New Jersey may not be as popular as some of its surrounding cities. In fact, some individuals may not consider it a travel destination at all. Typically, New Jersey is usually a mere stopover for anyone traveling to New York. Today, however, the veil is lifting slowly and the city whose beauty and allure once remained concealed to the unfamiliar traveler is quickly joining the ranks of the best destinations in the U.S.
Adventure, the chance to meet new individuals, as well as experience new things- all these things do not have to be off-limits if you are running low on funds. It is entirely possible to enjoy New Jersey without breaking the bank; you just have to know where to look. New Jersey has so many unique aspects to suit a range of tastes, preferences, and budgets.
Regularly referred to as the Garden State, New Jersey enjoys miles and miles of sandy coasts that stretch as far as the eye can see. Remarkable lighthouses, some of the most famous boardwalks the world has to offer, and saltwater taffy (oh, the salt water taffy!); the Garden State will wow you with everything it has to offer.
To enjoy the finer things and experience New Jersey in all its glory, here are 5 things that you can do in New Jersey without digging too deep into your pocketbook:
Get a taste of culture at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Affectionately referred to as The PAC by the locals, you should make a point to stop by the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre for a little culture. The NJPAC has won several awards over the years and has been voted the best performing arts center for an impressive 11 years in a row. For years, since its inception, the NJPAC has been an anchor for the community.
Today, hundreds of world-class performances are given each year and if you are traveling on a budget, there are plenty of free events for you to attend. It does not matter whether you are in the mood for a dose of comedic action from some of the local comedians or feel like Bach’s concertos for violins in D minor, this performing arts center aims to deliver an experience that will rival some of the world’s best performances.
Tour the Hindenburg Crash site
The 20th century has certainly seen its fair share of disasters but the crash and consequent explosion of the Zeppelin Hindenburg provided a spectacle that had never been witnessed before in the world. Frequently referred to as one of the biggest disasters in the field of aviation, the explosion took place on May 6th, 1937 at a Navy Base situated in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
The Hindenburg was the brainchild of the Nazi airship fleet and at the time, it stood as the largest aircraft that Germany had ever constructed. On that fateful day of May 6th, the Hindenburg was making a routine landing in Lakehurst as it was the closet location to Manhattan and the only place capable of handling the Hindenberg’s immense size.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned when the airship suddenly burst into flames killing 36 people that were on board. This area, where the airship crashed and burned is still there today and has been marked by a metallic silhouette of the airship as well as an anchor chained outline of the ship on the ground. Luckily, only less than half the passengers on board lost their lives; 62 individuals managed to escape with minor injuries.
Go to the beach; any beach
If you are looking for inexpensive things to do while in New Jersey, then nothing beats going to the beach. New Jersey has plenty of beaches to explore thanks to its 130 miles of coastline. It does not matter what you are interested in; a secluded beach for a romantic afternoon with your love or one that offers beach-friendly activities. Each beach has its unique ambiance and setting.
For instance, beaches like Asbury Park and Point Pleasant are frequented for their great boardwalks while Long Beach Island is famed for its amusement park. If you are looking for something more low-key, you might be better off heading out to Cape May, which is located 3 hours away from the city. In total, there are over 40 beaches in New Jersey so expect to be spoilt for choice.
Stop by Empty Sky to pay your respects
Empty Sky was created to honor the 746 New Jersey lives that were lost on 9/11. Situated in Liberty State Park close to the Hudson River, this is where dozens of on-lookers first witnessed the catastrophe as it was occurring. It was at this location that well-wishers and the community rallied and gathered together to offer assistance to survivors and victims of the terror attack.
In 2004, the family members of the victims picked an acre site in the park to erect a memorial for the deceased victims. They named this memorial Empty Sky. The memorial is designed to create a spectacular halo of light that shines over each of the victims’ names that have been etched on the stainless steel walls. If you look out at the horizon, you will notice the clear line of the Manhattan skyline leading right directly to where the Twin Towers once stood tall.
Eat at a diner
You may or may not know this, but New Jersey is referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World.”New Jersey has more diners than anywhere else in the state, which says a lot about the local cuisine. When you need to order a few snacks on the go, there is nothing like making a pit stop at one of these calorific neighborhood establishments.
These diners have a long and illustrious history that dates all the way back to 1872 when the first diner was opened. One reason that explains New Jersey’s overabundance of diners is that the state was once home to the Jerry O’Mahony Diner Company, the world’s largest diner manufacturer.
Even amid issues such as recession, trends, and technological change most of these diners have managed to survive the test of time. Even against larger well-known restaurant chains. It does not matter what you have a hankering for from cheesy fries and great chicken dinners to crowd pleasures like pizza and hotcakes; you can’t help but fall in love with New Jersey cuisine.
According to Kate Huber, chief editor at NJGamblingFun’ New Jersey may get a bad rap sometimes, but which city doesn’t? Home to legends Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and yes, even Snooky, some of the best diners are found here. You shouldn’t knock it till you try it’’
New Jersey may not seem like an option for budget-conscious travelers with hotspots like Atlantic City. However, it is possible to have a great travel experience, even when you are balling on a budget owing to the myriad options available to suit every budget traveler.