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Great Historic Day Trips in South Jersey

Revisit the past with these day trip destinations.

People dine outside in historic Smithville.
People dine outside in historic Smithville.
Written by Brianna Gunter

In Southern New Jersey, there’s so much to see and do nearby, and best of all, your family members can learn more about their state’s rich history while getting some fresh air and fun out of the house. The best part? You can get to all these destinations on one tank of gas (or less).
   

Historic Smithville

Galloway Township, NJ 08201

(609) 652-7777

Why Go? In addition to being a historic colonial town, Smithville is almost like a mini theme park, with unique rides tucked in between its old buildings.

Must Do: “For children, there is the Antique Arcade, Smithville Speedway and Captain Fitz's Marine,” said Colleen Lunney, Smithville Hospitality's administration manager.

Insider Tip: Pack your lunch to save money, or stop by Fred & Ethel’s Lantern Light Tavern on North New York Road, which is reasonably priced for an area that caters to tourists.

The Fine Print: The train and carousel rides are open daily and cost $2 per person. The only day the historic village is closed is Christmas.

 

Batso Village

31 Batsto Rd.

Hammonton, NJ 08037

(609) 561-0024

Why Go? This old 1700's village in Wharton State Forest is one of the best-preserved historical sites in the Pine Barrens and has a lot to offer people of all ages.

Must Do: “We have a nature center with live creatures,” said Joelle Rudnick of the Batso Citizens Committee. “And on weekends our nature specialist likes to do crafts with the kids.”

Insider Tip: There’s no fee for parking except on weekends during the summer.

The Fine Print: If you’re interested in a tour of buildings like the mansion, the cost is $3 for ages 12 and up, and $1 for ages 6 to 11. Kids under 6 get in free.


Historic Cape May

1048 Washington St.

Cape May, NJ 08204

609-884-5404 ext. 153

Why Go? Cape May is full of treasures and rich in history, from old houses to the lookout towers to saltwater taffy.

Must Do: “A lot of families love to visit the lighthouse,” said spokesperson Susan Krysiak. “Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they want to climb to the top, but a lot of people really enjoy doing that.”

Insider Tip: Be sure to check with Cape May’s Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities when you’re planning your trip. It has events throughout the year, including costumed reenactments to give visitors a more authentic experience.

The Fine Print: Many attractions are free, but certain things often have a cost. For example, the historic lighthouse is free to enter, while there is a small fee to climb to the top.


Historic Burlington

High Street

Burlington, NJ 08016

(609) 386-4828

Why Go? With more than 40 historical sites from the 1600's and up, there’s so much to see and do. The wide variety of shops and restaurants also make this area appealing even to family members with less enthusiasm for history.

Must Do: Don’t miss Revell House, the oldest building in the county. Benjamin Franklin ate at this house at one point on his way to Philadelphia, later writing about it in his journal.

Insider Tip: Sign up for a walking tour. Tours take an hour and a half, so wear comfortable shoes.

The Fine Print: Tours run Thursday through Sunday. Tour ticket holders also get discounts at historic district restaurants.

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