Summer days are perfect for exploring everything that the Garden State has to offer. Whether you’re looking to explore the history, take a beachfront escape, or enjoy a fun night out, there’s something here for everyone. And, the best part is, so much of New Jersey’s best is accessible with public transit, via the NJ Transit system. Read on for a list of day trip ideas to towns accessible by New Jersey Transit.
Of course, Atlantic City’s rich history is full of things to explore, but there’s something for everyone: beaches, waterfront restaurants, casinos, concert venues, and more. There’s a direct bus from Port Authority Bus Terminal, as well as limited routes from Journal Square and Newark stations. From the Steel Pier on the legendary Atlantic City boardwalk, complete with amusement park rides with waterfront views, and New Jersey’s tallest beacon in the Absecon Lighthouse, there are outdoor activities as well as indoor activities, like the Borgata waterfront casino (with dining options) and the Atlantic City Aquarium.
This quiet beach town has plenty to do for a day spent by the water. Complete with the Bradley Brew Project and the Summertime Surf School, there are plenty of options to eat, drink and enjoy unique experiences, mixed with sunbathing, water sports, and more. For a family-friendly activity, check out Shipwreck Island Mini Golf for a little friendly competition. Dogs are not permitted on the beach, though, and there are regulations for skateboards, bikes, and other things – a list of which is all available on the township’s website.
With many activities for people of all ages, including the Adventure Aquarium, Children’s Garden, and The Battleship (the nation’s most decorated battleship, which has been turned into a museum and memorial), Camden is full of state and country history and fun daytime activities. The BB&T Pavilion is home to many live events, and getting there early to explore the town is a great way to spend a day. Travel on the River LINE for the easiest, most direct route, without any of the traffic.
Open from June to September, Manasquan is one of the most popular summer destinations in the state. Known for Leggett’s Sand Bar, a Jersey Shore staple with legendary bartenders and loud, lively music, and Tacoholics, as well as the pristine beach and ocean views, a day spent in Manasquan can easily turn into an overnight adventure, with tons of lively bars and nightlife to choose from. Many choose to rent summer beach homes in Manasquan, so the activities are ever-changing and there’s always a lively scene, no matter when you visit over the summer.
The North Jersey Coast Line stops at Monmouth Park on race days, which includes many days in June, July 4 weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and more. The track includes multiple dining experiences (like the Blu Grotto Ristorante and Beer Garden, as well as Lady’s Secret Cafe and Paddock Bar, among others) and sports betting on race days. Family-friendly activities include mini-golf, a kids club, and Family Fun Days. There’s a direct train from Newark Penn Station, and the full calendar is available on the NJ Transit website.
Beach packages become available at the end of May and include round trip transportation and one discounted beach ticket. The town was founded in 1869 and is now known as one of the finest beach resorts in the state. Check out Ocean Grove Tent City for Victorian architecture and to understand the history of the area before heading to relax oceanside. The beach package is available until September 6, and direct buses are available from Port Authority Bus Terminal, Newark Penn Station, and Journal Square.
Accessible by the NJ Transit’s North Coast Line (with a Hoboken departure and a Newark transfer), Point Pleasant is a family-friendly destination that’s easily accessible with tons of offerings, including must-sees like the Jenkinson Boardwalk, mini-golf, an aquarium, and the South Beach Arcade. There’s a pier with rides, and car lovers will definitely enjoy the Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey.
This small town is, of course, best known for the Ivy League university that shares its name, but has a lot to offer in terms of picturesque views, fine dining, and other activities. Take the NJ transit (with a stopover in Secaucus to grab the Trenton-bound train) to the university town, and try the direct dinky (a New Jersey Transit exclusive) that connects Princeton and Princeton Junction. To explore the town and its rich history, check out activities like the Morven Museum and Garden on Stockton Street, the Albert Einstein House, where the famous inventor lived with his wife Elsa from 1935 until his death in 1955, and several hiking trails and outdoor parks.
For either an oceanside or a bayside beach, Seaside Heights has an option for sunbathing. Complete with a waterfront amusement park, there are even free and discount days available at the beach–which make a great excuse for a day trip. For a higher-energy crowd, the Breakwater Beach Waterpark at Casino Pier is a must-visit, and there are several golf courses and beaches to choose from. NJ Transit bus 137 from Port Authority Bus Terminal takes riders directly to Seaside Heights, with the connecting transfer bus providing an option to Seaside Park, just a mile away.
(Photo credit: @sfgradventure)
With a package that includes admission to the park and round trip tickets, spending a day at the amusement park is easy and accessible from Hudson County. Packages from NJ Transit save visitors up to $45, and direct busses from Port Authority Bus Terminal or Newark Penn Station. For a day spent chasing adrenaline, checking out the New Jersey Devil Coaster, or diving down waterslides, Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor are great options for summer adventures.