The summer travel season officially begins Memorial Day weekend but because of high gas prices and tighter budgets many families are being forced to rethink their vacation plans. In an attempt to save money, many families are considering taking “staycations” or staying closer to home which would eliminate expensive airfare, baggage fees, and hotel fees.
Are you looking for fun, free and low cost ideas that are close to home? New Jersey offers many attractions that fit the bill. I have compiled a list of free and low cost ideas of things to do in New Jersey.
Don’t live in New Jersey? No worries. Come back tomorrow and I’ll be sharing links to other articles with free or cheap things to do all across the U.S.
Alstede Farms offers many free activates. You can take a peek at many of their farm animals, check out the super cute bunnies at their bunny run or climb their giant hay pyramid. In the fall, they have a hay tunnel that kids can crawl through. They also offer free use of their picnic tables.
Cost: While the activities I mentioned above are free, they do charge for other activities such as pony rides and wagon train rides. Please visit the site for more on costs.
The Atlantic City Boardwalk is the perfect place to go for a stroll. Download their free Atlantic City Boardwalk Walking Tour and learn more about the heart soul and backbone of Atlantic City. It’s also a great place for bicycle riding.
The Cape May County Park Zoo is a medium sized zoo housed on 85 acres. It is located in Cape May, NJ. It features over 200 species including monkeys, tigers, bobcats, leopards, prairie dogs, raccoons, exotic birds and reptiles. There is a picnic area on the premises as well as a playground.
Cost: Admission is free, however donations are greatly appreciated.
Cattus Island County Park is housed on approximately 530 acres of land in Toms River, NJ. It’s not a real island, however, it features walking trails, a butterfly garden, picnic areas, a playground and an environmental center.
The Cohanzick Zoo, which was established in 1934, is considered to be New Jersey’s first zoo. It is somewhat small and is located in the city of Bridgeton, NJ. It sits on 15 acres of land and is home to approximately 100 animals.
The Great Swamp is not all swamp land. Instead, it is a mix of meadows, marshes, and woods. It is home to more that 200 different wildlife species. It is a great destination for nature lovers and photographers.
The great falls in Paterson is one of New Jerseys hidden wonders. It’s not often you find waterfalls right in the midst of a city. These 77-foot-high falls are the second highest falls in the Northeast.
Historic Cold Spring Village is an early American open air living history museum, which features 26 historic buildings. In this village, they portray the life of a rural South Jersey community of the Early American era. Historical guides dress up in period clothing and demonstrate different trades such as wood working and basket weaving.
Cost: For General single-day admission- Adults $8, Seniors (62+) $7, Children 3-12 $6, Children under 3 free
The Hopewell Living Farm is a real working farm that portrays how a farm would operate in the the early 1900’s. The staff wear period clothing as they demonstrate how work on a farm was done in that era. Admission is free, however there is a small fee for some activities.
Cost: Free admission & parking. There is a fee for Children’s Crafts, and the Maze. Please visit their site for more info.
Johnson Park Zoo
Johnson park zoo is really a small petting farm housed within Johnson Park in Piscataway, NJ. It is open daily from dusk until dawn and admission is Free.
Thompson Park Zoo
Thompson Park Zoo is another small petting farm/zoo. It is housed within Thompson Park. It is open from sunrise until sunset, all year long and admission is free.
The New Jersey Shore is a great place to go for a day trip. While most of the beaches charge a fee, Wildwood, North Wildwood and Atlantic City are FREE!
The Princeton University Zoo is located on the campus of Princeton University. They have a large collection that dates back 128 years.
Cost: Admission is free.
The Aviation Hall of Fame is a small museum that is jam packed with all types of air and space artifacts, including model airplanes.
Cost: Regular entry: $7.00, Children-Seniors: $5.00
The Children’s Museum in Egg Harbor Township is a small museum geared towards children ages 2-10 years of age. They offer 14 hands-on and interactive exhibits including an automobile assembly line, fire station and construction site.
The Morris Museum is one of New Jersey’s oldest and museums. It is the third largest museum in New Jersey. It also houses the Bickford Theater, which offers a range of performances for people of all ages.
Cost: Adults $10, Children $7, Seniors $7, Children under 3 years of age are FREE. FREE admission on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
The Garden State Discovery Museum is a specifically geared for children as young as infants up to 10 years of age. It is a hand-on interactive museum for infants to that offers fifteen exhibit areas.
Admission: $7.95 for adults and children 12 months and over $6.95 for Seniors. All programs are free with admission unless otherwise noted. Family memberships are available. Free Admission for your child on his or her birthday! See their site for more details.
The Newark Museum is the largest museum in New Jersey. It houses 80 art and science galleries, a planetarium and a mini-zoo. It boasts the largest holding of Tibetan art in the western hemisphere.
Cost: Suggested Museum Admission – Adults: $10, Children, Seniors & Students with Valid I.D.: $6
The New Jersey State Museum is comprised of four museums. Its features include Archaeology/Ethnology, Cultural History; Fine Art; and Natural History. The museum also houses an 150 seat planetarium.
Cost: General Admission is Free! Planetarium costs $5.
The Yogi Berra Museum, which is located on the campus of Montclair State University, pays tribute to Yoga Berra. This is a great museum especially for Yankees fans, and all baseball fans in general. One of the highlights of the facility is the theater. The theater was created to look like a baseball stadium, and features a movie that plays continuously.
Cost: $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for students under 18.
Which other free or Low Cost New Jersey Destinations do you like to visit?