Exploring New Jersey – Road Trips in the Garden State
By Kimberly Graf. Published on August 2, 2022
New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state in the Union, but it's one of the most prosperous states as well. There's a lot to do in this state, from its forests to the coast, to the many and diverse communities located there. It's a pretty interesting place! These two road trips will show you both sides of New Jersey's beauty, from the famous Jersey Shore to the changing colors of the leaves in the fall!
Fall Foliage Road Trip
New Jersey has some of the most beautiful collections of foliage in America. There are a lot of different types of trees in this part of the country, providing you with the optimal views. This road trip covers about 4 hours and 40 minutes of driving time.
We'll start at Washington Crossing State Park. This park was originally named because Washington landed here after crossing the Delaware, shortly before the battles of Trenton in 1777. Here there are interesting assortments of trees, even some Japanese varieties that you can't really find elsewhere. The result is a lot of different foliage opportunities.
About an hour and a half away is Worthington State Forest. There's no better place in the state to see the spread of colors! The terrain here is beautifully rugged, with breathtaking views. There are plenty of hiking trails here, and they are challenging enough to make it rewarding to reach the many lakes along the way.
Buttermilk Falls is our next stop, and it's only about an hour away. It's most famous for the waterfalls, but the real foliage focus is the nature trails. There are tons of trees native to this area that light up the canopy in stunning scarlet, gold, and everything in between. Take some time to just walk among the trees here, before moving on to High Point.
It's just over an hour to the aptly named High Point, which has the highest elevation in the state at 1800 feet. At the summit, there's a 220-foot tall obelisk that marks the location. From here, you can see across three states and a blanket of fall colors. The trees are painted in vibrant shades and here for the taking.
When you're done marveling, head to Skylands Manor, 39 miles away. It's a manor house that was inspired by Tudor architecture. Now, you can book weddings there, take tours of the entire house, and stroll through about 1,000 acres of open woodlands. Walk among the foliage again and observe the brilliant colors above you at Skylands.
Our last stop is not the most spectacular, but it's made for exactly this type of trip. The State Line Lookout looks out over the Palisades. You can see all the transitioning trees on the surrounding hills – and backed by the water, it's a view you won't soon forget. Make sure to take lots of pictures! This last leg of the trip will only take you about 45 minutes.
Jersey Shore Road
Trip 162 miles 3hrs 30 minutes
The Jersey Shore is a popular part of the state, covered in beaches and giant Ferris Wheels. It's a picturesque version of beach living – all the way down the coast, people love to party and shop the boardwalks!
Cape May is the first boardwalk we'll encounter. It's known for its Victorian houses and museums, shops, and lots of eateries. The Boardwalk has plenty of this type of thing. It's the perfect example of a Jersey Shore boardwalk! There's even beach access right off the slats, so dip your toes in the water before we move on to Wildwood.
Wildwood is 40 minutes down the road. It's a coastal resort city known for wide, sandy beaches that will keep the whole family entertained. There's a tram car that runs the length of the boardwalk so you can still get your shopping on. There are a ton of places to stop and get something to eat, as well as luxury hotels, waterparks, and thrill rides galore.
Ocean City is just 20 miles away and boasts a plethora of amusement parks with the iconic giant Ferris wheels. Gillian's Wonderland and Castaway Cove are just a few of the attractions here in Ocean City. Take some time to get an ice cream cone and walk along the beach, as well as stopping in to get some sandals and a T-shirt!
Atlantic City is a huge resort town that's about an hour from here. It's famous mostly for the collection of casinos that it offers. The casinos themselves are luxury resorts all their own, which include both gambling and spa treatments, as well as famous musicians and comedy acts throughout the year.
Beach Haven is a nautical town located on Long Beach Island, which is about an hour away. There is bay access here and so many swimming and boating activities that you could easily spend days here. There are the usual cultural attractions, as well as dining and shopping.
Seaside Heights, an hour away from Beach Haven, is just that: a haven for the under 21 crowds. There are more beachfront apartments than anywhere else along the Jersey Shore here, and it comes alive during the summertime with nightlife and culture.
Ten miles away is Point Pleasant, which is the absolutely picturesque version of a Jersey town on the coast. There's a mile-long boardwalk that follows the coastline, as well as amusement rides, giant Ferris wheels and wooden roller coasters. Take a load off at one of the iconic pizza or ice cream joints and soak up the locations made so famous in the movies!
New Jersey is one of the most diverse landscapes in America. From one edge of the state to the other is so vastly different that you can't help but drive the entire length! Take in all in on your way through the Garden State!