3-Day Road Trip: Central Jersey

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Embark on a 3-day journey through Central Jersey, where you’ll find major culture, historic architecture, acres of green space and beautiful beaches.

Day One: New Brunswick

Start at Rutgers University with a walk through the botanic gardens before visiting the school’s Geology Museum and Zimmerli Art Museum. Then, navigate the city’s substantial pre-Revolutionary War past on a self-guided Historic New Brunswick Walking tour. Make sure to see Buccleuch Mansion, a Georgian estate built in 1739, as well as Henry Guest House, the Joyce Kilmer House and the historic churches here. Have a bite at Harvest Moon Brewery and Café before enjoying some modern culture at George Street Playhouse or Crossroads Theatre. Both venues offer a variety of plays, readings and musicals. In the evening, grab a table at Clydz restaurant, then visit the Stress Factory Comedy Club for a rollicking good time. Stay at The Heldrich Hotel & Conference Center or downtown’s Hyatt Regency New Brunswick.

Day Two: Princeton and Hamilton

A visit to Princeton is not complete without a tour of its namesake Ivy League institution, where an art museum, chapel and even a children’s library await. After walking the gorgeous grounds, head to downtown Palmer Square to shop quaint boutiques. Lunch at the square’s Yankee Doodle Tap Room, a gastro pub in historic Nassau Inn, admiring the spot’s 13-foot-wide Normal Rockwell mural. After lunch, spend the rest of the day at Princeton Battlefield State Park, site of an American Revolution battle. Visit the park’s Clarke House Museum and the monument before heading across the street to Institute Woods, a serene nature preserve. Just 25 minutes away in Hamilton, see Grounds for Sculpture, 42 acres featuring six indoor galleries and a highly-lauded outdoor exhibit of contemporary sculptures. Enjoy French country cuisine at Rat’s Restaurant before heading back to Princeton’s historic Inn at Glencairn for the night.

Day Three: Asbury Park

Head straight for the beach at this seaside city, where a walk on the boardwalk is a foodie’s dream. Pick up oysters, ice pops and Korean tacos before sunbathing and swimming. Visit the boardwalk’s Paramount Theatre for live music, or catch a concert at landmark Convention Hall, which stretches over the beach and features the biggest musical acts. The young at heart can spend the morning playing games at Silverball Museum Arcade. For lunch, try the Beekeeper’s Lament pie at pizza joint Talula’s, before cooling off at the splash park, especially for the little ones. The boardwalk also has a skate park and miniature golf. Install yourself at The Asbury, a gorgeous urban rustic hotel, and enjoy a seafood dinner at downtown’s The Bonny Read, where the raw bar and open kitchen highlight the area’s nautical roots.