Top 15 Road Trips From New Jersey, USA - Updated 2021

road trips from nj
Michelle Jamie
Michelle Jamie
Updated

A beautiful state in the USA, New Jersey offers diverse tourist destinations—from iconic landmarks like Liberty State Park to historic sites such as Immigration Museum, along with famous tourist attractions, including Statue of Liberty. Also, it is home to some beautiful resort towns that you can find in Jersey Shore, such as Cape May, which also features stunning and well-preserved Victorian structures. Its best accommodations include Hilton hotels for someplace luxurious and hotels near Newark Airport for convenience. In case you exhaust everything the state has to offer and are looking for more, why not go on a road trip? If you agree with the idea, make sure you read our list of the top road trips from New Jersey, USA, as your guide.

1. Delaware

Delaware
Source: Photo by Flickr user Michele Dorsey Wa...

If you don’t want to drive too far from New Jersey but would still very much appreciate a change of pace and environment, why not come to the next state to the south—Delaware? It is 157 miles (253 kilometers) away and takes about 2.5 hours by car. Delaware is home to historic sites like Dover Green, Old Swedes’ Church, John Dickinson Plantation, and Rehoboth Beach. As for its community, the state hosts various festivals like Riverfest, Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival, and Apple Scrapple Festival. This state may be a far cry from those with big cities, but a laid-back road trip sure is in sight when you visit here.

2. Vermont

Vermont
Source: Photo by Flickr user Zdenek Svoboda

Vermont is probably the most romantic state in the US. It is certainly a popular getaway choice for couples and a destination for weddings because of its scenic vista and abundance of charming bed and breakfasts. The drive from New Jersey to this picturesque place will take approximately seven hours, with a distance of 403 miles (647 kilometers). Wintering in Vermont introduces you to some of the biggest ski areas in New England, but perhaps, the best time to visit is in Autumn, where the mountains just transform into an otherworldly dimension with its dramatic colors.

3. Greenwich, CT

Greenwich Municipal Center Historic District, Connecticut
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kenneth C. Zirkel

Escape to a place with a charming, small-town vibe and drive to Greenwich, Connecticut, from New Jersey. The road trip takes about two hours, with a distance of 100 miles (161 kilometers). This lovely town is one of the most affluent areas in the state. While it isn’t as glamorous as the big cities, it is home to quite a few upscale shops and dining spots that are worthy of checking out once you’re here. On the other side of town are quaint cottages, pristine beaches, and miles and miles of stunning hiking trails.

4. Southampton, NY

Cooper's Beach Southampton
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Peetlesnumber1

One of the most stunning places to see in New York is Southampton, and it sure is worth the drive from New Jersey, which takes about three scenic hours. It is part of the famous group of affluent hamlets and villages called The Hamptons. This beach town isn’t just all about the water, though. There are places to visit here for art enthusiasts, food lovers, and wine connoisseurs. For a little bit of culture, you can head over to Parrish Art Museum and Southampton History Museum.

5. Palisades

Hudson River Palisades from Ross Dock Picnic Area in fall
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Beyond My Ken

The Palisades, located on the west side of the Hudson River, is a series of cliffs that starts from Jersey City to Nyack, New York. It is about 20 miles (32 kilometers). This breathtaking geologic site is about a two-hour drive from New Jersey. The drive is worth the day trip, we’re telling you! If you wish to explore around the area, some of the best things to do are exploring Tallman Mountain State Park, Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, and Piedmont Pier. You can also take a tour of the beautiful Piedmont Village.

6. Chicago, IL

Chicago skyline, viewed from John Hancock Center
Source: Photo by user Allen McGregor used under CC BY 2.0

Planning a road trip starting in New Jersey? A more or less 13-hour drive is Chicago which will surely be a delightful destination for you and your friends. On your trip, you’ll pass by many scenic views, and you’ll cover about 810.4 mi (1,304.21 km). Upon arrival in Chicago, the first things you’ll notice for sure are the skyscrapers and striking architectures. Three of the highest buildings here are the iconic John Hancock Center, Willis Tower, and Tribune Tower. Also, the city boasts a thriving art scene. You shouldn’t miss exploring Art Institute of Chicago and seeing its many exhibits focusing on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.

7. Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Falls before sunrise
Source: Photo by user Sergey Pesterev used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A shorter road trip compared to Chicago from New Jersey, Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, is one destination you shouldn’t take for granted. It will only take you less than 8 hours to conquer a distance of 461.9 mi (743.35 km) and be able to visit the city. It is famous for the waterfalls with the same name, which connects the country to the United States through Rainbow Bridge. Apart from the falls, another highlight here is Skylon Tower with a height of 520 ft (158.50 m) that features an observation deck, where you can have a 360-degree view of your surroundings as well as American Falls, New York, and Horseshoe Falls. Head out here for one of the best places to road trip from New Jersey!

8. Louisville, KY

Louisville, Kentucky
Source: Photo by user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Driving to Louisville, Kentucky, from New Jersey, you’ll pass many beautiful cities, including Columbus and Cincinnati. You’ll cover a distance of 723.5 mi (1,164.36 km), which will take more than 11.5 hours. But you don’t need to worry, for along the way you’ll pass by restaurants, the countryside, and Ohio River. Louisville, one of the best road trip ideas from New Jersey, is the largest city in Kentucky and is known for its many museums and Kentucky Derby, which is hosted by the Churchill Downs racecourse. To know more about this longtime event, make sure to visit Kentucky Derby Museum and learn about its history.

9. Cincinnati, OH

Erie Avenue, Hyde Park, Cincinnati, OH (32418040827)
Source: Photo by user Warren LeMay used under CC0

A more than 10-hour drive and at a distance of 624 mi (1,004.23 km) from New Jersey, Cincinnati in Ohio is a must-do road trip, for its diverse attractions. During your travel, you’ll pass many suburbs, rivers, retails shops, and restaurants. One of the highlights of the city is its 19th-century structures like Findlay Market, which is dotted by food and craft stalls. Another must-visit here is Cincinnati Art Museum, whose artworks span 6,000 years. It has exhibits focusing on history and science and features a children’s museum as well.

10. Charlotte, NC

Fourth Ward, Charlotte, NC, USA - panoramio
Source: Photo by user James Willamor used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A scenic road trip, where you’ll come across mountains, parks, lakes, and rivers, Charlotte is a modern city and a commercial center in North Carolina. It is also known to be one of the best craft-beer towns in the United States. You’ll find here Levine Museum, which has collections and exhibits about post–Civil War history. The travel time from New Jersey to Charlotte is more than nine hours, and you’ll have to conquer a distance of 602 mi (968.83 km) to reach your destination.

11. Toronto, ON

Toronto
Source: Pixabay

Another excellent idea for a road trip, when coming from New Jersey, Toronto is more than nine hours of driving away. You’ll have to cover a distance of 542 mi (872.26 km) to reach the capital of Ontario, and you’ll pass many picturesque sights like Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario. While the drive is a pleasant experience, the destination is equally wonderful, for you have lots of attractions to explore there, including sky-high buildings led by the iconic CN Tower. Although it’s a modern metropolis, you’ll still find many green spaces and sprawling parks, like Queen’s Park and High Park.

12. Nashville, TN

Nashville, TN
Source: Pixabay

Looking for a New Jersey road trip destination in the south? If you’re into music, you’ll surely love this next road-trip choice. Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and is home to many legendary country music venues and attractions, such as Grand Ole Opry House, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Ryman Auditorium. Also, in the downtown area, you’ll find many honky-tonks that have live music every night. Another must-visit for music enthusiasts is Johnny Cash Museum, which contains lots of memorabilia about the life of the famous singer. Nashville is 858 mi (1,380.82 km) away from New Jersey and will take you 13 hours of travel time to cover. You’ll pass by many charming cities and states along the way, including Knoxville, Virginia, and Washington.

13. Jacksonville, FL

The Jacksonville Landing, Jacksonville FL, Southeast view 20160706 1
Source: Photo by user DXR used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A large city in northeastern Florida, Jacksonville is located where St. John’s River connects with the Atlantic Ocean. It is a long 13-hour drive or 907 mi (1,459.68 km) away from New Jersey. On the way to the city, you’ll pass by some scenic routes and fascinating states, like South and North Carolina. Once you reach Jacksonville, there will be plenty of activities and attractions waiting for you. The city is famous for its cultural sites, museums, and barrier island beaches like Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach—which are excellent for swimming and surfing.

14. Kansas City, KS

Kansas City, Kansas
Source: Pixabay

About 1,179 miles (1,897.4 km) away from New Jersey, Kansas City is approximately 18 hours away by car. It is better that you have someone to relieve you with the driving task, but don’t worry, you’ll not be bored, for you’ll be passing some picturesque sceneries along the way. Kansas City is known for the NASCAR races that happen on Kansas Speedway, which also features a casino. Other highlights of the city are its many sprawling parks, including Wyandotte County Lake Park and Kaw Point Park.

15. Athens, GA

Clarke County Courthouse, Athens, GA
Source: Photo by user Upstateherd used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the best options for road trips from New Jersey is Athens in Georgia, for its music scene, unique architecture, and historical value. It is more than 12 hours or 790 mi (1,271.38 km) away from New Jersey, and you’ll be passing through some fascinating sceneries and cities like Greensboro, Greenville, Durham, and more. Athens is well-known for its antebellum-style architecture, which you can see in its many important landmarks, including TRR Cobb House (which is a 19th-century mansion that features period furniture and decor), Taylor Grady House with its Greek Revival style, and Church-Waddel-Brumby House (which you can trace back to the 19th century).

Start your road trip in New Jersey

Nothing beats going on a road trip with friends—just make sure you have everything planned out, from start to finish, including who’s the designated drivers, stopovers, travel time, and the like. And for your guide, we have compiled a list of the top road trips from New Jersey, USA, for your convenience.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Michelle is a book-loving travel-junkie who tries to write for a living. Her goal is to explore the world, get to know as many people as she can, and inspire others to do the same, for she believes...Read more

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