52 Things You Must Do in New Jersey

The best places and experiences to check off your list in 2022.

Beach Plum Farm
Beach Plum Farm is a gem nestled in West Cape May. Photo by Jessica Orlowicz

To enhance the 52 weeks in your year, we at New Jersey Monthly are giving you 52 thrilling, quirky, only-in-New Jersey experiences to try (or revisit) in 2022. Ever been to Cowtown, Jersey’s secret rodeo? Seen the dazzling art at Luna Parc? Sat at Tony Soprano’s table at Holsten’s?

The question “What should we do this weekend?” just became more fun to answer.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

1. DELIGHT ON THE GROUNDS

Never been to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton? Place it at the top of your list. The 42-acre sculpture park blends peaceful pathways with installations of large-scale works by contemporary sculptors and the eye-popping sculpted tableaux by Seward Johnson, the park’s founder. A dozen resident peacocks add to the enchantment. Start (or end) your visit with a taste of French home cooking at Rat’s Restaurant. The park is open Thursday-Monday year-round and is a treat in any season; timed tickets are required.
—Ken Schlager

2. WALK IN A WACKY ART WONDERLAND

If the devil is in the details, Ricky Boscarino is one devil of an artist. Luna Parc, his home, workshop and ever-changing magnum opus in Montague, is crammed with details that dazzle, delight and sometimes confound. The house and environs give new meaning to the term adaptive reuse, as in a hut ablaze with bottles and a pathway dotted with bowling balls. Luna Parc is open to the public several weekends a year. —Leslie Garisto Pfaff

3. TAP YOUR TOES IN THE PINELANDS

Every Saturday night, the Pinelands Cultural Society in Waretown presents a lineup of live country and bluegrass artists, many from the Pine Barrens area. The all-acoustic shows take place at Albert Music Hall, an air-conditioned, indoor pavilion built in 1997 to replace a venue that burned down in 1992. Most shows feature five different acts from 6:30-9 pm. At $5 per ticket, it’s an old-fashioned bargain. —KS

4. SADDLE UP FOR FUN

Cowtown Rodeo

Cowtown Rodeo is one of New Jersey’s must-attend spots. Photo by Bill Streicher/billstreicher.com

Here’s a secret: New Jersey has a rodeo. Said to be the longest-running weekly event of its kind in the country, the 90-year-old Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove presents classic cowboy kicks and tricks on Saturday nights from Memorial Day weekend through September. See bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle-bronc riding, bareback riding, team roping and barrel racing—and be sure to grab piping-hot roasted peanuts before taking your seat. —Olivia Beach

5. HIT THE JACKPOT IN ATLANTIC CITY

Not much about the Jersey Shore is a gamble, but in the state’s gaming mecca, the beaches are often a side bet. Look to Atlantic City for a vibrant array of entertainment, from slots and Blackjack to top-notch restaurants and rocking music venues, upscale hotels to the bustling Boardwalk. Want more? Check out the arcades, hit a plush spa, or take the kids to the IMAX Theatre. —Deborah P. Carter

6. BASK IN THE BARD

See Shakespeare as he was meant to be seen at the Outdoor Stage of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Nestled in a hillside on the campus of Saint Elizabeth University in Florham Park, the grass-and-stone amphitheater seats 400 and offers views through towering evergreens. But come summer evenings, all eyes turn to the stage, where actors serve up the best of the Bard. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets go on sale in January. —Monica Cardoza

7. DRINK FROM A GLASS THAT’S ALWAYS FULL

Glassmaking has been a South Jersey tradition for more than 300 years, and the Museum of American Glass in Millville explores that creative, colorful history. Artifacts range from a mid-1700s food jar made in Alloway to the world’s largest glass bottle, which stands at 7 feet, 8 inches tall. The complex, part of WheatonArts and Cultural Center, is belatedly celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special exhibit this year. —Tom Wilk

Eduardo Kobra’s David Bowie mural in Jersey City.

8. EXPERIENCE JERSEY CITY’S ART SCENE

Jersey City’s burgeoning art scene can’t be contained in its studios, though places like 150 Bay Street in the Powerhouse Arts District and Mana Contemporary—which offers studio tours you can book online—are great places to start. You can also spend a whole day walking (or driving the 21 square miles) around Jersey City and taking in the murals and street art (including Eduardo Kobra’s well-known David Bowie piece) for which the area is famous. Visit jcmap.org/our-murals for a virtual map. —Falyn Stempler

9. GET A NOSTALGIC FIX AT THE DRIVE-IN

Once an American cultural staple, drive-in theaters abounded nationwide, reaching their peak during the 1950s with more than 4,000 sites. Today, a handful remain, with several in the Garden State. Built in 1949 and reopened in 2004, the Delsea Drive-In, located in Vineland, offers single and double features on weekend nights from spring into fall for $11–$22. Newer to the scene is Newark Moonlight Cinema, which opened in 2020 and aims to promote the work of Black actors and filmmakers. Most locations are seasonal, including Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, Barnegat Summer Drive-In Movies and Cranford Theater Drive-In. —Falyn Stempler

FOOD & DRINK

10. INDULGE IN MIND-BLOWING BREAD AND BUTTER

Carb central at Jersey City’s Razza. Bryan Anselm

Razza in Jersey City is famed for its pizza, but chef/owner Dan Richer puts the same care into bread and butter ($8). He bakes the loaves from a mix of three different flours from a sourdough starter he has fed daily since creating it in 2008 from wild yeasts gathered in Hunterdon County. He churns the butter from organic cream. “I liken butter to cheese,” he says. “I think butter can have that same appeal.” Next project? Aged butters. —Eric Levin

11. DRINK YOUR APPLE A DAY

At Ironbound Farm, the 108-acre regenerative farm and cidery in the rural heart of Hunterdon County, the tasting room and market are open year-round. Warm up with hard apple ciders and seltzers, fortified ciders (enhanced with brandy, herbs and botanicals), and cocktails, some of which feature local ingredients like Pine Barrens cranberries or farm-grown ginger. —Shelby Vittek

12. HEAD TO THE IRONBOUND

Come for the twinkly lights festooning Newark’s Ferry Street and stay for the tapas, custard cups and port. Newark’s Ironbound section is four square miles of multiethnic feasting. Classic stops include the tapas institution Mompou, the beloved bakery Teixeira’s, and Lopes Sausage, a butcher shop with an old-school salt table, for those who prefer meat preserved in salt. For Portuguese port, Lisbon Wines & Liquors is a must-visit. And don’t overlook the latest dining additions to the neighborhood scene. Dutch’s, in the Hotel Tryp, is longtime Newark tour guide Liz Del Tufo’s newest go-to. —Tammy La Gorce

13. RECREATE TONY SOPRANO’S LAST SUPPER

This famed booth at Holsten’s in Bloomfield was featured in the last episode of The SopranosPhoto by Eric Levin

An old-fashioned ice cream parlor (making its own ice cream) in Bloomfield, Holsten’s traces its history to 1939, but its place in pop culture was cemented in 2007 by the final moment of HBO’s The Sopranos, in which the camera zooms in on Tony in a booth then cuts to black. The moment is commemorated with a plaque that reads, “This booth reserved for the Soprano family.” —EL

14. GET A FOOD LOVER’S FRONT-ROW SEAT

Step inside Hearthside BYOB in Collingswood (which is one of NJM’s 30 Best Restaurants), and your nostrils relay the news: The wood-burning grill and oven propel the New American menu. Reserve a literal front-row seat among the four chairs at the counter facing the open kitchen. You’re close enough to shake hands with the chefs, and you won’t be the first to do so. —EL

DOWN THE SHORE

15. BIKE ON A BOARDWALK

Cycling on a boardwalk is a unique thrill. It’s easy (they’re all flat), scenic (the ocean is always in view) and exhilarating (thanks to the briny breezes). During the summer months, New Jersey’s oceanfront boardwalks typically limit cyclists to early morning, but in the off-season, longer hours prevail (check ahead). The Atlantic City Boardwalk—the nation’s first—provides the longest ride. You can bring your own bike or rent a beach cruiser from a local shop. —KS

16. EAT THE FRESHEST SEAFOOD

Bill Bright’s fishing vessels, Retriever and Defiance, cast off from Wildwood from spring to fall and return laden with reminders that the Garden State’s bounty doesn’t end at the shoreline. At Hooked Up Seafood’s dockside tables, people feast on the likes of mahi, tuna and swordfish, blackened or seared, in generous portions with a vegetable side. Bright’s family also farms littleneck clams. —EL

17. VISIT THE TENT COLONY

Picture a tightly knit neighborhood of 114 canvas tents attached to small wooden cottages, with tiny porches and colorful striped awnings. This summer colony in Ocean Grove, founded in 1870 as part of a Methodist retreat, offers an unexpected shot of charm near the Great Auditorium and the vibrant nightlife of Asbury Park. A perfect day trip to the area includes strolling along the streets, getting a scoop at Day’s Ice Cream, and hanging at Ocean Grove’s low-key beach. —Sharon M. Goldman

18. GO BACK IN TIME

Even if you’ve never been to Island Beach State Park, you may recognize the Judge’s Shack, so ubiquitous are images of this last of the oceanfront fishing shacks that once dotted the dunes along the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the state. You can’t go into the shack, but you can walk along the beach and try to capture its regal and rustic countenance with your own camera. Park at lot 13, follow the trail up the dune, walk down to the beach, and head north, marveling at what all of the Jersey Shore once looked like. —Kevin Coyne

19. SEE THE WINDMILL AT WINDMILL

You know you’ve arrived at the original WindMill restaurant in West End, Long Branch, because a replica windmill with blades about 20 feet long stands on its roof. Decades ago, the blades actually turned, says owner Rena Levine Levy. (In 2015, when the blades were stationary, a winter storm sheared them right off.) At nine inches, the WindMill dog, a pork-beef blend, is lengthy itself and is sold nationally. —EL

20. PLAY A MEAN PINBALL

Silverball Museum Arcade is a family-friendly stop in Asbury Park. Courtesy of Charles Acosta/pinballphotos.com

Enter Asbury Park’s Silverball Museum Arcade, and the blinking lights and clanging bells make it immediately clear that this is no fussy, quiet showplace. Instead, armed with an entry pass that replaces quarters and tokens, kids of all ages can play nonstop classic pinball games and other arcade games—from Skee-Ball to Pac-Man. —SMG

21. VISIT THE SANDY HOOK LIGHTHOUSE

At the tip of Sandy Hook’s thin peninsula in Highlands, which juts into the southern end of New York Harbor, the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse—which was first lit in 1964 and is still in use today—stands tall. In fact, the beacon atop the octagon-shaped tower, which sits on the grounds of the decommissioned Fort Hancock, has only been darkened during the Civil War, Spanish-American War and two World Wars. —SMG

22. CHECK OUT THE CHICKENS

Tucked away at the end of a sandy road in West Cape May is Beach Plum Farm, a working farm that supplies various items to prominent restaurants in the area and also serves breakfast and lunch from an Amish barn to guests at indoor and outdoor tables. The bar loft is home to a tiny shop of housewares and local products, while fresh-from the-chicken eggs, produce, meats, wine, herbs and honey are also for sale. Guests are welcome to sit around and relax at the firepit, take a tour of the farm, or stroll along the grounds, where chickens also roam freely. For a more immersive experience, Beach Plum Farm offers cottages for overnight stays. —Amanda Staab

SHOPPING & WELLNESS

23. CULTURE SHOP

Devoted to all things Japanese, Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater is like your first taste of wasabi: exciting and a bit overwhelming. In its gleaming supermarket aisles, you’ll find massive daikon radishes and squat kabocha pumpkins, gemlike salmon roe and culinary exotica like eggs poached in the shell. Specialty shops proffer elegant crockery and kawaii (“cute”) everything (otter-shaped pencil cases, Pikachu surgical masks). And then there’s the food court, with its dizzying selection of Japanese fast(ish) food, from ramen and katsu to bean-filled pancakes and mochi donuts. —LGP

24. TREASURE HUNT

Charming and walkable, Lambertville is a great town for antiquing—from stores with high-end furnishings to multi-vendor spots with statuary, art, jewelry and more. Weekends and Wednesdays, the huge, year-round, outdoor Golden Nugget Flea Market is also worth a visit. —DPC

25. STRETCH IN THE SAND

If the thought of exercising outdoors, with the sun on your face and the soothing sound of waves in the distance, is appealing, yoga on the beach is for you. Bring a towel, water and sunscreen, and get ready for downward dogs in the sand. Classes typically run about $10. A list of offerings is at myareayoga.com. —Jacqueline Mroz

26. BROWSE AND BUY

Brand names abound at the shops at American Dream, the massive East Rutherford mall that is also home to attractions including a water park and an aquarium. Fashionistas will delight in Hermes, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton—and the list goes on! —DPC

27. GET READY TO RENOVATE

Old-house lovers, DIY buffs and designers will love perusing the finds at Salvage Angel in Asbury Park, where 20,000 square feet of vintage architectural items like doorknobs, railings, plumbing fixtures and windows await new homes. —DPC

28. SAY AHH AT THE SPA

Indulge in some self-care at Edgewater’s SoJo Spa. Photo by Ella Ross

SoJo Spa in Edgewater is an eight-level oasis of relaxation with seven saunas and multiple indoor and outdoor whirlpools. Open daily until midnight, the outdoor baths and rooftop infinity pool offer stellar views of Manhattan. Along with the saunas and whirlpools, you can partake in body treatments for an extra fee. —DPC

SPORTS & GAMES

29. ARRIVE AND DRIVE

Take a spin around the track at Millville’s Motorsports Park. Mike Woeller/Wind Shadow Studios

If fast and furious is your M.O., visit New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville for a 15-minute Arrive & Drive Go-Kart session on 1.1-mile Tempest Raceway. You’ll be given a brief overview of the kart, plus a helmet, neck brace, fireproof suit and gloves, before being let loose for 15–20 laps around the track. “The karts can hit 55 or 60 miles per hour, but top speed depends on how well you negotiate the turns,” says the park’s Brandon Schulhof. Drivers must be at least 13 years of age and 5 feet tall, and while walk-ins are accepted, reservations take precedence. —Lindsay Berra

30. SEE A DEVILS HOCKEY GAME

Named for the creature that—as legend has it—roams the Pine Barrens, these hockey-playing Devils call Newark’s Prudential Center home. The team has been playing in the Garden State since 1982 and is the only major professional sports team that proudly features New Jersey in its name (the Jets and Giants go with New York, despite playing at the Meadowlands). Rivalry matchups with the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers are always a treat, as are the many Jersey Shore–inspired concessions available at The Boardwalk in Section 126. —Gary Phillips

31. PUTTER AROUND

Modeled after the famed Himalayas putting course at St. Andrews in Scotland, the Pynes Putting Course at the USGA Museum in Far Hills has just enough slopes and troughs to make it a challenge—even for the most-capable putters. Choose from one of two historic golf-ball replicas (the bramble or the square mesh) and one of four historic putters, and start reading the greens. The holes range in length from about 25 to 50 feet; each is a par 2. All of the holes are challenging, although some more than others. The greens fee is $5. The course is closed in winter, but typically reopens in March, depending on the weather. When you go, plan to check out the museum, too. —KS

32. GO OFF TO THE RACES

It’s a sure bet that tens of thousands of steeplechase fans will descend on Somerset County for the 101st Annual Far Hills Races each October, rain or shine. Revelers flock to this equestrian-themed affair, a nationally televised event, to enjoy tailgating, people watching and pari-mutuel horse-race wagering. Since the tradition began in 1870, the National Steeplechase Association event has raised more than $18 million to support local health care organizations. Individual tailgating spots and private tents are available. Avoid traffic by taking the train to Far Hills and walking to the nearby event. This year’s event is set to take place on October 15. —Susan Brierly Bush

HISTORY & SCIENCE

33. CHANNEL EINSTEIN AT PRINCETON

With its Collegiate Gothic architecture, lush landscaping and crisscrossing footpaths perfect for pondering, Princeton University gets obvious props as the Garden State’s only Ivy League university campus. But the charming town surrounding the school is also chock-full of historic attractions (be sure to check out Albert Einstein’s house at 112 Mercer Street, where Einstein lived from 1935 until his death in 1955) and delicious food choices (the Bent Spoon has been serving up award-winning farm-to-spoon ice cream since 2004). Then there is the (unfortunately) currently closed Princeton University Art Museum, which is expected to reopen in 2024 with a bold new building designed by architect David Adjaye. We can’t wait to start exploring. —SMG

34. BRIDGE THE HISTORY GAP

The last privately owned toll bridge across the Delaware River, Dingmans Bridge is a throwback to the days before E-ZPass. The two-lane span links Sussex County with Pike County, Pennsylvania. A toll taker collects the toll by hand ($1 each way, cash only) on the Pennsylvania side. The 530-foot wrought-iron truss bridge dates to August 1900. For the thrill of the crossing, take Route 15 North to Route 206 North toward Layton, and follow the signs to the bridge. —KS

35. RELIVE THAT FAMED DUEL

Experience the Hamilton-Burr saga in two acts. Up along the cliff that rises north of the Lincoln Tunnel helix, along a quiet, shady street in Weehawken with a postcard view of Manhattan, is a vest-pocket memorial park with a bust of Alexander Hamilton. It was below this spot in 1804, on the dueling grounds down near the Hudson River, that Aaron Burr fired the shot that still rings so loudly on Broadway, and that killed Hamilton. Drive a little more than an hour south, and you can see where Burr eventually ended up 32 ignominious years later—buried in Princeton Cemetery. —KC

36. LET YOUR SPIRIT SOAR

When Pope John Paul II visited New Jersey in 1995—the only time a pope has ever visited the state, whose population is proportionally among the most Catholic in the nation—he made two public stops: Giants Stadium for a Springsteen-scale Mass, and the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, a soaring, granite, French Gothic edifice with twin bell towers that New Jerseyans are often surprised to learn is the fifth largest cathedral in North America. —KC

37. EXPERIMENT AND EXPLORE

The Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium is the biggest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Courtesy of Liberty Science Center

The massive, 300,000-square-foot Liberty Science Center makes learning about science fun for both kids and adults. Almost everything in the space is interactive, from the beloved Touch Tunnel to a live-animal display with 110 species. Liberty Science Center is also home to the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, an 88-million-pixel dome. —OB

38. LIGHT UP WITH EDISON

Discover the place where modern America was molded at the corner of Main Street and Lakeside Avenue in West Orange. Take a tour of the Edison Laboratory Complex, which preserves original phonographs, motion picture cameras, electrical fixtures and other trappings used by Edison and his workers from 1887 to 1931. Also, walk through Glenmont, Edison’s 29-room, red-brick Victorian estate filled with mostly original interiors and family keepsakes. —OB

39. MEET A WAR HERO

The Battleship New Jersey in Camden is the most decorated in Navy history and saw action in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Middle East. The ship has an overall length of 887 feet, 7 inches—and the Fire Power self-guided tour route covers 1.5 miles, so history buffs should plan on at least 90 minutes for a visit. —LB

OUTDOORS & NATURE

40. FIND POWER IN FLOWERS

Hillsborough’s Duke Farms boasts a breathtaking Orchid Range. Photo by Laura Moss

Tropical flowers abloom in New Jersey? It happens all year long at the Orchid Range, a stunning glass-and-steel conservatory at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, the 2,740-acre estate that was once home to tobacco heiress Doris Duke. Some 1,300 brilliantly colorful orchid varieties thrive in the Orchid Range’s two LEED Platinum-certified buildings. Thanks to the large variety, plenty of orchids are always in bloom, whatever the season. When visiting, you can also stroll or cycle the miles of paved trails that weave around the park-like estate’s naturalized landscape. The Orchid Range is open daily, but winter weather can cause occasional closings. —KS

41. CHEER THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

For about two weeks every April, the nation’s largest concentration of cherry trees bursts into magnificent pink-and-white bloom in Branch Brook Park, a 360-acre urban oasis straddling Newark and Belleville. Essex County celebrates this arboreal pageant with its annual Cherry Blossom Festival, tentatively scheduled this year for April 2–10. You can join in a bike race (April 2), a 10K fun run (April 3), family day (April 9), or BloomFest, a parkwide celebration that includes entertainment, vendors and food trucks (April 10). Or just stroll at your own pace among the blossoming beauties. —KS

42. FLOAT OVER THE MEADOWLANDS

Towering phragmites waving in the breeze welcome visitors as they step onto the half-mile floating boardwalk beneath the Marsh Discovery Trail sign at Richard W. DeKorte Park, a former landfill and today a thriving nature reserve in the Meadowlands. If the tide is high, you may feel a gentle rocking motion on the walkway as it advances through the tidal marsh, where long-legged white egrets fish for their dinner and diamondback terrapins sun themselves. Benches provide the perfect perch to scan for birds, all against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. Stay for the sunset, and investigate the other three miles of easy walking paths. —MC

43. WALK WITH DINOSAURS

A colony of prehistoric beasts—built not from fossils but from from branches, animal bones and leaves by New Jersey artist Robin Ruggiero—can be found off the pink-blazed, 1.3-mile Boy Scout Trail at the east end of the group campsite at Allaire State Park in Farmingdale. After visiting the dinosaur trail’s unique and visually stunning Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, pterodactyl and stegosaurus, be sure to check out Allaire Village, a 19th-century iron-making town, and take a ride on the narrow-gauge Pine Creek Railroad. The park also features miles of other marked, multi-use trails, fishing on the Manasquan River, and a visitor’s center and museum. —LB

44. GO TO GREAT HEIGHTS

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The highest point in New Jersey? At 1,803 feet above sea level, that would be the appropriately named High Point State Park. It’s also the Garden State’s northwesternmost point—and it’s a thrill to visit. Drive into Wantage’s 16,000-acre state park and head straight to the top. It’s a short uphill walk from the upper parking lot to the 220-foot-tall New Jersey Veterans’ Memorial monument. Walk around the monument’s base for a spectacular 360-degree view across New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. The interior of the monument is open on weekends from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The intrepid can climb the 291 steps to the top for an even more breathtaking view. —KS

45. BE ONE WITH THE RIVER

Tubing on the Delaware River is the ultimate summertime water play for those aged six and over. The adventure begins at the Cooley Tract of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park on Route 29 in Kingwood, where outfitters from outdoors retailer Big Bear Gear in Lambertville rent gear and launch you and your tube into the river. Look for eagles, fish, turtles, and a short stretch of Class 1 rapids as you spend your day on the water. The 5-mile trip lasts between 90 minutes and three hours, depending on the current, and a shuttle returns you to your car. Take the time to register early to ensure your choice of tube (closed or open bottom) and accessories such as a cooler carrier. —MC

46. WITNESS A WONDER

Since the Great Falls in Paterson became part of the National Park System a decade ago, more people have found their way to this hidden natural wonder, a sight that should be mandatory viewing for every New Jerseyan. The vertiginous footbridge across it, familiar as a body-disposal site to fans of The Sopranos, is closed now, as is Libby’s Lunch, the legendary neighboring hot dog spot whose famed Texas wieners were a highlight of Great Fallls visits for decades. But open nearby is the Paterson Museum, a sprawling, colorful repository of the history of the industrial city that arose around the Passaic River.
—KC

47. FLOCK TO THE BIRDS

A prothonotary warbler is just one of many feathered creatures you might spot at the Cape May Bird Observatory. Photo by JasonYoder/Shutterstock

Some birds live in New Jersey. Others think it’s a great place to visit. Most seem to gravitate toward Cape May. You don’t have to be an accomplished bird-watcher to enjoy the show they stage at the Cape May Bird Observatory. Birding is always in season, but the spring and fall migrations offer the most jaw-dropping sightings, as thousands of high-flying birds check in at the Cape May peninsula for a little rest and relaxation. Take a self-guided tour, or book a guided walk or boat tour on the observatory website.
—KS

48. DANCE WITH THE WOLVES

As visitors arrive like clockwork for a morning tour at Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, several powerful but serene-looking wolves prowl inside their enclosures. Jim Stein, who owns the preserve and cares for the animals with his wife, Becky Mace, leads the tour. Here, Stein delivers his entertaining and informative talk while tossing snacks over the 9-foot fences to keep the wolves engaged. At a visit last fall, 15 gray wolves (of various subspecies and colors) were in residence. The preserve provides tours and guided photo sessions year-round, weather permitting. —KS

49. GO UNDER THE SEA

Delight in underwater creatures at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium. © Adam Monacelli/USA TODAY NETWORK

Urchins, stingrays and sharks—not only can you gaze at them in their watery habitats, but at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium, you can pet all three. In fact, everything at this 8,000-square-foot facility was designed to bring visitors closer to its 15,000-plus aquatic and semiaquatic animals. Diminutive critters like salamanders and clownfish shimmy just out of reach behind glass portholes, and larger water-dwellers, like hammerheads, are never far from the glass walls enclosing them (including the apex predators swimming above and alongside you in the Shark Tunnel). Feeling adventurous? Walk the rope bridge over shark-infested waters. Or just pull up a rocking chair and gaze out at the Delaware—a reminder that water—and its denizens—really are all around us. —LGP

50. EXPLORE BY BOAT

The Delaware and Raritan Canal is a watery old shipping corridor that has been transformed into a long, narrow, snaking state park popular with runners, walkers and bikers. But a kayak or canoe lets you travel the canal itself the way it was meant to be traveled. The canal looks like a river, but it moves so slowly that you can paddle it like a lake, so you can make a round trip from a single launch spot. An easy, pleasant, shady journey starts at Princeton or Griggstown; rentals are available at both places. —KC

51. REFLECT AND REMEMBER

A swath of greenery and cobblestone surrounded on three sides by the Hudson River in the northeast portion of Jersey City’s Liberty State Park is a tranquil, out-of-the-way spot to watch the setting sun beautifully illuminate Lower Manhattan. The area is also a place to quietly reflect and remember, as it is the home of the powerful Empty Sky memorial honoring the 749 New Jersey residents who lost their lives on 9/11. —MC

52. CHECK OUT A CRANBERRY BOG

Just a short drive down a dirt-and-gravel road delivers you back in time to a restored cranberry farm from the 1870s. At the 90-acre Cloverdale Farm County Park in Barnegat, a replica of the original farmhouse that today serves as the visitor center (open Friday–Sunday) introduces visitors to the farm’s history. Then it’s off on a 1.4-mile, level, sandy, self-guided trail past the cranberry sorting house and around several cranberry bogs. Be sure to print out the self-guided nature-trail map before you go (you never know about cell phone reception in a bog). —MC


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