Forget the stuff you've seen on TV or on your way in to Newark Airport (please, I'm begging you). Here's what I love most about my home state. (All photos are from photo search except where noted.)
  1. The shore
    140 miles of coastline with boardwalks, casinos, amusement parks, wildlife preserves, lighthouses, and even clothing optional beaches if that's how you roll. The shore is less than an hour's drive from my house.
  2. Hiking
    There are 3 major mountain ranges in NJ, and part of the Appalachian Trail runs through our state. We have almost 50 state parks and 9 national parks. Hacklebarney State Park is my favorite for hiking.
  3. Delaware River/Water Gap
    The Delaware River cuts through the Appalachian Mountains and forms the Delaware Water Gap. I grew up camping here; it's also really popular for rafting, fishing, etc.
  4. The Pine Barrens
    A nationally protected area, home to rare and endangered species of plants and animals (and possibly the NJ devil 😈). The rivers that run through the Pine Barrens are reddish from the tannins in the trees. We used to canoe here on high school field trips.
  5. Farms
    It's not called the Garden State for nothing. Lots of "pick your own" available, plus we belong to a local CSA.
  6. Wineries
    NJ has over 40 wineries. (Fun fact: I got married at one of them! That's my wedding in the picture.) Apparently our soil and climate are similar to Bordeaux.
  7. Proximity to NYC and Philadelphia
    I can drive into the city (NYC is always "the city") in about 40 minutes. Philly is a bit farther but close enough that we've driven there for dinner or a show on a weeknight.
  8. Proximity to Washington DC and Boston
    Both are about 4 hours away by car, perfect for long weekends away. I never take for granted that we can see and do so much with such ease.
  9. Diners
    We really do have more diners than any other state. Don't be jeal. This is our favorite diner, on Rt 130 in East Windsor.
  10. A few other small things that I love:
  11. •Liberty State Park
    I drive by the Statue of Liberty a couple of times a month and am always awed.
  12. •Princeton
    Once upon a time it was the nation's capital. Now it has great shopping and restaurants. And pretty buildings.
  13. •The Delaware-Raritan Canal
    My mom and I like to walk along the canal. We've also rented kayaks and paddled along it.
  14. •Brookhollow's Barnyard
    Our favorite petting zoo, located in Denville. I took this picture from the tractor ride.
  15. •Terhune Orchards
    One of my favorite "pick your own" farms.
  16. •George Washington's headquarters
    Revolutionary War battles were fought and won in NJ. I think it's so cool that I can just drive by this any time.
  17. •Cape May
    This is the street we stay on for a week every summer. (In a tiny bungalow across the street from these gorgeous houses, ha ha.)