In 2009 I traveled to America to work as an Au Pair for a year, I ended up in a town 30 minutes from NYC called Montclair which is located in Essex County, New Jersey.
Moving to America was one of the best decisions of my life because it opened my eyes to my love of traveling and moving to a foreign country. My year in New Jersey turned out the be a crazy adventure full of challenges, culture shocks and new experiences. I’ve written more about it here.
I know that most people travel to the East coast of America to visit NYC or Florida but I thought I’d share some of the reasons for why NJ is a pretty awesome place to go to as well.
1. Atlantic City, Atlantic County, NJ
if you don’t have time to go to Las Vegas to make use of your practiced poker face then A.C would be your second best option. In A.C you’ll find beaches, shopping, casinos and a thriving nightlife. Spend some time playing blackjack at Harrah’s or rest your mind by one of the luxury hotel pools.
2. Hoboken, Hudson County, NJ
I always recommend people to go to Hoboken because of it’s incredible waterfront park with a picture-perfect view over Manhattan. Bring some food, a blanket and a friend and have a picnic!
If you’d rather stay active Hoboken offers very walk-friendly streets packed with unique restaurants, cafes and cool bars.
3. Ocean City, Cape May County, New Jersey
For most people California and Florida are the states to go to if it’s beaches your’e after, which may very well be the best options, but they’re quite a trip away from the all-famous New York City right?
If you’re looking for some beach hang in combination with your NYC holiday you may want to include a visit to New Jersey’s Ocean City and take a walk on the popular Jersey Shore Boardwalk. I promise you it’s nothing like what you might have seen on Jersey Shore and you won’t believe you’re still fairly close to the never sleeping Manhattan.
4. Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson , New Jersey
They say you haven’t been to an amusement park until you’ve been to Six Flags! Of course this is not true… but it kind of is. Six Flags Great Adventure have been voted Americas second best theme park (right after it’s brother Six Flags Magic Mountain, California) and is ranked as the worlds largest park with it’s 510 acres loaded with fun.
If you’re planning a trip to Six Flags during the summer months your chances of spending the least time in line are during the weekdays. If you’re on the east coast during Halloween then Six flags is a must do! Everyone knows how crazy americans go during Halloween, Six Flags is no exception! Amongst the crowds you’ll bump into wandering zombies, vampires and find fountains covered in blood (fake of course). After a visit here there are few parks that can compete.
5. Liberty State Park, Upper New York Bay, NJ
If you’re looking for a great view over the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan, head to Liberty State Park.
Besides the incredible view, you will find “Empty Sky”, the official NJ September 11 memorial. The monument representing the twin towers stand 30 feet tall in front of Lower Manhattans skyline as a reminder and a honouring of the 749 people of NJ who died in the 9/11 attack.
Most people may think that shopping belongs only to New York City but that’s not the case!
SOHO in all honour, but I’m here to tell you that some of the least expensive and most diverse shopping can be found under the roofs of the massive, gigantic malls around New Jersey!
In NJ’s high quality brand outlets and several level shopping malls you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for!
Even thou NJ’s malls may be a bit out of the way, they’re easily accessed by public transport or car. If you’re looking for some money well spent then they will be worth the effort!
7. Ellis Island, Jersey City, New York
You might argue that Ellis Island is located in New York and you would be partly right. Ellis Island is right on the border of both states and was added to the National Park Service in 1965. Wether you’re interested in history or not, if you like stories, you’ll find Ellis Island interesting. So what is it? Ellis Island was the former federal immigration processing station and processed over 12 million third class and steerage immigrants between 1892 and 1954.
8. Point Pleasant, Ocean County, NJ
If you’re traveling with kids this is a great place to go! On a stroll along Point Pleasant’s famous Boardwalk you’ll find arcades, food, rides, gift shops and live music. On the north end of the walk you can explore Jenkinson’s Aquarium.
9. Action Park, Mountain Creek, Vernon, NJ
If you’re going to visit only one water park in NJ then Mountain Creek’s “Action Park” should be your first choice!
This park is full of crazy adventures for the brave. How does a 23 foot jump off of Canyon Cliffs into a huge natural pool sound? Or going down the world’s tallest (a daring 100 feet tall) and only double looping thrill slide?
Here you’ll also find Tarzan swings, canon ball rides and canyon cliff jumps. Make sure to collect all your brave points for this one, you won’t regret it!
10. Mountain Creek, Mountain park, Mountain Creek, Vernon, NJ
Mountain Creek again?! Well yeah… but this is a winter option!
Mountain creek is the closest ski resort to New York/New Jersey Metro Area and offers 4 mountain peaks and 167 acres of snow. This is a great place to learn how to ski and you can rent your gear on the spot!