Budget-Friendly Day Trips in Central Jersey

A statue poses at the Princeton Art Museum / Courtesy of Princeton Art Museum
A statue poses at the Princeton Art Museum / Courtesy of Princeton Art Museum

Written by Brianna Gunter

Uncovering hidden local treasures doesn’t have to cost a king’s ransom. These wallet-friendly locales will give you a feeling of discovery on the cheap. The best part? These destinations are only a tank of gas (or less) away.


Princeton University Art Museum

McCormick Hall


(609) 258-3000

Why Go? Located on one of the most historic campuses in the nation, Princeton University Art Museum is home to more than 82,000 works of art in a variety of genres.

Insider Tip: The museum has no parking lot of its own, but parking is available on the street and in nearby parking garages. If you don’t mind walking, you’ll be able to find free street parking farther away from the downtown area.

Must Do: “We offer 5,000 years worth of art, but on a scale that is easy to enjoy in one visit,” said museum spokesperson Erin Firestone. Don't miss the outdoor sculpture collection.

The Fine Print: The museum is open year round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Monday.

New Jersey State House

125 W. State St.


(609) 847-3905

Why Go? The State House is not only the place to see New Jersey’s government in action, but it is also a historic building.

Insider Tip: Parking gets crowded in the State House complex, so you may just want to cut your losses and opt for street parking. There are free spots farther away.

Must Do: Be sure to go down Route 29 and get a look at the famous (or infamous) “Trenton Makes” bridge spanning the Delaware River.

The Fine Print: Tours are free and offered hourly during business hours, Monday through Friday.


River Horse Brewing Co.

2 Graphics Dr.


(609) 883-0890

Why Go? If you enjoy beer, a visit to this growing craft brewery is essential. See how beer is made and sample it, too.

Insider Tip: Have a designated driver if you plan to hang out and try more beers after the tour. (Ewing’s police station is on the next street). 

Must Do: Be sure to sample the seasonal beer.

The Fine Print: “Tours are year round on Saturday and Sunday with reservations,” a River Horse spokesperson said. Reservations can be made online. Each tour costs $5 a person and you have to be at least 21. 


Jenkinson’s Aquarium 

300 Ocean Ave.

Point Pleasant Beach

(732) 892-0600, Ext. 130

Why Go? A trip to the boardwalk is a great way to spend the day. The aquarium is fun and inexpensive.

Insider Tip: To avoid large groups of schoolchildren stay away from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, aquarium employees advised.

Must Do: Remember to drop by one of the aquarium's most entertaining exhibits—the penguins. 

The Fine Print: Admission for adults is $10; seniors and children, $6. The aquarium is open until 5 p.m. every day.


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