8 Places To Visit In New Jersey This Summer

8 Places To Visit In New Jersey This Summer

New Jersey is full of hidden natural beauty and so many underrated attractions.
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New Jersey is often referred to as "the armpit of America," however I disagree. I say this not just because I am a New Jersey resident myself, I say this because New Jersey has so many amazing places to visit that most people - even New Jersey residents themselves - don't even know exist! If you are looking for anything to do this summer, here are eight different places to visit in the Garden State!

1. The Shore

New Jersey is known for its 130 miles of beautiful coastline that spans from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Some of the more popular shore towns and beaches include Seaside, LBI, Ocean City, and Wildwood. My favorite beach though is Island Beach State Park because it is a preserved section of the barrier island that protects the natural shoreline and its habitats. The park has about 10 miles of sandy beaches but also a shoreline along Barnegat Bay.

2. Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture is a sculpture park and museum that spans 42-acres in Hamilton and is on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. Visitors can enjoy over 270 sculptures made by both well-known and rising contemporary artists.

3. Absecon Lighthouse

The Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City is one of the oldest in the country and the country’s third tallest lighthouse. It is over 160 years old and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic City skyline if you are willing to climb the 228 steps to reach the top!

4. Cape May County Park and Zoo

This park in Cape May offers a wildlife preserve, a wildlife sanctuary, a recreational area, and a forested 200-acre park that includes the zoo. Admission is completely free for the park and zoo. The zoo contains over 550 animals including many rare and endangered species.

5. Highlands Natural Swimming Pool



This is a hidden gem located in Ringwood features an Olympic-sized freshwater swimming pool that was carved out of a hillside in 1935 and is fed by a mountain stream. Aside from swimming, you can hike many trails throughout the Norvin Green State Forest for some added fun!

6. Old Barracks Museum

This museum has a unique history dating back to the 1700’s during the French and Indian War. The Old Barracks Museum is located in Trenton and is the only remaining colonial barracks in New Jersey.

7. Delaware River Tubing

While there are many places that offer to tube down the Delaware River, Delaware River Tubing located in Milford is one of the best! Not only is this inexpensive but is fun and relaxing. You can also stop and eat lunch during your trip at their famous hot dog stand!

8. Adventure Aquarium

Located in Camden, Adventure Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world where you can see hippos and the only aquarium in the country that features one of the largest and rarest sharks, the hammerhead.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Home

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8 Struggles Of Being 21 And Looking 12

The struggle is real, my friends.
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“You'll appreciate it when you're older." Do you know how many times my mom has told me this? Too many to count. Every time I complain about looking young that is the response I get. I know she's right, I will love looking young when I'm in my 40s. However, looking young is a real struggle in your 20s. Here's what we have to deal with:

1. Everyone thinks your younger sister or brother is the older one.

True story: someone actually thought my younger sister was my mom once. I've really gotten used to this but it still sucks.

2. You ALWAYS get carded.

Every. Single. Time. Since I know I look young, I never even bothered with a fake ID my first couple of years of college because I knew it would never work. If I'm being completely honest, I was nervous when I turned 21 that the bartender would think my real driver's license was a fake.

3. People look at your driver's license for an awkward amount of time.

So no one has actually thought my real driver's license is fake but that doesn't stop them from doing a double take and giving me *that look.* The look that says, “Wow, you don't look that old." And sometimes people will just flat out say that. The best part is this doesn't just happen when you're purchasing alcohol. This has happened to me at the movie theater.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things People Who Look 12 Hate Hearing

4. People will give you *that look* when they see you drinking alcohol.

You just want to turn around and scream “I'M 21, IT'S LEGAL. STOP JUDGING ME."

5. People are shocked to find out you're in college.

If I had a dollar for every time someone had a shocked expression on their face after I told them I'm a junior in college I could pay off all of my student loan debt. It's funny because when random people ask me how school is going, I pretty much assume they think I'm in high school and the shocked look on their face when I start to talk about my college classes confirms I'm right.

6. For some reason wearing your hair in a ponytail makes you look younger.

I don't understand this one but it's true. Especially if I don't have any makeup on I could honestly pass for a child.

7. Meeting an actual 12-year-old who looks older than you.

We all know one. That random 12-year-old who looks extremely mature for her age and you get angry because life isn't fair.

8. Being handed a kids' menu.

This is my personal favorite. It happens more often than it should. The best part of this is it's your turn to give someone a look. The look that says, "You've got to be kidding me".

Looking young is a real struggle and I don't think everyone realizes it. However, with all the struggles that come with looking young, we still take advantage of it. Have you ever gone to a museum or event where if you're under a certain age you get in for a discounted price? Yeah? Well, that's when I bet you wish you were us. And kids' meals are way cheaper than regular meals so there have definitely been a couple times when I've kept that kids' menu.

So, all in all, it's not the worst thing in the world but it's definitely a struggle.

Cover Image Credit: Jenna Collins

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A Gap Year Was Just What I Needed

Taking a year off between high school and college was the best thing I could have done for so many reasons.

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Everyone around me was buzzing with excitement about their acceptances to their dream university and I didn't feel the same. I was accepted to every school I applied to, but none of them felt right. At my high school, if you didn't go to college, you would have been deemed a failure and that is not what I wanted my reputation to be. When the day came, I sat down at a computer to accept my admission to a college. I was in a panic mode, and I knew that's not what I wanted. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I had no idea if that was where I wanted to be, so I exited the website and came up with a plan.

After graduation, I boarded a flight to Denver, Colorado. I was alone on a plane going 1,000 miles west to a place I've never been. In a short amount of time, I knew I had made the right decision.

I spent eight months in the Rocky Mountains learning how to do the "adult thing." I worked 40+ hours a week in freezing temperatures and a ton of snow, making ten dollars an hour. In a resort town, ten dollars is not a lot of money. I lived on Wonder bread and eggs, I cooked on my hotplate on the top of my mini fridge. I was shown what it's like to work for the things I want, and it taught me to appreciate everything I've always been handed so easily, and that was something I really needed.

Throughout my adventure, I met so many different people in all different stages of life. I think that's the most important aspect of my entire trip. By working and living with people young and old, I learned different skills, living habits, and ways of life which I am forever grateful for. These people had shown me more about life in eight months than I had learned in my entire life, and without this experience, I would have never been introduced to half of the things I was introduced to.

I hiked 14,000-foot mountains, watched the X-Games in Aspen, attended endless concerts, and became a better snowboarder by having the chance to do it every day. Without my friends and taking this leap, I would have been sitting in a classroom wondering what I could have been doing instead. Because of taking time off, I am now back in class, able to focus on my work and doing better than I ever have before.

The most important part of my gap year was finding myself. I proved to myself that I am strong and independent, and I can achieve any goal I set as long as I work hard and have fun along the way. Before I left, I had no idea what I wanted to do or be. Upon my return home, I realized I needed to go to college to receive a higher education to better myself. Having a full-time job and being out in the real world helped me to narrow down what I really want to be and what I want to achieve for myself. I learned how to truly live and that there is no set path I need to take because this is my own life to create.

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