Known as America’s Garden State, New Jersey is a great state to visit. Aside from the media portrayal of the Jersey Shore, the state is home to more than 35 state parks, numerous forests and many wildlife refuge areas. The state is also covered in beautiful and peaceful beaches, often with friendly seaside towns. It has 130 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, opening up water sports to visitors. Adding to New Jersey’s natural wonders are its many waterfalls, including Great Falls, one of the USA’s highest waterfalls.
New Jersey cities Jersey City and Hoboken offer some of the most spectacular and iconic views over the Manhattan skyline in neighbouring New York state. With these cities being a short train ride away from the Big Apple, a trip to New Jersey can open up other must-visit American landmarks.
New Jersey has many links to the Revolutionary War, with its landscape dotted with historic homes turned into museums and memorials. Like Howell Living History Farm, some of these houses are living museums, with Howell even offers old-fashioned ice cream workshops.
If history isn’t for you, head to the largest theme park in the world, Six Flags Great Adventure and check out one of its many diners. New Jersey has more diners than any other state, with the oldest in-state diner being the Summit Diner. Regardless of how you spend your trip to New Jersey, there certainly is something for everyone. Here are 21 incredible natural and historical landmarks in New Jersey to whet your travel appetite.
- 23 New Jersey Landmarks
- Natural Landmarks in New Jersey
- Historical Landmarks in New Jersey
- 11- Barnegat Lighthouse
- 12- Painted Houses of Cape May
- 13- Warrington Plaza Clocktower
- 14- Lucy The Elephant
- 15- High Point Monument
- 16- Sterling Hill Mine
- 17- Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- 18- Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial
- 19- Deep Cut Gardens
- 20- Princeton University
- 21- George Washington Bridge
- 22- Steel Pier
- 23- New Jersey State House
23 New Jersey Landmarks
Natural Landmarks in New Jersey
1- Lake Hopatcong
New Jersey’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Hopatcong, is 14.5 kilometres (9 miles) in length and covers approximately 10 kilometres squared (4 square miles).
The lake was formed when two ponds were flooded and dammed during the 1800s.
In its form as two ponds, the lake was first discovered by Lenape Indians around 12,000 years ago when they settled in the area.
Hopatcong does not translate accurately but is closely linked to the Lenape word for ‘stone water’ or ‘pipe stone’.
Since the addition of a train service in 1882, Lake Hopatcong has been a favourite New Jersey resort location.
Much of the shoreline is now privately owned by residents with lakefront properties, however, there are public access points to the waters, such as Hopatcong State Park.
Lake Hopatcong is at 260 Lakeside Blvd., Landing, NJ 07850.
2- Palisades Cliffs
Palisade Cliffs runs along the Hudson River’s west bank through both southeastern New York and northeastern New Jersey.
The basalt cliffs reach from 200 to 540 feet (60 to 165 meters) high.
During the Triassic Period, the cooling of molten rock gave the cliffs their unique column-like structure.
The Palisades is a popular location for hiking, kayaking and canoeing past, from the water of the Hudson below.
Palisades Cliffs is at Alpine, NJ 07624.
3- Great Falls
Great Falls is one of the USA’s largest waterfalls and is certainly one of the most beautiful.
The waterfall is 77ft (23.4m) high and 260ft (79m) wide and forms part of the Passaic River.
The falls is so powerful that the average rate of water falling over the rocks reaches two billion gallons every day.
The falls sit inside two parks, Overlook and Mary Ellen Kramer, which offers breath-taking views over the waters.
Walkways lead up close to the falls, where you can feel its power, which varies according to the season.
The thunderous water cascading over the rocks in spring is reduced to a trickle in summer due to a lack of rain.
Great Falls is at 72 McBride Ave, Paterson, NJ 07501.
4- Bio-Luminescent Shores of Manasquan
Manasquan is a slight stretch of beach that during the day is often overlooked.
At night, the algae and plankton in the water are capable of producing light.
When the waters become agitated, particularly by a large movement, an ethereal blue glow covers the water.
A wave breaking at the shore is often enough to cause the tiny single-celled organisms to glow.
This natural phenomenon is rare globally, making it a must-visit natural landmark in New Jersey.
Bio-Luminescent Shores of Manasquan is at Manasquan Beach, Manasquan, NJ 08736.
5- The Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap is a 70,000 acre stretch of parkland covering parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The land has been considered sacred for more than 10,000 years and today is protected and maintained by the National Park Service.
Within New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap stretches along the western edge of the state. Visiting the area offers numerous camping, hiking, kayaking and other recreational activities.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area sits on the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is at 1978 River Rd, Bushkill, PA 18324.
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6- Mount Tammany
Overlooking the Delaware Water Gap is Mount Tammany, which is part of the Kittatinny Mountains.
Mount Tammany’s peak is at 1526 ft (465m) above sea level and named after a Lenni Lenape chief named Tamanend, who had settled within the Delaware Water Gap area centuries ago.
The hiking trail up to the mountain’s peak is one of the most beautiful in the state and is ranked as one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the USA.
Upon reaching the summit of Mount Tammany, keen hikers can join the Appalachian Trail.
Mount Tammany is at Knowlton Township, NJ 07832.
7- Tripod Rock
An unusual natural landmark in New Jersey is Tripod Rock, a giant boulder balanced atop three much smaller stones.
The mystery of how this unusual rock formation was formed adds to its allure.
Tripod Rock is Some believe that it is simply a geological phenomenon, while others believe that the stones were intentionally placed by a prehistoric culture.
The latter is the favoured, as it is believed there is intention behind positioning the three stones at the base, which are often in a triangular shape set an equal distance apart.
This careful positioning has lead experts to believe that the stones were part of trail markers or even linked to astronomy.
Tripod Rock is at Unnamed Road, Kinnelon, NJ 07405.
8- High Point
High Point is the peak of High Point mountain, located in spectacular parkland in the Skylands, the highest area of New Jersey.
High Point is 1803ft (550m) high, making it the highest peak in the Kittatinny Mountains.
This elevation offers hikers incredible views over the immediate surrounding areas and the states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
High Point is at High Point State Park, 1480 Rt. 23, Sussex, NJ 07461.
9- Island Beach
Island Beach is a barrier island stretching for 10 miles (16 km), separating the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay.
The island is an important conservation area for marine plants and animals.
Due to its location, the island has various landscapes, including sandy dunes, wetlands, and maritime forests.
Thanks to its diverse landscape, many animals thrive on the island, including the largest osprey colony in the state, peregrine falcons and migrating songbirds.
Of the 400 species of plants on the island, the most significant is beach heather, as the island is home to the largest patch of beach heather in the state.
Island Beach is at Lanoka Harbour, NJ 08734.
10- Pigeon Swamp
Pigeon Swamp is a unique state park in New Jersey.
As the park is classed as undeveloped, it has retained much of its wild nature to support its wildlife and plant life.
Pigeon Swamp covers 1078 acres of ponds, hardwood forests and coastal plains.
The swamp gets its name from Ann Pigeon, who originally owned the land.
Pigeon intended to transform the land into farmland but the land proved difficult to dredge.
The natural landscape of Pigeon Swamp is crucial, and part of its undeveloped nature is to protect the wildlife within.
The swamp was once the home of the passenger pigeons who used to live within the area.
Sadly the passenger pigeon is now extinct.
Pigeon Swamp is at Deans Rhode Hall Rd, Dayton, NJ 08810.
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Historical Landmarks in New Jersey
11- Barnegat Lighthouse
Fondly nicknamed ‘Old Barney’, Barnegat Lighthouse has been a celebrated landmark on Long Beach Island for more than a century.
Barnegat Lighthouse was built in 1859 and is 163ft (52m) tall.
The lighthouse sits within a 32-acre park created in the 1950s to protect the lighthouse and the surrounding area.
You can o climb to the top of the lighthouse via the 217 steps for incredible views of lovely
Long Beach and the powerful Atlantic Ocean.
Barnegat Lighthouse is at 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006.
12- Painted Houses of Cape May
The Painted Houses of Cape May, or ‘Painted Ladies’ as they are sometimes known, are an iconic landmark of New Jersey.
The houses in Cape May are Victorian in style, which is unusual compared to the architecture in the surrounding areas.
Each of the homes, shops, and hotels features wooden detailing on the façade and bold, colourful finishes making them stand out.
There are hundreds of painted houses within the town, with many still maintained as homes or summer homes.
Many of the homes are protected and overseen by the Mid-Atlantic Centre for the Arts, to retain their 1800s charm.
Painted Houses of Cape May are dotted around Cape May, NJ 08204.
13- Warrington Plaza Clocktower
The clocktower at Warrington Plaza has been an iconic landmark of Hoboken since its installation in 1907.
The clocktower was part of the Beaux-Arts terminal for the railroads.
The tower stood proud overlooking the city until 1950 when authorities removed it due to significant damage following a storm.
After much campaigning, however, in 2008, the tower was restored.
Kenneth Murchinson designed the original tower, which has been accurately replicated with subtle structural changes, including the ability to withstand high levels of wind.
The tower is 230ft (70m) tall and features the word ‘Lackawanna’ written down the side.
Warrington Plaza Clocktower is at Newark St, Hoboken, NJ 07030.
14- Lucy The Elephant
James V. Lafferty designed Lucy The Elephant in 1881 from wood and tin sheeting as a novelty piece and publicity stunt.
Lucy was modelled after Jumbo, ‘the largest elephant on earth’, featured in P.T. Barnum’s shows.
Lucy is 65ft (20m) tall, 60 ft(18m) long, and weighs approximately 90 tons.
Inside Lucy is an open space that has been used as an office space, restaurant and tavern.
Tourists can enter this unusual structure through a spiral staircase inside Lucy’s leg, which will lead them to a small museum all about her history and role within Margate City.
As of March 2020, Lucy has been listed on Airbnb, allowing visitors to spend the night inside this unusual landmark of Margate City in New Jersey.
Lucy the Elephant is at 9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate City, NJ 08402.
15- High Point Monument
At the peak of High Point is the High Point Monument, an obelisk constructed to honour war veterans.
Kuser and master mason Michael Maddalena built the tower using granite from New Hampshire and Shawangunk quartz.
The monument is 220ft (77m) high and sits atop 34 square feet (3 square meters) base.
The climb up the monument passes four small windows that open up views of the Pocono Mountains, Catskill Mountains and the Wallkill River.
However, the climb to the top does require some effort as there are 291 steps.
High Point Monument is at High Point State Park, 1480 Rt. 23, Sussex, NJ 07461.
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16- Sterling Hill Mine
Mining began at Sterling Hill as early as 1600 when Dutch settlers sought copper and iron.
When miners discovered the mine in 1772, neither material was present in the rock; zinc, as it was plentiful, was mined instead.
Commercial mining at Sterling Hill for zinc took off in 1836 and continued until the late 1980s.
Following the closure of the mine, a museum and tour began in the 1990s.
Within the museum is the most extensive collection of fluorescent materials.
The mine offers 1300 ft (396m) of tunnels for visitors to explore on foot.
Guided tours include stops at important stations where mining equipment is shown and talks on the minerals and geology of the mine.
Be sure to visit the Rainbow Tunnel, where fluorescent zinc ore is exposed.
The ore lights up in greens and reds when exposed to UV light, which the tour guides will shine.
Sterling Hill Mine is at 30 Plant Street, Ogdensburg, NJ 07439.
17- Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is an important historical landmark in New Jersey.
The park encompasses the inventor’s home and his laboratory in their original conditions.
The laboratory is of particular significance as some of Edison’s world-changing inventions were designed and made there, including devices that could record sound and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery.
Visitors can explore both the home and laboratory on guided tours, which offer details of Edison’s personal and work life, as well as his impact on science and technology.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is at 211 Main Street, West Orange.
18- Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial
Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial is the former home of Grover Cleveland, who lived there from his birth in 1837 to 1841.
The home was originally part of the Presbyterian Church and served as a manse for the pastor, who was Cleveland’s father.
The home was purchased by private citizens early in the 20th century who wanted to preserve the house in its historic state and turn it into a museum to celebrate and educate on the life of Cleveland.
Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial is at 207 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell, NJ 07006.
19- Deep Cut Gardens
Deep Cut Gardens sits in a deep valley, which gave the gardens their name.
The gardens cover 54 acres and are filled with flowerbeds, greenhouses and plants often found in home gardens, providing gardeners with a living display.
The plants include a mixture of native and cultivated plants that change through the seasons.
Visit the Parterre, an area of the gardens filled with 55 different varieties of roses.
Within the park are numerous gardeners tending to the land and offering horticultural advice to those in need.
The garden also offers a reference library and classes at the gardens.
Deep Cut Gardens is at 152 Red Hill Road, Middletown, NJ 07748.
20- Princeton University
Since its establishment in 1756, Princeton University has been known the world over for its research institutes.
The USA’s fourth-oldest college has beautiful buildings and landscapes that can be explored in detail on a student-led tour.
Princeton’s grounds cover 600 acres with more than 204 buildings.
Famous alumni of Princeton include Albert Einstein, who carried out his final works within its walls.
Princeton University is at Princeton, NJ 08544.
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21- George Washington Bridge
This suspension bridge has two levels and connects New Jersey with Manhattan, crossing the Hudson River.
The bridge was named after the USA’s first president, George Washington, and has four lanes in each direction on the upper level and three lanes in both directions on the lower level.
22- Steel Pier
Steel Pier in Atlantic City is an 1898 historic landmark in New Jersey that is home to a historic theme park.
Steel Pier is at 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City.
23- New Jersey State House
Built in 1792, New Jersey’s State House is in Trenton and is the third-oldest state house that has been continuously used as one in the USA.
The lovely building is home to the Senate, the General Assembly and houses offices for officials.
The building is the closest capital building to a state border as it’s across the Delaware River from Morrisville in Pennsylvania.
New Jersey State House is at 125 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey.