Staycation Guide 2023

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museumThinking 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!

OUTDOOR RECREATION: The South Plainfield Recreation Department offers programs for kids & adults, including 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. You can even reserve space for a picnic or wedding / special event in some Middlesex County Parks. 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 choices, see NJ State Parks & Forests. The NJ Environmental Digital Library Spotlight 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) lists federally-managed nature preserves & recreational areas, as well as national historic sites. All Trails offers an app providing information about nearby trails; login/signup is required for full access.

HISTORY: Close to home, East Jersey Olde Towne Village [UPDATED LINK] 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 Division of History and Historic Preservation. For many additional historic sites & programs, see Journey Through Jersey (New Jersey Historic Trust), NJ Historical Society, Crossroads of the American Revolution, and New Jersey History: Places To Go!

ARTS: 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. The Rutgers Geology Museum offers exhibits, collections, and programs on the natural world. 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), Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison), Bard in the Barracks [NEW] (New Brunswick), Open Door Arts Center [NEW] (Hillsborough), and Dragonfly Multicultural Arts Center [NEW] (Plainfield).

Music in the Park [NEW] offers free live music in Middlesex County parks on summer evenings. “All you need is your favorite lawn chair and your love of the arts.”

Mason Gross School of the Arts (New Brunswick) offers programs featuring music, dance, theater, and more; most programs are free. For many additional arts & culture events and facilities at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus, including museums and festivals, see Arts & Culture at Rutgers.

The State Theatre in New Brunswick, Union County Arts Center in Rahway, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark offer a variety of professional entertainments for adults and children. The Brook Arts Center, a nonprofit theater in Bound Brook, offers a wide variety of performances, concerts, dance, music, and community events.

SPORTS: Sports Venues and Teams in NJ and Visit NJ: Sports have information & links on NJ major & minor sports teams & venues, including the Somerset Patriots baseball team in Bridgewater.

BEACH: Of course, for most of us, summer in NJ wouldn’t be complete without at least one trip to the beach! See Beaches in NJ and New Jersey Monthly’s Annual Shore Guide (usually published every June) to find the perfect spot and get information about beach fees, facilities, and parking. See for beach closings & advisories, and other health & safety information.

More Staycation Resources: Things to Do in New Jersey and Visit NJ have info on all kinds of attractions & activities, plus trip ideas and lots more!’s Local Events calendar includes searchable listings for central N.J. arts & entertainment, food & dining, sports & recreation, and more. Jersey Family Fun has a statewide calendar of family-friendly events, plus things to do & places to go. Discover Jersey Arts has a directory of cultural organizations in the state. and Weird NJ offer lots of additional information on where it’s at in Jersey!

P.S. If you’re traveling by car, don’t forget to check before you head out, for up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and road closures!

Click here for more links to local information.

Click here for more Fun Things to Do with Kids


Links updated 5/23.

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