5 Unexpected Winter Activities in New Jersey

  • Boy Ice Fishing
    Image: Getty Images/ lemonadelucy

This winter, try something new with these unexpected activities throughout the state.


1. Ice Fishing


February is the perfect time for ice fishing in New Jersey, as the cold winter months mean a solid ice base for heading out on the lakes. Find your perfect fishing spot at these popular ice fishing locations.


  • Lake Hopatcong and Lake Musconetcong at Hopatcong State Park in Landing, where you can reel in winter catches such as perch and pickerel.
  • Assunpink Lake in Allentown is home to an array of fish, from pickerel to crappie to bass.
  • Wawayanda Lake in Hewitt is stocked with everything from trout to landlocked salmon.

2. Maple Sugaring


With New Jersey’s vast woodlands and numerous nature preserves, the Garden State is the spot to discover one of nature’s best sweets: maple sugar. Bundle up and head to the forests, where you can get a glimpse into this fascinating industry during the height of the maple sap season.


  • On February 29, 2020 (two sessions: 9:30 - 11:30 am and 11 am - 1 pm) at The Watershed Institute in Pennington, discover the history, folklore and science about the maple sugaring process, and then you can enjoy a pancake brunch served with real maple syrup.
  • On March 14, 2020 (9 am - 2 pm, tours every 20 minutes) at Echo Hill Park in Hunterdon County, attend the Maple Sugaring Living History Program to experience the tradition of maple sugaring. You'll see tree tapping, visit a sugar farmer at an evaporator, listen to a Native American story and then get a taste of real maple syrup served on a silver dollar pancake.

3. Polar Bear Plunge


If you're looking for an invigorating, thrilling experience this winter, there's nothing to get your heart rate going like an icy dip into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Take the plunge at these charitable events on Jersey Shore.


  • On February 22, 2020, take part in a good cause when you do the Polar Bear Plunge at Seaside, a fundraising event for the Special Olympics New Jersey, which provides sports training and health screenings to more than 25,000 athletes. 
  • On March 14, 2020, the Stone Harbor Shiver Polar Plunge features an array of activities ("kegs and eggs" breakfast, costume parade, plunge into the ocean and a post-party), and proceeds benefit the Family Promise of Cape May County, which supports homeless parents and children.

4. Train Museums


Train enthusiasts of all ages will love spending some time indoors with their favorite hobby. New Jersey has train museums and lots of train rides!


5. Escape Rooms


Go on an adventure indoors when you enter the immersive experience of escape rooms.


  • The Other Tales Escape Rooms in Hawthorne, work with your friends to solve puzzles and mysteries.
  • Trap Door Escape Room (Morristown and Red Bank), go on an adventure that combines immersive theater and video game technology for a thrilling experience teeming with spooky creatures such as zombies or witches.
  • At Montclair’s Adventure Rooms, use your knowledge and street smarts to gather clues and solve puzzles that will set you free.

Discover even more trip ideas for your New Jersey vacation.