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Great Historic Day Trips in Central Jersey

Revisit the past with these great day trip destinations.

Members of the Matawan Historical Society pose in costume outside the Burrowes Mansion.
Members of the Matawan Historical Society pose in costume outside the Burrowes Mansion.
Written by Brianna Gunter

Tired of the same-old family activities? In Central New Jersey, there’s so much to see and do nearby, and your family members can learn more about their state’s rich history while having fun. The best part? You can get to all these destinations on one tank of gas (or less).

Allaire Village in Allaire State Park

4265 Atlantic Ave.

Wall Township, NJ 0772

(732) 938-2371

Why Go? The historic 1800's mining village is the main attraction. “All of our events are geared towards families,” said Events and Operations Manager Shannon Gance. “They’re our main demographic.”

Must Do: Head to the blacksmith shop for live demonstrations and an authentic experience of how things were made in the 1800's. The general store is also worth a visit for fun 19th century games and toys.

Insider Tip: The village has a bakery, but you also can bring your own food.

Fine Print: Entrance fee of $3 per adult and $2 for children; kids five years old and younger get in free. 


Battlefield State Park

16 Business Route 33

Manalapan, NJ 07726

Why Go? One of the largest battles of the Revolutionary War took place here on June 28, 1778. You can see the battlefield itself and other historical landmarks.

Must Do: Venture over to the Craig House, an incredibly well-preserved revolutionary-era farmhouse. 

Insider Tip: There are a variety of hiking trails throughout the park, but if you want to learn a lot of details about the Battle of Monmouth, there are exhibits located on Perrine Hill, Combs Hill, and the Hedgerow. Maps are available at the Visitors Center.

The Fine Print: There is no entrance or parking fee. Park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Old Barracks Museum

101 Barrack St.

Trenton, NJ 08608

Why Go? There are a lot of historical sites in Trenton, but these are among the best preserved.

Must Do: Be sure to visit the Gallery to see exhibits on different aspects of colonial New Jersey and the Revolutionary War.

Insider Tip: If you don’t like street parking, go over to the barracks on Saturday, when a nearby parking lot is open to the public.

The Fine Print: The entrance fee is $8 per person; $6 for seniors and students. Kids five and under are free.


Burrowes Mansion

94 Main St.

Matawan, NJ 07747

Why Go? Tucked away on Matawan’s historic Main Street is the Burrowes Mansion, a house that pre-dates the birth of George Washington. “We’ve got a lot of stories that we tell about the museum that appeal to kids and adults,” said historian Al Savolaine.

Must Do: A favorite part of the house for young and old visitors alike is the musket ball holes in one wall, left over from a 1778 raid by a group of Tories.

Insider Tip: The gravesite of Philip Morin Freneau is a six-minute drive from the mansion. Freneau is often called “The Poet of the American Revolution.”

The Fine Print: The Burrowes mansion is open to the public on the first and third Sundays of every month, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., although special tours for groups can be arranged.


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