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Often mocked and misunderstood, my home state of New Jersey is more than just what you see in the media. It’s an area rich in history, beautiful and often overlooked – not the stereotypical version that is sometimes used to define an entire state. This summer, we took an early vacation and we’ll be home the rest of the summer. Instead of packing up and heading somewhere far, I want to explore and show my kids the beauty that exists in their own backyard with some mini road-trips to explore NJ points of interest.
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The list below is just a snapshot of my favorites – as I could easily expand this list to 10 or 20 locations to visit. Below are some of the places we’ll be exploring first with our kids:
Morristown & Morristown National Historical Park
A very short road trip for us – Morristown is best known as the location of Gen. George Washington’s winter headquarters during the Revolutionary War. You can visit the locations that are a part of the Morristown National Historic Park: Washington’s Headquarters and Jockey Hollow where Washington and the Continental Army had their encampment in the winter of 1779-1780. You can tour Ford Mansion that Gen. Washington used as his headquarters during that time and also see replicas of the huts that soldiers would have built and stayed in at Jockey Hollow.
A great history lesson all within a great town that also has a fantastic downtown, nightlife, shops and restaurants.
Clinton Township – Red Mill
If you’ve ever seen this famous red mill, it is housed in Clinton, NJ. Along with a pretty main street packed with galleries, cafes and shops. It makes a great day trip. We’ll also be visiting the Red Mill Museum Village for a look at the local history.
A shore area a the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May has beautiful beaches, the Cape May Lighthouse, a WWII Bunker on the beach and the famous painted houses.
While you can definitely visit for a day, it’s nice to try and stay a few nights to really enjoy the beaches, shops, and sights.
Visit not just to see the beautiful Princeton University campus, but also to see the amazing town and local history. The Princeton Historical Society offers tours – with points of interest like Drumthwacket (Governor’s Residence), Rockingham (another headquarters for Gen. George Washington), Princeton Battlefield State Park. The town itself offers great restaurnts, shops, nightlife and lots for kids to do.
Grounds for Sculpture – Hamilton Twp.
42-acre sculpture park and museum – on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. It’s really impressive to walk the grounds and see the contemporary sculpture, special events, classes and changing exhibitions. Tickets are required.
Along the way, be sure to look up local farmer’s markets, festivals and eateries. No matter which stretch of NJ road you are on, there’s always something nearby. The great thing about a little state.
Make Your Road Trip Easier Without Stops – What Treats to Bring
As for us traveling to get to some of these, a road trip is never complete without snacks and entertainment for the kids.
I always pack a tote for the kids – usually one for each for longer trips (1 hour + ). Road trips are meant to be fun, so I always try to include unexpected treats. For one recent road trip, I stocked up on Sour Patch Kids, RITZ Crisp&Thins and Sunkist® Soda. The Sour Patch Kids are in a 1.9lb bag and will last us ALL SUMMER.
My kids love the sour then sweet taste of these favorite treats. I chose RITZ Crisp&Thins because they are deliciously thin and crispy and oven baked. Finally, a real treat for my kids is Sunkist® Soda in 12oz bottles. An 8pk is so convenient to pack and reseal. Along with plenty of water and some fun games (practicing those school skills), our road trip kit is complete.
I shopped at Walmart for all our Road Trip Treats!
Don’t forget to enter to win the #RoadTripTreats sweeps! Where are you planning to take a road trip to this summer?