Before we get into the details of the cheap things to do in New Jersey, let’s clarify that the state is full of natural escapes, history, and museums. What New Jersey lacks in City Life it makes up for with beaches, zoos, gardens, museums and much more.
Are you a value traveler? Find out the best value for money attractions of NJ in the slides below:
- Gardens, Arboretums, Zoos: Free & Cheap Things To Do In New Jersey
- Beaches, Parks, Trails & Best New Jersey Natural Escapes
- Museum & History: Best Ways to Explore the Past in New Jersey
- Wrapping Up Best & Free Cheap Things To Do In New Jersey
Gardens, Arboretums, Zoos: Free & Cheap Things To Do In New Jersey
New Jersey provides amazing natural beauty and so many places that no list can be complete. There may be no better place to explore the flora and fauna of the state other than gardens, arboretums, and zoos. And believe you me, there are so many to choose from, but these are our favorites.
Cape May Zoo: Great Fauna & Other NJ Attractions
Do you love lions, zebras, cheetahs, camels, snakes, and birds? You can find them all here. There are 250 species and nearly 550 animals for you to admire. Cape May Zoo is full of educational opportunities and adventure, and perfect for a lovely family day out.
Apart from the abundance of animals it hosts one of the main reasons why Cape May Zoo tops the list of cheap things to do in New Jersey is because admission here is completely free.
The Great Swamp and Raptor Trust
Since 1982 The Great Swamp and Raptor Trust has been rehabilitating wild birds. The Raptor Trust Mission is: To provide free care and assistance to injured, sick, or orphaned wild birds, to educate people about wild birds, especially birds of prey, and to provide a humane example for others.
As part of their mission visitors can view nearly 100 beautiful hawks and eagles who live at the property permanently. Guests can also attend the educational programs run for the public.
While admission is free the Trust would appreciate a minimum donation of $2.00.
New Jersey State Botanical Garden
Well, how can you not see a garden in the Garden state? In fact, you can see several gardens in every direction of the state. The State Botanical Garden offers many tours, both guided and self-guided.
Go for a Magnolia walk or check out the Lilac Garden. See the summer or the winter garden in whichever season you visit NJ. You may even enjoy a little bit of history by visiting the Manor house or the Skylands Farms to check out the granite mansion known as Skylands Manor.
General Admission is $7 but if you visit in the summer be prepared to pay for parking.
Interested in native or exotic plants? You can find 2,100 varieties here. These include Oak, Maple, Magnolia, Cherry, Willow, and much more.
You can visit the Arboretum year-round free of cost but during special events such as the Lilac Party or the Autumn Open House a small fee may be charged. Be sure to check their calendar before you make your plans.
The Garden State has many more agricultural and horticultural offerings than we can mention! Many also offer free admission, and they top our list of cheap things to do in New Jersey.
Beaches, Parks, Trails & Best New Jersey Natural Escapes
If zoos and gardens were not enough you can check out more natural escapades suitable for hiking and camping. New Jersey is also famous for its miles and miles of beaches.
Lord Stirling Park Environmental Education Center
Offering approximately nine miles of hiking trails and many naturalist-guided programs the Lord Stirling Park Environmental Education Center is a favorite of locals and visitors. One of the most popular offerings is the Great Swamp Eperience, which brings to life historical and ecological information about the Great Swamp.
You can spend your time birdwatching or hiking, or enjoying one of the many other fun activities with your family. In winter, you can even go cross country skiing. If you are interested in the environment there are some very inexpensive classes offered that you may like.
Situated in Hillsborough, Duke Farms has 2,740 acres of land devoted to wildlife, with more than 1,000 acres available to the public. You’ll find some 18 miles of hiking and biking trails, lakes, lagoons, and untold opportunities to experience the joy of nature.
Animals are in their natural habitat and you are encouraged to explore and interact at your leisure. Bikes are available for rent, $7 for two hours.
In winter, you can go snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Other family activities held here including scavenger hunts and geocaching.
Admission is free and while some activities might cost, the memories you make will be priceless.
Trailside Nature & Science Center: Hike, camp, & enjoy the fauna
Located within Union County’s Watchung Reservation the Trailside Nature & Science Center has so much to offer. Workshops in summer and winter, classes for all ages, Trailside Talks, family programs, exhibits, and so much more.
Experience the sensory garden housing three flowerbeds that appeal to three human senses, sight, touch, and smell. Some classes are even offered in the outdoor theatre. Family activities include hayrides and campfires, music and storytelling. There is so much to do that one day is simply not enough.
Explore the diverse fauna and discover new things in museum of natural history. Fauna includes box turtles in residence, frogs and toads, bugs, birds, skunks, butterflies and many more.
Admission is completely free. Some activities such as workshops may require a fee.
Boardwalk and Sandy Beaches
Atlantic City, Ocean City, Wildwood, Cape May all are lined with miles and miles of sandy beaches full of fun and activities. There are piers with amusement parks, monster trucks, and go karting and all types of attractions.
Although these activities might be costly, walking on the beach and enjoying the beautiful sunset is never too heavy on the wallet.
Nightlife can be found all along the Jersey Shore. You can simply take a stroll around if you don’t want to spend so much and enjoy the brightly lit surroundings and lively atmosphere.
These were some of the best places to be and cheap things to do in New Jersey. You can go with family or friends or fly solo and have a great time without spending much money.
Museum & History: Best Ways to Explore the Past in New Jersey
Our final interesting list of cheap things to do in New Jersey includes historic sites and museums for all you history lovers. It is fun and educational at the same time.
New Jersey State Museum
The museum has a wide variety of collections. Fields of study include Archaeology, Natural History, and Cultural history. There are fine art exhibits also.
You can even have a look at the numerous fossils exhibits and other paleontology related exhibits. There is a planetarium for star gazing and shows for astronomy buffs.
Museum General Admission is free but Planetarium access requires payment of a small fee of $7 for adults and $5 for children, with special pricing for students on educational excursions. The museum is located in Trenton, NJ.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
If you love science, the Thomas Edison National Historical Park should not be missed. This is where Edison commercialized the light bulb. It hosts his home, laboratory, and the industrial facility where he researched, invented, and developed his inventions.
This will take you back in the time of the beginning of all the scientific progress achieved till now. Seven-day entrance fee is $15 but admission for visitors below 16 years of age is free.
Bridgeton Hall of Fame All-Sports Museum
Situated in Cumberland county, the Bridgeton Sports Museum is now known as the All Sports Museum of Southern New Jersey. It houses jerseys, trophies, medals, and other memorabilia of famous sports stars from NJ and includes photo and video galleries of famous games.
A unique attraction for sports fans the museum has a little something for everyone, and can be a special way of encouraging your children to take up a sport. Admission is completely free.
Howell Living History Farm
Museums will only show you the history, but how about living the history yourself? That’s what the Howell Living History Farm is all about. The farm has been operating for 285 years and offers educational opportunities regarding the agricultural history of the state.
The farm is still fully operational and hosts several barn and craft programs for children to learn animal care and farm life. One key feature is that the farm is horse-powered and is still functioning as farms did around 1890 to 1910.
Admission and parking are free but there is a fee to visit the corn maze.
Wrapping Up Best & Free Cheap Things To Do In New Jersey
So we close our sampling of cheap things to do in New Jersey here. There is much more to explore be it the Korean War Memorial or the African American History Museums. You can even take a Pretzel factory tour if you have time. But if you only have a weekend to spare then these should be at the top of your itinerary. If you want to know about the top road trip destinations in New Jersey, do check out our comprehensive sampling.
I hope you enjoyed our suggestions for the most unique and cheap things to do in New Jersey. Do check out the RentalTrader.com to book your best vacation rental. If you need any further information, fill the web form below, or feel free to call us.