New Jersey is nicknamed “The Garden State,” and its plethora of horticultural wonders is certainly among its most famous attributes. But the state is rich in many wonders of the natural and man-made variety.
Some probably come to mind easily, like casinos or the famous Jersey City boardwalk. Many famous people called this state home from one time to another, including Bruce Springsteen and Frank Sinatra. But from beautiful state parks and glittering beaches to bustling cities that put you in the center of the action, there’s a lot that makes New Jersey stand out.
From being one of the early historic places of the United States to being home to state parks and natural wonders, New Jersey state is a special place. If you’re planning a trip to New Jersey or considering a relocation, here are our 8 favorite things about the Garden State.
#1 Atlantic City
The first thing most people think of when they think of New Jersey is Atlantic City. This city by the sea has been an iconic New Jersey getaway since the mid-1800s when it was first developed as a resort town.1
Since then, Atlantic City has grown into one of the busiest, most bustling locations on the east coast. Between all the world-class restaurants, live entertainment options, historic landmarks, and other fun, it would be futile to attempt to list all of the great attractions that Atlantic City has to offer. But a few of the top highlights include:
- 31 casinos2
- Steel Pier Amusement Park
- Atlantic City Ballet
Plus, Atlantic City features some of the best boardwalk food around, like sugary funnel cakes that will melt on your tongue.
#2 Atlantic City Boardwalk
The historic Boardwalk in Atlantic City is such a huge part of New Jersey’s reputation that we had to give it its own spot on this list. Not only is it the oldest and longest boardwalk in existence, it’s also the heart of Atlantic City and the pride of New Jersey.
The Boardwalk in Atlantic City attracts millions of visitors every year.3 Stretching like saltwater taffy over five miles along the Atlantic coast, the Boardwalk features breathtaking ocean views to the east and spectacular skyline vistas to the west. In between, there are miles and miles of fun things to do, like:
- Live entertainment at Convention Hall
- Amusement piers
The Atlantic City Boardwalk is also home to several annual parades and other festivals. And each August, the legendary Atlantic City Air Show takes over the skies above the boardwalk with dazzling aerial performances that draw spectators by the thousands.4
#3 Famous Foods
One fact about New Jersey is that it’s famous for several iconic food items that originated in the Garden State before taking over the world. It’s one of the oldest states in the country and home to one-half of Ellis Island, which means it has a long history of welcoming people from diverse backgrounds—and the food they bring with them.
Cuisines from all over the world meet on plates in restaurants all over the city. But among the most famous New Jersey foods everyone should sample are:5
- Pork roll –This tightly-bound roll of meat is popular in New Jersey and surrounding states. Sliced then grilled, fried, or seared, it’s most popular as a delicious addition to breakfast sandwiches.
- Saltwater Taffy – This sweet, chewy candy is a New Jersey invention that has taken on iconic status. Sold in shops all over the state, it’s most closely associated with Atlantic City and its world-famous Boardwalk.
- Hoagies – These sub-like sandwiches easily rank among New Jerseyians’ favorite snacks. They come in as many varieties as there are sandwich options, but Italian Style hoagies are a local favorite.
- Tomato Pie –New Jersey is well-known for its delicious potatoes. And for decades, state residents have used those tomatoes in Tomato Pie. A close cousin to pizza, this pie is topped with fresh halved tomatoes, cheese, and other toppings.
- Rippers – New Jersey has a history of getting creative with its hot dogs and the Ripper is one of the state’s most incredible concoctions. Sausage replaces the hot dog and gets topped with relish and onions for a tasty Garden state treat.
#4 American History
It’s no surprise that one of the most interesting New Jersey facts ties back to American history. As one of the original states in America, New Jersey is the site of some of the most important events in the country’s history. From seminal events of the Revolutionary War to modern innovations that helped shape the nation, New Jersey has always been a pivotal player in United States history.
Just three of the stand-out historical events that happened in New Jersey are:
- Crossroads of the Revolution –Centrally located among the original 13 colonies, New Jersey saw more than its share of action during the Revolutionary War—so much so that it became known as the Crossroads of the Revolution. Today, the state is home to several war memorials and landmarks, like Morristown National Historical Park and Trenton’s Old Barracks Museum.6 There are also other museums in New Jersey that shine a light on its rich history.
- Delaware Crossing – One of the most important moments of the Revolutionary War took place in New Jersey in 1776 when then-General George Washington led a battalion of soldiers across the Delaware River on Christmas Eve.7 On the other side awaited Hessian merchants and what would become the historic Battle of Trenton, a crucial victory during the war.
- Newark Airport –When it opened in 1928, the Newark Airport was a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art facility that helped shape how we travel by air.8 The airport was among the first to pave its runways and equip them with lights, and also the first to erect an air traffic control tower—all things that have become common practice.
Besides US history, New Jersey state is also known for its Native American history. The Lenni Lenape people were the first inhabitants of what is now New Jersey and there are believed to be three Native American tribes in the state now.9
#5 The Jersey Shore
One of the fun facts about New Jersey is that it features around 130 miles of beautiful coastline known as the Jersey Shore.10 It includes some of the state’s most well-known attractions, like Atlantic City and its Boardwalk. But millions of visitors flock to all parts of the shore all year long to enjoy the fun array of activities and attractions available.
One of the most popular draws is also one of the most obvious: beaches. The Jersey Shore is home to 44 gorgeous beaches where you can swim, snorkel, dive, surf, or sun yourself on the sand.11 So if you’re looking for the best beaches in New Jersey, the list is quite long. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Up and down the coast, the Jersey Shore has something for everyone, from fine dining experiences and live entertainment venues to more low-key attractions like:
- Shopping in Spring Lake
- Musical festivals and parades
- Lighthouse tours
#6 State Parks & Natural Wonders
The Jersey Shore is a huge New Jersey draw, but what is New Jersey known for besides ocean views?
As it turns out, there’s quite a lot to do inland as well. New Jersey is home to several state parks and other natural and manmade attractions, including:6
- Pine Barrens – New Jersey is home to more than one million acres of undeveloped wetland known as the Pine Barrens. The largest undeveloped land area on the east coast, this forested area is home to dozens of beautiful rivers, lakes, and streams, plus many rare plants and animals.
- High Point Monument –Among the interesting facts about New Jersey is that it harbors an extinct volcano. At the top of it, at an elevation of 1,803 feet above sea level, sits the highest point in the state, High Point Monument. From there, you’re treated to incredible views of New Jersey and High Point State Park that go on for miles and miles.
- Passaic River Great Falls –At 77 feet high and more than 160 feet wide, the Great Falls is New Jersey’s largest waterfall. You can find it where the Passaic River, New Jersey’s longest river, passes through the city of Paterson.
Need more fun facts about New Jersey? Here’s one: it’s the diner capital of the world.5
All over the state, more than 525 classic American diners line highways, anchor city centers, and feed New Jersey residents by the millions. Diners might not be unique to New Jersey, but they are certainly beloved there.
#8 Princeton University
When it comes to what makes New Jersey New Jersey, you can’t leave out Princeton University. Located on 600 beautiful acres in suburban Princeton, this Ivy League institution is the fourth oldest college in the country and is routinely considered one of the best.12
Each year, Princeton University educates about 5,000 undergraduate students across 36 majors. And since it first opened its doors in 1746, the school has shaped the minds of some highly notable Americans, including:13
- Former First Lady Michelle Obama
- Former president Woodrow Wilson
- Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ethan Cohen
- Actor David Duchovny
Experience the Best New Jersey Has to Offer With Common
When you live in New Jersey, you’re never far from great food, fantastic attractions, and everything else that makes the state so enjoyable. And when you live with Common, convenience, and community are just outside your door
Common in Jersey City is helping people live better by creating comfortable spaces that elevate the coliving experience. When you rent with Common, you don’t have to worry about divvying up bills or cleaning up after someone else—we’ve built all of those solutions right into the process so you can focus on meeting new people, getting to know your neighbors, and living your best life.
Ready to experience a new way to live? Join Common today.
- Atlantic City Free Public Library. History of Atlantic City. http://acfpl.org/ac-history-menu/atlantic-city-faq-s/15-heston-archives/147-atlantic-city-history-22.html
- NJ Gambling Sites. How Many Casinos Are In Atlantic City? https://www.njgamblingsites.com/38641/how-many-casinos-in-atlantic-city/
- ACNJ.gov. About Atlantic City. https://www.acnj.gov/page/about-atlantic-city#
- ABC6.com. Atlantic City Airshow brings thousands to the New Jersey beaches. https://6abc.com/atlantic-city-airshow-2022-ac-air-show-schedule-new-jersey-shore/12161046/
- Lyfe Pyle. Top 31 Things New Jersey is Known For & Famous For. https://www.lyfepyle.com/new-jersey-known-for/
- Nomads Unveiled. 15 Things New Jersey is Known For and Famous For. https://nomadsunveiled.com/what-is-new-jersey-known-and-famous-for/#Food_New_Jersey_Is_Famous_For
- MountVernon.org. 10 Facts about Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware. https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/the-revolutionary-war/washingtons-revolutionary-war-battles/the-trenton-princeton-campaign/10-facts-about-washingtons-crossing-of-the-delaware-river/
- NJ Monthly. 29 Moments that Shaped New Jersey. https://njmonthly.com/articles/historic-jersey/nj-history-moments-that-shaped-new-jersey/
- New Jersey Almanac. History-Native Americans. https://www.newjerseyalmanac.com/native-americans.html
- Stockton.edu. New Jersey Geological History. https://stockton.edu/coastal-research-center/njbpn/geologic-hist.html
- PlanetWare. 18 Top Beaches in New Jersey. https://www.planetware.com/new-jersey/top-rated-beaches-in-new-jersey-us-nj-19.htm#
- Travel Drafts. What is New Jersey Known For? https://www.traveldrafts.com/what-is-new-jersey-famous-for/
- Business Insider. The 25 Most Famous Princeton Graduates. https://www.businessinsider.com/famous-princeton-students-2011-11#david-duchovny-received-a-ba-in-english-literature-in-1982-19