New Jersey, the Garden State, is defined by regions clear-cut in their geography and culture. More than 8 million people reside in an environment that ranges from cities and dense forests to casino-lined boardwalks and sandy beaches. Bordered by New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the state offers visitors a novel mix of outdoor, historic and urban experiences.
The long state brushes against New York in the north and Philadelphia in the south. These major urban areas are hubs where the bulk of New Jerseyites reside. In the densely populated north, for instance, find Newark, gateway to New York and home to a major-league sports arena that is part of MetLife Sports Complex, commonly referred to as the “Meadowlands.”
Central cities include Trenton, the state’s capital, and Princeton, which attracts a large number of regional day trippers. Shop along with them in the tidy downtown village or tour local points of historic interest. Top among these are Princeton Battlefield State Park and Rockingham Historic Site, which both played host to the action of the American Revolution. Jackson, near the coast, is home to Six Flags Great Adventure & Wild Safari, an amusement park and 350-acre wildlife preserve.
The Jersey Shore, on the southern coast along the Atlantic Ocean, attracts heavy but happy crowds during the summer. Atlantic City is flush with casinos, hotels and nightlife, housed in a colorful mix of modern and historic buildings that line the four-mile oceanfront boardwalk.
By contrast, the largely undeveloped Pinelands National Reserve spans 1.1 million acres in southern New Jersey. Activities abound in the forests, waterways and parks of the reserve that covers nearly one-quarter of the state.
At the southernmost tip of New Jersey stands Cape May, with land that lies parallel to Washington, D.C. This scenic town, filled with Victorian homes and boutique shopping, is where miles of low-key beachfront and Cape May Point State Park are found. Visitors who climb the nearly 200 steps to the top of the lighthouse are treated to soaring views of the Cape May peninsula.