New Jersey is a quirky state, with urban concentration and resort areas along the coast and dense wilderness in its heart. It is a very densely populated state, but its beautiful coastal beaches give way to forested inlands that are home to an astonishing array of wildlife. New Jersey is also in close proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia, giving it added appeal as a destination for an extended vacation.
Some of the state's most popular cities and attractions include:
- Atlantic City: A popular escape for adults looking for some thrills, Atlantic City offers a plethora of casinos, clubs and delicious cuisine, not to mention a beautiful beach. One of the most popular New Jersey museums, the Atlantic City Historical Museum, is located here.
- The Jersey Shore: A favorite vacation destination long before the TV show came along, the Jersey Shore is a summertime playground filled with fun, sand, surf and excitement, particularly for younger revelers.
- The Pine Barrens: About one-third of the area of the state is covered in thick, mysterious forests known as the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Exploring this unique geographic feature is a must for nature lovers.
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: Enjoy some relaxing time on the banks of the Delaware River by heading to this popular park for a picnic, a day of hiking, or just to enjoy the sunshine away from the hustle and bustle of the coast.
- Ocean City: The ultimate family getaway, Ocean City features a ribbon boardwalk that offers carnival rides, saltwater taffy and street performers. Winding along the gleaming shore, Ocean City is also home to numerous New Jersey aquariums, and Gillian's, one of the most popular water parks in New Jersey.
Summer is high season for New Jersey vacations; it's when the coastal resorts fill up with visitors and the state comes alive with activity. It's also the best time of year to take advantage of the many New Jersey cruises that visit Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore.
To truly experience the best New Jersey has to offer, a vacation rental such as a condo or beach rental is the perfect way to make the most of your holiday. If you want to stick around a while, you can also get an affordable summer rental in any of the state's vacation hotspots.
If you want to explore more of the U.S. east coast, you're in luck if you're in New Jersey. The cosmopolitan allure of both New York City and Philadelphia are a short and easy drive from just about anywhere in New Jersey.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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