Fall For New Jersey's Small Town Charm
Among New Jersey's treasures are its charming small towns. First-time visitors are delighted to discover these little pockets of Americana, where you can stroll down Main Streets, wander through one-of-a-kind stores and dine at family-owned restaurants. Take advantage of fall's seasonable weather to explore this list of NJ towns with populations under 12,000. Download and print this infographic as your guide!
Not only is Clinton picturesque, it's home to one of the most photographed structures in New Jersey, the Red Mill. (Explore the entire Red Mill Museum Village, which holds a dozen historic buildings, including the mill.) Set on the banks of the Raritan River, which is the site of the town's annual Rubber Ducky Race, Clinton features an adorable downtown block with galleries, shops and restaurants.
Chester is a must-go-to destination for its historic downtown retail district. Stroll along brick sidewalks and peek into the windows of dozens of specialty shops, ranging from fine antiques to posh pet products. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll find 48 flavors at Taylor's Ice Cream Parlor or stop at Alstede Farms for a freshly baked pie.
If you like fine dining and even finer antiques, you'll fall for the mystique of this riverfront town. Walk along the canal path that runs through downtown Lambertville or walk out on the bridge over the Delaware River for scenic vistas. Join other visitors snapping the iconic "one foot in NJ and one foot in PA" photo!
As one of the state's best preserved 19th-century villages, Cranbury has a cute, tree-lined Main Street and the quintessential "town pond." Take a stroll around Brainerd Lake Dam before dining at the Cranbury Inn, a Revolutionary-era tavern.
This tranquil village has reinvented itself as a dining destination. In addition to antique stores like the Tomato Factory Antique Center, Hopewell offers farm-to-table dining at The Brothers Moon and Brick Farm Tavern, plus gourmet pizza at Nomad and new American cuisine at The Blue Bottle Café. The town's newly renovated Hopewell Theater offers a range of cultural experiences, from indie films to live music.
Downtown Haddonfield is a popular shopping destination and for good reason. It features over 200 shops and galleries, plus coffeehouses, outdoor cafés and fine dining for a relaxing break. Don't miss Haddonfield's quirky landmark, an eight-foot-high statue of a Hadrosaurus Foulkii dinosaur, nicknamed Haddy. It commemorates the finding of a complete dinosaur skeleton in 1858.
Founded in 1706, little Allentown is rich with history. A former stop on the Underground Railroad, the village features original 19th century homes and the Old Mill, where you can shop for artisan goods at the Old Mill Crafter's Guild and sip a cappuccino at the Moth Coffeehouse.
Step back into the age of elegance and gracious living in Spring Lake, a lovely beach resort town that's home to the longest non-commercial boardwalk on the Jersey Shore. Enjoy a relaxing walk along the beach before heading to romantic accommodations with a wood-burning fireplace at the Chateau Inn & Suites.
Just minutes from Atlantic City, you can enjoy "nature by the sea" in the beach town of Brigantine. View the important work of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which rescues stranded dolphins, seals and sea turtles, and bike or drive along Wildlife Drive at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, where you can spy osprey, heron, egrets and even bald eagles!
West Cape May
The whimsical little sister of Cape May, West Cape May boasts its share of colorfully painted Victorian homes and charming eateries—plus celebrates the humblest of legumes at its annual Lima Bean Festival. Go birding at the acclaimed South Cape May Meadows or take a tour of Willow Creek Winery, set on the 200-year-old farm in the heart of the town.