10 Amazing New Jersey Staycations to Try With Kids This Summer

Posted on: July 13th, 2020 by

To say the past spring and summer have been different would be an understatement. We’ve spent more time at home than ever looking at the same four walls. Those family vacations some of us have been planning for months… maybe years.. all had to be cancelled. But all is not lost. Have you considered taking some New Jersey staycations with the kids this summer?

boy on train at Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal at Liberty State Park in Jersey City
Come along and enjoy these ideas for New Jersey staycations.

One of the things I’ve always loved about New Jersey is how much there is to do in our home state. We’ve got beaches. We have boardwalks. There are amusement parks and waterparks for everyone. Even if you’re not a family that enjoys those things, we can help you plan a New Jersey staycation with kayaking, hiking, camping, glamping, or anything else your family likes to do when it’s on vacation.

Viewfinder on the Wildwood Boardwalk

To get you started we’ve listed 10 destinations, some with beaches some not. We’ll highlight their main attractions and link you to our stories that go into more details about each staycation location.

boy on Wildwood beach

If we’ve stayed at one of our recommendations overnight we’ll link you to our review. Those reviews, are great, if I do say so myself. We give you a video tour of the accommodations and go into great detail what they offer so you can plan accordingly.

We’ve updated this guide to provide you with recommendations of hotels, motels, or resorts that offer kitchenettes in the room. You’ll also find links to house rentals for your New Jersey vacation/staycation. We know many families ready to travel are still hesitant to eat out. Having a room or house with a kitchen lets you decide what’s best for your family eating in or dining out.

kayak at lake fred in Galloway for a New Jersey staycations

Please note links either go to additional information we’ve written about the topic highlighted or directly to a source for a hotel or vacation house rental. Most links from this blog post to a website outside of Jersey Family Fun are affiliate links. This means we earn a small commission if you book a stay using our links. It’s an easy way to book your stays and support Jersey Family Fun.

New Jersey Staycations to Visit With Kids

The Great Outdoors – Outdoorsy Staycations in New Jersey

One of the most important things I look for when planning a staycation is how many outdoor activities exist in a specific destination. I need the water and the outdoors. I feel like it feeds my soul. As a mom, it’s also important for me to pass on my love of nature to my kids. I need them to appreciate the outdoors and to value the beauty that exists beyond their screens.

Tuckerton Staycations in New Jersey

I have been visiting Tuckerton for years. Sometimes our visits have just been for the day. Sometimes we’ve stayed overnight. It’s the destination that keeps bringing me back. Tuckerton has the opportunity to do every touristy thing kids could want but at a slower pace that truly makes you feels like you are on a vacation.

Sea Pirate Campground Feature

Want to camp but not rough it? Camp at the Sea Pirate Campground where some cabins have kitchens and bathrooms. Want to bring Fido? Some of their cabins are pet friendly.

Tuckerton Seaport LBI Ferry to Beach Haven
Tuckerton Seaport LBI Ferry

Kayak, hike, bike at the campground, Tuckerton Seaport, or a nearby county park or New Jersey state park.

Boys kayaking at Tuckerton Seaport

Want to get out on the water? Play some arcade games? Take the Tuckerton Seaport ferry back and forth between Tuckerton and Beach Haven to experience the rides, boardwalk games, and arcade of Fantasy Island. Read more about what a Tuckerton Staycation in New Jersey could look like and watch our video below.

Tuckerton Vacation Rentals on Trip Advisor

More Outdoorsy locations for New Jersey Staycations

Some outdoorsy locations can be a staycation in itself without ever having to leave where you’re staying.

  • New Jersey State Parks & Forests – While the cabins aren’t available to rent at New Jersey State Parks & Forests you can still rent a spot for your tent. Pitch a tent and make a staycation out of hiking the trails, kayaking in their lakes, swimming at their beaches, and cooking over a campfire. Learn more in our guide to New Jersey State Parks.
Hacklebarney State Park Hiking Trails
Hacklebarney State Park
  • New Jersey campgrounds are open! Whether you want to park your RV, bring your tent, or hang in a cabin by the lake New Jersey campgrounds are waiting for you. Many offer playgrounds, pools, lakes, and other activities. You may never even need to leave the campground to make great family memories. Check out our list of New Jersey campgrounds for some recommendations.
Sea pirate campground
2 Room cabin at Sea Pirate campground
  • New Jersey Cabin Rentals – Maybe you want something a little more secluded, a little more quiet. Maybe you prefer a beautiful cabin with indoor pluming. We have those in New Jersey as well. Some of these New Jersey cabin rentals are just stunning. Bring your kayak, some board games, your marshmallows, and necessities for a New Jersey staycation like no other. Check out our list of the best New Jersey cabin rentals to get you started.
Cabin-rentals-on-the-lake in New jersey

Beach Staycations in New Jersey

The Jersey Shore makes for the perfect New Jersey staycation destination. Not only do you have gorgeous beaches, but many of these New Jersey shore towns offer multiple family attractions right on the boardwalk. Ride roller coasters. Slide down a water slide. Putt a round of mini golf. Dine outside at sunset or cook a meal from your room. You can do all of this and more when you take your family on a beach staycation in New Jersey.

Cape May NJ Staycations

When it comes to Cape May Staycations, I think people forget there’s more to do in Cape May than visit the beach. Cape May offers animals, nature trails, and history. It was a city I often underestimated until we made a few visits there last summer.

Cape May County zoo giraffe
Giraffe at the Cape May Zoo |Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun

You can visit the beach in the morning and spend the afternoon walking among the animals at the Cape May Zoo. Finish a day climbing through the trees with Tree To Tree Cape May.

Tree to Tree Cape May

Would you rather be on the water? Cape May has fishing spots and whale watching cruises that allow you to search for dolphins and whales on your Cape May Staycation.

Cape May Whale Watcher

You can even go back in time with a visit to Cold Spring Historic Village or a climb to the top of the World War II Lookout Tower.

Cape May Lighthouse at Cape May Point State Park
Cape May Lighthouse at Cape May Point State Park

No Cape May Staycation is complete without a visit to Cape May Point State Park. Climb the lighthouse. Walk onto the beach and check out the World War II bunker. Click over to learn more about all the things to do in Cape May on a Cape May Staycation.

Cape May area hotels with fully equipped kitchens in rooms/suites

Cape May Vacation Rentals on Tripadvisor

Atlantic City NJ Staycations

Atlantic City is another destination that families tend to forget about for New Jersey staycations. Yes, we have amusement parks like Steel Pier and a beach that is free to all. But we also have some unique locations that have to be visited at least once.

adirondack chairs in Gardener's Basin in Atlantic City
Take some time to hang out in Gardener’s Basin.

Have you ever walked through an elephant? You can ONLY do that in Margate, the next town over from Atlantic City. Lucy the Elephant is a six-story elephant in Margate that you can walk through. We’ve been a few times now and for my 3 boys the thrill of walking through Lucy never gets old.

Lucy the Elephant WIDE shot

You can climb New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, the Absecon Lighthouse or drive through the city to see beautiful artwork on our self-guided Atlantic City Murals tour.

If you prefer to see your art indoors, we have the Noyes Museum Art Garage. If you want to get closer to the water, visit Gardener’s Basin where kids can feed stingrays at the Atlantic City Aquarium or look out for dolphins on one of the Atlantic City Cruises.

Atlantic City Aquarium

Learn parts of American and New Jersey history you might not have known with the Eye Opening Exhibits at the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey.

Stereotypes on Exhibit at African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey Atlantic City location photo credit Jersey Family Fun
Stereotypes on Exhibt at African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey Atlantic City location

There’s so much to do on an Atlantic City Staycation. I encourage you to read our guide to Things to do in Atlantic City With Kids.

Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City
Climb the Absecon Lighthouse.

When it comes to where can you stay with kids in Atlantic City, we’ve had great experiences at Harrah’s Atlantic City, the Tropicana Casino and Hotel, and Clarion Inn & Suites, just outside of Atlantic City.

Atlantic City area hotels with fully equipped kitchens in rooms/suites

Atlantic City Vacation Rentals on Tripadvisor

Wildwood NJ Staycations

W-w-w Wildwood Days… When you plan a Wildwood staycation you can enjoy Wildwood days and nights on the boardwalk and off. I remember when we stayed at the Adventurer Oceanfront Inn for our New Jersey staycation. It was so incredibly convenient because we had a kitchen in our room. We could opt to cook inside or dine out at one of Wildwood’s many restaurants.

The Adventurer Oceanfront Inn family suite offers 2 spacious rooms. One has a sleepaway couch.
Wildwood’s Adventurer Oceanfront Inn

We also had amazing views of the beach. After the kids went to bed for the night, I’d hang out on the balcony and watch the waves in the dark.

boys in wildwood adironack chair on Wildwood beach

Walking down the boardwalk we could choose to play at one of the three Morey’s Piers. We could splash it up at Raging Water, Ocean Oasis, or SplashZone. And if we didn’t want to walk the boardwalk we could ride a surrey or take the tram car. Between the amusement parks there are nuggets of fun: an aquarium, mini golf, escape rooms, virtual reality rooms, ax throwing, and more.

In a Surrey from Crest Bike Rentals in Wildwood

Come off the boardwalk to enjoy more mini golf, the beach, whale/dolphin cruises, concerts in the park. There’s more to do in Wildwood than we can fit here. Read our Ultimate List of Fun Things to do in Wildwood With Kids for recommendations of where to play, eat, and stay in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Wildwood area hotels with fully equipped kitchens in rooms/suites

Wildwood vacation rentals on Tripadvisor

Long Branch NJ Staycations

Our visits to Long Branch, New Jersey have always been in the winter. While it’s been cold, Long Branch has been a great example of how a shore town can be fun year-round.

Oversized bathtub in Kahuna Suite at Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch, New Jersey

Plan a stay at the Bungalow Hotel with a suite that’s not only large enough to accommodate your family but has a luxurious bath tub and breathtaking views of the beach. Downstairs in the lobby you can challenge the kids in a game of pool or foosball.

The Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch offers a foosball table for guests to play on.
Play foosball with your teen in the Bungalow Hotel lobby.

Not far from the Bungalow, is the Pier Village. Enjoy an arcade, cafes, and a yummy chocolate shop either before or after your visit to the beach. Walk a little further down to Seven Presidents Park for a really fun playground the little ones will enjoy.

Silverball Museum Pinball Arcade in Asbury Park, New Jersey

With a quick drive over to Asbury Park you can be enjoying classic and new pinball games at the Silver Ball Museum or splash at the sprayground. Or work in a hike with a visit to Shark River Park. Read our New Jersey Staycations – Long Branch, New Jersey for more details on how to plan a Long Branch staycation.

Long Branch area hotels with fully equipped kitchens in rooms/suites

Long Branch vacation rentals on Tripadvisor

A few more ideas for New Jersey beach staycations

I haven’t stayed overnight in these Jersey Shore towns below, but we have visited all of them for New Jersey day trips. For many families from New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia these shore towns are part of their annual tradition of New Jersey staycations.

Gillian's Pier in Ocean City NJ
An outing with the grandparents at Gillian’s Pier many many years ago.
Casino Pier HYDRUS roller coaster Seaside Heights NJ
The Casino Pier HYDRUS roller coaster in Seaside Heights NJ
Jenkinsons Beach
Steps away from the Jenkinson’s attractions my boys play on the Point Pleasant beach.

Beach-Free New Jersey Staycations

While visiting the beaches of New Jersey is a part of many family’s summer traditions, this year some families are looking for an alternative. You can have an amazing New Jersey staycation without ever visiting the Jersey Shore. Take a look at these areas of New Jersey that offer families plenty of fun with open and safe family attractions, outdoor dining, and family-friendly accommodations.

Cherry Hill NJ Staycations

Most people think of Cherry Hill and they think of the mall. Let me tell you within the Cherry Hill area there are so many things you can do with kids. We chose Cherry Hill as the epicenter for this New Jersey staycation because of the multitude of family-friendly places to stay and eat.

Teen bowls at FunPlex Mt. Laurel
Bowling at FunPlex Mt. Laurel

But within a few minutes of Cherry Hill your family can experience outdoor waterpark fun at the Funplex Mount Laurel, Sahara Sam’s, and Diggerland’s new water park, the Water Main. Don’t forget Diggerland is also the only construction based theme park in the United States. If it’s an arcade your kids are craving each of those locations offer a mix of old games like skeeball and crane machines along with newer favorites like the Oz game or hoops.

Diggerland USA Waterpark the Water Main
Photo credit Diggerland

Make sure your Cherry Hill staycation includes a meal at the Silver Diner. It has got to be the most family-friendly restaurant in Cherry Hill. Plus their gluten-free options and procedures for keeping food allergen-free is something every parent can appreciate.

Save room for the Gluten Free Brownie Sundae at Silver Diner in Cherry Hill!
Save room for the Gluten Free Brownie Sundae at Silver Diner in Cherry Hill!

Take a look at our 25 Things To Do In and Near Mount Laurel With Kids for more ideas of things to do on a New Jersey staycation in Cherry Hill.

Cherry Hill area hotels with fully equipped kitchens in rooms/suites

Jersey City NJ Staycations

Jersey City? Yes! Jersey City can be a great destination for a New Jersey staycation. Stay at a location that offers suites with kitchenettes, then drive over to explore what Jersey City has to offer.

boy on train at Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal at Liberty State Park in Jersey City

Let’s start with Liberty State Park in Jersey City. You could easily spend a few hours exploring the Grand Central Terminal Railroad, the 9-11 Memorial, the trails and the playgrounds. Kayak in the bay in one spot or walk the path in another for great views of the Statue of Liberty.

Liberty Science Center beam
Walk across beams at the Liberty Science Center.

When the Liberty Science Center reopens for visitors your Jersey City Staycation can include planetarium shows, science experiments, iMax movies and more.

Jersey City area hotels with fully equipped kitchens in rooms/suites

Want more ideas for fun things to do with kids? Read these posts.

Need more ideas for safe activities for kids in New Jersey?

Take a look at these articles on safe things to do in New Jersey with kids.

New Jersey Drive In Attractions

Looking for staycation ideas to recommend to your non-New Jersey friends?

We’re talking with other hyperlocal bloggers across the country to see what staycations they recommend to their readers. As they develop their stories we’ll list them below.

Posted in: All, Things to do in Central Jersey, Things to do in New Jersey, Things to do in North Jersey, Things to do in South Jersey

Jennifer Auer is the hyperlocal mom blogger who runs Jersey Family Fun. From New Jersey, this mom of 3 boys just can’t sit still! Her husband likes to say she’s a work-at-home mom who never stays home. Jennifer started traveling as a child and hasn’t stopped since. Instead of letting her husband and boys slow her down, she brings them along! As her boys transition from tweens to teens there’s still so many places she wants to discover with them both across the U.S. and internationally. She has been a Jersey Girl for 35+ years, and a Jersey Mom for 15+ years and a New Jersey mom blogger for 10 years, although she'd much rather be referred to as an influencer or just by name. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

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