This week I’m linking up with some other fab NJ bloggers to share some favorites places to visit in the state. Both my husband and I are born, raised, and currently living in New Jersey, and there are a lot of places that we both love. When it came to picking 5 favorite places to visit with the kids, it all came back to family. I’m lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents and both of my siblings within an hour. I grew up in Morris Plains and then moved to Morristown in high school after my mom remarirred. My husband grew up in Moorestown (I never heard of the place until meeting someone from there in college, and I would suspect that most North Jerseyians, like myself, would hear “Moorestown” and think “Morristown.” Just a conjecture). My mom an step-dad now reside in Chester, we spend a lot of summer time on LBI with Rob’s family, and we currently live right on the border of Princeton. Keep reading to learn why my girls love all 5 of these places.
Chester – A beautiful scenic and historic town where Nana and Pop Pop (my mom and step-dad) live now. Some of the girls’ favorite places to visit when we get a chance are: Alstede Farms, Toys With Love Shop (independent toy stores have the best stuff!), Taylor’s Ice Cream, The Chester Diner (their usual for breakfast after sleepovers), and the Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe(they won Cupcake Wars and is THE place we order cupcakes from for special birthday dinners at my mom’s). Another plus – The Streets of Chester Shopping Center (with Gap, Charming Charlie, Ann Taylor, and more) is walking distance from my mom’s place!
Long Beach Island – LBI has been in my husband’s family ever since his parents were young. They’ve had a home on the bay since he was born, which means summers were often spent on the island. Now it’s one of my girls’ favorites places to visit: they get the beach & the bay, their grandparents, AND their cousins (husband’s sister). We stay in Haven Beach, just a few minutes north of Bay Village where all the action takes place. Bay Village has Fantasy Island Amusement Park and Arcade, Thomas Sweet Ice Cream, Crust & Crumb Bakery and Cool Beans Coffee Shop (my favorite of course). Some of our favorite kid-friendly places for eating/take-out: The WooHoo, Fred’s Diner, Holiday Snack Bar, and Biggy’s Beach Grill. While the girls love hitting the beach as often as possible, they also love getting pool time in at the Haven Beach Club, which is right up the road from the bay house.
Morristown – I grew up in Morris Plains (a neighboring town) and moved to Morristown in high school. After my siblings each graduated college, they also moved there too. I experienced the fun party scene for a few years in my early 20’s and now I bring the girls up for things like shows at Mayo Performing Arts Center, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and summer gatherings at the pool in my brother’s development. There’s a plethora of restaurants, mom & pop stores, historical sites and homes, and public parking (always a key!). And you can’t forget the Morristown Green! It’s basically a park located in the center of town and the location of many community events. Whenever I meet people who have moved to NJ and want to explore the state, I always tell them to start with Morristown and then visit along the Midtown Direct train line, which hits a lot of beautiful towns on the way into NYC.
Moorestown – Every time the girls visit my husband’s parents with him, they always stop at the Zelley Playground in Fullerton Park, aka The Castle Playground. He’ll often take the girls for a visit if I’m going to be away for the day for work or pleasure, and now it has become kind of a tradition for them. On the rare occasion that we’re in town and not eating at his parents, we’ll go to Passariello’s Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen. You’ll remember it for both the food and the checkerboard floor. While the downtown is not as bustling as Morristown, Chester or Princeton, it’s a cozy place to visit. It wasn’t named best town to live in 2005 for nothing! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from town, but thankfully there’s plenty of inspiration on IG!
Princeton – where do I begin! We live right on the border of Princeton in Montgomery and most of my clients are in town. I’m in Princeton every week and love to bring the girls in with me. They would probably tell you that my job is “taking pictures in town,” which is not too far from the truth (oh the life of a community manager). There is still so much that I haven’t done with the girls, but some of our usuals include: events like Palmer Square’s JazzFest and McCarter Theatre’s Block Party, anything and everything at The Princeton Library, events and classes at The Arts Council, cozy family dinners at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, running (and shopping) around on Palmer Square, playing and shopping in Jazams, getting pizza at Princeton Pi, Massimo’s or Jules Thin Crust, ice cream at Halo Pub or Thomas Sweet, rides on The Dinky, Santa visits at Morven, the summer Princeton Farmers’ Market, more shopping and eating at MarketFair, exploring Princeton University campus, running across Princeton Battlefield, and spending summers at the Princeton Community Pool.
A few honorable mentions –
Emery’s Berry Patch in New Egypt – One of our favorite places for pumpkins with a neatly arranged pumpkin area, hay rides, corn maze, and a tempting farm store with lots of pies, jams, and treats!
Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin – Indoor and outdoor water park. We’ve only been once, but I definitely plan to go back this summer.
Adventure Aquarium in Camden- I would love to go back more often because of the the awesome exhibits. The girls usually end up in Philly with my in-laws instead of state-side.
Paws Farm Nature Center in Mont Laurel – good for the littles with a petting zoo and indoor pretend play centers.
Haddonfield – A beautiful town in south Jersey with lots of shopping, dining and more. The only reason it’s not in my favorites list is that we’ve only been with the girls one time.
Where are some of your favorite places to visit with the kids? I need some ideas to expand my reach!
Need even more ideas? Check out the other blogger favorites below!