Six Secret Getaways in New Jersey
Sure, New Jersey has some incredible vacation destinations from Atlantic City to Cape May—but what about those off-the-beaten-path gems, those small towns with charming main streets, quiet parks and independent restaurants and theaters? Take a weekend trip to discover our lesser-known destinations with this roundup of “secret” getaways throughout the state.
Weekend Trip Idea #1 – Natural Beauty and Local Wine in Sussex County
Escape to the breathtaking natural beauty of northern New Jersey, where rolling hillsides and sweeping views of the Kittatinny Mountains await. Situated on seven acres of landscaped grounds, the High Point Country Inn (Wantage) is an ideal home base, just 90 minutes away from New York City. Spend time exploring the nearby Stokes State Forest (Branchville), where hiking trails could lead you to the top of Sunrise Mountain or past waterfalls in the lush Tillman Ravine. At Westfall Winery (Montague), sample an array of New Jersey country wines made from locally grown fruits, and be sure to bring a picnic to enjoy alfresco dining with vineyard views.
Weekend Trip Idea #2 – Outdoor Activities and Theatre in Newton
Surrounded by 10 acres of serene woodlands, The Wooden Duck Bed & Breakfast offers a much-needed reprieve from daily stresses. Enjoy the quiet country life as you spot birds and herds of grazing deer or as you unwind by the onsite pool or gardens. During the day, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities—from horseback riding or a bike ride to birding or hunting—at nearby Kittatinny Valley State Park. At night, head into the town of Newton for a movie, live concert, or theatrical production at The Newton Theatre.
Weekend Trip Idea #3 – Farm Life and Local Flavors in Flemington
Feel as though you’ve traveled back in time when you visit the historic borough of Flemington, where handsome stone buildings and charming shops take you back to yesteryear. Stay in the picturesque Main Street Manor, an elegant Victorian bed and breakfast within Flemington’s Historic Residential District, where comfortably appointed guest rooms blend modern amenities and a vintage aesthetic. Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Fudge Shoppe, a gourmet chocolate shop housed in a charming red barn, or head to a real barn at Schaefer Farms with friendly animals, freshly picked produce and farm activities. In the evening, sample some local suds with a pint of locally made craft beer at Lone Eagle Brewing, offering eight to 10 rotating taps.
Weekend Trip Idea #4 – Parks and Gardens in Hamilton
In Hamilton, take your pick from comfortable hotels, such as Hilton Garden Inn, and get ready to explore beautiful scenery. Stroll 42 acres of manicured gardens to discover contemporary outdoor sculptures and six indoor art galleries at Grounds for Sculpture, where a year-round schedule of performing arts means there’s always something new to see and do. Or, explore the walking paths at Sayen House & Gardens, where a pond, flowers and gazebos delight. If active pursuits are more your speed, try hiking, jogging or biking at Hamilton Veterans Park.
Weekend Trip #5 – History and Wine in Mays Landing
The historic waterfront town of Mays Landing dates back to the 1700s, and its prime river location allowed it to become a bustling port during the Revolutionary War. Enjoy the local history when you stay in The Inn at Sugar Hill, an 1840s mansion with six antique-filled rooms and an on-site restaurant serving up traditional American cuisine. Just a few miles south, explore the beautiful wetlands and local wildlife by walking along the 1.8-mile Swamp Trail Boardwalk at Estell Manor Park, which was once home to Native Americans, followed by an 1800s glassworks factory and then a munitions plant during World War I. Now it is home to 1,700 acres of natural landscapes and the Warren E. Fox Nature Center. Also nearby, sip award-winning wine at Balić Winery, which dates back to the early 1900s, when descendants of early settlers planted the vineyards.
Weekend Trip #6 – Arts, Culture and Cruising in Millville
In Millville, stay at the Country Inn by Carlson for cozy accommodations and breakfast, and get ready for a weekend of arts, culture and more. At The Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, marvel at impressive works of glass displayed in eye-catching exhibits, or walk through the craft studios to watch artisans in action as they create colorful glass pieces. In the afternoon, spend a leisurely two hours with Maurice River Cruises, which will take you along the wild and scenic Union Lake, highlighting wildlife-filled meadows and waterways. Once the sun goes down, catch a live concert, comedy or musical production at the Levoy Theatre, where a packed schedule offers an array of entertainment.
Get even more weekend getaway inspiration with our New Jersey trip ideas.