Even if you think New York City is the best place in the world, everyone needs a weekend getaway sometimes, and what’s better than a beachside bed-and-breakfast? NJ actually has some awesome options—yes, we may give our neighboring state a hard time, but when it comes to beaches, wineries, and flea markets, the Garden State is a fantastic place to visit. Whether you’re just looking for weekend R & R or a week’s worth of summer vacay shenanigans, New Jersey’s vast selection of B&Bs has you covered.
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The Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast
If you’re hoping to soak up the sun and get some culture while you get outta the city, this gorgeous 19th-century Victorian home in Cape May is where it’s at. Stay the night in one of the nine guest rooms—each named after a different historic Victorian, including Charles Dickens and Lilly Langtry—and wake up to find an assortment of egg dishes, sweet pastries and toasted breads. Beach bunnies need only walk one block to the ocean, while history buffs will appreciate a ghost tour in the haunted mansion just a few blocks away. 102 Ocean St, Cape May (609-884-8702, queenvictoria.com). $190 per night and up, rates change seasonally.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/nhoulihan
The Mainstay Inn
Though this beautiful Victorian was originally a gambling clubhouse in the 1870s, today the historic building is a lovely place to stay the night in Cape May. The bedrooms, which have names like the Stonewall Jackson Suite and the General Grant Suite, are decorated with antique furniture, Persian rugs and colorful wallpaper. Use the inn’s beach chairs and towels for a day by the ocean or curl up in the ornate parlor with a good book. 635 Columbia Ave, Cape May (609-884-8690, mainstayinn.com). $130 per night and up, rates change seasonally.
Get away from the bustle of the city at Woolverton Inn. The stone manor house, built in 1792, is surrounded by over 300 acres of scenic protected farmland. Many of the rooms have furnishings fit for a country gentleman and lady, with wallpaper that would make an interior decorator swoon and bathrooms updated with large whirlpool tubs. Enjoy breakfast in bed and a stroll in the garden or, if you visit in the winter, hit up the ski slopes in nearby New Hope, Pennsylvania, and warm up by the fire afterward. 6 Woolverton Rd, Stockton (609-397-0802, woolvertoninn.com). $155–$445 per night.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/johnnyr
Whistling Swan Inn
If you’re hoping to enjoy the great outdoors away from crowded beaches and bustling city flea markets, take a trip to the Skylands region of northern New Jersey. Only an hour-and-a-half train ride from Manhattan, the Whistling Swan Inn is conveniently located near several state parks where you can hike and bike—don’t worry about bringing your own ride; the inn has several. Explore the nearby quaint town and antique markets before returning for delicious home-baked cookies in the B&B’s beautiful Victorian garden. 110 Main St, Stanhope (973-347-6369, whistlingswaninn.com). $135–$279 per night.
Spring Lake Inn
The Jersey Shore isn’t just for MTV reality shows. Instead, snag a room with an ocean view at this 19th-century mansion in Spring Lake for a civilized and relaxing stay. After breakfast in the dining room or on the expansive porch, hit the waves and the two-mile boardwalk. (There’s also Six Flags amusement park just 30 minutes away.) During the summer, end your night on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at nearby Point Pleasant with the spectacular firework display. 104 Salem Ave, Spring Lake (732-449-2010, springlakeinn.com). $199–$599 per night; Nov 1–April 30 $99–$399.
The Tandem Bike Inn
You don’t need a car to appreciate a stay at Belmar Beach. This lovely beachy inn is located two blocks from the New Jersey Rail Station and around the corner from the beach, marina and shops on Main Street. The breakfast there, which includes a large selection of fresh fruit and scones, is particularly delicious. If you get tired of walking everywhere or if you want more exercise, borrow a bike—there are two-wheelers and beach supplies included with your stay. 603 10th Ave, Belmar (732-556-6621, tandembikeinn.com). $125–$290 per night.
Sea Spray Inn
Wake up to innkeeper Mary Ellen Georgas-Tellefsen’s famed crumb cake and savory breakfast delights at this 19th-century former boardinghouse. Beyond the dining area and your serenely decorated bedroom, the Jewel of the Jersey Shore—Ocean Grove—awaits you with local galleries, shops, the beach and concerts at Great Auditorium. And it’s all just an hour-long drive from New York City. 19 Broadway, Ocean Grove (732-897-0700, theseaspray.com). $160 per night and up, prices change seasonally.
Photograph: Courtesy Christian Giannelli