Taylor-Hidden-Spring-Lavender-NJ12

A woman at Lavallette Beach during summer.

New Jersey has it all! From cities to charming small towns and beautiful beaches to the mountains, there are plenty of great things to do in the Garden State. Since the state thrives during the summer, it’s the perfect time to do a New Jersey road trip!

I may be biased, but New Jersey is the most underrated state on the East Coast. From taking advantage of the outdoor adventures at Mountain Creek to enjoying the best Jersey Shore boardwalks, below is where to go on a New Jersey road trip this summer.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

New Jersey Summer Road Trip

NJ Trip Planner: Traveling to and Around New Jersey

A New Jersey summer road trip.

Suppose you plan to fly to the Garden State for a summer road trip. In that case, the best airport to fly into is Newark Liberty International Airport, and the airport from which to depart is Atlantic City International Airport. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

For NJ locals, depending on where you live, you can conquer this road trip however you wish. All travelers will need their own vehicle to visit the destinations mentioned below. You can easily rent a car from the airport!

Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.

New Jersey Summer Weather:

A woman in Cape May, New Jersey during summertime.

The best season to visit New Jersey is during summer. That’s when the weather is the best for going down the shore or conquering the latest hike in Northern New Jersey.

Average temperatures during New Jersey’s summer months are between the lower 80s°F to the mid 60s°F. The hottest month is July and that is usually when the state receives the most rain.

New Jersey’s climate differs from the southernmost tip of Cape May to the northernmost part of the state, the Kittatinny Mountains. The coastal areas tend to receive more humidity during the summer season, while the rest of the state is quite hot. Thunderstorms are frequent, but hurricanes are rare.

Below is a more in-depth summer weather guide by month for a New Jersey road trip:

June: Average highs in the lower 80s°F with average lows in the lower 60s°F and around nine days of precipitation.

July: Average highs in the mid 80s°F with average lows in the upper 60s°F and around eight days of precipitation.

August: Average highs in the lower 80s°F with average lows in the upper 60s°F and around eight days of precipitation.

September: Average highs in the mid 70s°F with average lows in the lower 60s°F and around seven days of precipitation.

New Jersey Road Trip Itinerary for 10 Days:

A woman enjoying a New Jersey summer road trip.

Below are the best places to visit on a road trip in New Jersey. What’s great about visiting the Garden State is that there is something for everyone!

Day 1: Explore Hoboken and Jersey City

A woman at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

After arriving at Newark Airport, one of the best areas of the Garden State to explore is Hudson County. It’s one of the most diverse and eclectic areas of New Jersey, overlooking the New York City skyline.

Although there are a few luxury and mid-budget hotels in this area, one of the best places to stay is Hyatt House in Jersey City. There are also rental properties here.

When you first arrive in Hudson County, start your day in Hoboken. Old German Bakery is great for grabbing coffee and freshly baked strudels.

One of the main reasons you cannot miss out on visiting Hoboken during your New Jersey road trip is because it’s the birthplace of Frank Sinatra. The best Sinatra spots to check out in this city are the Hoboken Historical Museum, St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, where Sinatra introduced President Reagan, Sinatra Park and Leo’s Grandevous, his favorite restaurant.

Pier 13 is a fun venue to visit on a beautiful summer day in Hoboken. Located along the Hudson River, Pier 13 boasts the best food trucks, serving lobster rolls, empanadas, rum buckets, ice cream and more.

Later in the day, stroll along the waterfront in Jersey City and admire the best views of NYC. Another perfect place to enjoy an afternoon in Hudson County is Liberty State Park, where you can see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

For dinner, savor delicious pizza at Razza, one of the best restaurants in Jersey City, before concluding the day at either Zepplin Hall, South House or The Ashford. Discover more things to do in Hoboken and Jersey City.

Day 2: Discover the Best of Bergen County, NJ

A woman hiking the Ramapo Reservation during a summer New Jersey road trip.

A road trip through the Garden State must include visiting Bergen County in northern New Jersey. Bergen County is the most populated county in the state and is famous for its affluent towns, incredible culinary scene and stunning parks.

(It’s around an hour’s drive from Hoboken and Jersey City to Mahwah.)

Homewood Suites by Hilton in Mahwah is an excellent hotel in Bergen County. It is conveniently located near the best summer activities.

Before heading to the Ramapo Valley County Reservation for a great hike, enjoy the best coffee and breakfast sandwich at Longfellow’s Coffee in Mahwah. (In case you’re wondering, it’s Taylor ham, not pork roll, LOL!) From there, head over to the start of the hike on Route 202, past Ramapo College.

Hiking the Ramapo Reservation, or as we Mahwah natives like to call it, “The Res,” is one of the best things to do in NJ for free during summer. This beautiful gem of Bergen County includes 3,313 acres and 13 hiking trails for all levels and abilities. It’s also surrounded by the Ramapo Mountain State Forest and connected to Ringwood State Park.

What I love about “The Res” is that you can admire the fascinating local wildlife, along with stunning lakes, ponds and waterfalls. On specific trails, you can see the New York City skyline and scenic views of the Ramapo Valley and the township of Mahwah.

Some of the top trails to conquer and appreciate natural beauty at the Ramapo Valley County Reservation are the Ramapo Valley Ridge Overlook, an easy 2.3-mile loop trail; the Vista Loop Trail, a moderate 3.5-mile loop trail and the Ramapo Schuber and Ridge Loop Trail, a challenging 9.6-mile loop trail.

After your hike, treat yourself to the best pizza in New Jersey at S. Egidio in Ridgewood. This charming restaurant will transport you to a café in Italy with its incredible Neapolitan pizzas, delicious pasta dishes, cured meats and freshly brewed espresso. I love how cozy it is here!

From lunch, stroll around the village of Ridgewood. It’s one of the most idyllic New Jersey towns and features boutique stores, ice cream and coffee shops, salons, fitness studios and much more.

In the evening, head over to Montvale to the best Irish pub in New Jersey – Hearth & Tap Co. Their chicken pot pie is out of this world and the ambiance will bring you straight to a cozy pub in Ireland. Heart & Tap Co. is a great place to sit on the patio during a lovely summer evening.

Day 3: Enjoy Outdoor Adventures at Mountain Creek

A woman mountain biking at Mountain Creek in Sussex County, NJ.

It’s no secret that Mountain Creek in Vernon is one of the best attractions for a road trip through New Jersey. Located in Sussex County, in northwestern New Jersey, Mountain Creek is a four-season resort boasting an activity for all to enjoy.

(It’s around a 50-minute drive from Mahwah to Mountain Creek.)

What’s also convenient about visiting Mountain Creek is that there is a hotel on-site called The Appalachian.

Before checking into the hotel and embarking on your daily adventure, fuel up with incredible coffee and baked goods at The Daily Bean, located in the heart of Vernon.

What makes Mountain Creek a popular summer destination is its Water Park! The former Action Park features epic water slides, a wave pool, private cabanas and fun for all ages.

At Mountain Creek Water Park, you must ride the world’s tallest double-looping thrill slide, a white-water raft ride. There is also a canyon cliff jump, single and double tube rides, dark tunnel slides, a racing slide and a 45-foot drop into a funnel. This epic New Jersey waterpark also has kid-friendly water slides, a lazy river and numerous food stands.

If you prefer an adventure that doesn’t involve water, I recommend mountain biking or taking a lesson at Mountain Creek Bike Park! It’s a world-class mountain biking destination rated as one of North America’s “Best Bike Parks.”

Mountain Creek Bike Park has over 50 beginner, intermediate and expert trails to enjoy during the warmer months. The bike paths are similar to Mountain Creek‘s ski resort, which many locals enjoy during a New Jersey winter.

When taking a lesson, you’ll learn all the basic technical skills of mountain biking and even have the chance to ride on one of the green trails!

There’s nothing like enjoying Mountain Creek’s outdoor Biergarten after a fun adventure while admiring its beautiful landscape! You can get delicious grilled foods and the top local craft beers here.

Day 4: Venture through Central New Jersey

A woman at The Bradford at the AC Hotel Bridgewater during a New Jersey summer road trip.

There’s a reason why New Jersey is called the Garden State. We have some of the most beautiful flower fields and gardens! You can see most of these special locations in Central New Jersey. (Yes, Central Jersey exists!)

Staying in the Somerset and Bridgewater area is the best way to enjoy Central New Jersey’s best. Driving from Vernon to Bridgewater takes around an hour and 15 minutes, but I suggest stopping in Morristown first.

The best place to stay in Central Jersey is the AC Hotel by Marriott in Bridgewater, which is in Somerset County. It’s a modern hotel with an indoor pool, fitness facility, bar and rooftop lounge.

Before heading to Somerset County, stop in lovely Morristown! Begin your day by fueling up with a healthy breakfast from Green Point Juicery before strolling through the charming downtown, which is filled with locally owned shops and boutiques, cafés, restaurants and fun activities.

For those looking to get creative, one of the most fun things to do in Morristown is visiting Glassworks Studio. You can make your own mosaic work of art by breaking different glasses. It’s so cool!

If you and your party want something more laid-back, I suggest walking through the Morris Museum, part of the Smithsonian Museum network! This incredible museum in Morristown has been running since 1913 and is the second-largest museum in the Garden State. It offers programs in art, science, history, film and theater.

I recommend Sushi Lounge, one of my favorite sushi restaurants, for lunch. They also serve great cocktails!

From Morris County, head south on Route 287 to Somerset County! It’s around a 25-minute drive from Morristown to Bridgewater.

When doing a New Jersey road trip in late June through early July, I recommend checking out Hidden Spring Lavender Farm in Skillman, NJ. What’s nice about visiting this lovely spot is that it will transport you to the lavender fields in Provence.

While at Hidden Spring Lavender Farm, you can freely walk through the lavender field on Saturdays and Sundays and book private photoshoots from Monday through Friday. There’s a shop onsite where you can purchase lavender products. You can also do an alpaca walking tour here, which is loads of fun!

If you visit New Jersey after the lavender season, I recommend visiting Colonial Park to see the Rudolph W. van der Goot Rose Garden in Somerset, NJ or Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ.

In the evening, enjoy The Bradford Rooftop at the AC Hotel. It boasts incredible American small plates and craft cocktails. While here, you can also listen to live music and take advantage of the many “Instagrammable” spots!

Day 5: Experience the Best of the Delaware Valley

A woman staying at Woolverton Inn in Hunterdon County, NJ during a New Jersey road trip.

Hunterdon County in Western New Jersey is a great road trip destination because it boasts beautiful farmland, charming small towns and the incredible Delaware Water Gap!

(It’s around a 50-minute drive from the Bridgewater area to Lambertville.)

Woolverton Inn is the best place to stay in this area. It’s a welcoming bed and breakfast in Stockton, NJ, situated just outside the charming city of Lambertville along the Delaware River.

Before beginning your adventurous day, stop at Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, NJ, for a classic New Jersey breakfast!

One of the best things for adventure lovers to do along the Delaware Water Gap is tubing. The leading company to do your experience with is Big Bear Gear Delaware River Tubing in Frenchtown. During this experience, you can relax with your friends and family and admire the natural beauty and panoramic view.

There are plenty of other fun outdoor activities on the Delaware River. It’s also the perfect spot for water sports like swimming, white-water rafting, kayaking, fishing, canoeing and paddle boarding.

Later in the afternoon, relax at one of the best New Jersey wineries – Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown. Not only can you go wine tasting here, but you can also enjoy the live music, food trucks, bonfires and fun events.

In the evening, head into downtown Lambertville and stroll around. For dinner, El Tule Restaurant offers delicious Peruvian cuisine to savor. On a lovely evening, you must eat in the courtyard.

Day 6: Have Fun in Asbury Park

Wonder Bar at Asbury Park, NJ.

The next stop on your New Jersey summer road trip is the Jersey Shore! Overall, the shore is a major highlight of summer in Jersey! One of the most iconic beach towns you cannot miss out on visiting is Asbury Park in Monmouth County.

(Driving from Lambertville to Asbury Park takes around an hour and 15 minutes.)

The Asbury Hotel is the best hotel to stay at during a visit to Asbury Park. It’s a boutique hotel with a notable rooftop bar, pool, retro bowling alley and classic New Jersey diner, conveniently located across from the beach.

When you first arrive, fuel up at Toast. From there, get a head start on a relaxing day at the beach. What I love most about the Jersey Shore is its soft sand!

While enjoying your day “down the shore,” you must check out the Silverball Retro Arcade, the Carousel Building, which houses the Wooden Walls Project, and the Paramount Theater, the most historic site in Asbury Park.

For lunch, savor delicious Japanese cuisine at Taka and wander through the downtown area before relaxing at the hotel’s pool in the afternoon.

If you’re taking your furry friend on your road trip, the best spot to visit in the early evening is The Wonder Bar for “Yappy Hour!” Afterward, savor pizza and beer at Porta before ending the night at the iconic Stone Pony for a live performance.

Day 7: Do a Beach Day in Lavallette, New Jersey

A woman on a swing at Lavallette Bay NJ.

Many quaint seaside towns are along the Jersey Shore, but Lavallette in Ocean County is the best. I may be biased because I grew up going to this beach town, but I promise you won’t be disappointed during your overnight stay.

(It’s around a 35-minute drive from Asbury Park to Lavallette, NJ.)

The top accommodation in Lavallette is the Starlight Motel & Luxury Suites in Ortley Beach, which is the next town over.

When you first arrive in Lavallette, New Jersey, fuel up with a coffee and Liege waffle from Pressed, across from the Starlight Motel.

Enjoy the beach in Lavallette for most of the day. You can sunbathe and swim in the ocean. This beach is also perfect for boogie boarding, surfing and skimboarding.

Head to the center of Lavallette during lunchtime to relish a delicious seafood meal at the iconic Crabs Claw Inn. Afterward, walk off your lunch by visiting the local boutique shops like My Sister’s Jewelry Box. A fun place to go mini golfing in town is Lava Golf!

In the evening, have a fun boardwalk night in Seaside Heights! When you first get to the boardwalk, savor dinner at The Ocean View Restaurant, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. You can enjoy a raw bar, seafood sandwiches, salads and bar pies at this oceanfront restaurant and bar.

Later, do a short walk to Casino Pier. This is where all the fun rides and arcade games are located! If you want to take the party elsewhere, visit the Beachcomber Bar & Grill and Spicy Cantina.

Day 8: Camp in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey

The New Jersey Pine Barrens.

If camping is one of your favorite summertime activities, visit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. In fact, it’s one of the best things to do in New Jersey in the summer!

Located 40 minutes south of Lavallette, the Pine Barrens run through Ocean, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Burlington and Atlantic Counties in New Jersey. It’s the largest forested area along the Eastern Seaboard.

Before departing for your overnight stay in the Pine Barrens, stop at the Acme in Seaside Heights, off Route 35, to ensure you have all the essentials you need to camp. Click here to reserve a campground, cabin and RV park in the Pine Barrens.

As you leave Lavallette, stop at Lava Java to pick up a coffee and breakfast sandwich to fuel you up. When you eventually get into the Pine Barrens, you will not come across any cafés, restaurants, etc., for miles.

The New Jersey Pine Barrens covers 1.1 million acres and offers a variety of hiking, fishing and kayaking opportunities. One trail is 49.5 miles long!

While you’re in the Pine Barrens, please be mindful. Always be alert when hiking! Since everything looks the same here and is relatively flat, it’s easy to get lost! Also, if you plan to have a campfire, ensure your fire is out before going to sleep, heading out for the day and departing.

The Pine Barrens play a huge role in New Jersey’s legend. While here, you can learn about the hauntings in the Pine Barrens featured in Weird New Jersey.

During the colonial era, locals abandoned their towns for coal mining opportunities west of Pennsylvania. NJ folklore has it that lost spirits are still looming in the dense forests. It’s also said that the New Jersey Devil, a horrifying legendary creature, roams through the Pine Barrens and eats livestock in the area.

Day 9: Make Memories in Atlantic City during your New Jersey Road Trip

Atlantic City during summer.

A New Jersey road trip is incomplete without visiting Atlantic City in South Jersey. Founded in 1853, Atlantic City is situated on Absecon Island in Atlantic County and is iconic for its casinos, beaches and boardwalk.

(Driving from the Pine Barrens to Atlantic City will take over an hour.)

The best hotel in Atlantic City is Ocean Casino Resort, which has a casino, great restaurants, a spa and a rooftop pool.

When arriving in Atlantic City, start your day by having breakfast at Gilchrist Restaurant in the Tropicana.

Afterward, you can enjoy a parasailing experience through GetYourGuide or walk the historic boardwalk. If you prefer to gamble, I recommend visiting one of the casinos. The Tropicana has always been a classic!

If you prefer to be in the sun, I suggest enjoying the pool and cabanas at Ocean’s. During the summer, HQ2 Beach Club hosts fun pool parties. What’s incredible about attending a pool party in Atlantic City is that there is usually a DJ, six bungalows, 12 day beds and 30 VIP sections. You can also enjoy great food and beverages here, along with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

For those who prefer to go to the beach, I suggest heading to Brigantine Beach, the next city over. It’s more low-key than Atlantic City and offers a stunning and peaceful beach where you can sunbathe, swim and ride the waves.

One of my favorite things to do in Brigantine, NJ, is have lunch and hang out at LaScala’s Beach House. It’s a fun seafood restaurant on the beach that features palm trees and yard games like corn hole.

Later in the afternoon, hang out at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, an outdoor biergarten in the heart of Atlantic City that offers excellent craft beers, live music and chill vibes. If you prefer not to drink, I suggest having fun on the rides and playing arcade games at Steel Pier.

In the evening, savor a delicious meal at Amada. It’s an Andalucian-styled tapas restaurant with dishes crafted by Chef Garces. At night, catch a performance from your famous music artist to the best comedians.

No matter what you choose to do in Atlantic City, NJ, you are sure to have the best time!

Day 10: End your NJ Summer Road Trip in Cape May

A woman in front of Peter Shield's Inn in Cape May during a New Jersey summer road trip.

The final destination to conclude your New Jersey summer road trip is the charming seaside resort town of Cape May. This idyllic summer destination is located at the southernmost tip of the Garden State and is famous for its collection of Victorian homes and beautiful white sand beaches.

(It’s a 50-minute drive from Atlantic City to Cape May.)

The best accommodation to stay at in Cape May, New Jersey is Congress Hall. It’s one of the most historic landmarks in Cape May County.

When arriving at “America’s Oldest Seaside Resort,” enjoy the best breakfast at The Mad Batter before shopping through the Washington Street Mall. If you’re a history buff, I suggest taking one of the historical trolley tours with the Cape May MAC. This is one of the best ways to admire historic architecture.

Once the afternoon rolls around, head over to Cape May Winery. At this picturesque venue, you can go wine tasting, have a lovely lunch and listen to live music. This winery is famous for producing some of South Jersey’s most awarded wines.

Afterward, have a relaxing afternoon on Cape May’s beach! As a guest of Congress Hall, you can enjoy their complimentary umbrellas, towels and chairs. The resort also has private cabanas and an indoor and outdoor pool.

In the evening, catch a gorgeous sunset at the idyllic Cape May Lighthouse before having dinner at Peter Shield’s Inn & Restaurant.

On the next day, drive up to Atlantic City International Airport to fly home.


A woman at Lavallette Beach during a New Jersey road trip.

Here are other summer articles you’ll love:

Ultimate Summer USA East Coast Itinerary for 2 Weeks

Summer Weekend in the Berkshires

30 Restaurants to Add to Your NYC Bucket List

I hope you all enjoyed discovering one of the best road trips in New Jersey for the 2024 summer season. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., NJ State Capital: Trenton, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop my New Jersey Summer Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

Related posts

Luxury Amelia Island Weekend Getaway: Top Girl’s Trip

Everyone deserves a beach vacation! Amelia Island, Florida is nestled between the charming Southern cities of Savannah and St. Augustine...
check out the post about Luxury Amelia Island Weekend Getaway: Top Girl’s Trip

Things to do in Phoenicia, NY during a Girl’s Weekend

Take this article as a sign to go on a girl’s (or guy’s) trip to the Catskills, especially to the...
check out the post about Things to do in Phoenicia, NY during a Girl’s Weekend

The Importance of Travel Insurance for a Dream Trip

Benefits of Travel Insurance for Your Bucket List Adventure: The Importance of Getting Covered There’s nothing like the excitement of...
check out the post about The Importance of Travel Insurance for a Dream Trip

2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on June 9, 2024 at 11:06 pm

    Love, love, love my home state! So many beautiful places to visit in the beautiful Garden state, New Jersey! I really enjoyed reading this blog since I have been to several of these fabulous places, many of times. We have some of the best beaches, hiking trails, wineries, farms and so much more. Hope you come to visit our state soon and get to enjoy all these fun places! Great blog on the perfect NJ Summer Road Trip ~ love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on June 10, 2024 at 1:02 pm

      There really are a lot of gems here! I love it. <3

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Hidden-Spring-Lavender-NJ12

A woman at Lavallette Beach during summer.

New Jersey has it all! From cities to charming small towns and beautiful beaches to the mountains, there are plenty of great things to do in the Garden State. Since the state thrives during the summer, it’s the perfect time to do a New Jersey road trip!

I may be biased, but New Jersey is the most underrated state on the East Coast. From taking advantage of the outdoor adventures at Mountain Creek to enjoying the best Jersey Shore boardwalks, below is where to go on a New Jersey road trip this summer.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

New Jersey Summer Road Trip

NJ Trip Planner: Traveling to and Around New Jersey

A New Jersey summer road trip.

Suppose you plan to fly to the Garden State for a summer road trip. In that case, the best airport to fly into is Newark Liberty International Airport, and the airport from which to depart is Atlantic City International Airport. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

For NJ locals, depending on where you live, you can conquer this road trip however you wish. All travelers will need their own vehicle to visit the destinations mentioned below. You can easily rent a car from the airport!

Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.

New Jersey Summer Weather:

A woman in Cape May, New Jersey during summertime.

The best season to visit New Jersey is during summer. That’s when the weather is the best for going down the shore or conquering the latest hike in Northern New Jersey.

Average temperatures during New Jersey’s summer months are between the lower 80s°F to the mid 60s°F. The hottest month is July and that is usually when the state receives the most rain.

New Jersey’s climate differs from the southernmost tip of Cape May to the northernmost part of the state, the Kittatinny Mountains. The coastal areas tend to receive more humidity during the summer season, while the rest of the state is quite hot. Thunderstorms are frequent, but hurricanes are rare.

Below is a more in-depth summer weather guide by month for a New Jersey road trip:

June: Average highs in the lower 80s°F with average lows in the lower 60s°F and around nine days of precipitation.

July: Average highs in the mid 80s°F with average lows in the upper 60s°F and around eight days of precipitation.

August: Average highs in the lower 80s°F with average lows in the upper 60s°F and around eight days of precipitation.

September: Average highs in the mid 70s°F with average lows in the lower 60s°F and around seven days of precipitation.

New Jersey Road Trip Itinerary for 10 Days:

A woman enjoying a New Jersey summer road trip.

Below are the best places to visit on a road trip in New Jersey. What’s great about visiting the Garden State is that there is something for everyone!

Day 1: Explore Hoboken and Jersey City

A woman at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

After arriving at Newark Airport, one of the best areas of the Garden State to explore is Hudson County. It’s one of the most diverse and eclectic areas of New Jersey, overlooking the New York City skyline.

Although there are a few luxury and mid-budget hotels in this area, one of the best places to stay is Hyatt House in Jersey City. There are also rental properties here.

When you first arrive in Hudson County, start your day in Hoboken. Old German Bakery is great for grabbing coffee and freshly baked strudels.

One of the main reasons you cannot miss out on visiting Hoboken during your New Jersey road trip is because it’s the birthplace of Frank Sinatra. The best Sinatra spots to check out in this city are the Hoboken Historical Museum, St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, where Sinatra introduced President Reagan, Sinatra Park and Leo’s Grandevous, his favorite restaurant.

Pier 13 is a fun venue to visit on a beautiful summer day in Hoboken. Located along the Hudson River, Pier 13 boasts the best food trucks, serving lobster rolls, empanadas, rum buckets, ice cream and more.

Later in the day, stroll along the waterfront in Jersey City and admire the best views of NYC. Another perfect place to enjoy an afternoon in Hudson County is Liberty State Park, where you can see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

For dinner, savor delicious pizza at Razza, one of the best restaurants in Jersey City, before concluding the day at either Zepplin Hall, South House or The Ashford. Discover more things to do in Hoboken and Jersey City.

Day 2: Discover the Best of Bergen County, NJ

A woman hiking the Ramapo Reservation during a summer New Jersey road trip.

A road trip through the Garden State must include visiting Bergen County in northern New Jersey. Bergen County is the most populated county in the state and is famous for its affluent towns, incredible culinary scene and stunning parks.

(It’s around an hour’s drive from Hoboken and Jersey City to Mahwah.)

Homewood Suites by Hilton in Mahwah is an excellent hotel in Bergen County. It is conveniently located near the best summer activities.

Before heading to the Ramapo Valley County Reservation for a great hike, enjoy the best coffee and breakfast sandwich at Longfellow’s Coffee in Mahwah. (In case you’re wondering, it’s Taylor ham, not pork roll, LOL!) From there, head over to the start of the hike on Route 202, past Ramapo College.

Hiking the Ramapo Reservation, or as we Mahwah natives like to call it, “The Res,” is one of the best things to do in NJ for free during summer. This beautiful gem of Bergen County includes 3,313 acres and 13 hiking trails for all levels and abilities. It’s also surrounded by the Ramapo Mountain State Forest and connected to Ringwood State Park.

What I love about “The Res” is that you can admire the fascinating local wildlife, along with stunning lakes, ponds and waterfalls. On specific trails, you can see the New York City skyline and scenic views of the Ramapo Valley and the township of Mahwah.

Some of the top trails to conquer and appreciate natural beauty at the Ramapo Valley County Reservation are the Ramapo Valley Ridge Overlook, an easy 2.3-mile loop trail; the Vista Loop Trail, a moderate 3.5-mile loop trail and the Ramapo Schuber and Ridge Loop Trail, a challenging 9.6-mile loop trail.

After your hike, treat yourself to the best pizza in New Jersey at S. Egidio in Ridgewood. This charming restaurant will transport you to a café in Italy with its incredible Neapolitan pizzas, delicious pasta dishes, cured meats and freshly brewed espresso. I love how cozy it is here!

From lunch, stroll around the village of Ridgewood. It’s one of the most idyllic New Jersey towns and features boutique stores, ice cream and coffee shops, salons, fitness studios and much more.

In the evening, head over to Montvale to the best Irish pub in New Jersey – Hearth & Tap Co. Their chicken pot pie is out of this world and the ambiance will bring you straight to a cozy pub in Ireland. Heart & Tap Co. is a great place to sit on the patio during a lovely summer evening.

Day 3: Enjoy Outdoor Adventures at Mountain Creek

A woman mountain biking at Mountain Creek in Sussex County, NJ.

It’s no secret that Mountain Creek in Vernon is one of the best attractions for a road trip through New Jersey. Located in Sussex County, in northwestern New Jersey, Mountain Creek is a four-season resort boasting an activity for all to enjoy.

(It’s around a 50-minute drive from Mahwah to Mountain Creek.)

What’s also convenient about visiting Mountain Creek is that there is a hotel on-site called The Appalachian.

Before checking into the hotel and embarking on your daily adventure, fuel up with incredible coffee and baked goods at The Daily Bean, located in the heart of Vernon.

What makes Mountain Creek a popular summer destination is its Water Park! The former Action Park features epic water slides, a wave pool, private cabanas and fun for all ages.

At Mountain Creek Water Park, you must ride the world’s tallest double-looping thrill slide, a white-water raft ride. There is also a canyon cliff jump, single and double tube rides, dark tunnel slides, a racing slide and a 45-foot drop into a funnel. This epic New Jersey waterpark also has kid-friendly water slides, a lazy river and numerous food stands.

If you prefer an adventure that doesn’t involve water, I recommend mountain biking or taking a lesson at Mountain Creek Bike Park! It’s a world-class mountain biking destination rated as one of North America’s “Best Bike Parks.”

Mountain Creek Bike Park has over 50 beginner, intermediate and expert trails to enjoy during the warmer months. The bike paths are similar to Mountain Creek‘s ski resort, which many locals enjoy during a New Jersey winter.

When taking a lesson, you’ll learn all the basic technical skills of mountain biking and even have the chance to ride on one of the green trails!

There’s nothing like enjoying Mountain Creek’s outdoor Biergarten after a fun adventure while admiring its beautiful landscape! You can get delicious grilled foods and the top local craft beers here.

Day 4: Venture through Central New Jersey

A woman at The Bradford at the AC Hotel Bridgewater during a New Jersey summer road trip.

There’s a reason why New Jersey is called the Garden State. We have some of the most beautiful flower fields and gardens! You can see most of these special locations in Central New Jersey. (Yes, Central Jersey exists!)

Staying in the Somerset and Bridgewater area is the best way to enjoy Central New Jersey’s best. Driving from Vernon to Bridgewater takes around an hour and 15 minutes, but I suggest stopping in Morristown first.

The best place to stay in Central Jersey is the AC Hotel by Marriott in Bridgewater, which is in Somerset County. It’s a modern hotel with an indoor pool, fitness facility, bar and rooftop lounge.

Before heading to Somerset County, stop in lovely Morristown! Begin your day by fueling up with a healthy breakfast from Green Point Juicery before strolling through the charming downtown, which is filled with locally owned shops and boutiques, cafés, restaurants and fun activities.

For those looking to get creative, one of the most fun things to do in Morristown is visiting Glassworks Studio. You can make your own mosaic work of art by breaking different glasses. It’s so cool!

If you and your party want something more laid-back, I suggest walking through the Morris Museum, part of the Smithsonian Museum network! This incredible museum in Morristown has been running since 1913 and is the second-largest museum in the Garden State. It offers programs in art, science, history, film and theater.

I recommend Sushi Lounge, one of my favorite sushi restaurants, for lunch. They also serve great cocktails!

From Morris County, head south on Route 287 to Somerset County! It’s around a 25-minute drive from Morristown to Bridgewater.

When doing a New Jersey road trip in late June through early July, I recommend checking out Hidden Spring Lavender Farm in Skillman, NJ. What’s nice about visiting this lovely spot is that it will transport you to the lavender fields in Provence.

While at Hidden Spring Lavender Farm, you can freely walk through the lavender field on Saturdays and Sundays and book private photoshoots from Monday through Friday. There’s a shop onsite where you can purchase lavender products. You can also do an alpaca walking tour here, which is loads of fun!

If you visit New Jersey after the lavender season, I recommend visiting Colonial Park to see the Rudolph W. van der Goot Rose Garden in Somerset, NJ or Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ.

In the evening, enjoy The Bradford Rooftop at the AC Hotel. It boasts incredible American small plates and craft cocktails. While here, you can also listen to live music and take advantage of the many “Instagrammable” spots!

Day 5: Experience the Best of the Delaware Valley

A woman staying at Woolverton Inn in Hunterdon County, NJ during a New Jersey road trip.

Hunterdon County in Western New Jersey is a great road trip destination because it boasts beautiful farmland, charming small towns and the incredible Delaware Water Gap!

(It’s around a 50-minute drive from the Bridgewater area to Lambertville.)

Woolverton Inn is the best place to stay in this area. It’s a welcoming bed and breakfast in Stockton, NJ, situated just outside the charming city of Lambertville along the Delaware River.

Before beginning your adventurous day, stop at Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, NJ, for a classic New Jersey breakfast!

One of the best things for adventure lovers to do along the Delaware Water Gap is tubing. The leading company to do your experience with is Big Bear Gear Delaware River Tubing in Frenchtown. During this experience, you can relax with your friends and family and admire the natural beauty and panoramic view.

There are plenty of other fun outdoor activities on the Delaware River. It’s also the perfect spot for water sports like swimming, white-water rafting, kayaking, fishing, canoeing and paddle boarding.

Later in the afternoon, relax at one of the best New Jersey wineries – Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown. Not only can you go wine tasting here, but you can also enjoy the live music, food trucks, bonfires and fun events.

In the evening, head into downtown Lambertville and stroll around. For dinner, El Tule Restaurant offers delicious Peruvian cuisine to savor. On a lovely evening, you must eat in the courtyard.

Day 6: Have Fun in Asbury Park

Wonder Bar at Asbury Park, NJ.

The next stop on your New Jersey summer road trip is the Jersey Shore! Overall, the shore is a major highlight of summer in Jersey! One of the most iconic beach towns you cannot miss out on visiting is Asbury Park in Monmouth County.

(Driving from Lambertville to Asbury Park takes around an hour and 15 minutes.)

The Asbury Hotel is the best hotel to stay at during a visit to Asbury Park. It’s a boutique hotel with a notable rooftop bar, pool, retro bowling alley and classic New Jersey diner, conveniently located across from the beach.

When you first arrive, fuel up at Toast. From there, get a head start on a relaxing day at the beach. What I love most about the Jersey Shore is its soft sand!

While enjoying your day “down the shore,” you must check out the Silverball Retro Arcade, the Carousel Building, which houses the Wooden Walls Project, and the Paramount Theater, the most historic site in Asbury Park.

For lunch, savor delicious Japanese cuisine at Taka and wander through the downtown area before relaxing at the hotel’s pool in the afternoon.

If you’re taking your furry friend on your road trip, the best spot to visit in the early evening is The Wonder Bar for “Yappy Hour!” Afterward, savor pizza and beer at Porta before ending the night at the iconic Stone Pony for a live performance.

Day 7: Do a Beach Day in Lavallette, New Jersey

A woman on a swing at Lavallette Bay NJ.

Many quaint seaside towns are along the Jersey Shore, but Lavallette in Ocean County is the best. I may be biased because I grew up going to this beach town, but I promise you won’t be disappointed during your overnight stay.

(It’s around a 35-minute drive from Asbury Park to Lavallette, NJ.)

The top accommodation in Lavallette is the Starlight Motel & Luxury Suites in Ortley Beach, which is the next town over.

When you first arrive in Lavallette, New Jersey, fuel up with a coffee and Liege waffle from Pressed, across from the Starlight Motel.

Enjoy the beach in Lavallette for most of the day. You can sunbathe and swim in the ocean. This beach is also perfect for boogie boarding, surfing and skimboarding.

Head to the center of Lavallette during lunchtime to relish a delicious seafood meal at the iconic Crabs Claw Inn. Afterward, walk off your lunch by visiting the local boutique shops like My Sister’s Jewelry Box. A fun place to go mini golfing in town is Lava Golf!

In the evening, have a fun boardwalk night in Seaside Heights! When you first get to the boardwalk, savor dinner at The Ocean View Restaurant, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. You can enjoy a raw bar, seafood sandwiches, salads and bar pies at this oceanfront restaurant and bar.

Later, do a short walk to Casino Pier. This is where all the fun rides and arcade games are located! If you want to take the party elsewhere, visit the Beachcomber Bar & Grill and Spicy Cantina.

Day 8: Camp in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey

The New Jersey Pine Barrens.

If camping is one of your favorite summertime activities, visit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. In fact, it’s one of the best things to do in New Jersey in the summer!

Located 40 minutes south of Lavallette, the Pine Barrens run through Ocean, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Burlington and Atlantic Counties in New Jersey. It’s the largest forested area along the Eastern Seaboard.

Before departing for your overnight stay in the Pine Barrens, stop at the Acme in Seaside Heights, off Route 35, to ensure you have all the essentials you need to camp. Click here to reserve a campground, cabin and RV park in the Pine Barrens.

As you leave Lavallette, stop at Lava Java to pick up a coffee and breakfast sandwich to fuel you up. When you eventually get into the Pine Barrens, you will not come across any cafés, restaurants, etc., for miles.

The New Jersey Pine Barrens covers 1.1 million acres and offers a variety of hiking, fishing and kayaking opportunities. One trail is 49.5 miles long!

While you’re in the Pine Barrens, please be mindful. Always be alert when hiking! Since everything looks the same here and is relatively flat, it’s easy to get lost! Also, if you plan to have a campfire, ensure your fire is out before going to sleep, heading out for the day and departing.

The Pine Barrens play a huge role in New Jersey’s legend. While here, you can learn about the hauntings in the Pine Barrens featured in Weird New Jersey.

During the colonial era, locals abandoned their towns for coal mining opportunities west of Pennsylvania. NJ folklore has it that lost spirits are still looming in the dense forests. It’s also said that the New Jersey Devil, a horrifying legendary creature, roams through the Pine Barrens and eats livestock in the area.

Day 9: Make Memories in Atlantic City during your New Jersey Road Trip

Atlantic City during summer.

A New Jersey road trip is incomplete without visiting Atlantic City in South Jersey. Founded in 1853, Atlantic City is situated on Absecon Island in Atlantic County and is iconic for its casinos, beaches and boardwalk.

(Driving from the Pine Barrens to Atlantic City will take over an hour.)

The best hotel in Atlantic City is Ocean Casino Resort, which has a casino, great restaurants, a spa and a rooftop pool.

When arriving in Atlantic City, start your day by having breakfast at Gilchrist Restaurant in the Tropicana.

Afterward, you can enjoy a parasailing experience through GetYourGuide or walk the historic boardwalk. If you prefer to gamble, I recommend visiting one of the casinos. The Tropicana has always been a classic!

If you prefer to be in the sun, I suggest enjoying the pool and cabanas at Ocean’s. During the summer, HQ2 Beach Club hosts fun pool parties. What’s incredible about attending a pool party in Atlantic City is that there is usually a DJ, six bungalows, 12 day beds and 30 VIP sections. You can also enjoy great food and beverages here, along with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

For those who prefer to go to the beach, I suggest heading to Brigantine Beach, the next city over. It’s more low-key than Atlantic City and offers a stunning and peaceful beach where you can sunbathe, swim and ride the waves.

One of my favorite things to do in Brigantine, NJ, is have lunch and hang out at LaScala’s Beach House. It’s a fun seafood restaurant on the beach that features palm trees and yard games like corn hole.

Later in the afternoon, hang out at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, an outdoor biergarten in the heart of Atlantic City that offers excellent craft beers, live music and chill vibes. If you prefer not to drink, I suggest having fun on the rides and playing arcade games at Steel Pier.

In the evening, savor a delicious meal at Amada. It’s an Andalucian-styled tapas restaurant with dishes crafted by Chef Garces. At night, catch a performance from your famous music artist to the best comedians.

No matter what you choose to do in Atlantic City, NJ, you are sure to have the best time!

Day 10: End your NJ Summer Road Trip in Cape May

A woman in front of Peter Shield's Inn in Cape May during a New Jersey summer road trip.

The final destination to conclude your New Jersey summer road trip is the charming seaside resort town of Cape May. This idyllic summer destination is located at the southernmost tip of the Garden State and is famous for its collection of Victorian homes and beautiful white sand beaches.

(It’s a 50-minute drive from Atlantic City to Cape May.)

The best accommodation to stay at in Cape May, New Jersey is Congress Hall. It’s one of the most historic landmarks in Cape May County.

When arriving at “America’s Oldest Seaside Resort,” enjoy the best breakfast at The Mad Batter before shopping through the Washington Street Mall. If you’re a history buff, I suggest taking one of the historical trolley tours with the Cape May MAC. This is one of the best ways to admire historic architecture.

Once the afternoon rolls around, head over to Cape May Winery. At this picturesque venue, you can go wine tasting, have a lovely lunch and listen to live music. This winery is famous for producing some of South Jersey’s most awarded wines.

Afterward, have a relaxing afternoon on Cape May’s beach! As a guest of Congress Hall, you can enjoy their complimentary umbrellas, towels and chairs. The resort also has private cabanas and an indoor and outdoor pool.

In the evening, catch a gorgeous sunset at the idyllic Cape May Lighthouse before having dinner at Peter Shield’s Inn & Restaurant.

On the next day, drive up to Atlantic City International Airport to fly home.


A woman at Lavallette Beach during a New Jersey road trip.

Here are other summer articles you’ll love:

Ultimate Summer USA East Coast Itinerary for 2 Weeks

Summer Weekend in the Berkshires

30 Restaurants to Add to Your NYC Bucket List

I hope you all enjoyed discovering one of the best road trips in New Jersey for the 2024 summer season. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., NJ State Capital: Trenton, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop my New Jersey Summer Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on June 9, 2024 at 11:06 pm

    Love, love, love my home state! So many beautiful places to visit in the beautiful Garden state, New Jersey! I really enjoyed reading this blog since I have been to several of these fabulous places, many of times. We have some of the best beaches, hiking trails, wineries, farms and so much more. Hope you come to visit our state soon and get to enjoy all these fun places! Great blog on the perfect NJ Summer Road Trip ~ love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on June 10, 2024 at 1:02 pm

      There really are a lot of gems here! I love it. <3

Leave a Comment





Related posts

Luxury Amelia Island Weekend Getaway: Top Girl’s Trip

Everyone deserves a beach vacation! Amelia Island, Florida is nestled between the charming Southern cities of Savannah and St. Augustine...
check out the post about Luxury Amelia Island Weekend Getaway: Top Girl’s Trip

Things to do in Phoenicia, NY during a Girl’s Weekend

Take this article as a sign to go on a girl’s (or guy’s) trip to the Catskills, especially to the...
check out the post about Things to do in Phoenicia, NY during a Girl’s Weekend

The Importance of Travel Insurance for a Dream Trip

Benefits of Travel Insurance for Your Bucket List Adventure: The Importance of Getting Covered There’s nothing like the excitement of...
check out the post about The Importance of Travel Insurance for a Dream Trip