When I mention New Jersey to people, the first thing they will inevitably bring up is "Jersey Shore" or "Real Housewives". New Jersey, unlike its cousin New York, seems to have acquired a bit of a, well, an 'unclassy' reputation, to put it mildly. You may be surprised to hear, however, that beyond the Guidos and Guidettes, New Jersey is an exciting, diverse state with a lot to offer a traveller looking for adventure. And all easily navigated by Amtrak!
Depending on what you're looking for, there is a city to cater in the world of New Jersey Tourism. Last summer, I visited the beautiful Asbury Park. Asbury park is historic town on the New Jersey shore, with beautiful long beaches to lie on, surfing and a traditional seaside atmosphere and is also the home of the Stone Pony, one of the most famous music venues in the world, famous for hosting numerous Bruce Springsteen shows, and if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen himself, then be sure to visit The Asbury Park Library...
On the same trip, I visited Newark, New Jersey's sprawling urban epicentre, with high rises looming everywhere in a downtown area rivalling New York's. Branch Brook park is amazing, especially in the spring where it is carpeted by a layer of cherry blossoms. The gorgeous Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is also a must-see, with its French Gothic stained glass windows and Rococo architecture and pulpit.
My trip ended in New Brunswick, before I headed to New York. New Brunswick is still one of my favourite cities and is renowned for its extensive historical past. The town is home to Rutgers University, and so has a fun, student-y atmosphere. There are amazingly cheap restaurants to be found everywhere and New Brunswick is the place where New Jersey earned its 'Garden State' nickname, with the State Museum of Agriculture. New Brunswick has hundreds of museums, perfect for visiting if you love to know the culture of city when you're visiting.
I'm definitely planning to make a trip back there again to explore more of its cities, but until then, I encourage you to visit this beautiful state if you're in and around New York!
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