Great Garden State Getaways for Two
New Jersey might be the fourth-smallest state in the U.S., but it's packed with tourist attractions and offers a remarkable diversity of landscapes, from forest-covered mountains to sandy shores. A couple seeking romantic destinations, whether it's for a special weekend or just a few hours, will be happy to discover some New Jersey treasures that are even more appealing when you've left the kids behind. Here are five of the best New Jersey destinations for grown-ups only fun.
Cape May and Its Lighthouse
With its golden sandy beaches, nostalgic promenade, hundreds of Victorian buildings and famous lighthouse, Cape May bills itself as "the Queen of the Seaside Resorts." Book a room at a cozy bed-and-breakfast or quaint seaside inn and spend your days strolling the waterfront and, in summer, sunning yourself on the beach and dipping into the ocean. Rent bikes, kayaks or a boat for outdoor adventures, or take a walking tour of the city's picturesque 19th-century buildings. Be sure to check out the most famous local monument, the Cape May Lighthouse, built in 1858. Climb its 199 steps to enjoy an unmatched panorama across the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.
Fun All Day and All Night in Atlantic City
Atlantic City might be famous for its casinos, but its entertainment and nightlife offerings go far beyond just gambling. A weekend away from the kids in this lively city can include dining at five-star restaurants, luxuriating in relaxing spa treatments, dancing all night in a club or having a great laugh at a comedy show. On a sunny day you can hit the beach and boardwalk and, at any time of year, peruse great art galleries and museums. And there's never a shortage of hotels—honeymoon suites included—to choose from in AC.
New Jersey Winery Tours
New Jersey might not be the first state you think of when it comes to vineyards, but it's home to over 40 wineries where the scenery is almost as enticing as the wines. A getaway without the kids is the ideal time to take a wine tour and sample the region's finest varieties. Self-guided driving tours are an option, but a guided tour with a specialist company gives you transportation as well as the benefits of your guide's expertise. There are wine trails in many regions of New Jersey, including Cape May, Hunterdon County and the Vintage Atlantic Wine Region around the Delaware Bay and eastern Chesapeake Bay.
Discover Frenchtown's Charm
Frenchtown is an ideal destination for a romantic weekend in the scenic New Jersey countryside, surrounded by fields and gentle rivers and characterized by Victorian architecture. Cycling is a popular activity in Frenchtown, and you'll learn why if you rent a bike from Cycle Corner (52 Bridge St., Frenchtown, NJ) and pedal along the trails of Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, which wind alongside the scenic banks of the Delaware and Raritan rivers. You can also explore easily on foot, strolling through the small town, shopping at boutiques and dining at its inviting restaurants and cafes, many of which overlook the river.
Explore the New Jersey Botanical Garden
You can take a leisurely stroll through the New Jersey Botanical Garden, also known as Skylands. The estate is within Ringwood State Park in the Ramapo Mountains and also includes a large manor house. There are more than a dozen different formal gardens including the Annual Garden, designed to be admired in all seasons; the Rhododendron Garden, filled with brilliant blooms; and the Wildflower Garden, with displays of ferns and flowers around wooded trails and a frog pond. In addition to almost 100 acres of gardens, the site is surrounded by extensive woodlands with hiking trails to explore. The garden is open year-round and admission is free.
A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.