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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Meet The College Student Who Took A Solo Road Trip Across The United States

With only a cooler, a bag of electronics, and a bag of clothes, Alex Kim embarked on the trip of a lifetime.

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Not many college students can say that they've taken a road trip across the United States. Even fewer can say that they've gone on that journey alone.

However, Alex Kim can say that within one month, he drove from the east coast to the west coast of the United States by himself. And he made sure to hit all the major attractions on the way.

You name it — the White House, Cloud Gate, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and Yosemite — Kim has been to all those places.

Kim is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in religious studies with a minor in human rights. He plans to attend law school in the fall of 2019. So, he knew that if he wanted to take a trip across the states, the summer of 2018 would be the perfect time.

Courtesy of Alex Kim

I had the opportunity to meet Kim when he briefly stopped by Lawrence, Kansas, near the final stretch of his journey. When he told me about his trip, I was baffled, intrigued, and impressed all at once.

To take a long road trip with friends is one thing, but to take a month-long road trip by himself is an entirely different story.

Kim said he simply wanted to meet people. He had the opportunity to meet other brothers in his fraternity, Pi Alpha Phi, and made quite a few friends (myself included!) on the way. He also visited family friends and people that he knew through Greek life.

Besides meeting people, this trip also consisted mostly of driving an 6-8 hours per day, listening to educational podcasts, and traveling to national parks, monuments, and memorials. He even bought along a burner and pot to cook ramen noodles in the national parks. Kim called these meals his "ramen adventures."

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Kim said this trip was extremely of out of his comfort zone, but it helped that he went alone because he was able to set his own schedules, plan his own routes, and do everything at his own discretion.

When asked about why he decided to go alone, Kim said "Going with someone else means that I will spend way more money than I should… If I went with another person, I also have to cater sleeping accommodations as well."

There were many times where Kim simply slept in his car because he didn't know anyone in the area, or he didn't want to pay for a hotel or Airbnb. But he didn't have to sleep in his car the whole trip. Half the time, he had friends or family members who were willing to house him for a night or so.

In addition, going alone gave Kim a lot of time to reflect on his past and what's to come in his future.

"I can't tell you how many times I thought of what my next chapter of life will be," Kim said.

However, going alone also presented its fair share of obstacles. Some difficulties included bad weather, over exhaustion, too much caffeine, and lack of sleep and nutritious food. One of the biggest problems that he faced was loneliness.

Kim admitted that there were periods of time where he felt extremely lonely. When he knew that he wasn't going to see people for a while, he would call his parents in the morning to tell them where he had been and that he was doing well.

There was one instance where he was first traveling to a national park, Yellowstone Park, and he internally freaked out. For the most part, Kim heard nothing but complete radio silence because there was no reception. Kim said that he felt scared because he wasn't in control of his loneliness.

Aside from those challenges, Kim was glad to say that the road trip went well, and he didn't have any car trouble.

For him, some notable locations were New York City and Los Angeles. Kim didn't really go to L.A. for sightseeing, but rather to pay his respects to an old mentor who passed away. Even though he explored much of nature and national parks, he said that the most breathtaking view was not in fact at a national park, but at a family friend's farm in Harlington, Nebraska.

Courtesy of Alex Kim

"I never thought I would say this, but I really enjoyed the countryside in Nebraska. Being away from the city lights, it was very peaceful and quiet. The sunset was breathtaking," he said.

Overall, Kim approximated that he traveled across the United States for a grand total of 9,700 miles, and despite some challenges, he really enjoyed this trip. He met new and old people and witnessed stunning views that he wouldn't have seen back in North Carolina. As a lone traveler, Kim practiced humility and now sees the world with a fresh perspective.

Kim also learned many lessons along the way and here are six that he shared:

1. Learn to rely on yourself.

2. Sometimes it's good to play it by ear. You'll have the freedom to do so much more.

3. If you can't play it by ear, always have a contingency plan.

4. The people who constantly kept up with you throughout your whole trip are you true friends.

5. Get out of your comfort zone; learn to be versatile.

6. Take time to yourself to reflect on your past, make amends if possible, and plan out your future.

After his trip, Kim returned to North Carolina, taking with him all the experience and lessons he gained from his travels. Nowadays, he keeps busy by studying for the LSAT in September and working towards getting into law school.

But would Kim take this extraordinary road trip again if he could? Most definitely.

See more pictures from his trip below.


Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

All photos here are provided courtesy of Alex Kim.

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The 9/11 Memorial Is Haunting, But It's Where So Many Souls Came To Rest

As I was approaching the grounds of the memorial, the city that never sleeps suddenly seemed hauntingly quiet.

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When it comes to traveling, I have always been a sort of history buff, wanting to see historical sights and bask in uniqueness of memorials. When I went to Washington, D.C. in eighth grade, I was the kid that kept saying, "Guys, we are literally stepping on history right now! Our forefathers took these same footsteps!" When I came back to NYC for round two, I decided it was time to visit the 9/11 Memorial, especially because during my first visit, it was all under construction.

We had spent the earlier part of the day exploring the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We came back to Manhattan for a bite to eat, then headed in the direction of the memorial. As we approached Ground Zero, I realized how hauntingly quiet it seemed. Maybe it was because the workday was nearly over or maybe it was because people actually fell nearly silent at such a sight.


Shelby Gerweck


I didn't know what to expect of the memorial. I didn't know that there were not one, but two fountains that symbolized the locations of the north and south towers. The fountains were both roaring and trickling at the same time, and it made me wonder exactly what the explosions sounded like. Would they have been both deafeningly loud and silent?


Shelby Gerweck


I ran my fingers along the names carved into the wall of the memorial. So many names, and at first glance, you can't believe there are that many, but walking around the grounds proves otherwise. There are signs that welcome visitors of the memorial to touch the names. As I read the names, I wonder about their families left behind. How many of them had been in the towers just on happenstance?

I saw white flowers placed on some of the names. At first, I wonder how many families visit the sight to remember their loved ones. Then, I notice a placard that reads that the memorial honors victims with the flowers on what would be their birthdays. I wonder what time of the year sees the most flowers on the memorial.


Shelby Gerweck


It was especially hard to just stand on the same grounds where people met their fate far before they should have. My empathy got the best of me, and I found myself fighting to keep the tears from spilling over. I wanted to cry for the families that were tragically affected by such a devastating loss. I wondered what the victims thought about when they realized that they wouldn't make it out alive.

Some people chose to stand in front of the memorial in smiling pictures. To me, it felt horribly wrong to be standing on the very ground where thousands of people died, smiling in a picture. People had their lives ripped from them, and today, seventeen years later, people would stand smiling in pictures that they would proudly display on their Facebook pages. Some people decided to play in the fountain waters with their fingers and splash water on the names of the victims. One guy even decided to rest his take-out bag on the memorial while he made a phone call.

How horribly disrespectful it was to see how no one respected the lives of all who were lost that day. Thousands of names, thousands of stories left unwritten. Very few mourning the loss of all of those individuals. The names of six individuals were displayed on the North Tower memorial along with the date of February 26, 1993 to honor those who lost their lives in that World Trade Center bombing.


Shelby Gerweck


It is a memorial that will take your breath away when you realize your humanity, when you realize how time is so very numbered, when you realize that thousands went to work that day that never went home. Beautiful, industrial, haunting. The memorial does not stand on the site of the lives lost but is grounded where the souls came to rest.

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