When you need to escape the daily grind and connect with nature and your family, you don’t have to go far. Sometimes a quick drive away from the city and familiar surroundings is everything you need to feel refreshed and energized. Knowing a little about your destination can make the quick getaway for you and your loved ones more enjoyable and relaxing. Luckily, there are many excellent little gems around Bridgewater where you can recharge. Here is our list of the best spots around Bridgewater, New Jersey, to visit when you need to get away and relax with your family.  

Cheesequake State Park in Old Bridge

A road through a wooded area in Cheesequake State Park.

cheesequake park road by Roman Pavlyuk is licensed with CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking to reconnect with nature and leave your social networking on hold for a bit, there are few places as unique as Cheesequake State Park. This 1,610-acre park in Middlesex County was established in 1940 and is celebrated for its diverse ecosystems. The location is a marvel because it lies in a special geographic location between the urban north and suburban south. The grounds feature open fields, fresh water and saltwater marshes, an Atlantic white cedar swamp, a northeastern hardwood forest, and pine barrens habitats.

Visitors have a vast selection of activities to participate in as the location is versatile and the surroundings offer some great outdoor activities. You can pack a basket and opt for a simple picnic experience or make a day of it and plan a kayak tour, take a mountain bike trail, or do some hunting. For birders, the unique ecosystems provide an exceptional opportunity to see some native feathered friends or snap a few photos for your personal collection. Hikers can explore over 9 miles of hiking trails.

  • Location: 300 Gordon Road, Matawan. 
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
  • Contact: 732-566-2161.

Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton

The attractive and quaint village of Clinton is welcoming and sits along the banks of the Raritan River. The town is so picturesque that it has been the location in movies such as “Anger Management” and “As Good As It Gets.” It features many historical attractions, including the town’s gem, the Red Mill Museum Village. This 10-acre location constructed in 1810 is renowned for its living history exhibits. Guests can visit a replica quarry, a schoolhouse, and a log cabin. It is also a favorite go-to for locals during October and hosts a Halloween celebration annually.

For kids, you may consider the summer day programs that typically focus on nature conservation or historical topics that help bring history alive for young learners and make the past more tangible. Museum entrance for adult general admission begins at $10 for an early online ticket or $12 at the door. Summer day camps begin at $275 for members and $300 for non-members.

  • Location: 56 Main St., Clinton. 
  • Hours: Noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Closed Monday through Friday.
  • Contact: 908-735-4101.

Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton

The 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture is one of New Jersey’s most unique and extravagant outdoor sculpture parks. Located on what used to be the New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton, Grounds for Sculpture is a nonprofit park that showcases a rotating selection of contemporary outdoor art and a permanent collection of over 270 pieces. When you go be sure to check out the tree tour — which has a downloadable map — or register for a guided tour. This experience is perfect for future horticulturalists and art lovers.

General admission begins at $25 for adults and $12 for students from 6 to 17 years old. There are discounts for senior citizens, active military, and health care workers. For information about the Families First Discovery Pass, call or check out the website.

  • Location: 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton. 
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday and 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Closed on Tuesday. 
  • Contact: 609-586-0616.

Shopping and Dining in Haddonfield

This charming city in Camden County is a little over an hour away from Bridgewater and home to some of the loveliest shops and boutiques you’ll find. The Happy Hippo Toy Store is a Haddonfield-native favorite. This locally owned and operated children’s store features an eclectic collection of unique toys to ignite creative play and encourage imaginative storytelling. Grab your little one a magic set, a pogo stick, or a vintage-looking jack-in-the-box.

After some shopping, head over to Haddonfield’s downtown for a fun dining experience. The Bistro at Haddonfield on Kings Highway is a top restaurant in the city and has a family-friendly atmosphere. Try the truffle Parmesan fries or crab bread for a tasty starter.

  • Location: The Happy Hippo, 201 Kings Highway E., Haddonfield. 
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 
  • Contact: 856-429-2308.

Lighthouses in Highlands 

If you like the oceanside, take a trip to Highlands in Monmouth County. This picturesque location overlooks Sandy Hook Bay and features historic twin lighthouses. It’s an ideal background for your next social media profile photo or a framed photo in your living room. The Twin Lights offers free admission for a self-tour and allows visitors to use information panels and interactive features for a truly unique and informative visit. If you plan a few days in advance, you can arrange a tour for only $12 per adult and $2 for children between 5 and 12.

  • Location: 2 Lighthouse Road, Highlands. 
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
  • Contact: 732-872-1814.

So there you have it. Crème de la Crème of Bridgewater has enjoyed sharing with you our list of the top five best day trips you can take near Bridgewater, New Jersey. If you’re looking for a little rest and relaxation and a way to disconnect while reconnecting with the family, try out one of our suggestions.

While you’re planning your family’s next escape, consider Crème de la Crème of Bridgewater for your child care needs. Whether you need a dependable weekly day care or a spot for your child to spend some time during the summer, we have options that fit your needs. We provide our learners with an enriching environment and a welcoming atmosphere where children of all learning levels feel free to explore their interests and challenge themselves. Call our friendly staff at 908-741-4790 to schedule an appointment for a tour and learn the benefits of a Crème de la Crème experience.