While I did not plan to cover Ocean, Mercer and Monmouth counties when talking about South New Jersey its difficult to leave out certain attractions. South Jersey has a great deal to offer anyone who travels into the Region. There is so much to see and do. Beginning with Jackson, New Jersey, Six Flags has three theme parks that offer quite an attraction for the family. There is Hurricane Harbor, the largest water park in NJ, Wild Safari and Six Flags Great Adventure all legendary parks. There is the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets in Tinton Falls featuring upscale outlet shopping at 120 designer and name brand stores as well as Jackson’s Premium Outlets just minutes from Great Adventure. There is the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport featuring thoroughbred racing including harness racing, trotters, pacers and daytime racing. Then you have the New Egypt Speedway and Old Bridge Township Raceway for Motorsports. If you are into motorsports then Atco Raceway must be a point of interest on your trip. Also in Monmouth is the Battlefield State Park in Manalapan, the site of the largest battles of the American Revolution. Every June thousands visit the park for the reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth.
Moving toward the shore you have Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach with Amusements, an aquarium, shops, games and a nightclub. Traveling downtown offers 100 independent Antique Shops. Seaside Heights is a famous boardwalk with an exciting nightlife and fantastic family amusements. Then visit Casino and Funtown Piers. There are many holiday events here from February with the Polar Bear Plunge in February through a fireworks display New Year’s Eve in December. Long Beach Island has a Viking Village in Barnegat as well as Sandy Hook National Recreation area in Highlands. Tuckerton Seaport is a multifaceted experience with entertainment, education and maritime exhibits. There is Island Beach, Barnegat Bay and Long Beach Island with the Barnegat Bay Lighthouse Museum. In Red Bank there is the Count Basie Theater a 1926 historic theater that continues with jazz, dance, comedy, and rock n roll.
Moving to the most Southern point of NJ and beginning with Cape May County and then working our way up the State, we begin with the most Southern Point of Cape May, New Jersey and the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. Whether you go whale watching on a Cape May cruise boat or visit the Cape May Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May and its Victorian architecture has much to offer any tourist. There is the Cape May Bird Observatory, a unique pedestrian mall, and the famous Cape May Zoo and Park. There are jet ski rentals, kayaks, fishing, surfing, birding, boating, biking and of course many places to camp. Visit one of the famous family vacation destinations of Avalon, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Wildwood or Strathmere. Additionally, inland there is Margate, Somers Point, Linwood, Northfield, Absecon, and Galloway Twp., Pleasantville and historic Smithville and the Smithville Village with its many shops and artisan stores. To Top it off there is the Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), formed in 1970 to save the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate from the wrecking ball, MAC now operates the 18-room restored mansion as Cape May’s only Victorian house museum. MAC also restored and operates the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse where visitors can climb the 199 steps to the top for a breathtaking view of the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
Atlantic City and the area in and around offers 11 luxurious hotel/casino resorts with top notch entertainment and world-class dining. The Pier shops at Caesars, the world class Mia’s Restaurant and of course the Walk or Outlets of Atlantic City has incredible bargains on clothing. If you’re a golfer then the Seaview Marriot is a prime stop. Oceanville offers two sites in the Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Refuge including 43,000 acres as well as the Noyes Art Museum. If its Wineries then there are plenty to choose from in South New Jersey. There is the Balic, Bellview, Cape May, Heritage, Plagido’s, the Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City, Tomasello, Turdo, Sharrott, Coda Rossa, Chestnut Run, DiMatteo, Natali, Valenzano, Auburn Road, Swansea, Wagonhouse and a new Panther Branch Vineyard in Vineland NJ.
Inland South New Jersey is the birthplace of the cultivated blueberry and second ranked state in the Nation for blueberry production. Hammonton is its capital and its famous Red, White and Blueberry Festival which occurs late in the month of June. There are blueberry farms where you pick your own. Jersey has fresh tomatoes, peaches, apples, cucumbers and Jersey Fresh Corn. A new Farmers Market in Vineland NJ opens soon. Hammonton is also home of Batsto Village a nationally recognized place of interest with its Village tracing back to 1766. Two Centuries of American History along a backdrop of the Pine Barrens. There are many campgrounds nearby but Wharton State Park and Atsion Lake offers a nice retreat. If its family entertainment you seek then visit Atlantic City’s Steel Pier or Gardiner’s Basin for dolphin and whale watching excursions. Absecon boasts about its Tall lighthouse and Margate with its 100 year old Lucy the Elephant. Then of course going back into Atlantic City its boardwalk built in 1870 with its many festivals, Airshows and free entertainment in Kennedy Plaza. There are also historic sites like the Korean War Memorial.
Moving on to Cumberland County its rich in tradition and history and home to 2,200 Colonial, Victorian and Federalist buildings. Brick walkways, lanterns and benches border the scenic Riverfront Promendade and Fountain Plaza. Its home to the Cohanzick Zoo and a 1100 acre park, four museums, canoe rentals, swimming and picnicking. Then you have the AJ Meerwald and the scenic Delaware Estuary and the Wild and Scenic Maurice River in Bivalve. The tour of the AJ Meerwald a 115 foot authentically restored 1928 Delaware Bay Schooner Ship helps teach of maritime history. If you enjoy art then Millville’s Arts District along High Street is a must see. Every Third Friday its open late to tourists and don’t forget the Millville Motorsports Park and the Army Airfield Museum. From someone that has lived here his whole life, there is a great deal more to see. Beginning in Millville take a River Cruise departing at the beginning of High Street with Captain Dave Scherer. It takes you along the Maurice River to see Bald Eagles, Osprey, Purple Martins and more. If its fishing then go to the weakfish capital of the world in Fortescue. Catch flounder, blue fish, stripper, weakfish and sea bass in the Delaware Bay Estuary.