Last August, New Jersey made it official: Central Jersey is a region worthy of visiting. So, what’s the fuss all about? New Jersey’s official tourism website explains it this way:

Cherry picking at Terhune Orchards, near Princeton.

“The Central Jersey Region boasts a bumper crop of agritourism experiences. Dine in farm-to-table restaurants. Indulge your inner foodie at a variety of culinary festivals. Peek behind the scenes and pick your own fruits and vegetables at working farms and orchards. Taste the Garden State’s farm-fresh best from roadside produce stands. And sip and savor your way through the region with tasty craft brews, wines, and spirits.”

They have it exactly right.  While New Jersey is best known for its shoreline, the quieter Central Jersey region has been overlooked. This summer, why not discover the region’s unique charms with a long weekend or even a full week’s stay?

Patrons listen to music while lining up for local ice cream at Princeton’s Halo Pub.

Experience Princeton!

A great place to start is Princeton, the iconic college town that happens to be an epicenter of farm-to-table movement. Here you can find a dozen restaurants that prepare extraordinary meals with locally grown ingredients. The movement started locally in 1982 with the formation of the Momo Restaurant Group, later than it started in California and Oregon, but before the “slow food” movement began in Italy in 1986.

The Momos today have several local Princeton area restaurants, including Mediterra and Teresa’s Caffe.  In addition to fine dining, you’ll also find farm-to-table pizzerias, bakeries, ice cream shops, and crepes! The Princeton area also is home to great arts and culture, history, outdoor recreation and first-class accommodations.

And you’ll find many of the same amenities—farm to-table, craft beverages—in smaller town environments in Hopewell and Hightstown, all in Mercer County.

Love Flemington!

Another great starting point for a Central Jersey visit is historic Flemington, in Hunterdon County, with something for everyone. Stroll its tree-lined streets, where 65% of the borough is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Famously, the Hunterdon County Historic Courthouse was the scene of the Lindberg “trial of the century,” and it will reopen to visitors this summer.

Surrounded by 1,600 farms, Flemington has been the bustling agricultural and railroad hub of Central New Jersey for hundreds of years. It is now home to 450 businesses, including artisan coffee shops, farm-to-table restaurants, antique shops and boutiques, and craft beverages. A weekly farmer’s market on Saturdays at the old Stangl factory is popular, and you can enjoy weekend excursions on the historic Black River & Western Railroad, which offers a popular Wine Express.

The cover of the 2024 New Jersey Visitor Guide with the owner (l) of Hidden Spring Lavender Farm.

The ‘Garden State’ for a Reason

Central Jersey’s bountiful farms and vineyards are a big draw, and one of the reasons New Jersey is still the Garden State. In fact, a Central Jersey farm—Hidden Spring Lavender and Alpaca Farm—graces the cover of the 2024 New Jersey Travel Guide Magazine.

For nearly five decades, the Terhune Orchards and Winery near Princeton has been a New Jersey agritourism leader, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors annually for berry- and apple-picking, harvest festivals, and an on-farm market that’s open almost every day. Norz-Hill Farm and Snyders Farm in Somerset County also welcome many visitors for berry and pumpkin picking.

Several other farms are known for their local cheeses—Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse, Cherry Grove Farm, and Gorgeous Goat Creamery. And you’ll find some remarkable vineyards offering stunning views, music, and great wines.

U-Pick blueberries at Snyders Farm in Somerset.

It’s a great year to experience Central Jersey’s booming breweries and distilleries, thanks to a major reform law that has freed breweries and distilleries to offer more live music and special events, and to coordinate with nearby restaurants and food trucks.

New Jersey’s ‘Highline’

This summer also brings the 50th anniversary of the D&R Canal State Park, New Jersey’s “highline,” stretching 70 miles through all four Central Jersey counties and justifying Central Jersey’s identity as New Jersey’s “canal region,” as you’ll find when making plans with our interactive map.

Make sure to include a walk, run, bike, or paddle in whatever section is closest to your Central Jersey plans this summer, and keep an eye out for 50th anniversary plans being developed for the fall.

Central Jersey may be new to the state tourism map in 2024, but locals have been aware of its charm for generations. Come see for yourself what inspired a 7-minute segment on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

For more information about everything to see and do in Central Jersey, visit  This article is supported in part by a grant from New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.

The D&R Canal State Park’s towpath in Franklin Township, Somerset County.