28 Free Things To Do In The South Jersey Area This Summer.. With The Kids! (or just as cool without them.)

They say, “The best things in life are free.” No kidding! Here are some great and FREE places that are kid-friendly to see this summer of 2014!

1. Batsto Village, Wharton State Forest

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The Wharton Mansion at Batsto.

Take a tour of the museum and learn about the ecology of the pine barrens..then tour the grounds and saw mill. Bring a picnic lunch and hike portions of the Batona Trail.

2. The Palmyra Cove, Palmyra

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“Pier” at the Palmyra Cove.

Learn about the Delaware River in the free museum and pursue the small art gallery. Learn about the “baseball mud” used in the MLB, tour the trails and see various flora and fauna on the property.

3. The Cape May Zoo

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Albino Wallaby at the Cape May Zoo.

Probably the most-popular zoo in the area (besides Philadelphia’s). The kids will have a blast!

4. Enjoy A Beach Day in Wildwood

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One of the many historic signs found in Wildwood.

The Wildwoods welcome over 9 million visitors a year making it the number one family resort at the Jersey Shore. Wildwood beaches are growing at a rate of 100 feet per year, making this Jersey Shore beach one of the few places on the East Coast where the shoreline is not diminishing.

5. The 3 Forts Ferry Tour

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Inside Fort Delaware.

*Forts are Free, but ferry is not..

This is my most recent adventure.

Tour Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in the middle of the Delaware River. It’s an amazing fortress with a moat and holds a ton of history.

Fort Mott in Pennsville

Includes a children’s play park and Finns Point National Cemetery. Plus, tour the fort grounds.

Fort Dupont over in Delaware City is still an “active” complex for military personnel.

All three of these forts can be enjoyed via the ferry on the weekend. The kids will love it!! Bring a picnic lunch.

6. The Hancock House in Hancock’s Bridge In Salem County

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The artistic Flemish Bond design of the state-run Hancock House.

Tour this historic home. Learn about the Revolutionary War and the infamous “massacre” that occurred here.

7. Ann Whitall House, National Park

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Ann’s home at National Park.

Learn about this brazen woman and how her home turned into a Revolutionary War hospital. She aided the injured during the battle of Red Bank at Fort Mercer. There is also a children’s play park here.

8. Walt Whitman House

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Whitman’s preserved home.

Tour the noted and beloved poet’s home who captured the heart of millions worldwide in Camden. See how he lived and learn some great history.

9. Kayak the Wading River in the Pine Barrens

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A beach along the Wading River.

Or just “hang out” this summer on some of the beautiful sandy beaches along the river. Trust me, it is magical!

10. Woodstown Historic Walking Tour

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One of the many historic homes you will meet in Woodstown.

Take a stroll around historic Woodstown (just google for the map) and then take the kids to Cream Valley for ice cream afterwards and visit the Cowtown Flea market.

11. Kirby’s Mill, Medford

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The gorgeous mill in Medford.

Walk along the historic mill grounds and learn about local history, visit the many buildings on site. Enjoy the tranquility.

12. Creamy Acres Farm, Mullica Hill

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The friendly pigs at Creamy Acres.

A lot of folks don’t realize that the animals are free to see here. Enjoy seeing goats, chickens, pigs and of course the cows that give this place its “creamy” namesake.

13. Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

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The blue and magical Walnford Mill.

Another beautiful mill village along the Crosswicks Creek (some consider this South Jersey and others Central Jersey) this is a gorgeous place to see.

14. Fortescue

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My son on our many visits to this great bay town.

Visit this small beachy town along the Delaware Bay. See birds galore. Enjoy the day fishing or relaxing on the free beach. The sunsets are to-die-for. Fortescue is improving!

They recently dredged a beach in front of the Fortescue Grille and up the street where they had the horseshoe festival. There are talks about putting back in the boardwalk!

Stop at the Fortescue Grille offering great food and a nice deck to enjoy those sunset views while you dine!

15. Bayshore Discovery Museum, Port Norris

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Sign pointing to marina at Port Norris.

Free admission to this Cumberland County museum. Learn about the Delaware Bay, its history and unique ecology.

16. Sunset Beach, Cape May

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The sunken concrete ship at sunset beach.

Search for Cape May diamonds and watch the sunset at the southern-most tip in South Jersey.

17. Howell Living History Farm, Lambertville

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The majestic working horses at Howell Living History Farm.

A great experience for the kids to learn about a historic working farm as things were done in the old days. Also, see plenty of animals and tour the grounds on a horse drawn wagon. When you are finished take a drive north along Rt. 29 towards Frenchtown…New Jersey’s scenic byway. It’s gorgeous!

18. Higbee Beach, Cape May

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The expansive Higbee Beach.

Grab the dog and kids to this popular and unofficial “dog beach” along the Delaware Bay. Enjoy its quiet and rustic beauty and listen to the birdsong of the various migrant birds.

19. Soupy Island, West Deptford, NJ

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The 100 year old slide at Soupy Island.

This place has always been free. Enjoy swimming in the pools ( lifeguards are on duty), sliding down the 100 year old slide and take a ride on the carousel.

20. The Forgotten Warriors Museum, Rio Grande

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Inside the museum.

Take the kids to this free museum to learn about the Vietnam War. It is a special and unknown gem in South Jersey and a must-see.

21. Estell Manor Park, Mays Landing

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Enjoy the acres of beautiful trails and visit the ruins of a munitions factory and/or glass factory that once resided on these gracious grounds.

22. Spend A Day Exploring Greenwich (Cumberland County)

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A lovely historic home in Greenwich.

Tour all the historic homes and visit the Tea Burners Monument.

23. Smithville Park, Eastampton Twp

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The Smithville Mansion.

Visit this historic bicycle factory turned county park and Smithville mansion.

24. Rancocas Nature Center, Westampton

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Rancocas Nature Preserve in Winter.

Learn about history along the Rancocas, tour some of the native gardens and trails.

25. The Palace of Depression, Vineland

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The Palace of Depression.

See this amazing work-in-progress come to life. It’s truly magical.
You could spend hours here.

26. Discover Historic Downtown Haddonfield

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Sign at the Hadrosaurus Foulkii site.

Also, visit the legendary Hadrosaurus Foulkii site! One of the first intact dinosaur discoveries in the world!

27. The Cohanzick Zoo, Bridgeton

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Entrance to the Cohanzick Zoo.

The Cohanzick Zoo sits in a city park consisting over 1100 acres. Over 200 animals are exhibited here. Including their most prized possession of the rare white tigers.

Bring a picnic lunch and sit on the lovely grounds surrounding the park. There are bathroom facilities on the premises. Kids love the place. It is smaller than most zoos in the area, but you can’t complain it is free.

28. Maurice River Bluffs

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I have been here a few times and it is a wonderful place to connect with nature. There are many things to see (like bald eagles), a drawbridge, lookout area and ruins. Nicely maintained hiking trails and I have seen many families enjoying themselves here.

The only thing not free that is listed is the 3 forts ferry…However, all the forts are free to visit. Also, if you can donate to any of these free sites…Please do!

My son and I have enjoyed all these great sites!  Best of all, have a wonderful summer!

Until our next adventure, my friends! -The Yummygal

66 thoughts on “28 Free Things To Do In The South Jersey Area This Summer.. With The Kids! (or just as cool without them.)

  1. Great List! Thanks for sharing! Always looking for free things for the fam to check out! Popcorn Park near Great adventure is also another great free zoo and they have a Dog and Cat Shelter too!. : )

        • If you mean the Popcorn Park zoo in Lacey, it is not free. I believe it’s $6-8 adults, and $4 for children…i believe. But cute zoo/rehab center.

        • Been to many of these places with our family. Thank you for sharing! Allaire State Park is nice, too & it’s free to walk around but some areas (like the train & some of the house tours) have a fee. Both Cape May & Cohansey Zoos request donations, but it’s not necessary. Wheaton Village in Millville is also a cool place to visit. There is no entry fee, but some of the buildings, like the glass blowing demos & museum, require a small fee, but the stores & playground and walking the grounds is free.

      • The Popcorn Zoo is free but they have a donation box if you wish to give…how could anyone not give a donation even if it is a dollar…it is a beautiful Zoo and so well kept!!!!!

        • Exactly, fee or not (Which I am pretty sure it is free with just a donation request), but these people are helping and saving these beautiful little animals

      • Atlantic City Beach near Ventnor. Take our grand-kids there and let them run especially before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, but any day really. No beach tags and some free parking. Come in to AC via Rt. 40/322 and make a right after the monument.

    • Very cool!
      One place that deserves a spot is The Wild Life Refuge. Go bird watching on foot, or use the car and stop at the bird watching tower!

      • Wild Life Refuge is great in very early Spring before the Green Heads come out. After they are out – forget it. You have to stay in your car with windows up or your toast. Really great for walking,or slow drive Also, no dogs or animals even on a leash. Too many Ticks even in later Fall.

    • Also Atsion Lake in Shamong Township on Route 206..I think $10.00 a car load…take a picnic lunch or they have a concession stand…life guards on duty…two playgrounds…a real fun day even if you live close…swim…sun…relax!!!

  2. Don’t forget another FREE thing to do in Alloway NJ visit the Alloway History Museum opened the lady Saturday of each month from 9:00 am until noon
    49 S . Greenwich Street
    Alloway
    (856) 935-4080

  3. Don’t forget to visit the Alloway History Museum opened the last Saturday of each month from. 9:00 am until noon
    At 49 S. Greenwich Street
    Alloway, NJ (856) 935-4080
    (FREE)

  4. Don’t forget to visit the Alloway History Museum opened the last Saturday of each month from. 9:00 am until noon
    At 49 S. Greenwich Street
    Alloway, NJ (856) 935-4080
    (FREE)

    • Most of the programs do require registration. Great to hear that you use the library. Summer Reading will be starting soon. Kids read and earn chances to win prizes every week.

  5. In the same parking lot as the Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton is a splash park. It’s not free, however the admission is nominal $2/person). Just wasn’t sure how any people knew that…

  6. Just a minor correction for you. Smithville Park (24) is in Easthampton Township. There is going to be an Earth Fair there later this month. Thanks for all your wonderful shared adventures!

  7. Awesome list! Some old favorite on here and great stuff I never heard of. Definitely want to take the wee ones to Soupy Island now, and I’d never heard of the Forgotten Warriors Museum, but now I have to see it!

    • Thanks! The Forgotten Warriors are the only museum in the entire county dedicated to the men and women who served in Vietnam. A lot of times vets walk in and go to tears. The man who runs was in the war and most volunteers were also. It’s right across the Naval Air Museum so you could make a whole day out of it. Soupy Island is just a neat and different place.

  8. Atlantic County Park – (Free)
    Address: 109 State Highway 50, Mays Landing, NJ 08330
    Phone:(609) 625-1897
    Hours: Open today · 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

  9. My favorite free thing to do with my kids when I visit South Jersey is to get a picnic and spend the day at the iron furnace in Mays Landing. It’s not a big area-but the kids enjoy splashing each other and discovering the ruins

  10. We moved to Brooklawn almost 2 years ago to raise our son, so your reflections on growing up here really touch me. You have amazing information on the area and a wonderful voice that brings these places alive. Looking forward to reading more!

    • Thanks Tiffany! Shhh.. I like keeping “Noreg Village” a secret. Still a great small and family friendly town with a good school to boot. I enjoyed growing up there. Many of my friends have gone onto successful careers in their field (and still friends many many years later). My “friends” were more like family there since it is so tiny. I’ve kind of lived all over South Jersey.. Hammonton, Mt. Laurel, Woodstown so I have a general good “feel” of different parts of the area. I appreciate your feedback and hope that your son loves growing up there as I did.

  11. Thank you for this great article. I can see that my Grandson and I are going to be doing some exploring this summer.

  12. a great list overall. Just a correction for you. Port Norris is on the Delaware Bay and that is the history you’ll see at the Bay Shore Projects.

  13. As others have said, “Great list!” I would like to add there is a free wild life area at the Cape May lighthouse. It has a stroller friendly trail through a portion of the marshlands there.

  14. New to the Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton is the Splash Park, added in 2013. It’s not “free,” but you can’t beat the cost of $2 per child for unlimited splash time.

  15. Thank you for sharing your list, I’m extremely surprised a list for South Jersey didn’t include Whitesbog Village. This historic property is on the the state register and is home to the blueberry, our state fruit. It’s accessible 7 days a week from Sun up to Sun down with the General Store open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10-4. The village has the cranberry barrel factory, warehouse, workers cottages, General Store, pay house, ice house, a research sub station, school house, etc. Plus Elizabeth White’s House Suningive is walking distance down the road or a wooded path with the original 30+ varities of blueberry bushes used for propagation. Then there’s the old bogs, some of which are used today by the same family that established the farm to grow cranberries. There are several ponds and beachy areas and so much more. If you haven’t been to Whitesbog I’d encourage you to check out this awesome historic site. The only day there is an entry fee is the last Saturday in June (this year, the 28th) for the annual blueberry festival which is their main fundraiser ($10/car load), every other day of the year it is FREE!

    • I am aware of the history of Whitesbog.. However, it is not on the list because I have yet to visit. I DO NOT recommend sites to see that I cannot vouch for. Most sites/blogs that write these lists have not visited what they put on their lists. I vouch for everything I write about or visit and trust me, there are places I do not recommend. I do plan to get to Whitesbog this summer and fall. Thank you for sharing this information!

      • Whitesbog is one of the places that the cranberry was first cultivated in New Jersey. They also did work on blueberries. Elizabeth White was an amateur botanist, I believe, and planted many other species on the grounds. Check out the Whitesbog Preservation Trust for information. (I used to serve on the board.)

    • Hi Joe! To answer that question…there is no true defining line between North & South Jersey. Some folks (no lie) believe anything north of Cherry Hill is Central Jersey. Some say the Monmouth County southern portion is South Jersey. Some argue on Ocean County being a part of North or South Jersey. This is why I put South Jersey AREA and as you said, as some folks believe Trenton is the dividing line… that it is only 15 miles north (Lambertville).

  16. Walnford Farm is not in South Jersey. There is not much to do there, unless you go during one of their events. Woodsford and Greenwich also do not have anything to do. Woodsford is fun during the scarecrow contest in October. Greenwich has 3 small museums, but you need to call them and make them swear that they will be open-do not believe the websites! You need a kayak to go kayaking or someplace to rent one. The best, most available and cheapest place I know is in September and October at Manasquan Reservoir (they also have double kayaks to rent). I have never been to Soupy Island or the Palace of Depression. Estelle Manor Park also has free bike rentals-a lot of fun, in addition to seeing the ruins. The Discovery Center is best during Bay Day, which has already passed (you get to see the Heislerville Lighthouse for free, take a guided walk, see fireworks and listen to music). A boat ride on the A J Meerwald, can be expensive, especially for a family or group of people. Howell Farm is best when they are having free wagon rides for Halloween.

    • It states South Jersey AREA. However, some would disagree and say the southern tip of Monmouth County where Walnford is located is SJ. It all depends on who you ask and the dividing line of South/North has been debated for decades. Walnford is in a beautiful setting and similar to Batsto. Anyway, Woodsford? Do you mean Woodstown? There’s plenty to do. On a nice day you can tour all the historic homes (download their brochure) and even go to Cowtown for the flea market whichis free or rodeo (small fee.) Greenwich is a beautiful town to explore and to look at all the pretty historic homes. When you walk around it feels like you stepped back in time. Also, some families do own kayaks, canoes, some even go tubing down the Wading River, but you don’t need a kayak to enjoy a day on the river. There are plenty of nice sandy beaches to explore without a kayak (just by walking) and enjoy a day on. For example, Evans bridge or Constable. Wow, so negative! It’s called thinking outside the box and trying/seeing new things! I have a 2 year old and started him out exploring these sites at 6 months old. He loved it all. Howell farm still offers free wagon rides just not on Sundays.

  17. While in Bridgeton for the Cohansick Zoo, walk through the park, the neighborhood (lots of historic homes) and view the George Woodruff Museum of Indian Artifacts (check the hours) in the basement of the library. Also visit the Barnegat Lighthouse and the historic homes on Barnegat Day Pirate Day, as well as the Barnegat Trail. Batsto is free during the year, but there is a $5 parking fee in the summer and a $2/person house tour. Call them ahead of time and see about scheduling a free canoe tour (really fun!).

  18. Not to be confused with Smithville Park in Mt Holly, Historic Smithville in Galloway is fun! I could easily spend the entire day browsing all of the small shops! There are some things to do there that have a small fee ($1 carousel ride; paddle boats), but just walking around the village and shops is a whole day of free fun…if you can resist the urge to buy any of the unique things you’ll find here!

  19. There is a free historical museum in Egg Harbor City, learn about the making of the town and area. Very interesting

  20. Red Bank Battlefield Park is a little treasure we found a few years back and it’s awesome. There are some historical buidings and covered gazebos for picnics. It sits right on the Delaware River and you can watch the planes, cars and boats go by. Kids love it. Also, Washinton Lake Park in Sewell is a great place and they have lots of free events at the bandstand area throughout the year as well.

  21. Barnegat Light is a town on the northern tip of Long Beach Island and offers many free and interesting things to do. While it may cost to climb Barnegat Lighthouse, you can visit the museum for free and see a graphic IDing the shore birds that frequent the inlet. The lighthouse has picnic tables.You can watch boats go in and out the inlet, which is a bit testy, so it’s interesting to watch. Once a week, Viking Village home to the commercial fishing fleet offers free tours and near by the ReClam the Bay organization gives free talks and demo about their reclam the bay efforts.There’s a small community museum on 4th street which houses the monster-sized original lighthouse light and there’s path along the beach in a grove-like environment where red-winged blackbirds frequently will escort you on your walk. Check out the benches along the way as they are inscribed with dedications, some very creative. A ship sunk off the coast of the town, and for years youngsters used it as a “diving board.” Now all that is visible is a mast, looking much like a giant telephone pole. when you are near it, you actually are standing atop the sunken vessel, now covered with sand, and no longer visible. The place abound with art galleries and unique gift shops, offering free browsing. The US Coast Guard Station has small displays and features the history of a dog which the Coast Guard actually uniformed, gave a rank, and took on tours of duty during WWII. He’s buried there. For specific information, contact the local Chamber of Commerce at visitLBIregion.com.

  22. Wow, everyone is so opinionated in these comments. This woman has put together an entire list of things I am so excited to go visit and that I’ve never even heard of before and so many people are giving her flack about not adding places that are in my opinion very well known? I think the point of this list is neat, obscure, off-the-beaten-path, FREE places in NJ. I for one appreciate this list and don’t think it’s missing anything, as most, if not all other things to do in this state are very much NOT free. Can’t wait to take our girls to all these places on your list! Thank you!

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  24. I just got back from the forest of the Elven Society of the 1200’s in the Pinelands…The Castle and Crystal are incredible. The path that take you from the parking lot to the underground see thru crystal cave is remarkable

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