5 summer staycation spots in NJ that are not the Jersey Shore

Summer 2022 is finally here and it’s time to take that long-awaited vacation.

Choosing the right destination is not an easy decision. Do you fly or drive, travel internationally, or stay domestic? Do you book something relaxing or adventurous? If you have kids, do you go somewhere for their entertainment or will they follow your plan? There are so many factors that go into booking a vacation.

Rui Silvestre via Unsplash

Rui Silvestre via Unsplash

Enter inflation. Have you booked a flight recently? Just head to Google now and look into a flight to your favorite vacation spot. Prices have doubled and even tripled what they used to be.

My family heads to Walt Disney World very often. We’re annual passholders and visit 3-4 times a year.

Now that my son is just about a year old, we’ll start to purchase a seat on the plane for him. So now we’re up to three seats to and from Orlando on flights during his nap time (because NO ONE likes a cranky baby on a plane) and we’ve landed on $1,100. I can’t imagine what it would cost a family of 5.

And that’s just the flights. Now you need to calculate hotel stay, food, and entertainment. You’re looking at a couple of thousand dollars towards a 5-7-day vacation that would have cost you half the price 2 ½ years ago.

There’s an advantage to living in New Jersey. There is so much to do that you don’t need to travel to go on vacation. You can have a staycation right here in the Garden State.

Juan Mayobre via Unsplash

Juan Mayobre via Unsplash

The first thing that comes to mind is the Jersey Shore. People come from other states to spend their summer at the shore, but that’s no fun for us. Jerseyans can go to the shore any time.

So where else is there to go? Here’s a list of 5 places and things to do to have a staycation in New Jersey:

It sits along the edge of the Appalachian Mountains and is an hour outside of New York City. Crystal Springs Resort has 6 top-rated golf courses, 2 spas, a wellness program, 10 dining outlets, and a wine cellar.

There are two hotel accommodations: The Grand Cascades Lodge is an Adirondack-style lodge and the Minerals Hotel is more family-friendly.

Activates include:

  • wine cellar tours
  • laser clay shooting
  • pony rides
  • goat yoga
  • Sip & Paint
  • scavenger hunt
  • spa treatments
  • animal shows
  • glow golf
  • family movies
  • marshmallow roasting
  • outdoor game deck
  • fishing
  • archery
  • blacksmithing demo
  • kite color and fly
  • chef’s garden tour and more

Don’t forget about the pools! There’s even a slide!

Bernardsville, NJ

Bernardsville is a beautiful, historic town in Somerset County with a downtown that focuses on local businesses and events.

Stay at the Bernards Inn, a sophisticated boutique hotel.

Downtown has many food options to fit all of your cravings. In the mood for Italian? Head over to Sette Cucina Italiana.

Maybe sushi is more your style. You’ll love Tsuki Japanese Restaurant.

If you’re a foodie, you can take a cooking class at Natirar located in Peapack and Gladstone.

Morristown is a short drive away and has a great nightlife.

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ

If you have kids, an amusement park is the way to go. If you’re from New Jersey, you most definitely have been to Great Adventure and if Nitro isn’t your favorite coaster there, maybe take another visit to the park.

Nitro (Six Flags Great Adventure)

Nitro (Six Flags Great Adventure)

The summer days in New Jersey can get really hot, so head over to Hurricane Harbor waterpark for a fun, or relaxing, day to cool down.

Great Adventure also has a drive-thru safari where the animals have the right away so be on the look out.

Need a break from all of the thrills? Head down the road to the Jackson Premium Outlets to do some shopping.

Here’s another one for the kids. It’s a construction theme and water park where “families can drive, ride and operate specially engineered real machines” and ride the park’s main attractions. Be mindful that this park is only open on the weekends until mid-June then it operates every day of the week.

The Water Main is the latest expansion to the park and has a new wave pool that generates waves up to 4-feet.

Pleasant Valley Miniature Golf Club is less than a mile away from the park along with Berlin Farmers Market.

Diggerland is only 20 minutes from Philadelphia so after your theme park day, you can drive into the city and enjoy a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park.

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

Getty Images

Montclair, NJ

If you’re interested in music, art, or even baseball, Montclair is a great getaway for you. There are a ton of small shops, boutiques, galleries, and museums.

Stay at The George, a “boutique hotel with modern style and historic bones in the heart of Montclair.”

The Wellmont Theater is a theater and concert venue that hosts all kinds of acts from George Lopez and Patton Oswalt to O.A.R. and Collective Soul. It’s even the home to the Montclair Film Festival.

Montclair Film Festival 2017 Day Nine

Bennett Raglin

Trivia question, what former NY Yankees Hall of Famer was from Montclair? If you said Yogi Berra, you win! Montclair is the home to the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center for the baseball-loving fan in you.

Montclair has some of the best restaurants in the state. If you’re looking for Latin cuisine, Samba Montclair is your spot. If you’re leaning more towards Mediterranean, try Zeugma.

This is a golf lover’s paradise. It’s home to “two of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in North America, The Bay Course and The Pines Course.”

Although it’s technically “down the shore”, it’s not the actual Jersey Shore. But it does give you the option to take a short drive to Atlantic City.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5’s Morning Show Producer Kristen. Any opinions expressed are her own.

Questions, corrections, or comments? Send Producer Kristen an email at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram.

NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

UPDATED 4/10: A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)

NJ beach tags guide for summer 2022

We’re coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we’re running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: