- Click here to find related library materials: NJ GUIDEBOOKS
- Click here to find related library materials: NJ DESCRIPTION & TRAVEL
- Click here to find related library materials: FAMILY RECREATION in NJ [UPDATED LINKS!]
Thinking about keeping your vacation local this summer, or maybe just planning to do some exploring right here where we live? Maybe you’re new to the area, or just haven’t had a chance to get to know what’s in your own backyard? We have information that can help you find fun & family-friendly things to do in South Plainfield and the surrounding area!
The South Plainfield Recreation Department offers summer sports camps, swimming lessons, and a Community Pool. Did you know that South Plainfield’s Spring Lake Park has tennis courts, basketball court, playground, bikeways/walkways, fishing, and free concerts? For other parks and nature preserves in the Central Jersey area, see Middlesex County Parks & Recreation, Union County Parks & Recreation, Somerset County Parks, and Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. In Hillsborough (Somerset County), Duke Farms offers hiking & biking trails, nature & horticulture programs, family activities, and more. The Nature Conservancy in N.J. offers information on nature preserves in the New Jersey area. To expand your range, see NJ State Parks & Forests. The NJ Environmental Digital Library Spotlight [NEW!] includes listings of upcoming events such as nature walks, farm programs, birding, fishing, and more. Many parks & recreation departments also offer history & culture events and facilities! Use Discover the Forest to search for forests or parks within a specified distance of your zip code. National Park Service: Find a Park (NJ) [NEW!] lists federally-managed nature preserves & recreational areas, as well as national historic sites.
Close to home, East Jersey Olde Towne Village in Piscataway is a collection of original, replica and reconstructed 18th- and 19th-century structures, tools and artifacts that help illustrate the farm and merchant communities once found in central New Jersey. For information about this and other historic sites in Middlesex County, visit the Middlesex County Office of Arts & History (formerly Cultural and Heritage Office) or text culture to 56512 [NEW!] to explore arts and history in Middlesex County . For many additional historic sites & programs, see NJ State Historic Sites & Museums, NJ Historical Society [NEW!], and New Jersey History: Places To Go!
There some excellent museums within a moderate distance of South Plainfield. The Newark Museum and New Jersey State Museum (Trenton) both feature natural history & science as well as fine art, and each include a planetarium & an auditorium. You can see more fine art at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick and Princeton University Art Museum.
Plays-in-the-Park presents outdoor community theater productions at Roosevelt Park in Edison. Some other theaters in the area offering live theater productions include the Papermill Playhouse (Millburn) and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison).
The Mason Gross School of the Arts Summer Series [UPDATED LINK!] in New Brunswick features a mix of music and dance; most performances are free. For many additional arts & culture events and facilities at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus, including museums and festivals, see Arts & Culture at Rutgers.
Of course, for most of us, summer in NJ wouldn’t be complete without at least one trip to the beach! See VistNJ.org: Beaches in NJ and New Jersey Monthly’s Annual Shore Guide to find the perfect spot and get information about beach fees, facilities, and parking. See NJbeaches.org for beach closings & advisories, and other health & safety information.
More Staycation Resources: Things to Do in New Jersey and Visit NJ have info on theme parks, zoos & aquariums, breweries & wineries, arboretums & gardens, arcades & miniature golf, plus trip ideas and more! MyCentralJersey.com’s Local Events calendar includes searchable listings for central N.J. arts & entertainment, food & dining, sports & recreation, and more. Discover Jersey Arts is the hub for what’s going on in NJ’s arts scene, with a event calendar, directory of cultural organizations, and more! FunNewJersey.com and Weird NJ offer lots of additional information on where it’s at in Jersey!
And for some general suggestions for a great Staycation with the kids, see Highlights Magazine’s 5 Big-Thrill, Low-Cost, Close-to-Home Staycation Ideas.
P.S. If you’re traveling by car, don’t forget to check 511NJ.org before you head out, for up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and road closures!
Links updated 5/19.