Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Camden, NJ

  • Published 2022/09/26

If you love frolicking around Philadelphia and find yourself across the Delaware River in Camden, New Jersey, don’t be too quick to turn around.

The county city of Camden County got its name from the city’s first earl, Charles Pratt.

The city, located in the South Jersey region, is home to more than 20 neighborhoods.

Camden was notorious for being one of the most dangerous cities in America, with a high crime rate.

Fortunately, the local city has started developing Camden, reversing this bad reputation.

Even if news stories about Camden might deter some tourists from visiting the city, a day excursion to the riverfront should be worth the trip.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Camden, New Jersey:

Get to Know the Animals at the Adventure Aquarium

Exterior of Adventure Aquarium

Aneese /

The Adventure Aquarium is one of the top zoos in the country, ranking 8th in the list of best aquariums in the country, according to USA Today.

Located right on the Camden Waterfront, the Adventure Aquarium is a fascinating experience for animal lovers of all ages.

Entrance to Adventure Aquarium

Alan Budman /

Walking through each aquarium section, you can get within inches of sharks, stingrays, and other sea creatures.

The penguin exhibit is also a must-see, where you can learn about African penguins and feed them.

Younger children will have a grand time interacting with mermaids.

Clownfish in Adventure Aquarium

Oleg Kovtun Hydrobio /

Starfish, lobsters, and octopuses are some of the main attractions at the one-of-a-kind Adventure Aquarium.

Fun activities will fill your day as you check out the 3D theater, visit the Creature Feature, or stay in the Grotto.

Shark tank in Adventure Aquarium

Laya Gerlock from Philippines, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Browse Rarities at the Camden County Historical Society

If you are up for learning more about the history of Camden, then the Camden County Historical Society is the perfect spot.

The Society has preserved the history of Camden County since 1899.

Through the histories and memories of the residents of Camden County, the Camden County Museum documents 170 years of the country’s history.

The exhibit galleries feature a rotating selection of exhibits on topics such as the history of Camden, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War.

The Camden County Historical Society also offers a variety of educational programs for school groups, including self-guided and docent-led tours.

The museum is inside Pomona Hall, at the corner of Park Boulevard and Euclid Avenue.

Visit the Walt Whitman House

Travel back to Walt Whitman’s House, a National Historic Landmark.

Walt Whitman owned this tiny Greek Revival-style wooden-framed house, built in 1848.

Walt Whitman lived in this house when he wrote the poem “Leaves of Grass,” which gained worldwide recognition.

The poet also hosted guests from around the world, including authors Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde, while working on his final poetry collection before passing in 1892.

The restored Walt Whitman House now serves as a New Jersey State Historic Site and receives tourists who want to see where the “Poet of Democracy” lived his final days.

The House contains Walt Whitman’s letters, personal things, and bed, all preserved.

Walt Whitman House also features 19th-century photos, including that of Walt Whitman, taken in 1848.

Spend the Day at the Ulysses Wiggins Waterfront Park

The Ulysses Wiggins Waterfront Park is an expansive green space with a total area of 51.22 acres where locals and tourists go to relax and have fun.

This park gets its name from Dr. Ulysses Simpson Wiggins, a well-known medical professional in the early 1900s.

Besides its generous outdoor space and verdant grass, the Ulysses Wiggins Waterfront Park also has a Riverstage where concerts and other live performances and cultural events occur.

Bicyclists and hikers can go directly from the Ben Franklin Bridge Pedestrian Walkway to the Ulysses Wiggins Waterfront Park Promenade.

The path stretches for 1.2 miles from the Ben Franklin Bridge to the Battleship New Jersey; see breathtaking views of Philadelphia.

The Ulysses Wiggins Waterfront Park is also within walking distance of the Adventure Aquarium and Battlefield New Jersey, making it a convenient place to spend a day if you’re visiting those attractions.

Explore the Fantastical Camden Children’s Garden with Your Kids

Entrance to Camden Children's Garden

Alan Budman /

The Camden Children’s Garden is a whimsical oasis in the middle of the city.

The four-acre garden features indoor attractions, imaginative horticultural play, and other kid-friendly attractions.

The Camden Children’s Garden features a Garden Carousel, with the sea dragon as its attraction.

Likewise, the Arrow River Train is a fun bonding experience for kids and adults, while Red Oak Run will tickle your senses as you walk on a Garden Maze.

On the other hand, the Butterfly House is also one of the most popular attractions in the Camden Children’s Garden, where you can encounter various species of butterflies and learn about their life cycle.

Sculpture in Camden Children's Garden

Laura Blanchard from Philadelphia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also choose your favorite section among the different gardens, including the Storybook Gardens, Dinosaur Garden, and Cityscape Garden.

To learn everything about food, enter the Potting Shed, and explore the Food: From Farm to Family exhibit.

Kids can play in three settings: the farm, the farm market, or the family kitchen.

Meanwhile, parents look on and rest on a bench.

A carousel at Camden Children's Garden

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Walk Down Memory Lane at Pomona Hall

The Camden County Historical Society runs Pomona Hall, a colonial mansion at 1900 Park Boulevard and Euclid Avenue.

The Cooper family founded Camden County and lived in Pomona Hall in the 18th century.

According to historical evidence, Joseph Cooper, Jr. constructed the first section of Pomona Hall.

He was the son of William Cooper; William Cooper arrived in the American colonies from England in the 1670s.

Although it was uncertain when the house became known as Pomona Hall, Pomona Hall was already on Hill’s Map of Philadelphia and Environs, printed in 1809.

Pomona Hall depicts the eighteenth-century home life of the affluent Cooper family through the year 1788.

Pomona Hall tours connect contemporary Camden County citizens with European, African, and Native American traditions.

You’ll learn all of these concepts during the guided tour, which lasts for about an hour.

Catch a Live Show at the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion

The Freedom Mortgage Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater.

The indoor venue can accommodate up to 7,000 people for concerts and other events, while the combined indoor and outdoor amphitheater seating boasts a 25,000 seating capacity.

The Freedom Mortgage Pavilion has a long and rich history and is famous for its many concerts and live shows.

Built in 1995, it has undergone multiple name changes.

The Freedom Mortgage Pavilion was once the Tweeter Center and later the Susquehanna Bank Center.

They renamed it the BB&T Pavilion in June 2015 and then to its current name in 2019.

The arena is just across the river from Philadelphia, making it a convenient place to see a concert if you’re visiting the city.

Support the Local Theater Scene at the South Camden Theatre Company

The South Camden Theatre Company is a local theater company that stages different shows throughout the year.

Founded in 2005, the company provides a high-quality theater experiences for the residents of Camden.

Since South Camden Theatre Company’s inception, the company has produced a wide range of plays, musicals, and other live performances.

The South Camden Theatre Company is in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden.

The company offers shows, including The Brothers Size, Incorruptible, Terminus, and Daphne’s Dive.

Check out the South Camden Theatre Company for a unique theater experience in Camden.

Discover the Glory of Battleship New Jersey

Daytime view of the Battleship New Jersey

Racheal Grazias /

The Battleship New Jersey, indefinitely moored on the Delaware River at the Camden Waterfront, is the most honored battleship in American history.

The battleship is a striking feature of the shoreline at almost 900 feet long and 11 stories tall.

In July 2000, the Battleship New Jersey docked at the Camden Waterfront to undertake repair work and transformation into something like a museum.

They meticulously restored the Battleship New Jersey to reflect her appearance throughout her service in World War II and the Persian Gulf War.

Cannons on Battleship New Jersey

Beast Master /

It now functions as a tourist spot, a place for school field trips, an educational setting, a place to stay, and a venue for special events.

The Steam to Speed Engineering Tour, a sightseeing tour that takes visitors inside the ship’s engine rooms, has also opened aboard the Battleship New Jersey.

They also launched Jason’s Kids Kompartment, a play area where preschoolers may have fun and learn a little about the Battleship New Jersey.

The Camden Children’s Garden also offers educational programs for school groups.

Aerial view of Battleship New Jersey

James Nesterwitz /

Explore the Richard H. Hineline Research Library

The Richard H. Hineline Research Library is a research library focusing on genealogy.

The Camden County Historical Society named the Library after board member Richard H. Hineline in honor of his many years of dedication and charity to the Society and the organization.

Richard H. Hineline Research Library features almost 100,000 materials, including books, photos, and manuscripts.

The Library also has the most comprehensive archive of historical Camden County newspapers on film and a sizable database of city directories for both Camden and Philadelphia.

Richard H. Hineline Research Library also has information for most of the neighborhood cemeteries.

Celebrate a Birthday at the Millennium Skate World

Boasting cutting-edge technology, Millenium Skate World is the go-to place in Camden for a birthday party.

The skating rink is on Camran Street and offers a variety of activities for all ages.

The facilities at Millenium Skate World include arcade games, a cafe, and a snack bar.

You might hear your favorite songs played across more than 12,000 square feet of seamless enjoyment with ample seating for rest and contemporary art light to inspire you to get moving.

There are also adjustable skates to help kids learn to skate faster while you guide them.

Otherwise, you can let your kids use the Skate mates to gain confidence faster and learn how to balance.

Millenium Skate World also features the Stuff Shop, a one-stop shop for all your skating needs.

Enjoy the View at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel

For a relaxing vacation, stay at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The hotel is on Penn Street and offers a variety of amenities for a comfortable stay.

The hotel boasts an outdoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and a meeting room.

The hotel’s water view rooms have plenty of space to walk around, a roomy desk with an ergonomically designed chair, free WiFi, and stunning views of the Delaware River and Philadelphia.

You can also try the sumptuous food at their restaurant and grab a bite of their famous Mobley burger.

Chill Out at Wiggins Park and Marina

Skyline views from Wiggins Park and Marina

Alan Budman /

Perched on Riverside Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard, Wiggins Park Marina is a picturesque deep-water harbor with a 12-foot regulating depth at average low tide.

You can find it on the Delaware River just south of the Adventure Aquarium.

Open from April to October, the Wiggins Park and Marina serve as a docking facility for both temporary and seasonal vessels.

Docked boats at Wiggins Park and Marina

Alan Budman /

The marina also boasts several on-site amenities, including a ship store, laundry facilities, a salon and spa, restrooms, and showers.

Wiggins Park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenery while visiting Camden.

The grounds of Wiggins Park and Marina

Alan Budman /

Other Things to Do Nearby

If you still want more attractions, you can visit the places near Camden, which are as beautiful.

Marvel at the Artworks at the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

View of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge at night

Michael G. Mill /

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which spans the Delaware River from Philadelphia to Camden, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Jersey.

The bridge opened in 1926 in Philadelphia, six minutes from Camden.

It’s a 1,750-foot-long suspension bridge with decorative lighting.

In 1987, they put up the bridge’s decorative lighting, with halogen lights at the bottom and reflectors at the tip of all 256 vertical cables illuminating the stunning bridge in different lights.

Lights of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Sean Pavone /

In a 2000 renovation, they installed colored LED lights on the bridge’s deck, with varying effects controlled by a computer.

The results include the “Chasing Rainbow” effect and vibrant light displays themed to holidays and other special occasions.

The Ben Franklin Bridge also serves another little-known purpose: a miniature art gallery that features statues, paintings, colored tiles, and other pieces.

Not every sculpture is visible from the bridge, but if you pass slowly or cross the walkway at certain spots, you can see some fascinating artwork.

Road of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Eric Dale /

Spend a Memorable Summer at the Spruce Street Harbor Park

The Spruce Street Harbor Park is a riverfront park and a popular spot for summertime activities, with its sandy beaches, hammocks, and picnic tables.

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the park is 11 minutes from Camden.

Likewise, three unique bars provide over 15 local breweries, cocktails, and frozen drinks.

Marvel at the Spruce Street Harbor Park’s floating gardens and stunning trees decked out in multicolored lights.

You can bond with friends and relax while sipping locally crafted brews and partaking in delicious food at Spruce Street Harbor Park restaurant.

The Park is also perfect for a chill night out.

You might get lucky enough to watch a local musician perform live jazz or learn how to dance salsa.

Final Thoughts

Camden is the place to experience a mix of culture, history, and fun.

There’s something for everyone in Camden, whether you’re interested in visiting museums and historical sites or frolicking under the sun at one of the many parks.

You can also find plenty of shopping and dining options in Camden, nightlife, and entertainment.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Camden, New Jersey!

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