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About New Jersey
New Jersey may be one of the smallest states, and tucked in the shadow of New York City, but it punches above its weight with a stunning coastline, whip-smart Princeton, some of the finest views of Manhattan and peaceful rural towns. This unexpected variety makes it a tough choice when looking for the best places to stay in New Jersey.
In the summer all of New Jersey, it seems, heads to the Atlantic coast. But with 127 miles of beautiful beaches, there’s room for all. In the north, Sandy Hook has lovely white dunes where you can sunbathe to a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. In the Gateway National Recreation Area, you’ll find the nation’s oldest lighthouse, bird-watching and fishing. For a change of scene, you can hop on a ferry and in 45 minutes be in Lower Manhattan.
Nearby Jersey City has the famous Liberty State Park - site of the railroad terminal where, early last century, European immigrants headed after arriving at Ellis Island - with bike trails, the Liberty Science Center and a great venue for concerts
If you want amusement parks and casinos, head to Atlantic City where its boardwalk - the world’s first, built in 1870 - runs along eight miles of beach. Point Pleasant and Ocean City are also great family seaside centres. Prefer a bit of kitsch? Explore the three Wildwood towns which seem preserved in a gloriously tacky neon 1950s. There’s even a museum, the Doo Wap Experience, devoted to neon signs. Don’t be put off; the beaches are some of the coast’s largest.
If something more tranquil is more your thing, then Ocean Grove or Spring Lake will be just the ticket, where the pace seems steeped in genteel Victoriana.
Down on the state’s southern tip, Cape May is the country’s oldest seaside resort and one of the few places where you can see both a sunrise and sunset over the sea. The 190-acre Cape May Point State Park is home to Cape May Lighthouse, built in 1859, whose light can be seen from 25 miles away. In summer, climb its 199 stairs and see how far you can see.
Inland, Princeton is a tiny town with a top-tier, Ivy League university. Take a tour of its 18th-century buildings, including its art museum. Lambertville, along the Delaware River, is a charming place for an afternoon riverside stroll and some gentle shopping. But for wilder walks head to Pinelands National Reserve, inland from Atlantic City, a vast area of desolate sandy-soil forest, cedar bogs, wild blueberries and where you might spot rare orchids.
If you’re planning to visit the coast in the summer, be aware that many locals will be, too, so the best places to stay in New Jersey can get booked up.
- It may be a B&B but The Wooden Duck Inn, near Newton, is hotel-stylish with large, contemporary-country rooms - some with private terraces or four-poster beds - and a beautiful outdoor pool. Surrounded by woodland, it’s blissfully quiet, and there’s a ‘snack station’ for those hungry moments during the night.
- The nine rooms in the charming white clapboard Whistling Swan Inn are furnished in elegant, traditional style with antiques, toile du jouy fabrics and the softest of colours. Choose the turret room for ultimate romance. There are lots of personal touches that make this a home-from-home in the quaint town of Stanhope.
For a romantic stay
- Rooms are cosy and country-house traditional at the Lambertville House Hotel, close to the Delaware River. Some rooms have a balcony and there’s a charming flower-filled courtyard for dining al fresco.
Best Hotels in New Jersey
Whistling Swan Inn 9 rooms from $135Stanhope, New Jersey
Victorian style town house in quaint Stanhope. Each of the nine rooms has been carefully decorated in floral patterns, soothing colours, soft and luxurious fabrics and antique but well-maintained furnishings. Mouth-watering country buffet breakfast, free bikes to borrow and fresh home-made cookies.Sights nearby - Wild West City Amusement Park is 5 minutes’ drive awayRestrictions on children - Children older than 10 years are welcome.Full of characterGreat walks - Good for walkers.
Wooden Duck Inn 10 rooms from $139Newton, New Jersey
Secluded and cosy country bed-and-breakfast inn with outdoor pool. Each room is distinct, with fireplaces, balconies and four-poster beds each in select rooms and an overarching theme of rustic, traditional country chic. Indulge yourself every morning on a mouth-watering three-course breakfast.Views - Enjoy gorgeous views any time of year, filled with wooded acres, rolling hills and wildlife throughout.Four poster beds - The Mallard and Pintail rooms have four-poster beds.Great walks - Give the Sussex Rail Trail a shot!Swimming Pool - Outdoor pool.
Lambertville House Hotel 26 rooms from $210Lambertville, New Jersey
Sophisticated inn near the Delaware River. Interiors are well-appointed with classic design. Bar offers Martini menu, selection of wines and small plates. Restaurant serves delicious and flavourful fare by Dish Catering. Eat outside in the courtyard garden with flowers creeping up the trellises.Romantic - Whether opting for a romance package or not you are sure to value time with your partner in the intimate atmosphere of the hotelSights nearby - The James A. Michener Art Museum and Mercer Museum are a 22 minute drive from the hotel.