There’s no reason to fight the airport crowds when there are so many great towns here in New Jersey. All of these New Jersey destinations are made for a day trip: between delicious restaurants, fun shopping, and interesting attractions, even a day away will have you feeling like you’ve been away from the day-to-day. There’s something on this list for any type of traveler, from the history aficionado to the paddlesports fiend, and even the live music lover. Take advantage of summer Fridays or just a day away from the office to explore. Read on for The Hoboken’s Girl’s list of New Jersey towns to visit 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, there’s mini-golf and games in the arcade, and there’s also 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 at 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 there are certainly lots of clubs and pool parties, Atlantic City is also 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 Hard Rock 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).
Chatham (41 minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
The neighboring communities of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township are separate municipalities but both are referred to as “Chatham.” While they do operate as two distinct municipal governments, they share a common public library system, a paid police force, a volunteer fire department and emergency squad, and lots of fun spots to visit. A few favorites to check out: Scalini Fedeli — one of NJ’s highest-rated Italian restaurants, Sorriso’s Kitchen, Pascarella Brothers Deli, and Scoops for some ice cream.
There are also some shops to peruse including Pour HoMMe, Purple Aardvark, and Quartet Home Decor and More. More on Chatham here.
Ridgewood (45 minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
This northern New Jersey town has been a destination for years if you’re local to the area, and it’s no secret as to why. Eateries, shops, and an adorable downtown scene are just a few reasons that Ridgewood is an ideal day trip. Melissa Gorga also just put her roots down here with her newest Envy by MG shop as well. More on Ridgewood here.
Montclair (30 minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
If you’re not following our sister site The Montclair Girl, well, get to it. Montclair, New Jersey is one of our favorite North Jersey destinations — it has direct train access to the city, it’s got a super cute downtown, and there are many cultural events + happenings on the regular. Van Vleck Gardens, The George, Church + Park Streets — we won’t overwhelm you with details, but safe to say you need to hop over to The Montclair Girl stat for all the recs. Click here to get to it.
Westfield (30 minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
Ahh, Westfield. This Union County town has experienced a big surge in growth, along with Summit — as a go to day trip spot (and place to live). Anyone who is familiar with the town of Westfield knows just how picturesque and quaint it is — full of fun things to do and delicious restaurants to dine in. The downtown is chic and bustling, with restaurants and shops, and there are some historical parts, too (random fact: the creator of the Addams Family is from here). So if you’re looking for something to do while staying close to home this weekend, here’s our guide.
Summit (40 minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
Summit is another Union County town that has a huge draw to its downtown district. Shops, eateries, and things to do line the streets, all in close proximity to the NJ Transit lines.
This town is centered around the busy Springfield Avenue, which is where you’ll find most destinations are located. The Reeves Reed Arboretum is also located here. Click for our full guide.
Lambertville (1 hour 30 min from Hoboken + Jersey City)
A quaint town that sits right along the Delaware River, Lambertville, New Jersey is home to stunning views, historic architecture, boutiques, antique shops, great food, and more. Lambertville is a charming town to spend a day in and is about 1-1.5 hours from North Jersey. Click here for our full guide.
Maplewood (35 minutes from Hoboken + Jersey City)
The charming town of Maplewood is a fun spot for a quick day’s excursion just outside of Hudson County. The people are friendly and diverse, and the downtown area exudes a nostalgic vibe, with restaurants and shops interspersed along Maplewood Avenue. With all the lush green space, such as Memorial Park and the nearby South Mountain Reservation, Maplewood offers plenty of outdoor options for picnics, sports, or relaxation. Given the combination of nostalgia and greenery, it’s not surprising that Maplewood is also the birthplace of Ultimate Frisbee. Click here for our guide.
Camden (1 hour 30 min 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 min from Hoboken + Jersey City)
While we know this is a farther destination and probably worth an overnight — it’s worth a mention. 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 min 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 almost 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 Ocean Ave N.), simply greek (44 Centennial Drive), or Stewart’s (60 Centennial Drive), and also stop by at the boutique Molly & Zoey Undercover (12-16 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 is 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!