Family travel in New Jersey

New Jersey State Fair (courtesy Sister72 on Flickr)Every week or so until we run out of states, I’ll be posting about family-friendly vacation ideas, attractions and events in each one of the US states, taking input mostly from Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, I know how to search for travel ideas on a destination or attraction Web site, but a tweet or a Facebook Wall recommendation is a much more engaging and public way to spread the word.

Please don’t email suggestions to me; that’s nice but it is one-to-one communication. Tweet me and/or Facebook me, so that all of our networks can see what’s cool about your state.

We’re going in alphabetical order but started with the end, so our first state for the series was Wyoming, then we investigated WisconsinWest Virginia,  Washington,  Virginia,  Vermont,  UtahTexas,  Tennessee,  South Dakota,  South Carolina,  Rhode Island,  Pennsylvania,  OregonOklahoma,  OhioNorth Dakota,  North CarolinaNew York, New Mexico and now we’re moving on to….New Jersey!

I could not find the NJ state tourism organization on Twitter.  Only one region of the state appears to be “holding down the fort” – @VisitSJersey. The tweets at @JerseyTourism are for Jersey in the UK’s Channel Islands.

The state tourism organization is not on Facebook either, that I could find, although I did locate a Facebook Fan Page for Atlantic City NJ.

In the absence of much of any official tourism presence (which seems odd, given the very competitive Mid-Atlantic tourism market) I offer you Down the Shore with Jen, an excellent blog written by Jersey Shore guidebook author Jen A. Miller.

When I asked for NJ ideas, here’s what came in….

Twitter Travel Tips for New Jersey

***  From Mira Park via @MiraBest on Twitter:  family-friendly travel tip for NJ:  Stone Harbor in summer, Van Saun park in the fall & Ridgewood or Waldwick. Great towns with kid stuff.

***  From Matthew Lubin via @ChinaMatt on Twitter:  Check out the Geraldine R. Dodge poetry festival for New Jersey. And you can’t leave off the Delaware Water Gap.

***  From Anna Fader via @MommyPoppins on Twitter: Sahara Sams, new indoor water park in NJ has been a great hit with our readers.

***  From Wendy Perrin via @WendyPerrin on Twitter:  Family-friendly New Jersey activities:  1. Riding the AirTrain around EWR!  2. Liberty State Park, including Liberty Science Center.  3. Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University.  4. Garden State Discovery Museum (& Lakeshore Learning store) in Cherry Hill.    5. Fall season at Wightman’s Farm in Morristown (hayrides, corn maze, pumpkin toss, etc.)  6. annual balloon festival in Readington.  7. The IKEA in Elizabeth for its supervised playroom + kid-friendly cafeteria with view of planes taking off & landing at EWR…But our favorite NJ kid-friendly spot is actually just over the border in Easton, PA: The Crayola Factory & Nat’l Canal Museum.  🙂

***  From Gary Arndt via @EverywhereTrip on Twitter:  Best things in NJ are the Edison Lab in Orange and Morristown where General Washington camped. Both are National Park Service sites.

***  From Kayt Sukel via @TravelSavvyKayt on Twitter:  The Camden Aquarium.  Did a post on it for Travel Savvy Mom not too long ago.

***  From Hillary via @hchybinski on Twitter:  NJ Family-friendly: Cape May Zoo and Ocean City.

***  From Chris and Robert Clark via @travel_notebook on Twitter: Delaware Water Gap (PA/NJ State Line) is a great National Recreation area with good hiking.  Princeton would be good for families who want to get their kids thinking Ivy League.  Finally, NJ overall has way more agriculture than you would think. Good opportunity for u-pick farms, horses, cows, etc.

Facebook Travel Tips for New Jersey

***  From Scott Keir on Facebook  – I would toot my ol’ hometown’s horn: Asbury Park. Its going thru a rebirth and the beach is one of the best on da Shore. Check out the Asbury Park Boardwalk website (there’s a fan site on Facebook.)

***  From Jeremiah McEnerney on Facebook:  I’m almost afraid to mention Stone Harbor, New Jersey. We’ve returned to vacation there for over 10 years. No boardwalk, a nice little shopping village, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, Peace-a-Pizza and Springer’s ice cream. So very, very relaxing.

***  From John Holmes on Facebook:   Not too far outside of Atlantic City is Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge. Not as famous as Cape May for birding, but excellent nonetheless. Lots of trails and different habitats to explore, and you can just drive through it if you don’t want to get out and walk around.

Thanks so much for the contributions, everyone!

I wrote an article for – Family fun and learning in New Jersey – and the BootsnAll Travel Network has a New Jersey Travel Guide.

The next state in the series is New Hampshire.

Send your New Hampshire highlights to @SheilaS on Twitter or write them on my Facebook Wall (please tell me you’re a 50 state-er if you want to friend me.)

My purpose for this series is not only to highlight worthy kid-friendly vacation destinations in all 50 states, but by using Twitter and Facebook I want to also encourage tourism organizations to learn more about connecting with their visitors using social media and online networks.

Please add your own New Jersey suggestions in the comments below, if we’ve missed anything. Thanks!