12 Best Small Towns in New Jersey

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.


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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.

Red Bank

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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

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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

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Travel & Leisure Says These Are the Best Small Towns in NJ


If you’re from New Jersey, you know our beautiful state is filled with charming small towns known for great food, shopping, nature trails, shorelines and much more. Travel & Leisure recently gave props to 12 of the best small towns in the state. “The Garden State is teeming with charming locales, many of which tend to fly under the radar,” the website says. We agree. Here are Travel & Leisure‘s picks for the 12 best small towns in NJ:

Bay Head

What’s this borough in Ocean County best known for? It’s either its beautiful shoreline, small population or the menu (and view!) at Charlie’s of Bay Head. The Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey and the New Jersey Museum of Boating make for great day trips. Mark your calendar for next year, because Bay Head’s annual Art in the Park every June is a big draw.


Cranbury is the quintessential small town. Many overlook it because Princeton is its neighbor, but walking along Main Street makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to a different time (The Cranbury Inn dates back to 1780). The Cranbury Museum is a great place to learn about the local history. Throughout the year, there are craft shows, farmers’ markets and a Fourth of July celebration that could rival any big town.



The Borough of Flemington uses “loveflemington” as its website address for good reason: this small town has a calendar packed with events all year long. If you’re not too spooked, join a ghost walk tour this fall. Northlandz is home to the world’s largest miniature railroad and the Flemington Castle Museum dates back to 1756. There are car shows every week through Labor Day. Music is important to this area, as the Central Jersey Jazz Fest stops by on Sept. 9.



Lambertville is NJ’s answer to PA’s neighboring New Hope. It’s a beautiful town with lots of shops and eateries to walk through on a beautiful day. Plus, you can walk across the bridge that connects the two

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10 Best Small Towns in Maine, According to a Local

Maine is full of small-town charm that often gets overlooked when visitors flock to the southernmost parts of the state. As a Mainer, I always encourage tourists to save time for all the magic that lies north of Portland.

My advice often invites the question, “Oh, you mean Acadia National Park?” While Acadia should not be missed, I’m talking about the in-between towns — the places with convenience stores that sell a mishmash of groceries, antiques, and lawn ornaments; places where your server is probably also the owner, and where “ayuh” is used instead of “yes.”

Here are some of the best small towns in Maine.


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Most know Ellsworth as a place to drive through en route to Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. But there are a few reasons you should do more than stretch your legs here. For starters, you can buy cheesecake on the honor system. Momo’s Cheesecakes offers its treats from a garage that has been renovated to keep up with the demand.

On the other end of Main Street, 86 This! calls itself “a classy, punk-rock burrito shop.” A wide variety of creative wraps are perfect for your picnic basket. Meanwhile, yogis will delight in Steamy Buddha‘s offerings. And just past the Ellsworth line, there’s a Maine experience like no other: Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show. Watch the show or try your hand at log rolling.

Where to Stay: Under Canvas Acadia, a luxury glamping experience, is a short distance away in Surry.


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Moosehead Lake is Maine’s largest lake, but it’s not as frequented as its southern counterpart — Sebago Lake. Greenville is a 1.5-hour scenic drive from Bangor International Airport and Moosehead is certainly the focal point of the town. One way to take in the lake’s beauty is by booking a seaplane ride — ideal for both the summer and fall.

Steamboat Katahdin has been around for 100 years and outlived what used to be a competitive market of vessels. Visitors can also join a Registered

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