Fun things to do in Highlands, NJ

It’s the town where filmmaker and comic book man Kevin Smith grew up, home to Sandy Hook Beach and its sprawling preserves, the location of the restaurant where the Lobster Boss serves up tasty bites, and it’s the place where some of the best local events happen. It’s Highlands, or as many local residents pronounce it — high-lands.

This quaint town is a stop away from route 36 and it’s the last town before the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge, separating it from the hustle and bustle nature of the towns that make up the northern most sections of the Jersey Shore. Don’t mistake it either for Atlantic Highlands, which is north of Highlands and a completely different town.

In this guide, we’ll answer some common questions about Highlands and also break down all the best fun things to do in Highlands. Sure, it’s a town that is hugged by water on one side, but you’ll be amazed by all that you can check out and see if you intend on visiting. We’ll start off this guide by mentioning those fun things to do in Highlands, followed by answering some of the common visitor questions.

Don’t forget to check out our many other guides below!

Shop the farmers market at Huddy Park

Location: Huddy Park, 70 Waterwitch Ave, Highlands, NJ
Why we picked the farmers market at Huddy Park:

Running from early summer to nearly then end of fall in November, the farmers market at Huddy Park is your destination for fresh produce, local crafts, and boutique clothes. It’s held every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Huddy Park, which is typically spaced out by various vendors. Parking is also relatively accessible with many of street parking spots are in close walking distance of the park.

Waterside views from the many restaurants

Bahr’s Landing Restaurant, 2 Bay Ave, Highlands, NJ
Inlet Cafe, 3 Cornwall St, Highlands, NJ
Proving Ground Waterfront Dining, 56 Shrewsbury Ave, Highlands, NJ
One Willow, 1 Willow St, Highlands, NJ 

Why we picked these restaurants with waterside views:

Since Highlands hugs Sandy Hook Bay, many of the restaurants have breathtaking waterside views. They include Bahr’s Landing Restaurant, Inlet Cafe, Proving Ground Waterfront Dining, and One Willow. They all have their various menus, but the fact that they all offer waterside views will impress you — more so when you can soak up the watery scenery on those perfect, warm summer days. Or perhaps having a drink while seeing the area transform from light to dark with the sun setting.

A chance to see humpback whales

Location: Seastreak Ferry Terminal, 326 Shore Dr, Highlands, NJ
Why we picked whale watching tours with Seastreak:

We didn’t think you could see some humpback whales off the Jersey Shore. That’s until we can across Seastreak’s whale tours. Not only do you get to board a ferry that typically offers rides to and from various parts of New York City, but they offer whale watching tours over the summer.

It’s an experience like no other, as you get the chance to possibly scope some of the many magnificent creatures from the sea. From a school of fish, to turtles, and even dolphins playfully bobbing up and down the water, Seastreak’s whale watching tours offers plenty to see. On top of that, there’s always the chance of seeing humpbacks up close and personal.

Learn the history about the Twin Lights State Historic Site

Location: 2 Light House Rd, Highlands, NJ
Why we picked the Twin Lights Historic Site:

From its rich history, to the breathtaking views that overlook Highlands and the surrounding areas, the Twin Lights Historic Site should be a place you should visit in Highlands, NJ. Visitors can tour the site, while learning the history of it as well. Even though the lighthouses are no longer in use, the site itself continues to draw visitors year round.

Situated at nearly the highest point in Highlands, around 246 feet above sea level, you’ll be treated to some amazing views wherever you look. It’s so high up that you can see the skyline of New York City in the horizon, as well as the nearby Highlands-Sea Bright bridge.

Soak up the sun at Sandy Hook Beach

Location: 128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ
Why we picked Sandy Hook Beach:

It’s the first major beach most people encounter when they travel south on the Garden State Parkway from northern New Jersey or New York City. Sandy Hook Beach is a summertime destination for many thanks to its sprawling location, which also happens to include many preserves. While there’s technically no boardwalk filled with retail shops, restaurants, and boutiques, Sandy Hook Beach is a far more reserved destination.

Of course you can soak up the sun while you’re there, or you simply can enjoy the peace and quiet. It’s most active during the summertime obviously, but the preserves around the area make for year round visits. Best of all, it’s a short drive away over the Highlands-Sea Bright bridge to nearby places filled with nightlife, restaurants, and bars.

Summertime drinks at The Sandbox at Sea Streak

Location: 325 Shore Drive, Highlands, NJ
Why we picked The Sandbox at Seastreak:

Beaches along of Jersey Shore coast are no doubt crowded during the summertime, but you don’t have to drive far for those summertime drinks at the beach. That’s because The Sandbox at Seastreak offers the best of both worlds. Part outdoor bar, part sandy beach where you can soak up the sun or swim in the water, it has plenty of fun things in store for visitors.

When it comes to food, there are a few food trucks parked outside of the location ready to serve up quick and tasty bites. The drinks from The Sandbox cover the gamut, covering summertime concoctions and other beverages. And lastly, there’s typically live music during the weekends — making a must-visit destination during warm and pleasant days!

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