Top Seven Family Road Trips in the Garden State

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Family road trips are never easy to plan. After all, when trying to plan something that pleases the entire family, it is important to pick the right destination. While there will always be some give and take on a family vacation, New Jersey is a great place for a road trip thanks to its range of family friendly destinations. If you are considering a New Jersey road trip with your family, remember these destinations to make your adventure as fun as possible.

1. Historic Smithville. Although New Jersey has a number of well-known destinations, one of the best for a family getaway is one you have probably never heard of at all. Historic Smithville is often overlooked by even the most knowledgeable New Jersey residents. However, this lesser-known destination is big on family appeal. Smithville is a town modeled after the era of the Revolutionary War. Although not all the buildings are historic, the ambiance is perfectly matched to the 1700s, making this historical representation educational and fun. The shopping is fantastic, and the bakery simply cannot be missed. There are also more modern attractions in the nearby Village Greene, including mini golf and paddleboats.

2. Funtown Pier. There is no shortage of amusement parks in New Jersey, but families often find that Funtown Pier is the best for the needs of the whole family. Located at Seaside Park, Funtown Pier is well paired with a day on the beach. The pier itself, however, has plenty to do with rides and games that everyone in the family will enjoy. Funtown Pier makes a great day trip, especially since there is shopping and eating onsite, making this destination an inclusive experience. Funtown Pier is also a great way to finish off the day with most of the attractions open in the evening hours.

3. Turtle Back Zoo. Families can pick from many zoos in New Jersey, but Turtle Back Zoo still stands out as the best family-friendly attraction. The zoo is very well developed with special exhibits like the Sea Lion Water Garden and the Homely Nests. The layout flows naturally from one exhibit to the next, making it easy to navigate even with very young visitors. The onsite food pavilion is well stocked with family favorites, and the gift shop is full of colorful souvenirs. There is also a special Wild New Jersey exhibit, which is especially popular with local residents who may not be aware of some of the creatures living in their own backyards.

4. Indian Acres Tree Farm. This venue is specially geared toward families, providing a wholesome and active environment that parents will appreciate as much as the kids. The picnic area is free for everyone, including the large playground area. However, most people like to make a day here thanks to the other attractions. There is the thrilling Giant Pillow Bounce, and the zip line is sure to get the heart pumping. Events vary throughout the year, including Pumpkin Picking Wagons and Spring Farm Malls. It is an especially great stop in the fall when Eerie Acres Haunt is open. For families who want to enjoy all the attractions, there is affordable package pricing available.

5. World of Wings. World of Wings is unlike most children’s museums. While there are plenty of kid-friendly activities, World of Wings also has a unique butterfly atrium, which is home to innumerable live butterflies from around the world. Guests can even visit the receiving room, where it is possible to see butterflies as they emerge from the chrysalis. Other animals and insects are on display in the Exhibition Hall. In addition to these hands-on educational opportunities, World of Wings also has a play space for toddlers and a rock climbing wall along with other popular exhibits for the whole family.

6. Grounds for Sculpture. Most attractions are full of flash and noise, but Grounds for Sculpture is a different type of experience. This idyllic park is full of plants, flowers and trees, providing an unparalleled backdrop for a day of exploration. However, in addition to these natural wonders, the park also has a selection of sculptures. The sculptures are nestled throughout the park, allowing for a walking tour like no other. Rat’s Restaurant is also located on the grounds, and there are frequent concerts throughout the summer. While some family vacations are nonstop, the Grounds for Sculpture can be a more relaxing way to entertain the family.

7. Cape May. Cape May is a well known tourist attraction along the East Coast. Cape May Point State Park in particular is especially well received by families. The park gives families easy access to various beaches and other educational nature programs. There are hiking trails, fishing spots and scavenger hunts. During certain times of the year, whale watching is also popular here. Plus, Cape May Point State Park is close to Cape May itself, which has its own range of attractions like the Cape May Bird Observatory and the Cape May Zoo. Families should also be sure to check out Cape May Whale Watcher, which is one of the most respected whale watching tour groups on the coast. Since 1973, Cape May Whale Watcher has been giving guests the opportunity to see the most magnificent creatures in the ocean. Cruises are structured to see dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. There are also lighthouse cruises and other unique opportunities available on the waters of Cape May.

Planning a family trip can be tricky unless you know where to look. It is important to create a trip that is fun, affordable and engaging. Fortunately, New Jersey has plenty of good choices, ensuring a vacation that everyone will love.