It might seem like spring break is still a while away, but we all know how fast time flies during the semester. All too many times, I’ve saved my planning until the last second, which usually results in me staying at home and doing nothing for the full week. Don’t fall into the same trap; plan ahead this year!
The common sentiment regarding spring break travels is that you have to go far to have a good time; some of the most popular destinations are Florida, Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Las Vegas—but these trips can be costly. The truth is, you don’t have to travel far to have a good spring break. There are plenty of exciting, scenic, and interactive places to visit right here in New Jersey! Here are some cool spots to check out this spring break:
- American dream
Where: East Rutherford, NJ
Best for: waterpark, theme park, shopping, family-friendly
American Dream is a one-stop shop for indoor family entertainment with attractions ranging from theme parks to luxury shopping to ice skating! American Dream is home to Nickelodeon Universe, the Western Hemisphere’s largest indoor theme park, and the DreamWorks Water Park, the largest indoor waterpark in North America. You can also find Big Snow, the first and only indoor year-round real snow and ski resort in North America. For a full day of access with unlimited rides, tickets start at $69 for Nickelodeon Universe, $79 for DreamWorks Water Park, and $90 for Big Snow (2-hour slope access, rentals included). In addition to these parks, American Dream also holds multiple mini golf courses, the Sea Life aquarium, the Legoland Discovery Center, an escape room, an indoor wave pool for surfing, and an ice rink, among the many shops and restaurants available. There is sure to be something for everyone!
- Grounds for sculpture
Where: Hamilton, NJ
Best for: art, gardens, family-friendly
According to the website, “Grounds for Sculpture is a museum, sculpture garden, and arboretum where art and nature are always at play.” It features almost 300 sculptures set up across 42 acres and holds temporary exhibitions indoors. Grounds for Sculpture is perfect for a date spot or a day trip with family. General Admission tickets cost $12 for adults, $10 for children 6-17, and are free for children under 5 years old. Grounds for Sculpture is currently housing the Night Forms: Infinite Wave exhibition, featuring a multi-sensory light and sound experience. The exhibition is available from Thursday to Sunday, from sunset to 11:00 pm. Prices for the Night Forms exhibition range from $28 for adults, $22 for students (aged 6-17), and free for children under the age of 5.
- lambertville/ new hope
Where: Lambertville, NJ
Best for: antiques, small shops, walkable
Founded in 1705, Lambertville is known for its many antique shops, galleries, and coffee spots on the banks of the Delaware River. This quaint town is very walkable, so you can enjoy looking at the shops and townhouses that line the streets and complement the town’s rich history. On Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market is open, a so-called “gold mine” for finding antiques, collectibles, art, and more. Additionally, across the river from Lambertville lies New Hope, Pennsylvania. New Hope is another charming town with a similar atmosphere you can explore if you’d like to see more of what the area has to offer.
- Lakota wolf preserve/howling woods farm
Best for: nature, photography, wildlife
The Lakota Wolf Preserve is a wolf preserve run by Jim Stein and Becky Mace. The preserve is home to four packs of wolves, foxes, a bobcat, and a linx. The Lakota Wolf Preserve runs two kinds of tours: the Educational Wolf Watch tours, which are conducted in groups and are family-friendly, and the Wildlife and Wolf Photography tours, a private tour conducted with a guide to photograph the wolves. Educational tours run at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm for around 75 minutes, and tickets cost $15 for adults and $7 for children up to 11 years old. Tour reservations should be made online. Guided Photography tours cost $300 and last two hours. Photographers may bring up to one additional guest for $50, and must book their session by phone or email.
Similarly, Howling Woods Farm is home to a little over a dozen wolves and wolfdogs with whom guests may interact. Visitors must schedule an appointment in advance over the phone. A minimum donation of $30 for adults and $15 for children between the ages of 10-12 is required. This is another great opportunity to see and interact with wildlife you don’t see daily!
- Hidden spring Lavendar and Alpacas – farm & gift shoppe
Where: Skillman, NJ
Best for: animals, photography, gift shopping
Hidden Spring Lavender is a lavender and alpaca farm and gift shop. The two owners sell lavender products from lotions and creams to lavender wreaths. Everything is handmade and grown right on the farm. Hidden Spring Lavender and Alpacas is a popular birthday party, shower, and wedding venue as well. Additionally, the farm is home to several adorable alpacas with whom visitors can interact, feed, and walk. The Hidden Spring Lavender and Alpaca Farm is open on Saturdays from 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Visits to the farm do not need an appointment and are free, but donations are welcome; alpaca walking requires a reservation and costs $20 per person.
- Mitsuwa Marketplace
Where: Edgewater, NJ
Best for: shopping, food
The Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater is a Japanese grocery store with plenty of dining options, surrounded by other well-known Japanese shops. Inside the market are dining options such as ramen, tempura bowls, seafood bento, and Japanese cuisine. There is also a bakery, an ice cream shop, a snack bar, an onigiri (rice ball) shop, two Japanese confectionaries, a crepe cafe, and a Japanese pickle shop. Mitsuwa also has an arcade, and located nearby is a Daiso, Kinokuniya bookstore, bubble tea store (Umacha), and Shiseido. If you like Japanese culture and food, this is a great place to spend the day!
Where: Morristown, NJ
Best for: history, nature, walkable
As one of the many historical sites in New Jersey, Morristown boasts rich historical ties to the Revolutionary Era and has a lively downtown area with plenty of options for shopping and dining. Complete the free and self-guided, 27-stop tour of Morristown by walking or driving some of the famous historical sites such as the Morristown Green, Macculloch Hall Historical Museum and Gardens, Schuyler-Hamilton House Museum, Ford Mansion, Fosterfields Living Historical Park, Morristown National Historic Park and more. History is not all Morristown has to offer, as it has many scenic trails and destinations. Downtown, the streets are lined with shops and restaurants where you can leisurely get to know the city’s more modern aspects. Morristown is also home to the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States when George Washington gave his Irish militiamen a day off in recognition of their support in 1780. In keeping with the tradition, Morristown is hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 11th from 12:00-3:00 pm, so check it out!
- Cape may
Where: Cape May, NJ
Best for: beaches, history, zoo, architecture
Cape May, located at New Jersey’s southernmost point, has a lot to offer. From atop the Cape May Lighthouse or World War II Lookout Tower, one can see beautiful views of the ocean and Delaware Bay. Across the city, restaurants with fresh seafood and ocean-front dining can be found. The city of Cape May is a National Historic District, with hundreds of preserved Victorian buildings and several museums, such as the Harriet Tubman Museum, Cape May Maritime Museum, and Emlen Physick Estate. If you’re interested in baseball, the Carriage House at the Emlen Physick Estate will feature the Carroll Gallery Exhibit: “Throw Like A Girl: Women In Baseball” until March 26th. The Nature Center of Cape May, which features an observation tower and themed gardens, and the Cape May County Park & Zoo are both great destinations for children. If you like shopping, Cape May is also home to the Washington Street Mall, a pleasant outdoor walking mall with many activities, restaurants, and small shops.
With everything New Jersey has to offer, there is sure to be something for everyone! Hopefully, this short list has given you some ideas for what to do during spring break, or even for a shorter weekend getaway!