All Jersey jokes aside—and in NYC, there are a lot of jokes—our closest neighbor is blessed with not just lovely beaches but quirky towns, incredible food and gorgeous natural parks. Here are four great reasons to explore the Garden State.

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For Adorable Small-Town Vibes: Lambertville (90 minutes from NYC)

This charm-filled village on the Delaware River is the perfect antidote to big-city burnout: Its walkable streets are lined with Victorian houses, cozy restaurants and more antique shops than you can shake a midcentury lamp at. Be sure to stop for unreal cashew-caramel ice cream (made from locally farmed dairy) at Owowcow.

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For a Miniature Trip to Seoul: Palisades Park (30 minutes from NYC)

Just across the George Washington Bridge lies the one of the country’s biggest K-towns. Make a beeline for Broad Avenue and feast on hearty tofu stew at So Gong Dong, hand-cut noodles at Halmae Noodles, mountains of crispy chicken and fries at Mama Chicken and green tea-cheesecake bingsu (shaved ice) at Café Leah. Afterward, sweat out your food coma at King Spa.

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For Blissing Out in Nature: High Point State Park (90 minutes from NYC)

Dig those hiking boots out of the back of your closet and follow a segment of the Appalachian Trail up to the highest point in New Jersey. At the summit—if your legs haven’t cried mercy—climb the 87-year-old veterans’ monument for an incredible 360-degree view that reaches three states (that would be New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania). Afterward, reward yourself with a swim in Lake Marcia.

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For an Idyllic Stroll, Bike Ride or Picnic: Duke Farms (1 hour from NYC)

We love Central Park, but finding a patch of grass amid the sea of people is no small feat. Instead, head to this 2,740-acre estate-turned-nature center for bucolic landscapes, a tropical orchid garden, lakes, waterfalls, sculptures, historic buildings and the ruins of an unfinished mansion (plus innumerable spots to spread out a blanket in the shade). 

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