Interesting Roadside Stops in New Jersey

If you’re looking for a way to break up a long drive in New Jersey, there are plenty of options to get a quick breath of fresh air or stretch your legs at a free or cheap attraction not far off the highway. Here are a few ideas:

Visit a Giant Lightbulb in Edison, NJ

The world’s largest lightbulb is located in northern New Jersey near the intersection of I-95 and Rt 287, on top of a tower and next to a tiny but interesting museum at Menlo Park. The Center is open only Thursday to Saturday, but there is a nature trail at the park, and of course, it’s always fun to pose in front of a tower with a 13 foot lightbulb on top, even if you can’t go in.

Burlington County Prison Museum

Located in Mt Holly and quite close to the New Jersey Turnpike, this historic prison (complete with gallows) is a good place to get your ghost hunting on, and also contains some interesting historic information and touching displays. Some of the original graffiti can be seen on the walls behind glass plates. Open Thursday through Sunday, $5 per adult.

National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey

If you’re near the shore in northern NJ and looking to spend a little time indoors (maybe a half hour to an hour), visit National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey. Our son is into weapons and military history at the moment so he enjoyed it, and there was actually a submarine called the Intelligent Whale that you could take a look inside – so that was really interesting. It is free, and right on the base, but you don’t actually have to enter the base to go in.

Take a Lake-side Walk

New Jersey has a ton of lakes, and many of them are near the highway and have restrooms and playgrounds – the perfect combination if you need to stretch your legs and burn some energy. Crystal Lake Park and Etra Lake Park are two good options near I-95 with nice little walking trails, and we were even able to spot a bald eagle at Etra Lake once.

Historic Smithville

Coming or going from the South Jersey shore? Take a short detour off of the Atlantic City Expressway, and visit this interesting little retail area full of unique shops and cafes in a variety of historic buildings. Walk across the lake, visit the carousel and the train, and have a meal in one of the many unique eateries.

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