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North America > United States of America > Mid-Atlantic > New Jersey

New Jersey

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Newark at night

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is the most densely populated state in the nation; heavily urban, suburban and industrialized. Despite this, the state is well known for its vibrant beach towns and natural attractions, including the Pine Barrens, the migratory birds of Cape May, the Delaware Water Gap, a 72 mi (116 km) portion of the Appalachian Trail, and the Palisades. The state's nickname of "The Garden State" rings true, with over a quarter of the state's land dedicated to agriculture, which can be seen in the blueberry farms and cranberry bogs that exist throughout the state's western and southern regions.

New Jersey is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and by the states of New York to the north and northeast, Pennsylvania to the west, and Delaware to the southwest. The northeastern parts of New Jersey are suburbs of New York City, just across the Hudson River, and the southwestern parts are suburbs of Philadelphia, just across the Delaware River.

Regions[edit]

New Jersey is commonly simply divided into two regions: North Jersey and South Jersey. For the purpose of this guide, those two regions will be further divided into five areas.

  Gateway
Western suburbs and satellite cities of New York City, anchored by most of New Jersey's largest cities and centers of industry, including Newark, Jersey City, Hoboken, New Brunswick, and Paterson.
  Jersey Shore
Miles of beaches and boardwalks (including the original streets of the board game Monopoly) to enjoy, as well as chances to try your luck at Atlantic City's casinos. The Pine Barrens offer opportunities to camp.
  Delaware River
The eastern suburbs of Philadelphia, anchored by Camden. State capital Trenton and Ivy League-center Princeton are included here for this guide, though those areas are just as much in New York's sphere of influence as Philly's.
  Skylands
Forested hills, miles of farmland and small mountains are the main attraction for visitors here, especially in the fall season when the leaves turn and apple orchards open.
  Southern Shore
The beaches of Cumberland and Cape May counties don't get the attention that those to the north get, but they're good for a quiet, family-friendly weekend.

Cities[edit]

  • 1 Trenton – The state capital and home of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)
  • 2 Atlantic City – A famed 1800s oceanfront resort town reborn as a gambling center in the late 1970s
  • 3 Camden – Rough with vast stretches of poverty, the city is also home to the USS New Jersey and Adventure Aquarium
  • 4 Hoboken – A reborn former industrial city on the Hudson River with plenty of bars, restaurants, music and awesome views of Manhattan
  • 5 Jersey City – New Jersey's second largest city, its financial sector complements Wall Street across the river and ferries for the Statue of Liberty leave from Liberty State Park
  • 6 Newark – New Jersey's largest city has notable cultural centers of art and music, the New Jersey Devils hockey team, and fantastic cuisines from around the globe
  • 7 New Brunswick – Home to the original and largest campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, a public research university founded in 1766
  • 8 Paterson – Site of the Great Falls of the Passaic River, a National Historical Park whose namesake waterfall powered factories and made the city the cradle of the Industrial Revolution
  • 9 Princeton – Home of the Ivy-League Princeton University, and the many hip bars, restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and music venues that come with a "college town"

Other destinations[edit]

  • Island Beach State Park
    Crystal Springs — Large rural resort area featuring golf courses, hotels, a ski area and a waterpark
  • 1 Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area — Camping, hiking and rafting in a large valley on the Delaware River
  • 2 Island Beach State Park — 10 mi (16 km) stretch of undeveloped barrier island, the last in the state
  • 3 Lake Hopatcong — New Jersey's largest lake provides boating and swimming for families and singles.
  • 4 Morristown — Historic city with a walkable, popular downtown and many sites from the Revolutionary War
  • The Pine Barrens — A natural pine forest that covers about a third of the state
  • 5 Six Flags Great Adventure — Massive amusement park and safari, with neighboring waterpark
  • 6 Sterling Mine — Former mine offering tours through caverns of fluorescent rock
  • 7 Thomas Edison National Historical Park — National park preserves famous inventor Thomas Edison's home and laboratory complex

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Delaware Water Gap and Interstate 80

Geography[edit]

New Jersey's geography varies across the state. Much of the northern half of the state is made up of the easternmost hills of the Appalachian Mountains and other small ridge lines. Between these ridges lie the fertile river valleys that give New Jersey its "Garden State" nickname. High Point, at the border with New York in Sussex County, is the highest mountain in the state at 1,803 ft (550 m).

The southern half of the state is part of the Atlantic Plain, and as such is very flat. Much less developed, this area is covered in large part by the Pine Barrens. The Jersey Shore stretches along the coastline, and for much of its length is made up of narrow, long barrier islands.

Climate[edit]

New Jersey has four distinct seasons.

Winter in the state is usually marked by cold temperatures and frequent snowstorms that can drop anywhere from just a couple inches to up to 2 ft (0.61 m). It is not unheard of in the worst winters for temperatures to drop below freezing for long stretches, especially in January and February. This varies from year to year, however, and in some years winter may feature relatively mild temperatures and only one or two snowstorms.

Spring in New Jersey starts out cold and often damp, with rainstorms common in March. By late April and early May, temperatures begin to rise and trees and flowers bloom throughout the state.

Summer features brilliant sun that is only rarely scorching, with occasional heat waves. Humidity is often high, but the months are punctuated by spells of lower humidity that bring everyone outside to enjoy the weather.

Leaves start to turn color in September and Nor'easters (large subtropical rainstorms that travel up the coast) begin to occur, continuing through October. By late month, most of the leaves have fallen, and winter sets in throughout November.

New Jersey today[edit]

New Jersey is the most densely populated state and as such has a diverse population, rich culture, and many assets, including abundant natural resources and various Fortune 500 companies.

New Jersey's big cities are centers of government and commerce. Though parts of the larger cities have become run down with deindustrialization since the 1970s, they still have a lot to offer. Princeton, Hoboken and New Brunswick in particular are great cities and inhabited by the middle to upper class. Most New Jerseyans of middle class, however, prefer to live in the suburbs, which exploded in the state in the post-war era of the 1950s and 1960s. Rich folks cluster in certain old, established towns and rural enclaves like Alpine, Mendham, and Millburn. More than a third of the state, including the Pine Barrens, is rural and sparsely populated, with little or no public transportation.

There is a strong New York influence in the northern part of the state and Philadelphia influence in the south. All major local TV and radio stations that serve New Jersey are located in those cities. New Jersey also serves as a bedroom community for many people who work in New York City or Philadelphia. Accordingly, strong regional affiliations within the state are split among those lines, and distinct cultural differences can be seen between "North Jersey" and "South Jersey".

Talk[edit]

English is spoken throughout the state, and Spanish speakers can be found in most of the large cities and suburban areas of the Gateway and Delaware River regions.

People flock to New Jersey from all over, especially from New York City and Philadelphia, making it difficult to isolate the New Jersey accent. North Jersey's accent is strongly influenced by New York, and South Jersey's accent is strongly influenced by Philadelphia. Disparaging references to a "New Joisey" accent, "guidos" (working class Italian-Americans), the popular HBO series The Sopranos, or any part of the state's physical appearance are not recommended. Such characterizations are unwarranted and may be resented by residents.

Get in[edit]

Terminal C at Newark Airport.

By plane[edit]

Newark Liberty International Airport probably provides the most convenient international access to New Jersey. Philadelphia is another option. Atlantic City Airport provides some minor domestic, mostly carrier, service, but travelers should be aware that it is a good distance away from most destinations besides Atlantic City.

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR IATA, FAA LID: EWR) in Newark, New Jersey has extensive passenger and freight operations and is a major hub for United Airlines. It has three passenger terminals all connected by a monorail that extends to the airport's train station, providing access across the state and beyond via New Jersey Transit or Amtrak.
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK IATA, FAA LID: JFK) in the New York City borough of Queens is the busiest international air gateway to the United States and North America, and one of the busiest in the world, with over 90 airlines operating from it. "JFK" serves as the base of operations for JetBlue and is a major international hub for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA IATA, FAA LID: LGA) is also in the New York City borough of Queens, and is the smallest of the New York area's three primary commercial airports, serving only domestic and Canadian destinations.

By bus[edit]

Numerous bus companies serve New Jersey, with the typical intercity buses (Greyhound, Bolt Bus, Trailways, Megabus & Peter Pan) offering limited stops in New Jersey between New York and Philadelphia and from New York towards Baltimore and Washington, DC. Some of the same companies also offer express service from New York and Philadelphia to Atlantic City. Commuter buses (NJ Transit, DeCamp, Lakeland, the various Coach USA brands, etc.) operate from New York and Philadelphia to local places in northern and central New Jersey not served by typical long distance carriers. Unlike in other states, fares on the intercity bus lines (i.e. Greyhound) are not much more expensive than a commuter bus over the same distances and are sometimes less expensive than rail travel:

  • Academy Bus, +1 201 420-7000, toll-free: +1 800 442-7272. Operates commuter services from New York to Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey. They also operate a separate Casino Express to Atlantic City from the Port Authority Bus Terminal & 85th St Candy Store at E 85th St between 3rd & 2nd Ave in New York City.
  • Bolt Bus. Operates a bus from Newark Penn Station to New York City with some routes continuing north to Boston and south from Newark to Philadelphia and Washington DC on two separate routes. They also have another route going from Cherry Hill Mall to New York City (33rd St btwn 11th & 12th Ave stop)
  • Coach USA. They operate to various places in New Jersey under different brands including Megabus:
  • Community Coach scheduled service from Morris and Essex Counties to New York City.
  • Olympia Trails They operate local bus service Orange, Newark, and Elizabeth, NJ as the Orange Newark Elizabeth Bus (ONE/Independent Bus) and the Newark Airport Express between Newark Liberty International Airport and mid-town Manhattan and JFK International Airport. They also operate some Megabus routes from New York City to Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Albany, Ridgewood NJ and Toronto.
  • Rockland Coaches operates commuter bus service between New York City and points in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY. They also provide local bus service within and between both locales.
  • Suburban Trails offers commuter, casino, and charter services in Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties, NJ.
  • Megabus Goes north from Secaucus to Boston and south to Baltimore and Washington DC on one route. From Princeton and New Brunswick to New York City on another route. They don't sell tickets for travel just between Princeton and New Brunswick on that route. And a third route from Ridgewood to Albany NY.
  • DeCamp, +1 973 783-7500. Between New York City and Nutley, Caldwell, Bloomfield, Montclair, Roseland, Kearney and Orange in northern New Jersey
  • Greyhound & Lucky Streak, +1 800 231-2222. Operates buses between New York, Mt Laurel and Philadelphia along I-95/295. Some variations of this route is a non-stop service between New York and Philadelphia or via Newark and Camden to Philadelphia. Some Greyhound routes continue south from Mt Laurel and from Philadelphia towards Washington DC via Wilmington, DE; Baltimore, MD; New Carrolton MD and/or Silver Spring, MD. They offer service from New York City (via Garden State Pkwy) and from Philadelphia (via Atlantic City Expressway) to Atlantic City on two separate routes.
  • Lakeland Bus Lines, +1 973 366-0600. Commuter buses between New York City and Essex, Morris and Sussex Counties in northern New Jersey
  • Martz Group (Martz Trailways), +1 570 821-3838. Martz Trailways offers commuter & intercity routes between New York City, Hackettstown, Panther Valley Mall, Atlantic City, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Stroudsburg, Poconos and Philadelphia (NJ, NY and PA).
  • New Jersey Transit, +1 973 275-5555. Operates commuter buses from New York City and Philadelphia to various places in New Jersey on multiple routes and local buses within and between cities and townships within New Jersey and adjacent states.
  • Omnibus la Cubana, (Union City depot) 406 32nd St, Union City NJ, +1 201 864-6800. They travel contiguously between Miami and New York with stops in Union City and Elizabeth NJ.
  • Peter Pan/Bonanza Bus Co., +1 800 343-9999. Operates buses between New York, Newark, Mt Laurel, Camden and Philadelphia. Some variations of the route is a non-stop service between New York and Philadelphia while others continue from Mt Laurel towards Washington DC via Wilmington, DE; Baltimore, MD; New Carrolton MD and Silver Spring, MD.
The elegant Hoboken Terminal

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak. operates a single route through New Jersey with stops in Newark Penn Station, Newark Liberty International Airport, Iselin Metro Park, New Brunswick, Princeton Jct and Trenton on the Northeast Regional and the Keystone Service. The Acela Train stops only in Newark Penn Station, New Brunswick and Trenton while the Vermonter stops only in Newark Penn Station, Iselin-Metro Park and Trenton. The other Amtrak trains going further south past Washington DC (Crescent, Carolinian, Silver Service/Palmetto, etc) and west towards Pittsburgh (Pennsylvanian) stop only in Newark Penn Station and Trenton.
  • NJ Transit, +1 973 275-5555. operates rail service from New York City to Bay Head, Gladstone, Hackelstown, High Bridge, Jarvis, Spring Valley and Trenton on multiple routes in several directions in northern and central New Jersey and from Philadelphia to Atlantic City in southern New Jersey. The Northeast Corridor line runs the same route as the Amtrak trains between New York and Trenton only with more stops including a stop at the Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH), +1 800 234-7284. Operates a single route from mid-town and lower Manhattan to Newark, Harrison, Hoboken, and Jersey City in metropolitan northern New Jersey
  • Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO). Operates along a single route from Philadelphia to Lindenwood via Camden, Collingswood, Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Cherry Hill & Voorhees Township.
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Regional rail service from Philadelphia 30th St Station to the surrounding suburbs in Southeastern Pennsylvania; Philadelphia International Airport Wilmington DE; and Trenton on multiple routes

By boat[edit]

NY Waterway and Seastreak provide ferry service from Manhattan to New Jersey ports. NY Waterway crosses the Hudson River to nearby Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City, and Seastreak serves the towns of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands, across the New York Bay near Sandy Hook.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry provides service from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, Delaware, carrying both people and automobiles.

By car[edit]

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge, connecting Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey

The New Jersey Turnpike ("The Turnpike") is a segment of Interstate 95 and a toll road that runs north-south for the length of the state. Interstates 80 and 78 provide good access from the west. The Garden State Parkway ("The Parkway") is in many ways the backbone of the state, connecting many major cities in the north to the Jersey Shore region in the south. Interstate 287 is a roughly C-shaped interstate that acts as a beltway around New York City and loops all the way from Staten Island west into Bridgewater, north through Morristown and Parsippany, and up to Mahwah and New York State, and offers very convenient junctions at I-80 and I-78. Interstate 280 is a short but heavily-traveled interstate that extends out of I-80 and runs through Montclair, the Oranges, and Newark before finally ending at the Turnpike.

State law does not allow self-service at gas stations for regular fuel - station attendants must be the one to pump gas. Just pull up to the pump and tell the attendant "'(Dollar amount)' or 'Fill it up with', (grade), (cash/credit), please", for example, "$20, regular, cash please". New Jersey has some of the most expensive gasoline in the country due to its high gas tax; however, partly due to the close proximity to major oil refineries, prices are slightly lower compared to nearby New York and Connecticut. Because of this, the cash price is often lower at smaller gas stations (check the posted prices to see whether the station has different prices for different means of payment). If you're filling up and paying cash, attendants will add enough gas to bring the bill to a whole dollar amount.

You are legally allowed to pump your own diesel fuel and many truck stops will allow this; however, not all gas stations do.

Most crossings of the Delaware River and all crossings into New York are tolled one-way leaving New Jersey - only the small, privately-owned Dingman's Ferry Bridge up in Sussex County charges a toll on vehicles entering the state. Prices range from $1 to $5 for Delaware River bridges, up to $15 for New York City crossings. Interstate 295 connects Trenton to Delaware and Philadelphia, and runs parallel to the New Jersey Turnpike for most of its length, providing a toll-free alternative for local traffic.

In New Jersey, if a road has a speed limit of 65 mph (~110 km/h), all fines are doubled for traffic violations. On highways of three lanes or more, the left lane is designated for passing slower traffic, and New Jersey State Police will pull you over for driving in the left lane. Also, New Jersey has a "lights on wipers on" law that requires headlights to be on when you have your windshield wipers on, as well as a hands-free law. New Jersey State Police are notoriously zealous and have a statewide reputation for being a bit showy (it is not uncommon to see patrol cars zoom through left lanes in traffic-less highways going 90-100 mph). When in doubt, play it safe, although you will find most New Jersey drivers regularly break highway laws, usually by speeding. If you feel comfortable and judge it to be safe, feel free to go with the speed of traffic on major highways.

Toll road tips: for the Garden State Parkway, carry quarters and dollar coins for exact change only lanes, it will help you get through it fast and safe. Tolls range from fifty cents to two dollars depending on location. For the New Jersey Turnpike, if you are heading north use Interstate 295 and connect to the New Jersey Turnpike via Interstate 195 at Trenton (NJ Turnpike Exit 7A) if you desire to save a few dollars. Also, the New Jersey Turnpike is the only major road in the state to use sequential exit numbering - do not rely upon an exit number to gauge the distance between exits.

The Garden State Parkway's exit numbering system is also confusing despite some small changes. In some areas exits seem roughly consistent with the posted mileage; in others they run sequentially, without regard for miles.

By thumb[edit]

Believe it or not, it is possible to hitchhike out of the New York Metro area. If you are trying to go long distances, your best bet is to take NJ Transit far enough to put you well into the suburbs, preferably to a stop that puts you near (i.e. within walking distance of) a major highway, such as an Interstate. From there, get to an on-ramp and put out your thumb. New Jersey state laws on hitchhiking are, however, notoriously ambiguous, and you may be hassled by local police, so use common sense and discretion.

If you're trying to go west into Pennsylvania, a good tip is to take NJ Transit to Mt. Olive, a 5-minute walk from I-80, which generally carries a good amount of long-distance traffic going west.

By bicycle or foot[edit]

The George Washington Bridge, connecting New Jersey and Manhattan over the Hudson River, is crossable by bicycle or foot, and there are walkable bridges across the Delaware River as well, such as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge from Philadelphia. Alternatively, you can cross the land border with New York on the northern side.

Get around[edit]

Ellis Island and Jersey City

By train[edit]

In addition to Amtrak's limited stops, there are numerous other companies operating commuter trains within New Jersey:

  • Amtrak. Operates along a single route through New Jersey with stops in Newark Penn Station, Newark Liberty Airport, Iselin Metro Park, New Brunswick, Princeton Jct and Trenton on the Northeast Regional and the Keystone Service. The Acela Train stops only in Newark Penn Station, New Brunswick and Trenton while the Vermonter stops only in Newark Penn Station, Iselin-Metro Park and Trenton. The other Amtrak trains going further south past Washington DC (Crescent, Carolinian, Silver Service/Palmetto, etc.) and west towards Pittsburgh (Pennsylvanian) stop only in Newark Penn Station and Trenton.
  • NJ Transit, +1 973 275-5555. Operates a network of trains, light rail and buses connecting communities throughout the entire state. It can be used for travel to Newark Liberty International Airport, Trenton and Philadelphia from New York City and a from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. Its website provides a user-friendly method of planning your itinerary by all available forms of transport they offer.
  • Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH), +1 800 234-7284. Operates a single route from mid-town and lower Manhattan to Newark, Harrison, Hoboken, and Jersey City in metropolitan northern New Jersey
  • Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO). Operates a high speed train that connects several suburban towns (Camden, Collingswood, Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, Voorhees Township and Lindenwood) in southern New Jersey from downtown Philadelphia.
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Regional Rail Lines connect Trenton and West Trenton with Philadelphia.

By bus[edit]

The following operate intrastate routes:

  • New Jersey Transit, +1 973 275-5555. A state funded and operated transit agency operating rail, light rail and local and express buses statewide. Some of the buses operate within a specific city or township while others travel between cities and townships within the state and into the adjacent cities of New York and Philadelphia in different places.

In addition to the above there are numerous other private companies operating local buses within specific counties and commuter routes from those counties to New York City.

  • Academy Bus, +1 201 420-7000, toll-free: +1 800 442-7272. Operates commuter services from New York to Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey. They also operate a separate Casino Express to Atlantic City from New York City.
  • Coach USA. They operate to various places within New Jersey under different brands:
  • Community Coach scheduled service from Morris and Essex Counties to New York City.
  • Olympia Trails operates commuter services across the Hudson between Manhattan and northern New Jersey. They also operate local services in/around Hudson County, NJ (Jersey City) under the Red & Tan Brand (may of been discontinued); in/around Essex County, NJ as the Orange Newark Elizabeth Bus (ONE Bus); between mid-town Manhattan and Plainfield, NJ as the Westfield Commuter; and the Newark Airport Express between Manhattan and the Newark Airport. They also operate select Megabus routes out of New York to Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Albany, Ridgewood NJ and Toronto.
  • Rockland Coaches operates commuter bus service between New York City and points in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY. They also provide local bus service within and between both locales.
  • Suburban Trails offers commuter, casino, and charter services in Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties, NJ.
  • DeCamp, +1 973 783-7500. Between New York City and Nutley, Caldwell, Bloomfield, Montclair, Roseland, Kearney and Orange in northern New Jersey
  • Greyhound & Lucky Streak, +1 800 231-2222. Operates buses between New York, Newark, Camden and Philadelphia along I-95/295. Some variations of this route is a non-stop service between New York and Philadelphia or via Mt Laurel to Philadelphia. They offer service from New York City & Newark (via Garden State Pkwy) and from Philadelphia (via Atlantic City Expressway) to Atlantic City on two separate routes.
  • Lakeland Bus Lines, +1 973 366-0600. Commuter buses between New York City and Essex, Morris and Sussex Counties in northern New Jersey
  • Martz Group (Martz Trailways), +1 570 821-3838. Martz Trailways offers commuter & intercity routes between New York City, Hackettstown, Panther Valley Mall, Atlantic City, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Stroudsburg, Poconos and Philadelphia (NJ, NY and PA).
  • Peter Pan/Bonanza Bus Co., +1 800 343-9999. Operates buses between New York, Newark, Mt Laurel, Camden and Philadelphia. Some variations of the route is a non-stop service between New York and Philadelphia.

By car[edit]

Some traffic oddities are particular to New Jersey. Left turns are not permitted at intersections on many of the major divided highways in suburban and urban areas. Instead, exit ramps for left turns and U-turns are often found after the intersection and loop around to the cross street, providing opportunities to return to the desired intersection and make a U-turn back onto the original road or continue straight on the cross street, having ultimately made a "left turn". Some three-way intersections have a designated "jughandle", a small right turn loop that exists solely to allow the left turn. For both types of turns, watch for signage that says "U and Left Turns".

Also, many signals have a 'delayed' green light following a red, which allows oncoming traffic a chance to make left turns first. Many of these intersections are labeled with signs hanging from the signals, but keeping an eye on the traffic signal instead of observing oncoming traffic is essential. Traffic circles ('roundabouts') are quite common as well, and exits are not always clearly marked. Some toll bridges along the shore charge vehicles heading in one particular direction only, and will only accept cash.

See[edit]

View of the Delaware Water Gap from about 720 ft (220 m) above it on the Mount Tammany Trail

New Jersey has many scenic sites, including the majestic Palisades (where Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton), opposite New York City on the western banks of the Hudson River. The cliffs rise about 300 to 500 feet in areas and give a breathtaking view of New York City across the river. There are also many mountains located in the western portion of the states that are full of many trails.

You can also visit the majestic, very wild Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area off Interstate 80. You can coast down the Delaware River on an inner tube, go canoeing and more there.

On Christmas Day you can watch a reenactment of Washington's crossing of the Delaware River just north of Trenton off NJ29.

Do[edit]

No matter what you are interested in, you will probably find it in New Jersey. Fine beaches where you can surf, swim, sunbathe, or play volleyball in the summer, and run, stroll, walk your dog, or fly kites off season. Some skiiing in the Skylands region, hot air ballooning in Clinton, and canoeing in the Pine Barrens. Hiking trails and campsites, especially in Southern and Northwestern New Jersey. Plenty of nature preserves for birdwatchers and photographers. Many bed and breakfasts. Spectator sports, including two professional football teams, horseracing Monmouth Park and at Meadowlands Racetrack in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, and (at last count) 8 baseball teams, along with Sky Blue Soccer, a new women's professional soccer team. Many museums, concert halls, and historic sites, including George Washington's winter headquarters in Morristown. Several tourist railroads and preservation groups offer (in season) Santa Train Rides and Easter Bunny Train Rides. Several college towns, including New Brunswick (Rutgers) and Princeton. Places of worship for every religion, may offering services in various languages. Virtually any kind of food you can imagine. Nightlife ranging from casinos in Atlantic City, to Albert Hall in Waretown, to clubs in Belmar, to jazz in Madison. Also some amusement parks, and countless places to shop, including main street stores and boutiques, craft shows, antique shops, estate sales, yard sales, flea markets, farm stands, and farmers' markets, as well as several very large shopping malls.

Eat[edit]

New Jersey is famous for its Jersey tomatoes, sweet corn, blueberries, and cranberries, and other fresh produce which every visitor will want to experience in season. That is easy to do, because the state has approximately 25,000 eateries, more per square mile than any other state in the US. And if that's not enough, there are loads of farms you can visit and buy from directly. Furthermore, the climate and soils offered there provide for ideal berry-growing environments.

They serve everything from fast food to haute cuisine, including Italian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, and Syrian. There are also plenty of take-out shops and diners, which do not require reservations, seat patrons promptly, and offer large menus of inexpensive meals, which they serve quickly. Many are open 24 hours and breakfast is served all day.

Snack foods are also extremely popular, especially pizza, fries, and bagels. Other favorites include submarine sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, and Italian ice, which are known as hoagies and water ice in South Jersey. There many also enjoy soft pretzels and Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks and breakfast sandwiches of Scrapple, a loaf formed from cornmeal, pork scraps and spices, cut into 1/4 thick slices and fried crisp in butter or oil.

Many places in New Jersey sell "sloppy joes." These are completely different from the food known by that name in the rest of the United States. New Jersey sloppy joes are delicatessen sandwiches such as turkey, corned beef, and pastrami, which may be known as cold cuts in other part of the country. They in no way resemble the sandwich made of ground beef and onions in tomato sauce on a hamburger bun that goes by that name in the rest of the country.

Drink[edit]

State liquor laws[edit]

All alcoholic beverages can be purchased in freestanding liquor stores. which are open every day of the week, although for shorter periods on Sundays. A small portion of supermarkets are licensed to sell beer and liquor, however they are the exception, not the rule. Some stores are only licensed to sell warm (non-refrigerated) beer and malts (i.e. Mike's Hard Lemonade), while others may sell liquor, cold beer and wines. Home-rule provisions of state law allow municipalities to stipulate in their zoning that establishments that sell alcohol may not sell anything else beyond accessories to alcohol consumption, effectively prohibiting drugstores or convenience stores from selling beer as they do in most other states (there are a few exceptions, such as New Brunswick).

Since liquor licenses are for the most part limited by a quota system based on population, many communities, particularly smaller ones, may have only one liquor store, and one bar or restaurant with a license. Many establishments without a license are BYOB, or "bring your own bottle", where you are allowed to bring liquor purchased elsewhere to consume with your meal. Again, however, some municipalities are allowed to forbid even this. Bars, restaurants and liquor stores that held their licenses before the quota system was imposed in the late 1940s are exempt from it; this is the main reason why the small resort town of Wildwood in Cape May County has 48 bars.

Underage drinking is illegal and many disapprove of it, but it is common. Anyone who provides alcohol to a person under age 21 may be prosecuted. Drunken driving is illegal and there is no sympathy for those who do it. Anyone caught driving while intoxicated will be prosecuted and may end up in jail. Drunken driving checkpoints are extremely common on the shore (however, New Jersey is the only state in which driving while intoxicated is not a criminal offense; even though violators can and do receive jail time and fines in addition to having their licenses suspended or revoked, a conviction will thus not show up on a criminal background check). Smoking is illegal in all bars and restaurants (save designated "cigar bars").

One restriction in state liquor law has an upside. No establishment with a license for on-premises consumption may offer, as a promotion, discounts for drinks that do not apply to all customers. In other words, there are no Ladies' Nights at bars in New Jersey.

The freedom given to municipalities in regulating alcoholic-beverage sales extends to allowing them to go completely dry. Most of these communities are in South Jersey. The best known is the Cape May County resort of Ocean City, founded during the 19th century by Baptists as a family resort, and still promoted that way.

Local drinks[edit]

There are a variety of microbrews to try. Flying Fish, Cricket Hill and Cape May Brewing are recommended. Some liquor stores allow you to purchase individual bottles of beer.

The 7th largest producers of US wines, NJ produces wines from grapes grown in the state. New Jersey has more than 35 wineries that produce nationally and internationally acclaimed wines. You can visit New Jersey's wineries nestled amid rolling hills and breathtaking scenery. More than 250 wines can be sampled at wine festivals across the state where you can listen to great jazz and blues and sample delicious foods and artisan crafts. Along the Wine Trails, you can tour the wineries, discover how wines are made, try a pig roast or catch some fireworks.

Stay safe[edit]

The beach and Beach Avenue in Cape May

New Jersey is a fairly safe place to visit. Suburban and countryside areas are very safe along with most Jersey Shore towns. Cities are mostly safe but do exercise common travel sense. Some neighborhoods of Camden, Newark, Atlantic City, Jersey City, and Trenton are crime prone but it is unlikely that you will visit these areas. As in most US cities, when out at night, stay in well lit and well trafficked areas and you will be fine.

New Jersey has the highest density of car ownership in the United States so expect crowded highways and the occasional irate driver. Many major highways are under construction for expansion purposes, resulting in delays. Traffic tends to move well above the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike, The Garden State Parkway, or other highways and you can expect to be tail-gated when driving in the left lane. Best to stick in the middle or right lane if you don't like that sort of thing. The watchword is, drive defensively.

Under no circumstances whatsoever are you to import firearms into the state. New Jersey does not recognize any out-of-state gun licenses and there are no gun offenses that are graded below a felony. Police are known to enforce these laws vigorously, and if caught with a firearm you will be prosecuted, even if you are just a hunter traveling through.

Also, it is illegal to import fireworks into the state unless they are mandated by a municipality for special occasions to be attended by the public at a park or on the shore (i.e. Independence Day). However, you'll find that this is worked around quite easily - it is impossible to cross the border into Pennsylvania and not see signs for on-the-border fireworks shops.

Although the media and other sources portray residents as "rude" and "loud," most natives are proud of their state and are more than willing to help a tourist with directions and other tips. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance. Some areas - especially the famed Jersey Shore - are very used to tourists.

Respect[edit]

Culture, accent, and local dialect vary depending on what part of the state you visit. Although NJ is small, the north and south are very different. For example, a large sandwich in the northern region is called a "sub" and in the south the same sandwich is referred to as a "hoagie." The north identifies with New York culture while the south has a strong connection to Philadelphia. This loyalty extends to professional sports teams too. Ignoring these small differences may come off as very rude.

New Jersey natives are very aware of stereotypes fueled by popular television shows such as Jersey Shore and The Sopranos, and can be rather sensitive about how outsiders perceive them. Don't assume everyone from New Jersey is rude, loud, uneducated, etc. Making blanket statements about New Jersey can be rude and will most likely be met with hostility and shunning from locals. On the contrary, most people in New Jersey are remarkably polite and extremely friendly often in a sarcastic but well-intentioned way.

Life in New Jersey moves at a fast pace! A lot of the bustling and quickness stems from the fact that NJ is a densely populated state, squished between two massive metropolitan areas. "Taking it slowly," which is common in other areas of the country, may be met with impatience or even anger. However, if you are looking for a slower pace in New Jersey, the shore towns and the southern end of the state (south of Atlantic City and many towns east of the Garden State Parkway) can be more relaxed as it is more seasonal and more of a vacation area.

Go next[edit]

  • New York — One of the benefits of visiting New Jersey is that you're very close to New York City, which lies just across the Hudson River. Further afield is upstate New York, a generally rural and very beautiful area with a distinct culture.
  • PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia is just across the Delaware River. Both Interstate 80 and Interstate 78 will take you through Northeastern Pennsylvania to the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley respectively, where there are many things to do year round.
  • Delaware — New Jersey's southern neighbor was the first state to ratify the Constitution (hence its nickname of the "First State") and offers an urban experience in its northern parts while providing a rural experience to the south.



This region travel guide to New Jersey is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.