Over the past few years, travelers have sought out charming small towns in favor of larger, heavily populated cities. And although America is chock-full of these quaint destinations, some of the best can be found along the East Coast.
Many opt to visit small towns in New York and Massachusetts (and New England as a whole), but you’d be remiss not to consider New Jersey. What’s more, the Garden State is teeming with charming locales, many of which tend to fly under the radar. So, whether you’re searching for a serene summer beach retreat or a mother-daughter getaway filled with plenty of shopping, we’ve rounded up the best small towns in New Jersey.
About 40 minutes from New York City lies the charming suburb of Montclair, a town best known for its eclectic boutiques, including Culture Couture, White Rabbit Black Heart, Giftbar, and Oasis. After indulging in some retail therapy, grab a bite at Halycon Brasserie (don’t miss the raw bar), Palazzo Pasta Company (come on Friday or Saturday evenings for live music), Koreander (fresh kimchi, anyone?), or Marcel Bakery and Kitchen (for breakfast, light bites, and coffee). Extend your trip with an overnight stay at The George, a chic, 31-room boutique hotel owned by acclaimed makeup artist and Montclair resident Bobbi Brown.
This quaint Monmouth County town is ideally situated along the Navesink River. Today, it’s chock-full of shops, including the nostalgia-inducing Yestercades (a retro-inspired arcade), Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash (a comic book store owned by filmmaker and Red Bank resident Kevin Smith), and Jack’s Record Shoppe (an independent music store dating back to 1970). Meanwhile, craft beer enthusiasts can spend an afternoon at Red Tank Brewing Company. Cap off your trip with a picnic lunch at the two-acre Riverside Gardens Park, where prime people-watching and pristine water views await.
West Cape May
With a population under 1,100 the small but scenic West Cape May is less than two miles from downtown Cape May. This sleepy destination dates back to 1884