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New Jersey

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Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New Jersey

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Introduction

New Jersey is a state in the northeast of the USA and is one of the smallest in the country. It's not a very popular state for travellers, though it has a major airport (Newark Liberty) and the eastern version of Las Vegas: Atlantic City. Other than that, you are most likely to pass through from New York City to Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.

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Geography

At about 22,600 square kilometres, New Jersey is the 4th smallest state of the USA, but is the 11th most populous and the most densely populated. It is bordered on the north and east by the US state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania, and on the southwest by Delaware. New Jersey lies mostly within the sprawling metropolitan areas of New York City and Philadelphia.

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Cities

  • Secaucus
  • East Rutherford
  • Camden - On the Delaware River, east of Philadelphia. Site of the USS New Jersey, Adventure Aquarium, and Campbell's Field.
  • Hoboken - Old city on the Hudson with awesome view of lower Manhattan. Plenty of bars, restaurants, and music. Birthplace of Frank Sinatra. The site of the world's first baseball game.
  • Jersey City - New Jersey's second largest city, just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. Home to Liberty State Park, where ferries leave for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Newark is the state's largest city. Located near New York; home to Newark Liberty International Airport, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Symphony Hall, Prudential Center (the home of the New Jersey Devils hockey team), and the Newark Museum- the state's largest.
  • Paterson - Third largest city in the state. Home to the Great Falls of the Passaic (a state park), Lambert Castle, and Garret Mountain (also in West Paterson).
  • Trenton is the state's capital. Home of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). The New Jersey Capitol Building is the second oldest capitol building in America and within walking distance of Pennsylvania!
  • Atlantic City - An ocean resort town from the 1800s, the city was reborn as a gambling town in the 1970s. The boardwalk is popular on summer weekends.
  • Princeton - Home of Princeton University, as well as many research and technology organizations.
  • New Brunswick - Home of the original and largest campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, two hospitals and the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson.

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Sights and Activities

  • Meadowlands Racetrack
  • Giants Stadium (home of the New York Giants/Jets)
  • Izod Center (home of the New Jersey Nets)
  • Cream Ridge - Wine country.
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area - Camping, hiking and rafting on the Delaware River.
  • Jersey Shore - Beaches, birds, and boardwalks-and beautiful lighthouses.
  • Lake Hopatcong - New Jersey's largest lake provides boating and swimming for families and singles.
  • Mountain Creek - Ski resort and water park in Sussex County, 1 hour from New York City.
  • Pine Barrens - A natural forest that covers about a third of the state.

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Events and Festivals

  • The Meadowlands Fair - held annually at the Meadowlands.

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Weather

New Jersey has a temperate climate, having both hot, humid summers and cold winters. Average temperatures in the winter season are mostly between 0 and 5 °C in winter during the day (and nights below freezing) and in the summer temperatures during the day are mostly around the 25 °C or a little higher on average but can reach 40 °C sometimes. Nights are still mild to balmy. Snow is common in winter but some winters hardly see any snow at all (or it melts away quickly) while other more severe winters see snow hights up to a metre or even more. Most rain falls during heavy downpours in the summer season, though there isn't a specific drier season. Average annual precipitation ranges from 1,100 to 1,300 mm, uniformly spread through the year. Average snowfall per winter season ranges from 25-38 centimetres in the south and near the seacoast, 38-76 centimetres in the northeast and central part of the state, to about 1.0-1.3 metres in the northwestern highlands, but this varies from year to year. During winter and early spring, New Jersey can experience "nor'easters", which are capable of causing blizzards or flooding throughout the northeastern United States. Hurricanes and tropical storms and tornadoes are rare.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are three major airports serving New Jersey & the New York City Area. All three are operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

By Train

Many Amtrak trains travel to and from New Jersey:

By Car

The New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) runs through the state, connecting the north of the state with the south. Interstates 80 and 78 provide good access from the west. The Garden State Parkway is in many ways the backbone of the state, connecting many major cities. Interstate 287 is a roughly L-shaped interstate that loops all the way from Staten Island west into Bridgewater, north through Morristown and Parsippany, and up to Mahwah, and offers very convenient junctions at I-80 and I-78. Interstate 280 is a short but heavily-traveled interstate that extends out of I-80 and runs through Montclair, the Oranges, and Newark before finally dropping off at the Turnpike.

When it is time to fill your gas tank be ready for full service and no tip, or extra fees required. In the state of New Jersey it is illegal to pump your own gas. This makes it one of the only two states (Oregon being the other with looser restrictions) in America where self serve is non-existent, and don't worry, the prices are often significantly cheaper then gas in all surrounding states.

Be aware that most crossings of the Delaware River, and all crossings into New York are tolled. Prices range from one dollar to five dollars for Delaware River bridges, and 13 dollars for New York crossings.

Travelers should also be aware that Interstate 295 connects Trenton to Delaware and Philadelphia, and runs alongside the New Jersey Turnpike for most of its length. Providing a toll free route for local traffic.

When driving in New Jersey, please be aware that if a road is 65MPH that means all fines are doubled for traffic violations. New Jersey State Police will pull you over for failure to keep right as well. Also New Jersey has a "lights on wipers on" law that requires headlights to be on when you have your windshield wipers on, as well as a hands free law. New Jersey State Police are notoriously zealous and have a statewide reputation for being a bit showy (it is not uncommon to see patrol cars zoom through left lanes in traffic-less highways going 90-100mph). When it doubt, play it safe, although you will find most NJ drivers break highway laws.

Toll Road Tips: For the Garden State Parkway, carry quarters and dollar coins for exact change only lanes, it will help you get through it fast and safe. Tolls range from fifty cents to two dollars depending on location. For the New Jersey Turnpike, if you are heading north use Interstate 295 and connect to the New Jersey Turnpike via Interstate 195 at Trenton (NJ Turnpike Exit 7A) if you desire to save a few dollars. Also the New Jersey Turnpike is the only road in the state to use sequential exit numbering. Do not rely upon an exit number to gauge the distance between exits.

The Garden State Parkway's exit numbering system is also confusing. In some areas exits seem roughly consistent with the posted mileage; in others they run sequentially, without regard for miles.

By Bus

Numerous bus companies serve New Jersey, with buses entering the state from New York City, Philadelphia, and elsewhere. Some of the companies include New Jersey Transit, Suburban Transit/Coach USA, DeCamp, Lakeland, and Greyhound. The buses include jitneys from New York City as well. BoltBus serves Newark from Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Megabus serves Atlantic City, New Brunswick, & Princeton from New York City and Secaucus from Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

By Boat

NY Waterway and Seastreak provide ferry service from Manhattan to New Jersey ports. NY Waterway crosses the Hudson River to Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City, and Seastreak serves Atlantic Highlands, near Sandy Hook.

Cape May Lewes Ferry provides service from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, Delaware.

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Getting Around

By Train

The PATH train system runs from Manhattan to Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark.
NJ Transit New Jersey Transit Logo.svg is a commuter network of trains, light rail and buses connecting communities throughout the entire state. It can be used for travel to Newark Liberty International Airport as well as Pennsylvania Station in New York City. Its website provides a user friendly method of planning your itinerary.
SEPTA Regional Rail Lines connect Trenton and West Trenton with Philadelphia.
PATCO Operates a high speed train that connects several key points in downtown Philadelphia to many immediate southern New Jersey suburban towns.

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

New Jersey has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

By Bus

Private bus companies, such as Suburban Transit, Martz Trailways and DeCamp, also work New Jersey and have routes in the state.

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Eat

New Jersey is famous for its Jersey tomatoes, sweet corn, blueberries, and cranberries, and other fresh produce which every visitor will want to experience in season. That is easy to do, because the state has approximately 25,000 eateries, more per square mile than any other state in the US. And if that's not enough, there are loads of farms you can visit and buy from directly. Furthermore, the climate and soils offered there provide for ideal berry-growing environments.

They serve everything from fast food to haute cuisine, including Italian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, and Syrian. There are also plenty of take-out shops and diners, which do not require reservations, seat patrons promptly, and offer large menus of inexpensive meals, which they serve quickly. Many are open 24 hours and breakfast is served all day.

Snack foods are also extremely popular, especially pizza, fries, and bagels. Other favorites include submarine sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, and Italian ice, which are known as hoagies and water ice in South Jersey. There many also enjoy soft pretzels and Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks and breakfast sandwiches of Scrapple, a loaf formed from cornmeal, pork scraps and spices, cut into 1/4 thick slices and fried crisp in butter or oil.

Many places in New Jersey sell "sloppy joes." These are completely different from the food known by that name in the rest of the United States. New Jersey sloppy joes are delicatessen sandwiches such as turkey, corned beef, and pastrami, which may be known as cold cuts in other part of the country. They in no way resemble the sandwich made of ground beef and onions in tomato sauce on a hamburger bun that goes by that name in the rest of the country.

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Drink

There are a variety of microbrews to try. Flying Fish, Cricket Hill and Cape May Brewing are recommended. Some liquor stores allow you to purchase individual bottles of beer.

The 7th largest producers of US wines, NJ produces award winning wines from grapes grown in the Garden State. New Jersey's 35+ wineries offer more than just nationally and internationally acclaimed wines. They offer a total wine experience! Savor New Jersey's award-winning wines at wineries nestled amid rolling hills and breathtaking scenery. Taste more than 250 fine wines at wine festivals across the state where you can listen to great jazz and blues and sample delicious foods and artisan crafts. Travel the Wine Trails that stretch from one end of NJ to the other where you can tour the wineries, discover how wines are made, try a pig roast or catch some fireworks.

Hoboken

One of the most popular cities to get a drink in New Jersey is Hoboken. Located in the northeastern part of New Jersey, right across the Hudson river from New York city, Hoboken offers a metropolitan bar scene. With many establishments located right on the main street of Washington Street, there are a great number of choices all within walking distance of each other. Black Bear Bar & Grill is one of the options.

New Brunswick

Located in Central New Jersey, New Brunswick offers a variety of choices for all types of people. Home to Rutgers University, New Brunswick is always lively into the late hours of the night. For the younger, rowdier crowd, many bar options can be found on the popular half-mile stretch of Easton Avenue in New Brunswick. For the more sophisticated crowd, downtown New Brunswick on George Street/Albany Street offers swankier options.

Easton Avenue Bars:

  • Knight Club.
  • Scarlet Pub.
  • Old Queens Pub.
  • The Golden Rail.
  • Stuff Yer Face.
  • Corner Tavern.

Downtown Bars:

  • Clyde's Martini Bar.
  • Tumulty's Pub.
  • Old Man Rafferty's.
  • Old Bay.
  • Harvest Moon.
  • Nova Terrra.

Cape May

  • Southern Mansion's, Willow Creek Winery is a favorite amoung Cape May Wineries, featuring a 9,500 square-foot villa for wine tasting.
  • The Montreal Liquor Store. Beach at Madison Avenue Cape May, NJ 08204. 1-800-525-7011. Conveniently located at a Cape May hotel, it features Cape May’s best selection of domestic, import and craft beers, as well as a wide array of your favorite liquors and spirits.

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Sleep

There are many great hotels to stay at in the Meadowlands Liberty region. This area is located minutes from New York City which makes it easy to travel into the city through NJ Transit. It is also 25 kilometres from the Newark Liberty International Airport. The hotels are for both leisure and business travel with many fine places to dine. The convenient location and affordable prices makes the Meadowlands the best place to stay.

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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Contributors

as well as catherineannc (4%), KristaM (4%), Peter (3%), EugeneF (3%), Hien (2%)

New Jersey Travel Helpers

  • Travel_Is_Life

    I live in South Jersey near Philadelphia and go to the Jersey Shore whenever I get the chance. During my 17 years here, I've explored and have become familiar with several South Jersey shore points, primarily Ocean City and Atlantic City (as well as Wildwood and Long Beach Island). I can offer advice on where to go, what to see, where to stay, how to get there, etc. Also, I can offer similar advice for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am very familiar Center City Philadelphia and many neighborhoods and attractions throughout the city.

    Ask Travel_Is_Life a question about New Jersey

This is version 37. Last edited at 7:12 on Apr 25, 16 by Utrecht. 24 articles link to this page.

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