• NicoleDeRosa

NEW JERSEY - Part 1: Asbury Park to Freehold

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

New Jersey is packed with things to do and spots to see, whether you’re interested in discovering hidden gems or exploring local hotspots. We've got it all...mountains, lakes, beaches, farms, cities, small towns, museums, vineyards, historic landmarks, skiing, entertainment...I could go on and on. Best of all, nothing is too far away!

Life in the Garden State may be wonderful but, along with all the perks, there are a few downfalls. If you can afford it, it's definitely worth it, but, it is one of the most frequent complaints that you hear about the Garden State. You can practically afford a palace in Pennsylvania for what you might pay for a modest home in some parts of New Jersey. That being said, it's also a wonderful place to go on vacation as well.

I've compiled my favorite restaurants, activities, attractions, and more! This is only Part 1, so be sure to check out Part 2 afterwards. Also, let me know in the comments if you have more spots to share!



Cookman Creamery

711 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit their website here

Family owned frozen dessert shop, specializing in hand-crafted small batch ice creams. Plant based vegan flavors available! All their vegan bases begin with coconut cream, almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter, sweetened primarily with agave and brown rice syrup. Check them out here



660 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit the website here

Head into this beautifully designed corner restaurant for sushi and Japanese cuisine. The lounge feeling that they have cultivated is the perfect match for the masterfully designed dishes and innovative cocktails you will enjoy.

Pascale & Sabine

601 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit the website here

A part of the local restaurant company Smith, Pascal & Sabine is a trip to France from the second you sit. This tastefully designed location pairs classic French food with modern touches to create one of the most sought after bites in town.


513 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit their website here

Cardinal is the culinary collaboration of chefs Grace Crossman and Laura Brahn. By day, they can be found providing full service breakfast and lunch with great carryout and, by night, hosting pop-up dinners both inside their restaurant and out.

Cardinal also offers catering in every which way: from intimate indoor dinner parties to elaborate fire-lit farm weddings.

Crust & Crumble Gourmet Pizzeria & Bakery

633 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit their website here

The Robinson Ale House

1200 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit their website here

Tim McLoone's Supper Club

1200 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit the website here

Tim McLoone's Supper Club opened in July 2008, bringing back the supper club concept of days gone by. Tim McLoone's Supper Club offers the experience of great live entertainment paired with exquisite cuisine. Located on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, above The Robinson Ale House, you will find an elegant venue to enjoy some of the area's finest entertainment.

The upscale menu offers many starters and exceptional dinner choices as well as delicious dessert samplings that are made daily by their in-house pastry chef. Tim McLoone's Supper Club can also host your private event in this beautiful room with a view.

The Asbury

210 5th Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit the website here

Sleep | Eat + Drink: The Counter, Soundbooth, Salvation, Asbury Lanes

| Swim | Baronet: Movies on the Roof , Wellness + Fitness , Book A Private Event | Weddings + Events | To Do | Pics | Local

The Asbury mashes up Asbury Park's Victorian-era history, rock-n-roll present, and shiny future into a new kind of social hub. Come experience their vibrant bars and hangouts like their renowned rooftop lounge Salvation, the outdoor rooftop movie theater Baronet and their lively lobby bar Soundbooth.

There’s something for everyone at The Asbury, whether it’s hanging by the pool, enjoying live music in the lobby, soaking up a well being class on Baronet or simply relaxing in your room!

Stella Marina

800 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit the website here

Whether it’s for one of their cocktails and a quick pizza during their happy hour, or a long dinner with family and friends, Stella is sure to cure that craving for Italian. Their Bolognese is as close to pasta perfection as you will find on the boardwalk. Reservations highly suggested.


517 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park, N.J.

Visit the website here

Known locally as the best special occasion spot in Asbury, the views of the lake paired with their excellent offerings are worthy of a visit.



JUS Organic

135 First Ave. Highlands, N.J.

Visit their website here

Fresh, simple and elegant Organic, Vegan & Vegetarian food inspired by the rich and exotic flavors of the world. Serves Breakfast + Lunch (8am - 4pm / Closed on Tuesdays) Smoothies, Juices, Coffee, Specialty Lattes, Natural Boosts + Add Ons, Kid's Menu, Tartines + Toasts, Buddha Bowls, Salads, Sides.

About | Menu | Instagram

The Atlantic House

67 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.

Visit their website here

The Atlantic House is family owned and operated in the vibrant coastal town of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Originally from England, the owners take inspiration from the warm pub culture and traditions. In a modern setting, their restaurant is a casual place to gather, eat great food and feel at home.

Made with Locally Sourced and Organic ingredients, Chef Neville's delectable creations are unique and delicious.

Dinner Menu | Drink Menu | Catering

Things To Do:

Bayshore Trail + Henry Hudson Trail

This paved, 10-foot wide, 24-mile long trail is a former railroad right-of-way. It is relatively flat, traveling through both man-made and natural environments. Much of the trail is tree-lined, though some parts have views of surrounding wetlands, streams and fields.

Henry Hudson Trail - An ideal trail as it is flat, shady and you can ride for over 22 miles.

Try the Highlands to Atlantic Highlands bike walk path. In Highlands go to the end of Shore Drive down past the Seastreak ferry. Going straight you can’t help but go into the park. Nice bike ride right along the river , with views of New York, going into Atlantic Highlands.

Activity Center - 945 State Hwy 36, Leonardo 07737

Popamora Point - 369 Shore Drive, Highlands 07732

Visit the Monmouth County Park System website here

Hartshorne Woods Park

1402 Portland Road, Highlands, NJ (Rocky Point Entrance)

307 Navesink Avenue, Locust, NJ (Buttermilk Valley Entrance)

239 Locust Avenue, Locust, NJ (Claypit Creek Entrance)

Visit the website here

A hilly, forested 794-acre site overlooking the Navesink River, this park is among the highest elevations along the Atlantic Coast and features prominently in area history as a former coastal defense site. Known for its challenging trail system and scenic views, Hartshorne Woods is a popular park for area hikers, bicyclists and outdoor enthusiasts.

Park features: group cabin camping (by reservation), cross country ski trails, fishing in the Navesink River and trails for walking, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. It's the perfect place to escape the sounds of suburbia.

Hartshorne Woods Park has the most extensive and challenging series of trails (over 14 miles) in the Park System. They include: Rocky Point (paved), Claypit Creek (water views), Buttermilk Valley (dirt trails) Hikers, bicyclists, and casual walkers can all find trails to their liking. Please stay on marked trails, plan your route, take a trail map, and wear appropriate safety gear. Enter from Navesink Ave., Locust or Portland Rd., Highlands.

Atlantic Highlands Art Council

54 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.

Visit their website here.

We just stumbled upon this wonderful art gallery. The mission of the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is to strengthen community through the arts. They are a 100% volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization that believes in the power of the arts to transform and enrich communities. Their primary function is to develop and execute events and arts related activities for the benefit of the community.

When we were there, we saw the "CHAOS AND ORDER" exhibit by artists, Paul Hansen and David Levy. Their work is absolutely incredible and kaleidoscope-like in the way that you look at it and within a few seconds, different themes & images reveal themselves. They are truly remarkable pieces and I'm now a huge fan of their art.



Seed to Sprout

410 Main Street, Avon-By-The-Sea, N.J. (also located in Fair Haven)

Visit their website here

Cake Shop | Raw Food Cleanse | Menus

Alex & Cara, are the owners of the plant based restaurant Seed to Sprout. Seed to Sprout was born out of a deep passion for plant based eating, and overall natural wellness. What started as a weekly dinner pop-up, quickly grew into a multi location business on the Jersey Shore.

Alex & Cara opened the doors to Seed to Sprout in Fall of 2012, right in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. Through this they were able to connect with the community and meet some of their most loyal customers. Over the years, the restaurant and offerings have evolved to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, pantry products, raw food cleanses, custom cakes, catering, cooking classes, and so much more. Alex & Cara currently have two restaurant locations in Avon-by-the-Sea and Fair Haven, a bakery location in Wanamassa. The Avon-by-the-Sea location even has an Herbal Apothecary!

Cavé Bistro

515 Sylvania Avenue, Avon-By-The-Sea, N.J.

Visit their website here

Cavé Bistro has a wonderful seasonal paleo, gluten-free menu served in a quaint bistro setting. Following his own healthy transformation, Chef Doug shares his passion for serving up nutritious meals made from wholesome ingredients. After discovering better health after he adopted a strict gluten free diet, Doug was inspired to share his discovery. His back problems resolved, he slept soundly and shed 30 pounds without much effort. He opened Cavé Bistro, the Jersey Shore’s first gluten free prepared meals service, and later expanded to become a full service restaurant. One of my favorite items on the menu is their gluten free tacos!



Luna Verde

400 Main Street, Bradley Beach, N.J.

Visit their website here

Authentic Mexican Vegan Restaurant / Latinx Owned / Black Owned / Family Owned / Women Owned / 100% Vegan

Where Food Meets Love | Patio Verde | Menus

The Hidalgo Family name Mexican food as their favorite. As a vegan family, parents Mahonrry and Eslin Morris, along with their son, Marel (who just happens to be an amazing guitarist), have wanted to share their love of delicious and homemade (vegan) Mexican food. When the right location became available, they decided to open a restaurant themselves.

After opening in 2018, Luna Verde has gained a large following all across the state, not only vegans, but also foodies who enjoy made-from-scratch, flavorful, and innovative cooking. Offering bright and spicy salsas, rich guacamole, plenty of tacos, burritos, flautas, chimichangas, desserts, updated specials, and gluten-free options.



Beach Plum Farm

140 Stevens Street, West Cape May, N.J.

Visit their website here

Beach Plum Farm is located less than two miles from Cape May’s famed historic downtown. Established in 2008 by owners Curtis Bashaw and Will Riccio, the working farm is open to the public and welcomes visitors from near and far to enjoy its quaint serenity. Spend an afternoon exploring the open spaces, or stay overnight in one of their beautiful cottages to truly experience the rhythm of farm life.

Choose from five historic cottages and barns situated right on the farm. With space to sleep anywhere from six to eight guests, these homes are perfect for a family vacation, reunion or getaway with friends!

Farm to table meals: Nestled in the main Amish barn, the Farm Kitchen features an ever-changing menu based on what’s fresh in the fields that morning. Enjoy homespun breakfast and lunch selections at a picnic table surrounded by greenery and sun.

Since 2008, Beach Plum Farm has grown to produce over 100 kinds of fruits and vegetables as well as chickens, eggs, and Berkshire hogs. The Farm provides produce and meats to local Cape May restaurants including The Ebbitt Room, Blue Pig Tavern, Rusty Nail, Boiler Room, Louisa’s Café and more!

Garrett Family Preserve at Cape Island Creek

609 Lafayette St, Cape May, N.J.

Visit their website here

Are you looking for something fun and new to do in New Jersey? Give rail biking a try! What exactly is rail biking? An exciting activity that involves riding pedal-powered machines along inactive railroad tracks. It’s like biking, but cooler. Rail bike systems are located across the country, repurposing abandoned railroad tracks to create scenic cycling routes.

Enjoy a scenic ride around an actual nature preserve when you take this rail trail trek. Your four-mile out-and-back journey will take you past creeks & salt marshes, through wildflower fields & alongside green, grassy meadows. It's a scenic trek! A picturesque, peaceful Cape May excursion, it's a wonderful way to enjoy wildlife. You may spot a wide variety of songbirds, raptors, bumblebees & butterflies. The relaxing journey is suitable for riders of most ages & ability levels. The trek lasts about 90 minutes & is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. A family-friendly day trip activity, rail bikes can fit 2 or 4 riders. Children age 4 & up can ride on their own, with seatbelts. Children under age 4 can ride in a front-mounted carrier.

These rides are made possible thanks to a partnership between Seashore Lines & Revolution Rail Company. Revolution Rail Company also maintains miles of track in the Adirondack Mountains. You can find more information & book your rail bike adventure here. Reservations are recommended. During peak season, rides are available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., so this journey will work well with whatever vacation schedule you’re planning. They also offer rides on a reduced schedule in the spring and fall. You may even come across wintertime slots. Don’t miss out on the best new nature attraction in Cape May, New Jersey!



Delicious Orchards

320 NJ-34, Colts Neck, N.J.

Visit their website here.

A wonderful farm and country food market offering a wide array of baked goods all made on site in their scratch bakery. Delicious Orchards is home to the finest meats and cheeses with unique deli, prepared foods and grocery sections. Perfect gift baskets, coffees and teas, an ever increasing organic department, a personal shopping experience offering curbside service, catering and outdoor dining at their Cider Café where you can enjoy your meal under one of their many apple trees. Note: Closed on Mondays!

Things To Do: