Visiting the United States? There are 50 states in all. If you’re into the sounds of the ocean or of the concert stage, New Jersey is the place for you. 

Welcome to New Jersey! It’s called the Garden State for its many small farms (Jersey tomatoes are justly famous), and it boasts one of the oldest resort towns in the United States: Cape May, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

New Jersey’s proximity to New York makes it an ideal base for taking day trips to Manhattan, but there’s so much to explore in New Jersey itself. The Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum, in the heart of historic Tuckerton, features a working maritime village where you can learn about the Jersey Shore’s maritime heritage. In Trenton, the New Jersey State Museum and Planetarium embraces archaeology, fine art, natural history and more.

In Camden, you’ll find the Adventure Aquarium, with some 8,500 aquatic species represented. And if you want to go shopping, New Jersey offers upscale boutiques, outlet stores, flea markets and discount malls. (A bonus: There’s no sales tax on clothing or shoes here.)

Read more about New Jersey and check out the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.

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Lady Liberty

Ellis Island, part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, is almost entirely in Jersey City, New Jersey (with a small section of New York City territory as an enclave within it). More than 12 million immigrants passed through this station on their way to becoming U.S. citizens.

The iconic Statue of Liberty has always been a symbol of freedom to immigrants as they entered the United States. (NPS/EarthCam)

As seen on stage

Many musicians have roots in New Jersey — notably, crooner Frank Sinatra, rock stars Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, and rapper Queen Latifah. Have you heard of hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill, pop singers the Jonas Brothers, or alternative rock band My Chemical Romance? All from New Jersey.

From left: Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Queen Latifah. (Creative Commons; right, © AP Images)

Art in the park

Grounds for Sculpture, a 17-hectare museum and sculpture park in the town of Hamilton, is one of New Jersey’s most popular art destinations. Established in 1992 to promote an appreciation of contemporary sculpture, the park displays 270 large-scale works by Seward Johnson and other U.S. artists. As if that’s not enough, this beautifully landscaped space has thousands of trees and flowers — and a roving band of peacocks!

At New Jersey's incredible Grounds for Sculpture, this bronze sculpture of a man sleeping on a park bench is one of many works you'll encounter. (Tomwsulcer/Wikimedia Commons)
A bronze sculpture of a man sleeping on a park bench, with his head covered by a newspaper, is one of many eye-catching artworks you’ll encounter at New Jersey’s incredible Grounds for Sculpture. (Tomwsulcer/Creative Commons)

Take a snapshot at the shore

The Jersey shore is a popular vacation spot where you’ll find people (and sometimes animals, like this red fox) resting at Island Beach State Park. New Jersey has some of the best beaches in the United States. 

On the way to Cape May …

… stop by Atlantic City! Known for its boardwalk, this strip of beach has restaurants, concert halls and more. Here you can enjoy the international sand sculpting competition, where artists create masterpieces using only sand and water.

Sculptor Daniel Belcher finishes his work during the DO AC Sand Sculpting World Cup competition in Atlantic City. (© AP Images)

Sweet treats

Saltwater taffy originated in Atlantic City in the 1880s. While this candy was made near the sea, it doesn’t have actual salt water in it; the name came after a boardwalk shop was flooded, soaking the inventory, and a customer asked to purchase some taffy. The owner joked that all they had was “saltwater taffy.” His mother, who overheard the conversation, loved the name and it stuck from there. The sweet treat comes in 150 varieties.