As home to nearly a million people, Bergen County is by some distance the most populous county in the state of New Jersey. It is also the state’s gateway to neighbouring New York, with the county actually being considered part of the New York Metropolitan area - the county sits across the Hudson River from Manhattan itself, and the Big Apple can be reached from here by a short drive across the George Washington Bridge. Bergen County itself is an interesting area; with no huge towns or cities dwarfing their neighbours, the county spreads its places of interest far and wide and so wherever you travel within the region you’re sure to find something interesting within easy reach. Below, check out our handpicked list of things to do in Bergen County, New Jersey, that offers tips for your stay in the county.
1. Hang out with the creatures of Van Saun County Park
Van Saun Park is a fun hangout whenever you are in the Bergen County area, with plenty of green space, picnic spots and lots of sports fields. More importantly than any of these, though, is the fact that Van Saun is home to Bergen County Zoo. Served by a miniature railroad, the zoo is one of the premier attractions of Bergen County and features such animals as Spider monkeys, alligators and bobcats, as well as rare birds including the Andean Condor. The zoo is open year-round, and charges admission between May and October.
Van Saun County Park
Address: Bergen County Zoological Park, 216 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652
Website: Van Saun County Park
Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (daily)
Price: 5 USD onwards
2. Learn more about Historic New Bridge Landing
Not all sites connected to the revolutionary war are all about famous wins. Here on the banks of the Hackensack River, George Washington and his men had to beat a retreat to avoid defeat at the hands of British forces. This they did, and they lived to fight another day - and consequently to win America’s independence from the British empire. Washington, a general at the time, would go on to become the country’s first President. At New Bridge Landing, the bridge these soldiers crossed to safety is preserved as a landmark to this day.
Historic New Bridge Landing
Address: 1205 Main St, River Edge, NJ 07661
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 9pm (closed on Sun)
3. Drive down to the Hermitage
The Hermitage looks, from the exterior, like an old Gothic homestead of admittedly impressive size, but is, in fact, a great deal more than that. At one time, the house belonged to Theodosia Bartow Prevost, who designated it a place where revolutionaries such as Aaron Burr, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton were welcome. The house became a strategic meeting point for the heroes of the revolution, and once independence was won, Theodosia married Burr in this very house. Its well-preserved interior makes it a fascinating museum to those times, and the grounds here are always busy, with farmer’s markets and festivals being a common occurrence.
Address: 335 Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423
Website: The Hermitage
Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 1pm - 4pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
4. See the flying machines at Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey
New Jersey’s history in aviation and aerospace is a proud one, and among a number of other impressive claims to fame, it is home to the oldest operating airport in the tri-state region. That’s Teterboro Airport, which has operated for just over a century and is now also the location for the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey. Here you will find numerous examples of aircraft of various ages, demonstrating the changes that have been seen in the industry. Hall of Fame inductees include Buzz Aldrin, Amelia Earhart, and this museum is an ideal place for any aviation geek to indulge in their passion.
Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey
Address: 400 Fred Wehran Dr, Teterboro, NJ 07608
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 7 USD onwards
5. Get back to nature at Tenafly Nature Center
The Tenafly Nature Center is a nature preserve that is dedicated to conversing nearly 400 acres (161.9 hectares) of woodland in Tenafly, NJ. When visiting, you will have the option of exploring the incredible area while relaxing in the tranquil surroundings. There’s also a visitor centre on-site, which allows you to learn more about the important conservation work that is taking place, as well as miles of trails to explore, and for those visiting over the summer, there’s a chance to visit the incredible Butterfly House, too.
Tenafly Nature Center
Address: 313 Hudson Ave, Tenafly, NJ 07670
Website: Tenafly Nature Center
Opening hours: 11am - 4pm (daily)
6. Admire the view at Ramapo Valley County Reservation
A serene, stunning part of the world, the Ramapo Valley County Reservation should prove to be a great day out for anyone seeking outstanding natural beauty. There are countless activities to try should you choose to visit; you can explore the 21 miles (33 kilometres) of trails, admire the astounding views of the pond and reservoir, and even try your hand at fishing at Ramapo River. You can also camp on the site if you’d like to extend your stay in this truly picturesque part of the world.
Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Address: 608 Ramapo Valley Rd, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Website: Ramapo Valley County Reservation
7. Check out the flora and fauna at J. A. McFaul Environmental Center
JA McFaul Environmental Center can provide a day out that any nature lover is sure to appreciate. Founded in 1967, the area was originally a pig farm, but has over the years transformed into a wildlife sanctuary that also has plenty to offer its visitors. While there, you can eat in one of the picnic areas, explore the trails, and visit the zoo. The zoo and sanctuary offers a chance to appreciate the sight of local mammals and reptiles alike. All in all, a wonderful day out that is a great choice for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world.
J. A. McFaul Environmental Center
Address: 150 Crescent Ave, Wyckoff, NJ 07481
Opening hours: 8:30am - 6:45pm (daily)
8. Swing by Paramus Fritz Behnke Historical Museum
Paramus Fritz Behnke Historical Museum is a small but perfectly formed museum that provides an opportunity to glimpse back in time. The goal of the museum’s founder, Fritz Behnke, was to preserve a snapshot of how life used to be, with the museum focusing primarily on 20th century everyday artefacts, as well as replicas of schoolroom, police department, and fire department. There are also trade-based displays, including woodworking and blacksmith tools, to help round out a complete picture of yesteryear, and ensure a fantastic, in-depth day out.
Paramus Fritz Behnke Historical Museum
Address: 330 Paramus Rd, Paramus, NJ 07652
Opening hours: Sun: 1pm - 5pm (closed from Mon - Sat)
9. Get airborne at Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Sky Zone is a nationwide chain famed for the incredible thrills and excitement that visitors can enjoy on their trampolines and indoor activities, and for those visiting Bergen County, the Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Allendale more than lives up to the chain’s impressive reputation. You can play Ultimate Dodgeball, make the most of the soft landings available in the Foam Zone, and even sharpen your parkour skills with the Parkour Blox - the options are seemingly endless, so you can be sure you’ll be thoroughly entertained for the duration of your time at Allendale Sky Zone.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Address: 80 Commerce Dr, Allendale, NJ 07401
Website: Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Opening hours: Tue - Wed: 4pm - 8pm; Thu: 12pm - 8pm; Fri: 12pm - 9pm; Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)
Price: From 23 USD
10. Go skiing at Campgaw Mountain Ski Area
If you’re looking to take to the slopes and experience a fantastic day (or more) of skiing, then a visit to the Campgaw Mountain Ski Area will definitely suit you. The mountain itself reaches a peak of 752 feet (229 metres), and features 15 acres (6.07 hectares) of terrain that is suitable for both novice skiers (who can be assisted by the knowledgeable on-site instructors) and those who have reached an intermediate level. In addition to skiing, there are also hiking trails to explore, archery, and much more to explore.
Campgaw Mountain Ski Area
Address: 200 Campgaw Rd, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Website: Campgaw Mountain Ski Area
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
Price: From 22 USD
11. Enjoy the surroundings at Easton Tower
The Easton Tower itself was built in 1899 and was built on land where a grain mill, the Red Mill, once stood. The tower was constructed by Edward Easton and was used as a water pump in order to irrigate his estate and, for a time, the park was a popular destination, and was even used as a setting for silent films. Nowadays, the tower sits in a beautiful location, right next to the Saddle River, and surrounded by a biking trail and calm natural surroundings that are well worth a visit.
Address: Red Mill Rd, Paramus, NJ 07652
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 1pm - 6pm (closed from Mon - Fri)
12. See a wide range of animals at Bergen County Zoo
Bergen County Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon when visiting Paramus, NJ. The zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including - but not limited to - Belted Galloway Cows, spider monkeys, and bobcats, and the Tamarin Exhibit is a particular highlight you’ll definitely want to include on your “must see” list. As well as visiting the animals, you can also use your time at the Bergen County Zoo to watch the live shows in the amphitheatre or take a ride on the charming carousel.
Bergen County Zoo
Address: 216 Forest Ave, Paramus, NJ 07652
Website: Bergen County Zoo
Opening hours: 10am - 4:30pm (daily)
Price: 8 USD
13. Shop at Westfield Garden State Plaza
Westfield Garden State Plaza is a large, two-storey shopping mall that will delight anyone who is looking to shop up a storm in the Paramus, NJ, area. Officially the largest mall in the entire state, Garden State Plaza offers over 300 different stores, as well as numerous dining options, an art collection, and even a movie theatre - so you could reasonably spend hours at this impressive mall and still be able to find something interesting to keep you occupied! A great mall that has everything you could possibly need, and a bit more besides.
Westfield Garden State Plaza
Address: One Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ 07652
Website: Westfield Garden State Plaza
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm (closed on Sun)
14. Party the night away at SPACE
Space is a fantastic venue that can be used for a range of events - everything ranging from engagement parties to baby showers to birthday parties is within the remit of Space’s incredible and highly-experienced staff. The venue itself is located in Englewood, NJ, and offers a fantastic space that can be customized to suit your chosen purpose, and should help to ensure an amazing experience is enjoyed by both you and your guests.
Address: 491 S Dean St, Englewood, NJ 07631
15. See the subs that won a war at New Jersey Naval Museum
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
As one might expect, the New Jersey Naval Museum is dedicated to naval history, and in particular the naval history of New Jersey. The centrepiece of the museum is the USS Ling, a World War II submarine; guided tours are available to the public, providing a fascinating glimpse into the life at sea for submariners. However, the surrounding museum is no longer operational, but it’s still worth visiting the area to see the Ling, which is still in place, though tours are no longer available.
New Jersey Naval Museum
Address: 78 River St, Hackensack, NJ 07601
16. Admire the natural beauty at Saddle River County Park
Located in Bergen County, NJ, Saddle River County Park is a large park comprising of five different sections and is a fantastic choice for those looking to explore a natural area either by foot or bike. There are plenty of amenities to be enjoyed across the park too, including duck ponds, tennis courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, softball fields, and you will also see a waterfall flow into the river.
Saddle River County Park
Address: 760 Saddle River Rd, Saddle Brook, NJ 07663
Website: Saddle River County Park
17. Try out winter sports at Campgaw Mountain
Fans of skiing, tubing, and snowboarding will find plenty to keep them entertained at Campgaw Mountain in Bergen County, NJ, as the mountain offers the only ski slope in the surrounding area - making it a must-visit for winter sports enthusiasts! The area is suitable for both newcomers and those with intermediate skills. In addition to the outdoor excitement, there’s also a small indoor area which is the ideal place to warm up and reflect on your visit.
Address: 200 Campgaw Rd, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Website: Campgaw Mountain
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
Price: From 23 USD
18. Hit the rink at Hackensack's Ice House
If you’re looking for an ice rink in New Jersey, then Ice House is sure to be the best choice - given that there’s not just one, but four different NHL size rinks available at the centre. There are regular public skating sessions, where anyone trying skating can attend, as well as a “learn to skate” programme for beginners, and a dedicated figure skating programme. In addition to the rinks, there’s also a food court to relax in when you’ve finished skating for the day.
Address: 111 Midtown Bridge St, Hackensack, NJ 07601
Website: Ice House
Opening hours: 6am - 12am (daily)
19. Try a fresh bouquet at California WineWorks
California Wineworks is a gem of an establishment that offers visitors a chance to create their own wine, as well as learn about winemaking, sample the different wines that are available, and enjoy the elegant, high-end atmosphere. “California” is related to where the wines are sourced; the actual business is located in Ramsey, NJ, and offers a truly fantastic experience that is a must for any wine connoisseur.
Address: 476 NJ-17, Ramsey, NJ 07446
Website: California WineWorks
20. Explore the hidden depths with Blue Water Divers
New Jersey is home to an incredible number of dive sites, and Blue Water Divers have everything both newcomers and enthusiasts need to enjoy them! The centre, which is a PADI 5 Star IDC Center, ensures that you will be in the best possible hands. It functions as a swim and scuba school (complete with certification opportunities), and also has a diving shop on site so everything you could possibly need to take a trip between the waves is easy to find here.
Blue Water Divers
Address: 201 NJ-17, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
Website: Blue Water Divers
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 12pm - 8pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
21. Relax in bliss at Spa Nordstrom Clinic
If a full day of activities has you feeling a little drained, then don’t worry, there is always the chance to get freshened up and rejuvenated at the spa. Located at the Garden State Plaza centre, the Spa Nordstrom Clinic offers a full range of services including a top-class brow studio and a personal shopper service that will tailor your orders perfectly for your needs. There’s even a bridal studio on-site, so if you have a wedding planned in the near future, this is the perfect chance to run through your outfit options.
Spa Nordstrom Clinic
Address: 501 Garden State Plaza Blvd, Paramus, NJ 07652
Website: Spa Nordstrom Clinic
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9:30pm (closed on Sun)
22. Experience the lush green at Teaneck Creek Conservancy
Teaneck Creek Conservancy was founded nearly 20 years ago by local groups, who were determined to save the area from development. Functioning as a non-profit eco-park, the Teaneck Creek Conservancy today is a stunning natural area that is home to numerous special events such ‘Hawks Over The Hudson’, which focuses on birds of prey, as well as 'Wednesday Wellness’, which focuses on meditation and relaxation, as well as 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometres) of trails and amazing ecological art exhibits.
Teaneck Creek Conservancy
Address: 20 Puffin Way, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Website: Teaneck Creek Conservancy
Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)
23. Savour the delicious fare at P.J. Finnegan's
Although located in Westwood, NJ, P.J. Finnegan’s offers an authentic Irish experience that any visitor will be sure to cherish. The interior decor is charming and inviting, so you should feel right at home as you settle to enjoy the range of beverages and meals on offer. The menu provides delights such as sliced steak sandwiches, a famed French onion soup, as well as classics such as fish and chips and crabcakes; every morsel is delicious, and you’ll love the chance to relax and enjoy your food in the lighthearted, relaxed atmosphere of the establishment.
Address: 274 Fairview Ave, Westwood, NJ 07675
Website: P.J. Finnegan’s
Opening hours: Mon: 11:30am - 11pm; Tue: 11:30am - 11:30pm; Wed: 11:30am - 12am; Thu - Sat: 11:30am - 2am; Sun: 4pm - 10pm
24. Delve deep into history at Meadowlands Museum
Found in Rutherford, NJ, the Meadowlands Museum seeks to collect together artefacts relating to the history of the Meadowlands area, as well as natural history specimens that are unique to the region. Permanent exhibits include an intriguing toy room and a 19th-century style room - the latter of which includes authentic spinning wheels, for that real step-back-in-time experience, as well as rooms devoted to the life and work of Dr. William Carlos Williams - a highly celebrated physician. Overall, a quaint and fascinating visit here is ideal for those looking to learn more about niche local history and glimpse what everyday life was like for those living in the region many years ago.
Address: 91 Crane Ave, Rutherford, NJ 07070, United States
Website: Meadowlands Museum
Opening hours: Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed from Sun - Fri)
Price: From 3 USD
25. Enjoy tasty bites at The Iron Horse Restaurant
If you are visiting Westwood, NJ, and want to visit an eatery that offers a relaxed, tranquil, and homely atmosphere, then The Iron Horse Restaurant is an absolute must. The menu focuses on comfort-based favourites such as chilli con carne, buffalo shrimp, stuffed cheeseburgers, and baked onion soup, as well as buffalo chicken wings that have become known as a particular speciality of this impressive establishment. So if you’re hoping for a filling meal in a pleasant environment, look no further than The Iron Horse.
The Iron Horse Restaurant
Address: 20 Washington Ave, Westwood, NJ 07675, United States
Website: The Iron Horse Restaurant
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11:30am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11:30am - 11pm; Sun: 11:30am - 9pm
26. Laugh out loud at Bananas Comedy Club
Bananas Comedy Club is the place to go if you’re looking for a side-splitting evening of amusement. The club hosts both up and coming comedians as well as recognisable big names such as Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, and Jackie Mason, all in a comfortable setting that will make you feel right at home as you lose yourself in the hilarity of each act. If you’d like to complete your evening with a meal, then there’s the option to dine at Gabriel’s Grill & Bar, with dinner packages receiving a seating upgrade for the showroom itself.
Bananas Comedy Club
Address: 2903, 283 NJ-17, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604
Website: Bananas Comedy Club
Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 6pm - 12am (closed from Sun - Thu)
27. Appreciate the wonders of the world at Belskie Museum
Occupying a massive 3,000 square feet (280 square metres), Belskie Museum of Art & Science is large enough to offer an incredible, immersive experience to those who choose to visit. The museum contains works from both local and international artists, and upcoming exhibitions include ‘Salute To Women In The Arts’ by Fran Hertzberg and 'Korean Heritage Foundation’ by Ellen Lim. A small but well-designed space, the Belskie Museum should make for an excellent day out for those who appreciate the arts.
Address: 280 High St, Closter, NJ 07624
Website: Belskie Museum
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 1pm - 5pm (closed from Mon - Fri)
28. Plan a visit to African Art Museum of the SMA
The African Art Museum of the SMA features a range of incredible exhibits that focus on the arts and crafts traditionally found in sub-Saharan Africa. The available exhibitions include Passports and Maquettes, Africanizing Christian Art, Nigeria: The Fourteen Stations of the Cross and many more besides, so you can be confident of having plenty to explore and engage with during your visit. If you are visiting Tenafly, NJ, and would like to learn more about the authentic history, culture, and artistic traditions of the continent, then this fantastic museum cannot be missed.
African Art Museum of the SMA
Address: 23 Bliss Ave, Tenafly, NJ 07670
Website: African Art Museum of the SMA
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
29. Bring your kids to BounceU
BounceU in Paramus, NJ, provides a range of amazing experiences to its guests, with its “Open Bounce” sessions - which allow children to enjoy the bounce house arenas for themselves. In addition to Open Bounce, the facility also offers numerous special events that add a little something extra to experience; Cosmic GLOW WARS Bounce, for example, adds a glow in the dark element to the bounce experience and includes snacks and beverages, while the Discover Science Fun Labs combines bounce stadium play with time spent in a “lab” making lava lamps. Thanks to these efforts and the great range of bounce options available, you can be certain of a truly amazing time at BounceU.
Address: 70 Eisenhower Dr, Paramus, NJ 07652
30. Learn the stories behind film-making at Fort Lee Museum
Fort Lee Museum housed in Judge Moore House is a stunning 20th-century construction that is a sight to behold. The exhibits of the museum focus primarily on the history of Fort Lee and the history of the early motion picture industry that Fort Lee developed. The museum is small but well-designed and endlessly interesting, and makes for a particularly enjoyable experience for any film buff who wishes to learn more about the pre-Hollywood days of film-making in USA.
Fort Lee Museum
Address: 1588 Palisade Ave, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 12pm - 4pm; Wed: 7pm - 9pm (closed on Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri)
Bet on Bergen to give you a perfect holiday
Whether you visit a museum, get more physical workout at some of the county’s activity parks or enjoy the hospitality of its finer restaurants and bars, Bergen County has a wealth of attractions worth visiting. Of course, the bright lights of Manhattan lie across the Hudson Bay, but you don’t need to even leave the county to find days out and nights in the town that will keep any travelling party more than satisfied with the itinerary you put together.
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