Aerial view of the coastline of Cape May, New Jersey.

These Towns in New Jersey Come Alive in Spring

With a nickname like “The Garden State,” it is no surprise that New Jersey is blooming with energy come springtime. Whether it is the scenic Atlantic coastline or the tranquil Highlands, there are plenty of ways to enjoy New Jersey’s charm. For a pure insight into all the state has to offer, plenty of small towns showcase its untouched charm. From local farms hosting spring-themed events to breathtaking botanical gardens and baby animals, these charming small towns have no shortage of springtime fun. Even some of New Jersey’s best summer beach towns have plenty to offer in the spring.


Historic property in Ringwood, New Jersey.
The historic Mt. Saint Francis Convent in Ringwood, New Jersey. Editorial credit: John Arehart /

Ringwood is a nature lovers paradise surrounded by parks, forests, lakes, and the picturesque Ramapo Mountains-Ringwood. The bustling small town feels especially lively in the spring when the cherry blossom trees at New Jersey Botanical Garden are in full bloom. Springtime at the botanical garden offers more than pretty pink trees. Visitors can also enjoy 96 acres of gardens of all different sizes and colors and 1000 acres of woodlands, making for a perfect afternoon hiking experience. Those who can’t get enough hiking will also want to check out local gems, including Ringwood State Park, which is less than three miles from the botanical gardens. Norvin Green State Forest is also worth a visit and is a good spot for birdwatching, hiking, and admiring views of the distant New York skyline.


A pink building along the coast at Smithville, New Jersey.
A stunning pink building along the coast in Smithville, New Jersey. Editorial credit: Joice Brinkerhoff /

Smithville is a charming village in Galloway Township filled with old-timey shops, cobblestone walkways, and charming footbridges. During the spring, flower pots are posted on nearly every corner, and this quaint town exudes pops of color. If that is not enough of a draw, each year in May, the town hosts one of its longest-running annual festivals-Mayfest. Mayfest features over 100 crafters and vendors, a mouth-watering food court, and many family-friendly activities.

For those who miss out on Mayfest, the Historic Smithville Village is a hot spot for local shopping and dining. Along with the usual activities, one will find a vintage carousel, a kid's train ride, and paddle boats, perfect for a memorable day out. To top it off, Smithville is just over 12 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey, making it a convenient home base for weekend visitors hoping to take a day trip into the city.

Long Valley

People taking part in the Pick-your-own-strawberries event in Long Valley, New Jersey.
People taking part in the "Pick-Your-Own-Strawberries" event at Ort Farms in Long Valley, New Jersey. Editorial credit: Malgosia S /

Long Valley, New Jersey is an ideal springtime destination surrounded by family-owned farms and picture-perfect parks. Visitors love to spend time in Long Valley bonding with baby animals and participating in pick-your-own strawberry events at Ort Farms. One can also enjoy tasty baked goods and fresh eggs at Sharp Iron Farm. Both locations have a wide range of recurring events in the spring that are perfect for those traveling with young kids.

Anyone with a strong sense of wanderlust will want to explore Hacklebarney State Park. An ideal spot for bird and wildlife viewing, the state park also features five miles of hiking trails, unbeatable views of the Black River, and a handful of small waterfalls. Further along the Black River, travelers will find the historic Cooper Girstmill. This landmark offers staff-led tours that dive into the industrial history of this area.

Spring Lake

View of the beach in Spring Lake, New Jersey.
View of the lake in Spring Lake, New Jersey. Editorial credit: Andrew F. Kazmierski /

Although Spring Lake, New Jersey, is a popular summer travel destination, spring may be the best season to visit this blossoming resort town. By late spring, most of the summer attractions are set up and ready to go, but during this time, visitors can enjoy the added benefit of avoiding larger crowds of tourists. Those who enjoy performing art will want to visit the Spring Lake Community House & Theatre to see a show. For anyone who would rather get out and enjoy the fresh spring air, Divine Park is a must-visit location. Here, visitors can walk around the many trails, stopping to admire views of the lake and the charming Divine Park footbridges. For more peaceful spring walks and coastal views, be sure to check out the Spring Lake Beach boardwalk as well.


Aerial view of Wildwood, New Jersey.
Aerial view of Wildwood, New Jersey and it's vast coastline.

Wildwood is a town nestled on a barrier island well known for its stunning white sand beaches and bustling boardwalk. Similar to Spring Lake, New Jersey, spring is the perfect season to visit for those who want to avoid the summer crowds. Spend some time here wandering the five-mile stretch of beaches, which are free to enjoy. Along the beach, visitors will find a wide array of things to see and do, including the Seaport Aquarium. The aquarium is an excellent opportunity for kids who want to have fun in a bright, educational setting. Visitors can expect to see everything from fish to alligators here for a captivating experience. Finally, enjoy some seasonal produce at the Wildwood Farmers Market, which features at least 70 vendors every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend.


The Alstede Farm in Chester, New Jersey.
The Alstede Farm, an organic farm in Chester, New Jersey.

Anyone who enjoyed the outdoor activities and family farms in Long Valley will have a good time in the nearby town of Chester. Between greenhouses, springtime blossoms, fresh produce, baked goods, and family-friendly events, Stony Hill Farms is a must-visit location in town. Those looking for some physical activity will want to head to Black River County Park, where hiking trails, beautiful river views, and an old mill are all available to enjoy. For a more relaxed afternoon, visit Chubb Park, a reprieve of beautifully landscaped grounds dotted with flowers. Access to hiking trails, athletic fields, playground equipment, and a handful of annual events is also available at Chubb Park.

Cape May

Scenic buildings along the coast at Cape May, New Jersey.
Scenic buildings and beachgoers create a lively environment along the coast at Cape May, New Jersey. Editorial credit: Racheal Grazias /

Home to gorgeous sandy beaches and an array of colorful Victorian-era homes, Cape May, New Jersey, is a lovely spot for a springtime day trip or weekend getaway. History Buffs can enjoy an off-peak season visit to the Harriet Tubman Museum, where stories of her past life and work in Cape May are on full display. Meanwhile, those interested in the Victorian Homes this town is known for can check out Perry, Jackson, Decatur, and Ocean Streets, where some of the best homes are located. Next, head to Cape May Point State Park for an afternoon filled with lighthouse views, walking along the beach, wandering hiking trails, and birdwatching. After a few hours of park exploration, wind down with a glass of vino at the Cape May Winery and Vineyard. Finally, don’t forget to say hi to the furry friends down at Cape May County Zoo.


From the Black River in Long Valley to Cape May Island and every beautiful New Jersey town in between, The Garden State is worth a visit in any season. That said, spring is a magical time to visit these small New Jersey towns. With spring-themed events like Mayfest in Smithville and the Hacklebarney State Park waterfalls in Long Valley, fun and beauty are waiting around every corner. Moreover, without the bustling summer crowds, one can enjoy the activities and attractions at their own pace.

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