Sure, there are lots of flea markets in NYC, but one thing the Big Apple doesn’t have is space to spread out all the goods. For that kind of flea market, NJ is where it’s at. You can grab vintage clothes, fresh produce from farmers markets and throwback video games as you snack on carnival food at these fleas, all located less than two hours away. See, New Jersey isn’t all that bad.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in New Jersey
Find a flea market in NJ
What started 70 years ago as a family-owned and -operated livestock and produce auction has evolved into a 150,000-square-foot indoor market and weekend outdoor multi-family flea and yard sale. On Fridays through Sundays, browse the 700 outdoor vendors’ fruits and vegetables, artisanal jewelry and crafts, not to mention the large assortment of secondhand clothes, furniture and collectables. Located near Pennsylvania’s Amish Country, the indoor area has buttery Amish baked goods, fresh meats and produce along with numerous other restaurant and food vendor options, perfect for those left hungry from all the good deals. 2 hrs by car
Enjoy the great outdoors—25 acres of it—while searching for a bargain among 500 al fresco vendors peddling antiques, furniture, housewares, clothing and collectibles. First opened in 1957, this Friday-through-Sunday shopping experience has come a long way from its origins as a livestock auction. Now it has a massive garage sale atmosphere, and you should get there early on Saturday for the best finds. Don’t be afraid to take your time at a table—underneath what might seem like junk will likely be a few hidden treasures. 1 hour 20 mins by car.
Got new digs you’re dying to decorate? Is your apartment in desperate need of a face-lift? Well, everything old is new again at this spot outside Lambertville. The dealers there are known to stay a step above competitive flea market fares, with secondhand china, rugs, furniture and decorative housewares that actually deserves to be called antiques (not junk). Collectors of1850 River Rd, Rt 29 all varieties should also make a stop here for the occasional great bargain on sports memorabilia, stamps, rare coins and toys. If all that thrifting leaves you thirsty, the on-site mom-and-pop café is there for you. 1 hr 30 mins by car.
A true throwback to an earlier era, this unpaved, old-timey country market feels like walking through a rural village from the mid-20th century. Most of the shops are set up in a series of forty historic buildings, including a repurposed WWII barracks relocated from Trenton’s Fort Dix and a former single-room schoolhouse. The goods include a large selection of wood furniture, vinyl records, used books, tools and even bicycles. To get the best deal, go ahead and haggle for it. 1 hr 30 mins by car.
You may remember MetLife Stadium’s parking lot from the last time you went tailgating before a Jets or Giants game, but on Saturdays, this empty lot becomes a mecca for hundreds of vendors. It can be a bit chaotic with all the open-air tables selling new and used clothes, electronics, toys and home goods, but if you’ve been to a football game you’re already used to that kind of crowd. Have no fear if you get lost—there are plenty of state-fair food stands (kabobs, hot dogs, lemonade) to fill you while you get your bearings. 25 mins by car, 1 hr by NJ Transit bus.
This isn’t your grandma’s flea market, unless you have one rocking grannie. The thrice-annual market brings a full weekend of live music, food trucks and punk rock memorabilia for sale. More than 200 vendors participate, selling the usual suspects (vinyl albums, silk-screen posters, T-shirts) and other killer items like taxidermy, classic video games and comic books. Groove while you browse to music from bands like horror-punk band the Undead and Jersey punk outfit Groucho Marxists. Gnarly. 1 hr 30 mins by car; 1 hr 40 mins by train.
Explore more of New Jersey
The state’s huge—and dare we say, underrated—cities are home to fabulous hotels and restaurants and vibrant art scenes.
From retro swimming spots dotted with hotels, bars and restaurants to hidden beaches tucked just out of sight, the state’s best swimming destinations are big on personality and great things to do.
You can tell a lot about New Jersey by the polarity of its nicknames. The Garden State. Dirty Jerz. But want to know a little secret? Both are a badge of pride.
Most New Yorkers think less than favorably of their Garden State neighbor. But if you can get past the ingrained refusal to speak nicely of New Jersey, there’s a whole new world to discover over the bridge and through the tunnel.
With sandy soil, mild winters and a long growing season—aka perfect grape-growing conditions—the state turns out some exemplary wines.
With options including Airstream trailers, safari tents, carriage houses or modern luxury with top-notch restaurant attached, it could be very hard to choose from our pick of the best places to stay.