We all took summer vacations for granted as kids, and unfortunately only some professions allow for these amazing summers to be taken. But, if you're like me, your weekend is your escape. Here are your top places to take a day trip, or a quick weekend getaway right around the corner from JC!
Governors Island is located right off of Manhattan, and offers a close escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visit for outdoor films, live music, polo matches, poetry festivals, 5Ks and more. This trip will be a great way to de-stress, plus you won't even realize you're right outside of NYC. Make sure to check ahead of time, some ferries from Manhattan are free!
Delaware Water Gap
This scenic area offers some of the best recreational activities in New Jersey. Go hiking on local trails or on the Appalachian Trail, go rock climbing, glam-ping or camping, and visit some natural waterfalls. Spend the day with nature and escape the city sounds of Jersey.
Catskill Forest Preserve
The Catskill Forest Preserve offers some of the best views around. With activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, canoeing, and opportunities to see wildlife and waterfalls, this trip will allow you to become one with nature and escape the stress of city life.
Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
The Brooklyn Museum is one of the best around, and on the first Saturday of each month, it's free! What could be better? Having a beautiful Botanical Garden right down the street! The Brooklyn Botanical Garden offers amazing views and will be a highlight of your summer. Check both websites for an updated calendar of events!
Bronx Zoo and Bronx Botanical Gardens
The Bronx Zoo is one of the best around, and not just for kids! Take a day trip up there for adult-themed activities like Brew at the Zoo. While you're there stop at the Botanical Gardens for some #instaworthy grams.
Harriman State Park
Located a little over 30 miles outside of Jersey City, Harriman State Park is the 2nd largest state park in New York state. With over 200 miles of trails, this is a hiker's dream! For those of you who enjoy less physical activity than this, there are beaches, cabins, and boats to rent.
Fahnestock State Park
Fahnestock State Park is the best compromise for those of you who love nature, and those who love relaxing on the beach. It boasts both a large beach, picnic areas, and scenic views, with large range of biodiversity! Take a quick trip for the day, or camp overnight; either way you will feel like you're transported away to a natural hideaway.
The Sussex Skylands
The Sussex Skylands is the perfect mix of art and fun. Visit some of the art galleries, museums, zipline, skydive, get a drink at the distillery, and even visit the spa. Offering something for everyone, the Sussex Skylands will be fun for every one of your friends, even those picky ones!
Bring out your inner kid at Mountain Creek. Choices seem endless, from ropes courses, to golfing, zip tours, a waterpark, and more, your day will be filled with fun and lots of memories. Don't forget there's both summer and winter activities, so when you need your seasonal escape, go to Mountain Creek!
Coney Island has always been a major attraction for locals and tourists alike. It offers a great beach, its own brewery, amusements, live entertainment, and of course some of the best seafood. Go for a sporting event, grab a beer, win a prize, and eat a lobster roll, and visit one of the most historical and cinematically praised venues around!
Point Pleasant Boardwalk
Take a stroll on the boardwalk, get a drink at a tiki bar, and have some family fun at Point Pleasant. Relive your childhood memories and have a summer day like you did as a kid! With so many options of activities, lodging, and beaches, you'll have so many choices for each weekend of the summer!
Six Flags Great Adventure
Six Flags is not just for kids! Visit for some thrills, stay for some drinks and enjoy the day! With lots more food options, and of course making all of the height requirements now, Six Flags is can be an adult playground, too.
Open from 12pm-5pm every day, the Unionville Vineyards offer breathtaking views and some delicious wines. For a small fee, have a tasting and go for a picnic after. They offer several food, wine, and music events each month, so plan ahead, check their calendar and make this day trip even better!
Tucked away in the residential areas in Vauxhall is this amazing winery. This wine is not made from grapes though–it's made from honey. This is the first winery of its kind in Jersey and it sure does not disappoint. Go for a tour and tasting, every hour from 1pm-4pm on the weekends, and with your tour fee, a tasting flight is included!
Highlands Natural Pool
This Olympic-sized, natural freshwater swimming pool is one of the top places to visit in New Jersey. Go for a swim, take a day to relax, and try some great local food. Although no alcoholic beverages are allowed on site, there are plenty of places in the surrounding areas to grab a relaxing cocktail.
Grounds for Sculpture
The Grounds for Sculpture is one of the best areas for the art lovers, and nature lovers. From outdoor sculptures, landscapes for walking tours, indoor galleries, live performances, classes, and moonlight tours, you will have a day full of culture.
Of course, any New Jersey native would know of the Jersey Shore Beaches. Take a quick trip down to enjoy some sun, sand, and good food and drinks. Go for some seafood, stay for the weekend.
Brook Hollow Winery
This winery is rated one of the top in New Jersey, with amazing wines to try, including a cranberry wine, and you can bring your furry, four-legged friends! The weekend hours run from noon to 6pm each Saturday and Sunday, and from noon to 8:30pm on Fridays. Check their calendar for weekend events including live music, and trivia nights!
Historical and Educational Trips
Museums in NYC
New York City offers some of the most world-renowned museums, and luckily, they are easy to get to thanks to public transportation. Visit the MET, the MoMA, AMNH, Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Tenement Museum, the New Museum, the Museum of Sex, Museum of the Moving Image, and so on, the choices are truly endless. Embrace your inner art lover or find a new hobby! Either way, your decision to go will not disappoint, with a full day of interesting views and lots of places to get cocktails of course!
The 'City of Brotherly Love' is just a quick trip away from Jersey City, and offers a different city feel from JC or NYC. With a rich history, great food (ahem, you need a Philly cheesesteak), museums, and great sightseeing opportunities, Philly is a great option for you and your significant other, your parents, and the whole family!
With numerous casinos to pick from, Atlantic City is one of New Jersey's best attractions. Do a bit of gambling, visit the spa, go clubbing, sit on the beach and of course do some shopping all in one area #DoAC!
Empire City Casino
You'll be winning when you decide to visit the Empire City Casino. With the typical spread of gambling in the casino, Empire City also has race tracks, vintage bowling lanes, and a comedy club, just to name a few amenities. Press your luck, and escape for the weekend at Empire City.
Written by Angela Ashman
Angela is a graduate student of cultural anthropology. While living in JC for the past two years, she has developed quite a taste for champagne, eclectic bars and exploring dog parks with her adorable cardigan welsh corgi, Olive. Follow her adventures with Olive on her Instagram @angie_ash!