Aerial view of Cape May, New Jersey

8 Of The Quirkiest Towns In New Jersey

Visitors to these eight small towns in New Jersey will find an interesting mix of the unusual, rare, and downright quirky. The remnants of ships that have run aground, ghost towns and hauntings, oversized statues along the roadside, the stories of local heroes, the remains of structures from world wars, hundreds of pinball machines, and technological history all await. And the dogs will 'love' the 25-foot fire hydrant on the beach! All these quirky destinations will surely make weird and wonderful vacation memories and photos.

Asbury Park

Aerial view of Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Aerial view of Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Try your skill playing over 200 arcade machines (vintage and newer models) at the Silverball Pinball Museum and stop at the Backyard Fairy Garden, built in the mid-20th century from rocks, shells, and other repurposed items in the Disney style. A granite memorial tells the story of the Morro Castle or what was left of her when she beached at this location in 1934. Caught in a storm and a captain dead of a heart attack, the ship caught fire and was still burning when she ran aground. Asbury Park also has many museums, gardens, scenic coastal views, and ghosts! Visitors can take haunted tours along the boardwalk and in the downtown area.


Route 9 dinosaur in Bayville, New Jersey.
Route 9 dinosaur in Bayville, New Jersey. Image credit: LancerE via

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about cranberries at the Double Trouble Village State Historic Site. This location was one of the largest cranberry operations in the state and is now a Pine Barrens' ghost town' open for tours. One of several giant champagne bottles across the state is located here, standing twenty feet tall and made of concrete. About a half-mile down the road stands a twelve-foot dinosaur who has been watching the humans come and go since 1935, thanks to numerous restorations from the community. Sitting atop an auto parts store on Route 9 since 1960 is a famous little 'tow truck' that came off the assembly line in the late 1950s as a Fiat 500.

Cape May

The waterfront in Cape May, New Jersey.
The waterfront in Cape May, New Jersey.

Built during World War I, the S.S. Atlantus defied logic. She was built of concrete and successfully carried troops and cargo until the steel shortage ended. She ran aground in a storm in 1926, and her remains can be seen today in Cape May. During World War II, a 100-foot tower was built to spot enemy submarines. Mannequins dressed in military uniforms 'stood' in the windows. The ceiling at The Ugly Mug bar is covered with drinking vessels with names and numbers written on them. A patron drinks from their mug, and when someone passes away, their mug faces another direction. Bring your binoculars to the peninsula to see epic bird migrations in spring and fall – more than 400 species pass through here.


The Cathedral of the Air, Lakehurst, New Jersey.
The Cathedral of the Air, Lakehurst, New Jersey. Image credit: Acroterion via Wikimedia Commons.

Guided tours of the famous 1937 Hindenburg disaster are available at the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station. Visitors can stand on the exact site, go in a hangar, enjoy the museum, and see a 12-foot replica built from 6,000 popsicle sticks. Charred memorabilia of this event can be viewed at the Lakehurst Historical Museum, along with Jersey Devil items, a taxidermy dog (wearing boots) beloved to the town, and an old jail cell. Nearby, four escape room adventures (Jail Break, Escape the Bar, Pharaoh's Tomb, and Museum Heist) challenge your problem-solving skills at Solve the Room. A visit to the Lakehurst Psychic or Cher the Magick for supernatural readings is a unique experience.


The Town Hall at Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
The Town Hall at Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Image credit: Biggly via Wikimedia Commons.

Knights, horsemanship, jousting, and eating with your hands await at the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre – a popular evening event for the family. On Clay Avenue, a flagpole and marker commemorate "Tessie" McNamara, the Heroine of the Kingsland Explosion. In 1917, the ammunition plant blew up, exploding half a million shells, and Tessie resolutely stayed at her switchboard to warn the workers to evacuate. (No lives were lost.) The Little Red Schoolhouse, built in 1893, was a remarkably well-preserved structure that was renovated and is open to the public as a museum. Visitors can ring the original bell used to call students to class.

Wall Township

 A view of the now closed Circus Drive-in sign, a local landmark
A view of the now closed Circus Drive-in sign, a local landmark in Wall Township, New Jersey. Image credit: Erin Cadigan -

At the former location of Camp Evans is a series of small museums carrying visitors back in time – notably to the 'atomic' age. The "Fallout Shelter" is a 1950s bunker complete with old civil defense 'safety' films, Geiger counters, and survival items. The InfoAge Science & History Museums located on the site of the 1900s Marconi wireless telegraph station are filled with computers, radar, and other tech items in futuristic buildings. For more science fun, drive by the Project Diana Site (on Marconi Road) to see where the first satellite dish bounced radio signals off the moon. A giant ant statue appears periodically along Highway4 and 'disappears' behind a pest control building at other times. Watch for it!


The Wildwoods sign along the beach.
The Wildwoods sign along the beach. Image credit: kirkikis -

While traveling with the four-legged family members (of the dog variety), plan a stop at the 'pets welcome' beach on the east end of Poplar Avenue. Awaiting is a 25-foot fire engine red hydrant! The sculpture is made from repurposed amusement rides. In the Boyer Museum, visitors can see what remains from closed and/or burned attractions and rides from the boardwalk, including the Castle Dracula Coat of Arms, signs, memorabilia, and items dating back to the 1880s. At Morey's Pier, screams await in the 14,000-square-foot Ghost Ship attraction, where live actors, animatronics, and creepy sounds are sure to give visitors a fright. Near the drawbridge is a weathered fifteen-foot sea captain complete with a peg leg and hook for a hand – excellent photo op here.


A scene from Woodstown, New Jersey.
A scene from Woodstown, New Jersey. Image credit: Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons.

For those in search of oversized statues from the age of roadside Americana, this is the destination. First, The Big Cow stands ready for a photo on US Highway 40 at…wait for it… Cowtown. Just a few yards away is a 22-foot Rodeo Cowboy complete with a Stetson hat, hip holster with pistol, and a large belt buckle. Despite once losing his head in a storm, all is well now. At the third attraction, visitors can channel their vintage Lily Tomlin – a huge rocking chair. Climb up and become Edith Ann at five years old! Visit the Quaker's Friends Meeting House and ask about the sapling whose parent tree was the largest white oak tree in the state at over 500 years old.

Cranberry bogs in Bayville, bird migrations in Cape May, and an ancient tree in Woodstown all tell the unusual stories of New Jersey. Quirky roadside statues dot the landscape in Wildwood, Woodstown, and Bayville, and a hero lived in Lyndhurst. From the lighthouses around that state to the world war structures in Cape May to the museums in Wall Township, visitors can walk where history was made. And, the adventurous can have their fortunes told in Lakehurst and play hundreds of arcade games in Asbury Park.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 8 Of The Quirkiest Towns In New Jersey

More in Places