COVID restrictions are being lifted across the United States and we are starting to head back out to concerts, sporting events, and taking vacations.

While I'm looking through some old expenses I came across some receipts that I spent in Cape May. It got me thinking about a large number of great places and things to do right here in New Jersey.

Why go away when you can stretch your legs and enjoy what New Jersey has to offer, while also helping New Jersey small businesses that were hit hard over the last two years?

Google Maps
Google Maps

There are so many choices: there are vineyards, historic state parks, beautiful beaches, breweries, some of the best restaurants on the east coast, places of music history, and great hotels from the grand Congress Hotel in Cape May to the Air BnB in Lambertville.

Coastal Communities Along Eastern Seaboard Evacuate Ahead Of Hurricane Irene
Getty Images (Congress Hotel)

You can go deep-sea fishing for big fish or stand in a calming brook and catch some outstanding brook trout, which is the New Jersey State Fish.

You can go apple, blueberry, and pumpkin picking.

You can make your own pottery.

You can go to the beaches on Sandy Hook, go a little farther down the Hook and check out the Historic Fort Hancock. Go less than 5 miles and check out the Twin Lights Lighthouse in Highlands.

YouTube via The Mickey Shuffle
YouTube via The Mickey Shuffle (Fort Hancock)

New Jersey is jammed with history, sports, music, culture and agriculture venues and places of interest. Most of these are social-distancing friendly and are very inexpensive or free and provide the chance for you and your family to get out and stretch your legs.

Do a little homework and pick a place you’ve never been but piques your interest. I have and I love the opportunities that I have right here in New Jersey.

NJ hidden gems
(Dan Tantillo/Townsquare Media)  Lambertville Inn
Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Sandy Hook Lighthouse (Bud McCormick)
The inspiration continues
Mike Brant - Townsquare Media (Twin Lights Lighthouse)
Sandy Hook beach
Sandy Hook beach (Townsquare Media NJ)

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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.