Since the pandemic broke out, there has been an understandable hesitation to travel by almost any mode of transportation that isn’t a car. Not all travelers are ready to jump back into an airport any time soon — and for the safety of all involved. This proves to be quite the dilemma as beautiful summer weather has us itching to get out and about (and escape Hudson County even for just a short period of time). If you’re still feeling wary of the airlines and don’t want to travel too far, we have a list of New Jersey towns to take advantage of for your next summer day trip.
Asbury Park (1 Hour from Hoboken + Jersey City)
The first town on the list is naturally a beach town because, during the summer in Jersey, people sure do love to escape the concrete jungle to feel the sand between their toes. But Asbury is much more than just beaches. This Jersey Shore town is an equal blend of history and new, eclectic restaurants, bars, and more.
We recommend starting your day trip by strolling the boardwalk which, in Asbury Park, is unlike other boardwalks you may be used to. From end to end you’ll come across a variety of sights from old, abandoned structures like the Asbury Park Casino, to brightly painted murals (that are admittedly quite gram-worthy).
As far as activities go, stop at one of the delicious Jersey Shore food stands, play mini-golf or some games in the arcade, and pay a visit to the iconic Stone Pony, just steps off of the boardwalk. Since Asbury Park is a beach town, lather up your sunscreen and hit the beach. Did you bring your four-legged friend along for the day? You can bring them to the beach with you to the Bradley Cove Dog Beach.
If all of this fun in the sun has you looking for some food and drink options, Asbury is chock full of them. The diversity in Asbury’s restaurant scene is unmatched, with everything from beer gardens and casual pizza spots, to upbeat bars and fine dining establishments. Treat yourself to an artisanal pie from the famous Porta Pizza (Hudson County residents may be familiar with this spot from the JC location), grab a stein and a traditional German pretzel at Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, or discover your inner child at Johnny Mac’s, a lively Irish bar where you can get free pizza and candy with every drink you purchase and play skeeball while you wait.
Atlantic City (2 Hours from Hoboken + Jersey City)
(Photo credit: @atlanticcitynightlife)
Atlantic City is preceded by its reputation and is only two hours from Hudson County. While not all the nightclubs and pool parties will be open due to COVID-19, Atlantic City is full of non-club opportunities for fun. Since AC is another beach town, be sure to pack your beach chair and towel if you’re planning a day trip. We suggest soaking up the sun for a few hours before enjoying all that the expansive six miles of boardwalk has to offer. And trust us, from exploring Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to taking a ride on the Steel Pier’s massive Ferris wheel or amusement park attractions, those six miles certainly have a lot to offer.
We could of course never forget the casinos, so head on over and have a drink at the roulette table!
Lest we not forget the incredible restaurants that Atlantic City has to offer. You might want to consider making a few reservations at restaurants before packing up the car to go. For the family, you might want to hit up a few of the more mainstream restaurants like The HardRock Cafe (1000 Boardwalk Avenue), The Rainforest Cafe (2201 Boardwalk Avenue), or splurge on a fine dining meal at Ruth’s Chris Steak House (2020 Atlantic Avenue).
Camden (1 Hour 30 Minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
(Photo credit: @battleshipnj)
Camden is a town mostly known for epic concerts at the BB&T Pavilion but it is much more than that. Perhaps what comes to mind after the concerts is the iconic Adventure Aquarium (1 Riverside Drive). A short hour and a half drive is all you need to take to experience firsthand the 15,000+ aquatic species and largest collection of sharks on the East Coast. This aquarium is also the only one to boast an exhibit of hippos, a hammerhead shark, and the longest shark bridge in the world (a suspension bridge just inches over the sharks) so needless to say, you could spend all day here with the sea animals.
For those history buffs, tour the Battleship New Jersey, a United States Navy ship (100 Clinton Street). There are a variety of events happening at all times so be sure to check their website for further information. Not to mention, it’s a mere few minutes away from downtown Philadelphia so if you wanted to cross state lines, it’s easily done from Camden.
Cape May (2 Hours 30 Minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
Cape May is an iconic, quaint Jersey Shore town. Strolling the streets preserved with history would be enough to do for a day trip but Cape May boasts a variety of sights to see. First of all, the Cape May Lighthouse is certainly a staple of this town with breathtaking views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. After walking the perimeter of the lighthouse, relax on Cape May’s pristine beach.
For any nature-buffs, take a trip to see some farm animals at Bay Springs Farm Alpacas (542 New England Road) and Jersey Shore Alpacas (521 South Route 47), or visit the Nature Center of Cape May (1600 Delaware Avenue) to learn about the local wildlife and environment. Adding to the variety of offerings, Cape May also boasts a ton of local antique shops like Out of the Past Antiques (394 Myrtle Avenue), TreeHouse Antiques Center (742 Seashore Road), and Antiques Emporia (405 W Perry Street) to name a few.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the multiple opportunities to enjoy a glass of vino during your trip. Book a visit to Cape May Winery & Vineyard (711 Town Bank Road) or Willow Creek Winery (168 Stevens Street), two of the popular spots in town for a wine tasting.
Delaware Water Gap (1 Hour 15 Minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
(Photo credit: @delwatergapnps)
Toe the line between NJ and PA with an adventure-filled day on the Delaware Water Gap. Although this site is technically a PA attraction, getting there from Hudson County is a quick drive just barely over one hour. Get your hike on with over 100 miles of trails with pretty incredible views. Take advantage of the sweeping river with a variety of activities including fishing, kayaking, rafting, and more. Whether you’re exploring this area on foot, by car, in a raft, or on a bike, you can certainly spend all day having fun here.
Long Branch (1 Hour from Hoboken + Jersey City)
(Photo credit: @longbranch_nj)
Summer is here and it is time to grab friends and family to drive down to the beach. Stop at Rook Coffee (700 Joline Avenue) if you are getting an early start.
Head down to Long Branch to not only have beach fun but to experience Pier Village, which has stores and restaurants located right on the beach. Grab lunch at Turning Point (92 Pier Village), simply greek (44 Centennial Drive), or Stewart’s (60 Centennial Drive), and also stop by at the boutiques Molly & Zoey, Molly & Zoey Undercover (12-16 Centennial Drive), and Sundaze (36 Centennial Drive) to get the summer shopping done! After a long, (but fun) day get ice cream or a HUGE shake at Coney Waffle (24 Centennial Drive).
Morristown (45 Minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
(Photo credit: @morristown.nj)
This NJ town is a quick 45 minutes from Hudson County and is rich with history, activity, and noteworthy restaurants. For those of you who don’t know, Morristown is considered the military capital of the American Revolution, and its role in the war for independence from Great Britain is evident in the historical sites sprinkled around town. Brush up on your knowledge by visiting sites like the Ford Mansion, Washington’s Headquarters Museum, Fort Nonsense (all located at 30 Washington Place), Jockey Hollow, and more.
Morristown is a great day trip for those NJ views we know and love. Pay a visit to The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 E Hanover Avenue) and Loantaka Brook Reservation (468 South Street) for their self-guided nature trails, the Lewis Morris Park (270 Mendham Road), or even Wightman’s Farm (1111 Mt Kemble Avenue) for some sweet summer Jersey corn and peaches.
Conclude your day trip by stopping at one of Morristown’s well-known eateries such as The Famished Frog (18 Washington Street), South + Pine (90 South Street), The Committed Pig (28 W Park Place), and so many more delicious options. Of course, we could never forget the adult beverages. Visit popular spots for a drink outdoors like Grasshopper Off the Green (41-43 Morris Street), the Laundromat’s outdoor beer garden at Tashmoo (8 Dehart Street), or for a variety of 40+ beers on tap, stop by Revolution, A Social Brew House (9 South Street).
Princeton (1 Hour from Hoboken + Jersey City)
(Photo credit: @princeton)
For all of the history buffs out there, Princeton is a town that is full of that old-time charm and plenty of historical landmarks just one hour outside of Hudson County. We suggest planning your own walking tour and visiting Princeton Battlefield State Park (500 Mercer Road), Drumthwacket Foundation (the governor’s mansion) (354 Stockton Street), the Albert Einstein House (112 Mercer Street), and Morven Museum & Garden (55 Stockton Street). If you’re a fan of the arts, the Princeton University Art Museum (Elm Drive) boasts over 80,000 ancient and contemporary works of art. For those who are more active and looking for a day full of on-your-feet activity, visit the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, Carnegie Lake, or simply walk around Princeton University’s divine campus.
After that history-rich day, you may want to wind down with Princeton’s dining scene. Make a reservation at an upscale eatery like Agricola (11 Witherspoon Street) or go to a more divey, local faves such as The Alchemist and Barrister (AKA the “Cheers” of Princeton) for a beer and some bar fare (28 Witherspoon Street).
Red Bank (1 Hour from Hoboken + Jersey City)
(Photo credit: @redbank_nj)
This quaint little town located right on the Navesink river is a quick one-hour drive from Hudson County with many hidden gems. You may want to start your day with a stroll through Riverside Gardens Park with a great view of the river and all of the boats as they go by. In the summer, this park plays host to jazz in the park, movies, and yoga.
Red Bank is also known for its top-notch restaurant scene so make an outdoor dining reservation at an iconic spot like the Molly Pitcher Inn (88 Riverside Avenue) or Catch 19 (19 Broad Street) if you’re in the mood for food from the sea. After dinner, find a drink at one of the local breweries like Red Tank Brewing Company (77 Monmouth Street) or Birravino (183 Riverside Avenue). End your evening with a walk along the water before heading back home to HC and that makes for a pretty great summer day trip.
New Jersey has so much to offer in areas so close to Hudson County so the next time you’re feeling a little stir-crazy in your apartment, get up and go take advantage of one of these ideal summer day trips!