Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore keep travellers booking flights to New Jersey every year. But New Jersey has a history that extends beyond the boardwalk casinos and the saltwater taffy that made these Jersey towns famous.
Does the name Thomas Edison ring a bell? Amid the smoke stacks and cloudy overcast that is synonymous with the New Jersey skyline, Thomas Edison occupied factories in West Orange and Menlo Park to create hundreds of inventions still used today. If Thomas Edison doesn’t impress, fly to New Jersey and pay homage to some of rock and roll’s royalty – Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and of course, Frank Sinatra.
Beach lovers seeking some rays while visiting New Jersey won’t be disappointed either. Cape May, which is located at the southern tip of the state, is a laid-back Victorian beach resort with white sand beaches that attract small crowds looking for a quiet weekend away.
Search and compare: cheap flights to New Jersey
New Jersey climate
New Jersey has four distinct seasons. Winter is chilly and has some snow, and spring is mild. January temperatures range from -1 to about five (Celsius), and April can reach the low 20s. Summers can be hot and humid with temperatures reaching the mid 20s and low 30s. Autumn is warm with spectacular foliage and temperatures in the mid-teens in October. Hurricanes can hit New Jersey, but it is an unusual occurrence as are nor’easters. The annual snowfall is about 40cm (16 inches), most of which is in the northern part of the state.
When to fly to New Jersey
Tourism is New Jersey’s second-largest industry, and the resorts and beaches are jam-packed during the peak summer season, especially on weekends. Cape May is also very crowded in summer. Princeton graduations are in May and June at which time hotels are expensive and hard to find. Northwestern New Jersey’s Skylands are busy in winter with skiers and snowboarders.
The water along the Jersey shore is still warm well after Labour Day and most of the crowds have left. Late spring is also a quiet time to visit the beaches and find cheap flights to New Jersey. Reduced rates are also available in the winter, particularly in the Cape May area where the Victorian architecture is stunning year-round.
Search and compare: cheap flights to New Jersey
Getting around New Jersey
With so much ground to cover after your cheap flight to New Jersey, you’ll need access to a car. New Jersey has 127 miles of beaches between Sandy Hook and Cape May and 40 per cent of the state is forested. Your cheap flight to New Jersey will land at either Newark or Atlantic City airports. You can hop on a train at either airport to get to Trenton, Princeton or Newark. You can also get to Manhattan from Hoboken, Newark or Jersey City by boarding the PATH trains. There are a few buses that travel between New Jersey towns, but they can be unreliable. Walk along the famous mile-long boardwalk in Atlantic City for an old-fashioned seaside stroll. If you’re headed to Princeton or Cape May, it’s easiest to see the two cities on foot or by bike. Princeton University has guided tours of the campus, but they can get very crowded in the summer.
New Jersey insider information
- The world-famous New Jersey sandcastle contest in Belmar takes place in June/July. Now in its 22nd year, entries last year included lots of sandcastles, sharks, a sea turtle, gorilla, Santa Claus, treasure chest and a wedding cake.
- See a new movie at an old theatre: the Delsea Drive-In in Vineland is New Jersey's only drive-in. There is space for about 330 cars and the screen is 36 metres (120feet) wide. A double bill costs $8 (£4) ($3 for children aged 3-11) and the soundtrack to the movie is broadcast to car or portable radio.
- The elegant beach town of Cape May was the Hamptons of the 19th century. Today, there are stately bed-and-breakfasts, beautiful streets and ocean views. Not only does it host Sherlock Holmes Weekends in November and March, but there are also ghost tours on which the legends of pirate Blackbeard, Esmerelda of Jackson Street and the Knerr sisters are recounted.
- Storybook Land, ten miles west of Atlantic City, will delight the little ones. Walk through the children’s classics and nursery rhymes including Little Red Riding Hood, the Merry Miller and Mistress Mary’s Garden.
- Doris Duke: the heiress and philanthropist’s grand 2,700-acre estate in Hillsborough has 11 different types of gardens including Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French and English.
- The Pinelands National Reserve is 1.1 million acres of open space between Richmond and Boston on the mid-Atlantic coast. It is the first national reserve and a US Biosphere Reserve of the Man and the Biosphere Program. Search for the Jersey Devil, who is said to roam the wetland areas. Apart from looking for the devil, visitors hike, go boating and canoeing, swim, camp, picnic, ride horses and fish.
- Glenmont in West Orange is the home of Thomas Alva Edison - The Wizard of Menlo Park - inventor of the lightbulb, stock-ticker and phonograph among many, many others. There are tours of the grounds and restored greenhouse as well as interpretive programmes.