making your vacation convenient and memorable!

Cape May and Wildwood Properties

Are you looking for a relaxing retreat? Cape May and Wildwood are well-known for their charming, historic properties and stunning beaches. Explore the unique architectural styles while staying in one of the elegant vacation rentals available in these locations. Enjoy a peaceful getaway with spectacular ocean views within walking distance of the famous Wildwood Boardwalk.

Vacation Rentals in Urban Areas

For those looking to explore the urban side of New Jersey, vacation rentals are available in bustling cities such as Jersey City and Newark. Newark, for example, offers cozy 1BR apartments in the heart of downtown, just a short walk from the Prudential Center and NJPAC. These urban rentals are conveniently located near transportation hubs like NJ Penn Station, allowing you to access New York City in just 30 minutes.

Choose the perfect vacation rental that suits your preferences and budget while experiencing the diverse beauty and excitement of New Jersey. Enjoy your stay in the Garden State!

Top Rated New Jersey Vacation Rentals

New Jersey offers a variety of unique and luxurious stays. These vacation rentals are designed to cater to your needs with upscale amenities and stunning views. Top-rated luxury properties often feature stylish interiors and extras like private pools, home theaters, game rooms, and outdoor living spaces.

When selecting a unique stay, consider opting for:

Condos with rooftop terraces
Savor the breathtaking ocean views while enjoying an early morning espresso or late night cocktail.

Houses with architectural charm
Immerse yourself in a memorable vacation by staying in a historically significant or distinctively designed property.

Families’ Favorite Rentals

When planning your family vacation in New Jersey, you’ll find numerous top-rated rentals to accommodate your needs. Many vacation homes offer spacious living areas, accommodating up to 10 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, perfect for larger families or groups. New Jersey vacation rentals often provide superb amenities such as 2 sundecks, 2 hot tubs, and ocean views, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay.

Some popular family-friendly vacation rentals include beachfront houses and condos with easy access to the shore. Enjoying a beautiful ocean view while relaxing on the sundeck can be priceless. Plus, choosing a vacation home close to kid-friendly attractions, parks, and restaurants makes your trip convenient.

Booking Details

Finding the Best Deals

Start by searching on reputable websites like Lake, Vrbo,, Rent By Owner, HomeToGo, and Airbnb. On these websites, you’ll find houses and apartments to condos, cabins, and lodges.

Book your rental in advance and consider traveling during the off-peak season to get the best price. Keep an eye out for discounts and last-minute offers, too. Compare the prices and amenities across different websites to ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

Pet-Friendly Rentals

If you bring a furry friend along for your vacation in New Jersey, you’ll want to find a pet-friendly rental. Be sure to check the property description for any additional pet fees or restrictions.

Here are some example criteria for searching for pet-friendly vacation rentals:

– Use the pet-friendly filter on rental platforms
– Look for rentals with amenities like fenced yards or nearby parks for pet playtime
– Read reviews from other guests who have traveled with pets to ensure a positive experience

By doing thorough research and booking a pet-friendly rental, you can ensure that you and your furry companion enjoy a fantastic vacation in New Jersey.

Activities and Attractions Near Your Rental

Exciting Beach and Ocean Activities

When planning your New Jersey vacation rental, you want to take advantage of the plethora of beach and ocean activities available. With miles of soft sand and picturesque beaches, you can start your day with a blissful sunrise stroll. For those who love the water, there is ample opportunity for fishing, boating, and even surfing in some areas. If relaxing under the sun is more your style, take advantage of beachfront spots to lay out and enjoy the warmth.

Besides enjoying the beach, explore the oceanfront boardwalks in popular destinations such as Atlantic City, Wildwood, and Ocean City. These boardwalks are perfect for biking, jogging, or leisurely walking while taking in the sights and fresh air.

Local Attractions and Shops

During your stay in a New Jersey vacation rental, you’ll find an array of attractions to keep you entertained. For thrill-seekers and family fun, be sure to visit Six Flags Great Adventure or catch a game at MetLife Stadium. If you’re in the mood for shopping and dining, there are plenty of charming local shops and diverse restaurants for every taste.

For those interested in history and culture, the state offers a variety of museums and landmarks to enrich your vacation, such as the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City and the Princeton University campus. Additionally, nature lovers will enjoy birdwatching in the numerous state parks and nature preserves available.

With so many activities and attractions near your New Jersey vacation rental, you’re sure to have an unforgettable visit.

Frequently Asked Questions about New Jersey

Yes, there are full summer rental options at the Jersey Shore! You can find these options on websites like Rent By Owner™, Shore Summer Rentals, Airbnb, and VRBO. Make sure to refine your search parameters to include long-term stays, and don’t hesitate to contact property owners directly to inquire about full summer rentals. Planning well in advance can help ensure availability and negotiate better rates.

If you’re looking for cheap cabin rentals in New Jersey, consider searching on websites like Lake, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor. Filter your search based on price, location, and amenities. It is also a good idea to book during off-peak seasons, as prices tend to be lower during these times.

To find luxury vacation rentals in New Jersey, websites like Lake, Rent By Owner™ and Shore Summer Rentals are good starting points. Additionally, you can search platforms like Airbnb and VRBO for upscale listings. Just remember to read the reviews, look for high-resolution pictures, and carefully consider the amenities to ensure a truly luxurious experience.

To find rentals by owner at the Jersey Shore, you can visit websites like Rent By Owner™, which focuses explicitly on direct rental bookings. You may also find listings on websites like Craigslist or by joining social media groups that cater to Jersey Shore vacation rentals. By renting directly from the owner, you might just save some extra cash and get a more personalized experience.

To find affordable Jersey Shore summer rentals for 2024, start by searching through websites like Rent By Owner™ and Shore Summer Rentals. You can also try other popular vacation rental platforms like Lake, Airbnb and VRBO. Compare prices and read reviews to ensure the best options for your budget. Keep an eye out for promotional rates and discounts as well!

There are various websites to find vacation rentals in New Jersey. Some popular ones include Rent By Owner™ and Shore Summer Rentals. By browsing these websites, you can find rental properties like houses, apartments, and even oceanfront vacation rentals. Just make sure to book early to secure your ideal rental!

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