Hoboken’s a great little town, with an emphasis on little. One of the great things about this city is its self-contained aspects—everything you need is right here in town. You don’t even need a car to live here, really, as long as you plan your grocery shopping carefully. And in general anything you can’t find right here in town is just a short train or bus or ferry ride across the river in New York.
Sometimes, though, you can get a little stir crazy, and a change of scenery can do anyone some good. Vacations are all well and good, but what if you just need a quick break in the routine? A day trip is just the ticket—but driving anywhere means traffic and parking at your destination and then when you come home (possibly at night when the parking spots are few and far between). If you want to get out of town for a bit but don’t want to drive (or don’t own a car) it’s time to take a gander at places you can get to by train in under three hours and without too much complexity. Lucky for you, there are a lot of great spots you can train to directly from Hoboken (or from the Bus Terminal in NYC) and back again in just a day.
Just looking for a change of scenery? Morristown is a beautiful small town with lots of restaurants, hiking trails, historic spots (including Washington’s headquarters, of course) and the beautiful Frelinghuysen Arboretum. Just hop on the Morris and Essex line at the Hoboken terminal and you’ll be there about an hour later, ready to hike, shop, eat, and enjoy the natural beauty.
Jersey City in general is a great spot to train to for an excursion, but there’s not too much difference between the JC experience and what you have right here at home. Liberty State Park, however, is a whole different kettle of fish. Now that the State budget crisis has passed, this huge park offers incredible views, Liberty House Restaurant, and the Liberty Science Center. You can easily fill a day here when the weather’s good, and it’s easy to get to via light rail direct from Hoboken.
The Jersey Shore
The New Jersey Transit Shore Express actually leaves from Penn Station (departing at 9:01AM and 10:01AM on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays through September 9)but it’s worth the extra hike, as it’s a fast and comfortable way to hit any shore town on your list. Get there, grab some lunch, and set up on the beach for an afternoon of sun and fun.
Sure, you’ve got the shopping paradise of Manhattan twenty minutes away, but sometimes you just need a mall. An air-conditioned spot where all your favorite stores are gathered together, along with places to eat and anything else you might need during your day of shopping.
Containing the New Jersey Botanical Gardens and Shepherd Lake, this beautiful spot is where you can swim, hike, fish, boat, bike, and even ride horses. Although you have to take a bus from New York (the 197) it’s just one bus (no transfers) and then a short walk from the Park and Ride to the park itself, and the trip is well worth it on a nice day.
There’s a bus involved, but it’s worth it to visit New Jersey’s only actual meadery, the Melovino Meadery. A change of pace from wineries, mead is made from honey and various fruits to create a sweet, light alcoholic beverage that’s refreshing and ancient—mead has been produced and consumed since the dawn of civilization.
If you do want to sip some wine, the easiest thing to do is head to Brooklyn. Take the PATH and hop on the L and about half an hour later you’ll be at the Brooklyn Winery sipping away.
Whether you lack wheels or simply don’t want the hassle, hopping on public transit isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think—and you can do a lot of fun stuff in one day without giving up your parking spot.