It’s warming up nicely here in New Jersey and my thoughts are turning to summer. It’s time to start planning for those weekend festivals, beach getaways, and food and wine extravaganzas, and I’ve pulled together a list of where to go and what to do in the next couple months.
With more than 130 miles of coastline stretching from Sandy Hook to Cape May, the Jersey Shore is the go-to place for sunny beaches, amusement parks, fishing, nature hikes, dining, culture, historical museums, and festivals. But even away from the shore there are plenty of places to fly, ride, eat, and drink.
Festivals and Events
May 23 – June 7, New Jersey Renaissance Faire, Bordentown. Six stages of performances, music, and entertainment, as well as a full scale chess match, sword fighting, a full scale joust, glass blowing, falconry, and other fun filled and educational activities.
May 30 – June 21, Strawberry Harvest Festival, Alstede Farms, Chester. Enjoy scrumptious strawberry treats, hayrides, pony rides, and family fun activities.
June 6, Privateer and Pirates Festival. Tuckerton Seaport will be taken over by Captain Black and the Crew of the Valhalla who have been plundering the eastern shore of the American colonies for centuries. Meet & greet with a pirate, join the treasure hunt, walk the plank, enjoy live music and many more pirate adventures.
June 19 – July 5, State Fair Meadowlands. 150 rides and attractions including the Open-Air Thrill Circus, a hypnotist show, a petting zoo, and live music. You can even ride in the official Batcopter from TV’s Batman.
June 20 – 21, NJ Beer & Food Festival, Sussex County. Beer, BBQ, and music – and a golf tournament – at the beautiful Crystal Springs Resort.
June 27, Just Jersey Food Truck & Music Festival, Waterloo Village. Fabulous Jersey food trucks, beer & wine bar, and music all day long. Festival also runs on August 8th and October 3rd.
June 27 – 28, Rock, Ribs & Ridges Festival, Sussex County Fairgrounds. Join the Charlie Daniels Band and some talented pitmasters for a weekend of music, BBQ, and unique craft beer.
July 11 – 12, Blueberry Bash, Princeton. Pick your own blueberries, listen to live music, and feast at the Blueberry Bash Buffet at Terhune Orchards. Pony rides, music, games in the barnyard, and entertainment are available for children.
July 24 – 26, New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, Solberg Airport in Readington. From twice-daily mass ascensions of as many as 100 special shape and sport hot air balloons, to concerts, fireworks and a balloon glow, the festival is ideal for family members of all ages.
Check out New Jersey Family for a huge list of summer and fall fairs and festivals.
Adventure and Amusement
- In Flight Balloon Adventures, Asbury. For those seeking a hot air balloon experience on their own, In Flight Balloon Adventures is happy to oblige. Spectacular views of hills, farms and historic buildings await.
- Essex County TreeTop Adventure Course, West Orange. Ziplining anyone? Built next to the Turtle Back Zoo, the adventure course features a world-class aerial obstacle course.
- Rockville Climbing Center, Hamilton. Central New Jersey’s premier indoor rock climbing facility provides the public with an opportunity to try the sport in a safe, controlled environment. This is on my “to-do” list!
- Bowcraft Amusement Park, Scotch Plains. This family amusement park is home to an array of rides and attractions for children and the entire family. Rides include the new Crossbow Roller Coaster, The Drop Zone and Galleon Pirate Ship.
- Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari, Jackson. New thrill rides Batman: The Ride Backwards and El Diablo join existing favorites including Kingda Ka, Bizarro, Nitro, El Toro, and Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom.
- Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Beach Haven. Fantasy Island’s Giant 65-foot Wheel elevates riders up for magnificent views of the island, bay and ocean. Night rides provides a light show with 5,632 multicolored lights that can be seen for miles.
- Steel Pier, Atlantic City. Located across the Boardwalk with stunning views of New Jersey’s coastline and the Atlantic City skyline, Steel Pier offers 21 amusement rides – including the only helicopter ride at the Jersey Shore – games, concessions and souvenir shops.
- Twin Lights of Navesink, Highlands. For a different way to get off the ground altogether, try visiting this lighthouse, which towers 250 feet above Sandy Hook Bay on one of the highest points along the coast. Spectacular views also are available from atop the medieval-style towers.
- Diggerland and Sahara Sam’s Oasis, West Berlin. How about being lifted high in the sky in a telescopic wheel loader? This construction-themed amusement park and its sister water park offer fun for all ages.
- Morey’s Piers, Wildwood. Three piers full of rides, games, and food. Don’t miss their two water parks – there’s something really awesome about flying down a water slide overlooking the ocean. Dads enjoy free rides on Father’s Day and can compete in the Fifth Annual Curley’s Fry Eating Contest! They also have several fun sporting events going on this summer: beach lacrosse, hockey, running, and a Zombie Mud Run.
Keep an eye on VisitNJ.org for all the latest events!