For those unfamiliar with the term, a staycation is just a vacation taken close to (or at) home. With only a few months left in 2020, and several lockdowns and curfews still in place, there seems to be no better time for one. But staying close to home doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be missing out on some grand adventure. With its rich history and varying landscapes, New Jersey will satisfy your most deep-rooted wanderlust. With this list of the 10 best New Jersey staycations, you’ll question why it’s taken you so long.
1. Crystal Springs Resorts, Grand Cascades Lodge
Sussex County, NJ
A few miles from the New York state border rests Grand Cascades Lodge, one of Crystal Springs’ four-star resorts in picturesque Northern New Jersey. Newly renovated, the Grand Cascades Lodge allows guests to connect with the outdoors through natural materials and light—a biophilic design highlighted by the resort’s Biosphere Pool Complex and Reflections Spa.
At Grand Cascades Lodge, guests can experience a wide-ranging list of complementary activities: roasting marshmallows on an open fire, a stroll through the resort’s underground aquarium, or completing a scavenger hunt with the little ones. What makes the Grand Cascades Lodge one of New Jersey’s best staycation locations is its ability to appeal to all ages. With wine and distillery tours, petting zoos, glow-in-the-dark golfing contests, pony rides, and more, families will find it difficult to leave. For these reasons, Crystal Springs will always be one of the best New Jersey staycations.
2. The Asbury Hotel
Asbury Park, NJ
Located two blocks from the beaches and boardwalk that Bruce Springsteen has written into history, The Asbury sends its warmest greetings. In its own words, the hotel is a unique blend of Asbury’s deep roots in rock and roll and the building’s Victorian-era history. The hotel also gives visitors a glimpse into the town’s glowing future.
The Asbury is an ideal place for a New Jersey staycation if you enjoy live music. The Soundbooth, the inside lobby bar, regularly hosts local musicians, as does its attached music venue/bowling alley, Asbury Lanes. However, due to pandemic restrictions, Asbury Lanes has adapted into a limited capacity movie theatre. (You can find its scheduling here). The Baronet, the hotel’s outdoor movie theatre and wellness center, is only available for use during warmer seasons. But, there are several places along the boardwalk for guests to experience instead. Have a slice of pizza at the Silverball Museum or get your fortune told by Madam Marie. However you choose to spend your time at The Asbury Hotel, your experience will be memorable.
3. The MC Hotel
The MC Hotel, located in the heart of Montclair, prides itself on being the intersection of galleries and gatherings. The hotels’ lobbies, guest rooms, and venue walls serve as spaces for local artists to showcase their work. While the MC Hotel reveres visual design, they also support nearby businesses. The MC Hotel offers guests signature coffee blends, craft beers, and handmade soap, all produced locally. You can find a few day trip ideas outside the hotel, as well, including the Montclair Art Museum and the Hilltop Reservation Park.
4. The Virginia Hotel
Cape May, NJ
In 1878, a destructive blaze destroyed nearly 40 acres of property in Cape May. Shortly after, The Virginia Hotel was built and now serves as one of the city’s oldest treasures. Restored in 1989, the hotel bridges Cape May’s Victorian-era charm with modern luxuries: WiFi and cotton terry robes. A continental breakfast brought to the door (or front porch) every morning. Outside of The Virginia Hotel are coastal eateries, Cape May’s Rotary Park, and monuments for you to visit in the chilly upcoming months. But, if you’re waiting for the Summer to plan your New Jersey staycation, the beaches here will not disappoint.
5. The W Hoboken
With its ambient lighting, contemporary architecture, and spectacular views of New York City’s skyline, the W Hoboken is one of the finest New Jersey staycations on our list. Resting on Hoboken’s waterfront, guests can admire gorgeous views of the Hudson River while dining at Halifax or breaking a sweat in the hotel’s fitness center, FIT.
With its proximity to the NJ PATH and the NY Waterway Ferry, visitors of the W Hoboken can easily spend a day strolling around New York City. Across the Hudson River are several museums and monuments, including the Whitney Museum, which recently reopened its doors to the public. And, if New York is not your thing, the Liberty Science Center also recently reopened its doors and is a short drive away. Your stay at the W Hoboken will have unlimited options for you to choose from each day.
6. The George
Famed makeup artist Bobbi Brown, and her husband Steven Plofker, reimagined The George, a 32-room design-inspired boutique located in Montclair’s urban city-center. With her stunning eye for detail, each room has a bespoke look and feel, providing every visitor with a unique experience. While the George hotel offers a chic-styled refuge, Montclair’s surrounding area is home to various restaurants, galleries, and shops for guests to experience.
If that’s not enough to pique one’s interest, nearby stands Kip’s Castle. Originally known as “Kypsburg”, Kip’s Castle was built over a 3-year period starting in 1902. Its purpose being to replicate the stylings of a medieval Norman castle. Open to the public, the 9,000-square-foot mansion features spectacular views of New York City. Visiting the castle will provide guests an interesting glimpse into the history of New Jersey.
7. Wave Resort & Spa
Long Branch, NJ
Wave Resort & Spa, the newest addition to the Jersey Shore waterfront, has breathtaking views of the ocean through all seasons. All 67 guest rooms include a walk-out terrace to experience the sights, tastes, and sounds of our beautiful beaches. Each room provides guests with luxurious amenities: 55-inch HD TVs, refrigerators, and Nespresso machines. What better way to spend your New Jersey staycation than being pampered by the ocean? And, once you’re well-rested, the surrounding area is home to several parks that you could explore, including Monmouth Park, New Jersey’s historic horse track.
8. Congress Hall
Cape May, NJ
Once referred to as the “Summer White House,” Congress Hall has the historic title of America’s first seaside resort. The hotel offers a personal coastal oasis for each guest, focusing on antique detail and luxury conveniences. Although Cape May is synonymous with beaches and the warmer seasons, the city continues to bustle in colder months. Guests can take a trip to visit Cape May’s historic lighthouse or register for a wine tasting at Willow Creek Winery & Farm. Because Congress Hall is near activities appropriate for all ages, this is one of the best places for families to book their New Jersey staycation.
9. The Reeds at Shelter Haven
Stone Harbor, NJ
Overlooking the bay, The Reeds at Shelter Haven is a boutique hotel and spa with elegant, modern-designed rooms and luxurious suites. A six-minute walk from Stone Harbor Beach, The Reeds is an ideal setting for those who love to lay in the sun. But for those looking for a bit more to do, the Stone Harbor Museum is nearby. Visitors could stop by and peruse through the city’s detailed history. Or if you’re looking for new eateries to rave about, grab a bite to eat at Ristorante Luciano, an Italian eatery a few blocks away from The Reeds.
10. EnVue Hotel
Situated on the Hudson River, near the site of the famed duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, lies the EnVue Hotel. Not only an excellent place for history connoisseurs to reserve their New Jersey staycation, but the Envue is also perfect for those who wish to be near the pulse of the city. Enjoy the breathtaking views of New York City while sipping cocktails at Marcus at NoHu Rooftop Restaurant & Bar. Here you can experience one of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s signature dishes: Bird Royale. The bar is seasonal, but there is no shortage of activities in Weehawken year-round. Check out a local river tour or visit one of the nearby parks. If guests prefer an indoor staycation, the spacious rooms inside the hotel offer picturesque views of the Hudson, which is difficult to grow tired of.