There are 564 municipalities in New Jersey. That includes our largest cities (Newark and Jersey City), a long list of medium-sized towns, cities and boroughs, and dozens of small towns. How, you may ask, did the editors at New Jersey Monthly narrow down this list to just a dozen towns?
It was tough, but we considered a variety of factors. First, all of the towns are the kinds of places you just don’t want to leave. They have small-town beauty and charm, and interesting people running their businesses; unique places to shop; culture in the form of theaters, movie houses or galleries; and plenty of terrific restaurants (this is New Jersey, after all).
Our list of towns should satisfy both day-trippers and New Jerseyans looking for a weekend getaway. They are places where activities and fun are to be had. We provide hotel recommendations for each town, too, so that you know where to stay.
We also made a concerted effort to represent North, Central and South Jersey, so that New Jerseyans from all areas of the state would be able to enjoy our recommendations without traveling too far.
Read all about these 12 towns—and start planning your next trip—below.
Visitors to Burlington, which was gloriously settled along the Delaware in 1677, can immerse themselves in Burlington’s vibrant culture and history, charming downtown shopping district, waterfront area, and exciting events and festivals. READ MORE
If you close your eyes and picture a quaint, historic town, that’s Chester. Explore the charming downtown, farms and hiking trails. READ MORE
Even if you’ve never visited Clinton, you’ve certainly seen it. The town’s picturesque Red Mill, perched alongside the South Branch of the Raritan River, is one of New Jersey’s most photographed sites. Follow our guide for a great day trip or weekend getaway in Clinton. READ MORE
You will give yourself away as an outsider if you fail to use two syllables when pronouncing the first word of this Ocean County hamlet—as in FORK-ed River. Here, the water is the main draw—enjoy a day on a chartered fishing boat, restaurants along the water and more. READ MORE
You’ll find an eclectic mix of residential neighborhoods tucked into the cliffs that give the town its name, plus a plethora of restaurants and shops. READ MORE
The lake, New Jersey’s biggest, is the center of activities all year, with skating and ice fishing in the winter and swimming and boating in the summer. No matter what month you visit, there’s always fun to be had. READ MORE
If you are an artist or a sailor, or someone who loves Victorian architecture and beautiful water views, you will be enchanted by Island Heights. READ MORE
Everyone from antique lovers to outdoorsy types to art enthusiasts will have a great time in Lambertville. READ MORE
Enjoy the beauty of nature in this Union County borough. READ MORE
The best part of Ocean Grove is taking in the town itself, which boasts the country’s greatest conglomeration of Victorian architecture, from the summer tents that surround the Great Auditorium to tiny porched cottages to mansions. READ MORE
A walkable downtown, al fresco dining and a nearly century-old theater make Pitman a destination worth visiting. READ MORE
Spring Lake has pristine beaches, great downtowns shops and charming restaurants. READ MORE