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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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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6 Shared Experiences Every Jersey Girl Knows By Heart

Because there's nowhere like New Jersey

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Going to school in the south, I noticed so many small things that made New Jersey so unique. Not only being a suburb of one of the greatest cities in the world (New York), but everything that comes with New Jersey makes it my favorite place to come home to.

If you're not from New Jersey you probably won't fully understand the importance of a good bagel or how you spent most of your Friday nights in high school, but here are just a few of the many things that make New Jersey so special.

1. The morning after going out with your friends are spent at a diner

A good old New Jersey diner actually has anything you can possibly think of. After a long night with friends the best part about that you're next morning is sitting in the booth of a diner reflecting on your night.

2. Train rides to the city were always the best times

Having NJ transit bring able to take you into the city in 30 minutes definitely came in handy.

3. You can only get an actual Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese in New Jersey

Nothing beats a bagel from New Jersey let alone a Taylor ham egg and cheese. When you're not in New Jersey don't even bother trying to order one, it's just not the same.

4. Friday night lights is a real thing in New Jersey

Most of my Friday nights in high school were spent at football games where my friends and I would literally go all out to the different themes that the different teams would have. I really don't think anywhere else does high school football like New Jersey.

5. The five malls all within 5 miles of each other come in clutch

Yes, five malls within five miles of each other! If you can't find something at one, don't worry there are four others.

6. The Jersey Shore

When people think of New Jersey they usually think of "the jersey shore." It is where most people from New Jersey spend their summers, but it is also one of the most memorable places in New Jersey. From walking down the boardwalk and getting a two-foot-long slice of pizza, to passing the Jersey Shore house hoping to see Snooki or Pauly D, the Jersey shore has it all.


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https://www.instagram.com/p/BX0qSwdg1BA/?hl=en&taken-by=obagel_family

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