No fancy vacations planned for this month? Not to worry, we've got you covered! New Jersey offers tons of great options for family outings close to home, whether you're looking for a beach adventure or want to visit a local farm or museum. Skip all the hassles involved with packing, crowded airports and sleepless hotel stays…your family can get their fill of summer fun right here at home in New Jersey. (And save you some money too.) Read on for our top 25 Staycation Ideas, and visit the Mommy Poppins NJ Summer Activity Guide for additional suggestions.
Beat the summer heat at one of New Jersey’s spectacular water playgrounds, known as spraygrounds. On a hot summer day, my kids last 10 minutes on a conventional playground. Add some water play to the mix and we have a low-cost, low-maintenance day of fun. Spray parks and splash pads are popping up all over the state. Most of these water playgrounds are free or inexpensive and can be enjoyed by all ages. Get wet at these Central and Southern New Jersey spraygrounds, including some newcomers. For more water fun throughout the state, check out the Best Water Playgrounds in NJ and 6 Awesome New Jersey Water Parks.
Even though summer is halfway over you still have plenty of time to frolic in a cool water theme park before school starts. While there are no full-fledged water theme parks in NYC (yet), you don't have to go too far to find some awesome ones. We've rounded up 12 of our favorites for kids in the tri-state area, mostly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and all less than a two-hour drive from midtown Manhattan. No two are alike: Each one offers different experiences and thrills.
Before you hop in the car, make sure to check the water parks' official websites to confirm hours and check prices (sometimes you'll even find online-only ticket specials). Also, if you plan to visit a particular park more than once during the summer, consider buying seasonal passes as that may be more economical. For more refreshing fun, be sure to check our Water Fun Guide, where you'll also find a roundup of indoor water parks that are open year-round.
Looking for a way to introduce your baby to the pool? Parent-child swim classes are a great way to help our NJ kids develop a love of swimming and instill confidence around the water. Most programs allow children as young as 6 months to begin classes, and teach comfort with water in a safe and age appropriate way. Yes, it's hard to don that bikini so soon after having baby, but the rewards for your child are well worth the sacrifice! And for more enrichment choices, check out our Enrichment Programs, Classes and Activities for NJ Kids Guide.
Due to a recent shift in my career path, I'm staying home with my kids this summer—all 10 weeks of it! There will be no camp to tire them out or nanny to occupy their time. Just one big SUMMER OF PLAY. And one thing that really works for summer play is water; those kids are going to want to get wet!
You may already be navigating your summer days using our SUMMER FUN LIST GENERATOR. Our family started a Boredom Busters jar: a painted Mason jar full of ideas to keep the kiddies busy. Anyone complaining of boredom can open it and pick out an activity. Many of the ideas come from the Mommy Poppins' 100 Summer Play Activities List. And many more are water-based, like the 25 cool and splishy-splashy water activities below.
What's better than a cool dip on a hot day? New Jersey is known for its outstanding beaches, but it also has some of the best lakes for swimming in the Northeast. This summer, if you're sick of the pounding waves, dive into the calm waters of one of these beautiful New Jersey lakes. For even more fun swimming alternatives, check out our post on Secret Natural Swimming Holes in New Jersey and for more water (and dry) summer fun, check out our NJ Kids Summer Activities Guide.
Can’t wait for vacation? Kids bored with the same park every day? Take a mini-trip without even leaving the state! Hop in the car and head to one of these great NJ day trip destinations. Pick fresh fruit and let the kids pet some barnyard animals; check out a national monument; visit NJ's own Victorian seaside town; head to a giant lake water park; or visit the beach, boardwalk and aquarium all in one day. Enjoy our list of fun day trips for this summer! Looking for more summer fun? Check out our Ultimate Summer Play List!
Welcome to Mommy Poppins New Jersey! The free online resource for parents and kids where you’ll get the scoop on what’s fun, unique, outdoorsy, indoorsy, artsy, bouncy, sassy and splashy in the Garden State. Come play with us, won’t you?