New Jersey is home to cities that offer nature trails, sandy beaches, and quaint towns with historic significance. When deciding on a vacation destination for a holiday retreat, New Jersey cities have much to offer. Opt for a visit to culturally rich Morristown to enjoy a theatre performance, or see the Cape May Christmas parade floats with your kids. Choose from numerous New Jersey vacation rentals that put you within walking distance of many elaborate light displays and decorated homes and businesses, as well as winter wonderland festivals that offer entertainment for all ages. Enhance your holiday at one of these seven getaways in the state of New Jersey.

1. Morristown

the nutcracker
Source: Flickr/Larry Lamsa

Enjoy the holiday lights and the exciting aura of Morristown, a New Jersey city known for its Christmas cheer. Your vacation rental in Morristown in December puts you within minutes from the Macculloch Hall and Ford Mansion light tours. If you’re looking for an easy way to get in the holiday spirit, stop by the Mayo Performing Arts Center for an evening or matinee show of the New Jersey Ballet’s Nutcracker. The city’s Christmas Festival is also a big draw for locals and tourists, with its ice sculpture demonstrations, nativity displays, Christmas crafts, and live performances from local carolers and musicians. Join in the fun of the festival by visiting Santa or letting the kids hop on board the miniature train rides for a mid-afternoon thrill.

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2. Cranbury

Source: Pixabay/StockSnap

If you love Christmas music and an elaborate light show, then Cranbury is the ideal vacation destination for the holidays. The city residents host a light display on North Main Street with more than 120,000 lights that dance along to approximately 20 Christmas tunes. After admiring the displays, join in the fun of the season with the locals when attending the city’s tree lighting in early December, or spend an afternoon at the Cranbury Museum having a Christmastime tea.

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3. Cape May

christmas at fairthorne cottage cape may
Source: Flickr/Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC)

Tour the city of Cape May on board a holiday trolley to see the city’s light displays and residential decorations when venturing from your vacation rental. Cape May hosts a variety of activities for the holiday season, including a candlelit walking tour to view the downtown estates and the West Cape May Christmas parade the first weekend in December. Let the kids visit with Santa during the Hospitality Nights at the Washington Street Mall, or see a performance of One Christmas Carol at the Cape May Stage.

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4. Ocean City

Source: Pixabay/StockSnap

Relax in a vacation rental along the shore for the Christmas holiday before taking advantage of the season’s activities in Ocean City, home to the annual Christmas parade complete with homemade floats and performances by local bands and dance companies. Ocean City’s Christmas festivities include weekend breakfasts with Santa, a holiday show by the Very Ocean City Christmas chorale, and even a holiday dash that consists of a mile run through the decorated city streets. You and the kids can enjoy free carriage rides to see the city’s light displays when choosing this vacation destination for your Christmas holiday celebration.

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5. Red Bank

christmas parade
Source: Flickr/GoToVan

Spot Santa within view from your vacation rental when spending the holidays in Red Bank, home of the Santa parade the last weekend of November each year. Stroll through the downtown shopping district for unique gifts or take a free horse-drawn wagon ride to see the storefront decorations. Red Bank also hosts a holiday hunt each year where you and your family hunt through local businesses and attractions for Christmas-themed treasures. After a busy day of treasure hunting and shopping for your loved ones, opt for some toe-tapping music at the Count Basie Theatre that hosts evening and matinee holiday shows in December.

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6. Woodbridge

Woodbridge is a popular vacation destination for nature enthusiasts wanting to take advantage of the trails and amenities of Roosevelt, William Warren, and Clay Pit Ponds State parks; however, when December rolls around, this city transforms into a holiday-themed arts center reminiscent of the Polar Express. When vacationing in Woodbridge during the holiday season, attend the township’s annual Christmas parade, or spend the day at the Holiday Model Train Show. This annual event offers train enthusiasts a close look at trains situated near local landmarks and the city’s boardwalk. The opening ceremony at the beginning of December features a visit from Santa and a tree lighting. As the sun sets, take a drive through town and check out the beautiful light displays.

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7. Fairfield

snow shower at sunset
Source: Flickr/James Loesch

Get into the Christmas spirit with a visit to the Christmas Ice Caverns in Fairfield. This holiday display features animated characters, exhibits, and holiday displays covering the more than 10,000-square feet of Jody’s Silk Florist and Patio Center. Shop for specialty gifts, or take some photos with the characters while visiting this expansive display before opting to join in on the winter wonderland events downtown that includes horse and carriage rides and ice skating. Step into the interactive snow globe for a fun-filled activity with the family before heading back to your vacation rental for a warm mug of hot chocolate.

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