New Jersey is one of the best-kept secrets in the USA when it comes to activities and attractions accessible without cost. From beaches to parks to cultural experiences and more, there are plenty of amazing, free things to do in NJ–often without even leaving your own backyard.
From popular attractions to ideas for exploring your own state, we’ll explore what makes NJ so special and provide a comprehensive list of the top 9 best free activities and attractions you can find there.
So, whether you’re a non-Jersey local planning a visit to the Garden State, or a true NJ local looking to get the most out of your own state, keep reading to learn more!
What Are the Popular Attractions in New Jersey?
New Jersey is a state filled with amazing sights to explore. From bustling cities and stunning natural areas to world-class museums and amusement parks, NJ offers plenty of attractions for residents and visitors alike.
Some of the most popular attractions include Cape May County Park & Zoo, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, Princeton University, Liberty State Park, and more.
Cape May County Park & Zoo
Cape May County Park & Zoo is one of the few in the country that has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Located in New Jersey, this zoo has over 550 animals from all around the world. Some of their biggest hits with visitors are their lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). But they have tons of other animals, like warthogs, chimpanzees, macaws, and bald eagles too!
New Jersey State Museum
The New Jersey State Museum is one of the finest museums in the country. It is located in Trenton and has a wide variety of exhibits, including a planetarium. The museum also offers many educational programs for children and adults alike.
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Atlantic City’s Boardwalk
Atlantic City’s Boardwalk is much more than just a place to walk. It’s a place where tourists and locals can come to relax, have fun, and take in the sights and sounds of the city.
It’s a vibrant destination known for its nightlife and world-class casinos.
The Boardwalk was first built in 1870, and it has been a major attraction in Atlantic City ever since. It stretches for nearly five miles along the Beachfront, making it one of the longest boardwalks in the world. Visitors can enjoy plenty of activities along the way, including shopping, dining, entertainment, and even gambling at one of the many casinos.
Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun or take a stroll under the stars, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk is definitely worth a visit.
Princeton University in Princeton
Princeton University is one of the nation’s most prestigious academic institutions. It’s located in Princeton, New Jersey, and is a private Ivy League research university.
Founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.
The school moved to Newark in 1747, then to Nassau Hall on its current site ten years later. It was renamed Princeton University in 1896.
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Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park is one of the most prominent parks in New Jersey. The park is located on 1,212 acres (4.9 km2) of land along the Hudson River in Jersey City, adjacent to Ellis Island and Liberty Island.
Liberty State Park was opened in 1976 as part of Governor Brendan Byrne’s drive to “clean up” the waterfront area around New York Harbor.
Wings Over Water Wildlife Refuge in Oyster Creek
The Wings Over Water Wildlife Refuge in Oyster Creek is a haven for many different types of animals. The refuge provides a safe place for birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians to live and breed. There are also many different types of plants that grow in the area.
The refuge is open to the public for hiking, picnicking, fishing, and bird watching.
All Sports Museum of South Jersey
The All Sports Museum of South Jersey is located in Camden, New Jersey, and is dedicated to preserving the history of sports in the area.
The museum has a wide variety of exhibits on various sports, including baseball, basketball, football, and more.
Visitors can learn about the history of each sport and how it has impacted the local community. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults alike.
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The Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial
The Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial in New Jersey is a beautiful and moving tribute to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
The memorial features two massive walls inscribed with the names of those who were lost that day, as well as a stunning sculpture called “Passages,” which represents the Twin Towers.
The Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial is a powerful reminder of the lives lost on that fateful day and a moving tribute to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
With so many incredible sights throughout New Jersey, there is something to catch the eye – or thrill – everyone!
How to Find Free Things to Do in NJ
From the sandy beaches of the Jersey Shore to vibrant city skylines, there is no shortage of exciting things to discover and explore in New Jersey.
What’s even better is that many of these activities do not require any expense – there are numerous free activities that provide entertainment and cultural insight into the state.
To find free things to do in NJ, consider visiting outdoor landmarks such as Liberty State Park; scoping out a campus textural garden; embarking on an urban scavenger hunt; or exploring historical ruins like Ringwood Manor.
Furthermore, NJ’s abundance of parks offers accessible trails for biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing —and can even accommodate night-time stargazing!
There are also many open pavilions available throughout several townships for family picnics during the summer months. With some creativity and research, one can easily find a variety of gratifying experiences without breaking the bank!
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The Best Places to Explore in New Jersey
New Jersey is a great state to explore, with plenty of exciting free attractions. From beautiful beaches and parks to natural preserves and free-admission exhibits, there is a myriad of enthralling destinations to explore.
One excellent place to start looking is the East Coast Surfing Championships in Asbury Park. The annual event offers something for everyone, whether you’re an avid surfer or an avid spectator.
Beachgoers can also bask in the sun at Seaside Heights’ landmark boardwalk while exploring its sand sculptures and amusement park rides. Meanwhile, nature lovers can pay a visit to High Point State Park, where they will find stunning views from atop the highest peak in New Jersey.
In addition, New Jerseyan art aficionados have much to explore when visiting Newark Museum’s public galleries. Visitors can take part in art classes such as drawing and photography or appreciate the dozens of priceless antiques on display at this cultural hub! Fishermen may drop their lines off at Liberty State Park’s pier for some delicious freshwater fare without spending any money on supplies or equipment rentals.
Finally, thrill seekers may traverse through the marshy wetlands which form part of Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge located near Atlantic City; visitors could observe rare terrestrial wildlife while taking photos along pristine trails that crisscross through its forests!
Popular Cultural Experiences Available
New Jersey offers a wealth of cultural experiences for both locals and visitors to explore at no cost!
Whether it’s attending open mic nights in local theatres, exploring the gardens and walking trails in parks across the state, or visiting museums dedicated to preserving art and history, there are plenty of ways for everyone to find entertainment without emptying their wallets.
Let’s not forget about the countless events that occur throughout New Jersey. From festivals celebrating different cultures and foods to outdoor concerts featuring well-known musicians, there are plenty of opportunities for people of all ages to get out into their community and discover something new.
Moreover, New Jersey is home to a variety of free attractions that promote scientific inquiry, such as planetariums with daily astronomical shows, marine centers dedicated to conservation efforts, observatories where citizens can take part in research programs or an array of trailblazing workshops held by local academic institutions.
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Top 9 Free Activities/Attractions You Can Find in New Jersey.
New Jersey is a great destination for families and travelers alike looking for free activities and attractions to explore, with numerous options ranging from outdoor recreation and historical sites to lush parks and iconic sights.
To help you get the most out of your visit, here are the top 9 free activities/attractions in New Jersey:
- Take a stroll along popular boardwalks like Atlantic City or Wildwood;
- Enjoy an afternoon of hiking on trails at iconic spots such as High Point State Park or Stokes State Forest;
- Explore beautiful scenic drives through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area or Cape May County Park & Zoo;
- Tour historical sites like Monmouth Battlefield State Park or Princeton Battlefield State Park;
- Visit cultural institutions such as The Liberty Bell Center in Yorktowne Village or The Newark Museum in Newark City Center;
- Soak up some culture at renowned open-air museum Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton Township;
- Relax with picturesque views along Long Beach Island & Barnegat Bay Activities Pathway Trail System (LBI pathway);
- Enjoy educational outdoor adventures at Wildlife Refuge At Wall Crest State Park in Manahawkin Township;
- Have fun indoors at Land of Make Believe Amusement Park Family Entertainment Center’s Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf Course (free entrance) without breaking the
There’s no shortage of free things to do in New Jersey.
From exploring the state’s many museums and cultural attractions to discovering its incredible outdoor spaces, you’ll never find yourself bored or out of pocket.
Whether you’re an NJ native looking for new ideas for weekend fun or visiting from elsewhere and need some inspiration on where to explore — there are numerous ways to enjoy this great state without breaking the bank!