8 Best Road Trips in New Jersey, USA

13th September 2021

New Jersey is a small state in Eastern USA, having two borders with New York and a third with the Atlantic Ocean. It is densely populated with two of USA’s major cities, New York and Philadelphia, close by. Urban living has its advantages, but New Jersey also offers the chance to escape city life and enjoy more rural areas. 

There are several road trips within the State that provide the opportunity to escape the city. Scenic drives in New Jersey help you to forget you are in a densely populated state. The best road trips in New Jersey are listed below, so plan your New Jersey road trip itinerary after reading on.

1 – Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore road trip

Coastal drives in New Jersey are great fun, and the best time to do them is at a time when there are not too many crowds of holidaymakers. Spring and Fall are therefore the two seasons for these day trips in New Jersey. Cape May is the southernmost place in New Jersey, and the route down to the Cape from Mannington in Delaware Bay is 122 miles in length. It passes through farmland and interesting old villages and is undoubtedly one of the best road trips in New Jersey.

Duration: A one-day road trip allowing for several stops.

Highlights: Fort Mott State Park in the north, Bayshore Center at Bivalve, East Point Lighthouse, and finally Cape May Lighthouse.

Best Season: Summer and Fall

2 – Palisades Scenic Byway

Palisades Scenic Byway

One of the shortest of the day trips in New Jersey is a mere 20 miles long, but it provides the chance to enjoy New York’s iconic skyline as well as giving great views of the Hudson River. Half of the trip goes along the Palisades Interstate Parkway and the other half Henry Hudson Drive. 

This trip qualifies as one of the best road trips in New Jersey, because it provides access to some lovely hiking trails, so your day will involve more walking than driving if hiking is your hobby. It is a journey you can take at any time of the year, but it is at its most beautiful in the Fall with the splash of color unique to that time. Scenic drives in New Jersey in the Fall are memorable. This is among the best scenic road trips in New Jersey.

Duration: Up to a full day

Highlights: New York Skyline, the Hudson River, and the colors of the Fall

Best Season: Summer and Fall

3 – Pine Barrens

Pine Barrens road trip

The Pine Barrens is an ecosystem synonymous with New Jersey’s Atlantic coastline, and they provide one of the best New Jersey road trips. It is an acidic soil region – of limited use for agriculture but filled with pine trees. This 130-mile route is made up of three sections and is therefore worth researching before you travel. There are several highlights within this stretch of highway, and it qualifies as one of the best coastal drives in New Jersey. 

Duration: Up to a day road trip 

Highlights: Edwin B. Forsythe, Cape May National Wildlife Refuges, Bass River State Forest, the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest.

Best Season: Spring and Fall

4 – Batsto Wilderness Route

Batsto Wilderness Route

Even in the high season of summer, there is not likely to be much traffic on this 21- mile stretch of road running between Gretna and Hammonton on Route 542. The highlight is undoubtedly Batsto Village with its historic buildings from the impressive mansion to the mills, stores, and homes. It is typical of the villages built in the Pine Barrens. This is one of the most interesting New Jersey road trips from New York

Duration: Up to a full day

Highlights: Batsto Village, and Swan Bay Wildlife Management Area 

Season: Summer 

5 – Delaware Valley

Delaware Valley road trip

When it comes to scenic places in New Jersey, this 33-mile stretch of highway offers a great deal resulting in it being seen as among the best New Jersey road trips. It follows the Delaware River where historic mills were once very important. With industry came townships, and along the river, you will pass beautiful places like Lambertville, Frenchtown, and Stockton – you are welcome to stop in any of them. New Jersey road trips from New York should include the Delaware Valley.

Duration: Up to a day

Highlights: Washington Crossing State Park, Bull’s Island Recreation Area, and Howell Living History Farm

Best Season: All year around

6 – Kittatinny Ridge Loop

Kittatinny Ridge Loop

This 75-mile loop links Delaware Water Gap with Newton and can be done starting at either of those points. Your journey takes you along the Old Mine Road beside the Delaware River and through its Water Gap National Recreation Area. 

There are several places where you may decide to stop during the journey. They include the village of Millbrook and places where you will want a photograph of Kittatinny Ridge and Turtle Beach. It is certainly one of the best road trips in New Jersey. Scenic places in New Jersey come no better.

Duration: Up to a day road trip 

Highlights: Millbrook and several viewing points.

Best Season: All year around

7 – Route 519

Route 519 new jersey

When you are planning a New Jersey road trip itinerary, Route 519 is one you should look at. It runs from Colesville to Rosemount through small villages and the State’s typical farmland. The route is almost 90 miles long and as you travel, it is likely you will sense that the pace of life along this road is slower than other parts of the region. 

Among the highlights of one of the best road trips in New Jersey are villages like Plumbstock, and Harmony with their interesting antique shops. Head to Beemerville where there is a huge, preserved bear – the biggest example in the world. All in all, Route 519 is one of the best road trips in New Jersey.

Duration: A full day trip 

Highlights: The villages of Harmony and Plumbstock, and Lake Mohawk

Best Season: All year

8 – New Jersey’s Waterfalls

New Jersey’s Waterfalls road trip

The State may not have an abundance of waterfalls but one of the best scenic road trips in New Jersey incorporates them, because they are very impressive. The tallest of them is Buttermilk Falls near Walpack and Great Falls near Paterson is the most powerful. 

You should start in Hacklebarney State Park and finish near Dunnfield Creek – a loop in which Buttermilk Falls is towards the end. The trip will take you towards five hours to complete but, it is commonly regarded as among the best road trips in New Jersey.

Duration: A full day trip 

Highlights: Buttermilk Falls, Great Falls, and 

Best Season: Spring round to Fall

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Spare the trouble of planning and buckle up, because we’ve compiled the eight best road trips in New Jersey for you to choose from! 

Spare the trouble of planning and buckle up, because we’ve compiled the eight best road trips in New Jersey for you to choose from! 

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