It seems that this summer, travelers are falling back in love with the stunning U.S. coastline—international travel has taken a backseat for the first time in a couple of years.

And while the usual suspects (i.e., CaliforniaFloridaHawaii) are just as in-demand as ever, there’s another unexpected entry to the list of the most coveted beach hubs in the country: New Jersey.

Most people coming to the Garden State are either thrill-seekers eager to take in the iconic Atlantic City experience, foodies looking to explore the incredible food scene, or history buffs trying to get some insight into America’s fascinating past.

This year, though, the record-breaking 120.5 million visitors that entered the state’s borders are also delighted to explore another New Jersey gem – its 130-mile (209-kilometer) coastline.

And below, you’ll find everything you need to know in case you, too, need a change of pace this summer.

Beach in Cape May, New Jersey

An Often-Overlooked Beach Hub

New Jersey’s stunning coastline isn’t exactly its best-known asset, so let’s dive right in with Cape May, a picturesque town at the state’s southern tip that’ll astound you with its well-preserved Victorian architecture and serene, light-sanded beaches.

There’s no better place than here to take in the natural beauty of the Atlantic Coast – the beaches themselves are clean and quiet, and the views are downright gorgeous (the sunsets, in particular, are to die for).

Cape May at sunset

If that’s not enough, you can get your thrill by going on one of the many whale-watching tours in the area that offer travelers the experience of a lifetime – and, as luck would have it, summer is peak time for these kinds of sightings, so get your binoculars ready!

Those of you who are more into high-energy activities might prefer Long Beach Island a bit more instead.

Whether that translates to surfing, kayaking, or paddleboarding for you, don’t worry – the choices are endless.

Young man surfing on the New Jersey Shore

Beyond The Gorgeous Sights

While there’s no denying that New Jersey’s coastline is grossly underrated, when it comes to a place so rich in history and culture, it’s easy to see why the beaches and natural sights might sometimes take a backseat.

Remember – the iconic Ellis Island, home to the Statue of Liberty, is part New Jersey, and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is simply unmissable.

The Statue of Liberty at sunrise

Other attractions you’ll definitely want to add to your New Jersey “to see” list include The Battleship New Jersey, the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Newark Museum of Art, and Asbury Park, just to name a few.

While at it, plan a stop at Princeton, too.

Even if the historic or academic aspect of things doesn’t interest you too much, the stunning Gothic architecture and amazing gardens alone are well worth a visit.

Memorable Experiences

Looking for something even more exciting?

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Why not check out New Jersey’s impressive events calendar for these upcoming months?

Filled to the brim with festivals, hot air balloon rides, state fairs, seafood feasts, and major sporting events, this upcoming season promises to never leave you bored.

If you’re having a hard time deciding where to go first, the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the State Fair Meadowlands, as well as Snoop Dogg’s and Patti LaBelle’s concerts in Atlantic City would be my top picks.

Crowd at a concert

A Safe Haven Perfect For Solo Travelers And Families

Last but certainly not least, New Jersey is also one of the safest places you can travel to in all of the U.S. and there’s plenty of data to back that claim up.

Forbes just named the state the 5th safest in the country, and with a violent crime rate of just 0.2%, it’s easy to see why.

Aerial view of Trenton, New Jersey

Another study conducted by Innerbody Research back in 2023 actually named New Jersey the safest state in the nation and by a large margin – not only did New Jersey record the lowest number of assaults, but it also scored the lowest in terms of human trafficking, abductions, and sex offenses.

That’s why, whether you’re a solo traveler seeking some peace and quiet or a family with small children for whom safety is of the essence, going to New Jersey this summer is the right call.

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