The western edges of New Jersey are often neglected for its more well-known coastal communities and bustling cities.
But many would be missing out on the charming towns and destinations that show off the rustic beauty of the Mid-Atlantic.
One of these hidden communities is Frenchtown, a borough sitting on the banks of the mighty Delaware River.
It’s surrounded by nature, making it a hotspot for adventures into forests, creeks, and rural attractions.
And as implied by its name, the town has a distinct French history that’s still celebrated today.
You can witness this heritage during their festivals or by touring the magnificent historic district.
So if you’re looking for a cultural destination with plenty of outdoor attractions, this is it!
Here are the 15 best things to do in Frenchtown, NJ:
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The Frenchtown Historic District is a 100-acre area that showcases some magnificent colonial homes, buildings, and structures.
But the most prominent attraction here is the Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Bridge, which connects the two eponymous towns.
This architectural wonder is a free bridge that has undergone many reconstructions and renovations, the latest in 2001.
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But it has been around since the colonial era, serving as a highway that crossed the Delaware River.
Today, the bridge is limited to small vehicles and pedestrians to preserve its integrity.
But most people enjoy it as a regal landmark viewed from the banks of the river.
It’s also a great subject for landscape photos, so bring your gear during your visit!
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One of the premier green spaces for families and friends is the scenic Frenchtown Preserve.
This 150-acre destination is under the care of county and community organizations whose task is to maintain the pristine state of the area.
In the past, it was planned to be a high-density residential suburb, but authorities saw the importance of the area for water protection and as home to native wildlife.
And so it was turned into a preserve that saw little development over the decades.
The only traces of human activity you’ll find are the meandering trails that wind through the park.
These will bring you to some key spots on the rolling terrain, such as ridges, wide meadows, and babbling brooks.
To access these locations, you can go on foot, bike, or horseback—whichever you enjoy most.
One place where everyone comes, whatever the season may be, is the Frenchtown Roller Rink.
It’s an ideal indoor destination for those who like physical activity without being exposed to the sun or the elements.
With its hardwood rink, modern amenities, and concession corner, the destination offers a great experience for every visitor.
So give your calves a workout and spend a few hours on a roller skate!
Don’t worry if you don’t have the equipment as the establishment offers rentals for all sizes and ages.
And if you’re a beginner at the sport, you can join engaging lessons where you’ll learn the basics.
Once you’ve had your fill of skating, visit the concession corner for some energizing snacks and refreshing drinks.
South of Frenchtown Preserve is an even larger green space favored for the beautiful sceneries, the gorgeous Horseshoe Bend Park.
With an area of 736 acres, this attraction offers plenty of space for outdoor adventures and communes with nature.
The trails lead to some of the most panoramic lookouts in the general vicinity, offering views of the magnificent Delaware River Valley.
Reaching these ridges is especially encouraged during fall, as you’d see the multicolored forests with changing foliage.
Aside from the trails, the park has amenities like an off-leash dog run area.
So if you’re bringing pets during your Frenchtown adventures, the park is a must-see attraction.
Don’t forget to check out Copper Creek Preserve and the Cooley Preserve, which are also located within the park.
Bastille Day is an important French Holiday that commemorates the Storming of the Bastille, a major event of the French Revolution.
The French colonists who arrived at New Jersey brought over this festival, and where better to celebrate it than Frenchtown?
Every year, there are different themes for the event.
But there are recurring elements that attract many people from all over the state.
Enjoy grand parades, fireworks displays, and bombastic parties—all of which are arguably more festive than the solemn celebrations of France.
There will also be live music concerts from local bands, talented performers, and seasoned instrumentalists.
And of course, tasty food will be served in heaps from the many stalls and vendors in town.
Gemstone Gallery is one unique attraction in the borough that you won’t find in other small towns.
It’s home to—you guessed it!—gorgeous gemstones of all kinds.
Once you enter the establishment, you’d be greeted with the glimmer of semi-precious stones on shelves and tables.
You’ll find amethyst geodes, glittering crystals, mineral cabochons, and many other beautiful stones.
Whether you believe in the metaphysical properties of these stones or just want a nice accent for your interiors, you’ll find plenty of options here.
Stocks are regularly updated, so you’re going to discover something new every time you visit.
Nextdoor is Petrified Wood Gallery, which offers wooden items that perfectly complement your crystals.
The scenic Frenchtown Park is the most accessible green space in the community, located at the edge of the town proper.
So many families come here for a quick escape from busy days.
While heavily forested, the spacious Frenchtown Park has many clearings where modern amenities are installed.
You’re welcome to use the picnic grounds and fields for an afternoon of relaxation and fun.
Then there’s Nishisackawick Creek, running through the middle of the park.
This body of water elevates the beauty of the attraction, giving it a serene ambiance that nature lovers will definitely enjoy.
You’ll also find a bridge that crosses the creek, a beautiful manmade structure that just adds to the fairytale-like beauty of the area.
The lengthy D&R Canal Trail is a magnificent path spanning 77 miles, traversing three counties within New Jersey.
A significant segment passes the western borders of Frenchtown, running next to the mighty Delaware River.
Whether you head north or south from the village, you’ll be treated to many beautiful attractions along the trail’s length.
North is the Raritan Canal, a historic waterway that connected the Delaware River to the Raritan River.
It served as the access point for watercraft, evident in the many ramps and launches you’ll find while biking or walking on the trail.
If you head south, you’ll reach the city of Trenton, the state capital.
Along the way, you’ll encounter many scenic sections, colonial homes and communities, forested segments, and municipal parks.
Even with less than 1,500 residents, Frenchtown still has a sizable downtown that doubles as the historic district.
Here, you’ll find many commercial and hospitality establishments offering an array of services and products.
The best place to try out the local dining spots is at Bridge Street, one of the main arteries in Frenchtown.
Bridge Cafe is a riverside destination near the Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Bridge, with a menu consisting of freshly-brewed drinks and baked delights.
Nextdoor is Cocina Del Sol, with its festive atmosphere and authentic Mexican dishes.
A little farther on Kingwood Avenue is Napoli Pizza & Italian Restaurant, an ideal destination for those who want classics like pasta, pizza, and cheesesteaks.
While it’s a little farther from the village proper, Arties Bar and Grill has maintained a reputation as a favorite hangout destination in Frenchtown.
This local institution has been around for decades, serving tasty dishes that make customers come back for more.
With the distinct wooden motif, the establishment creates an ambiance that makes you feel like you’re in a remote mountain restaurant.
But everything here is classic and familiar, with a menu of American and Italian staples that will satisfy any craving.
There’s also a Beach Bar outside with sand as flooring, making you feel as though you’re at the gorgeous shores of New Jersey.
While here, you can order any alcoholic beverage you desire from their wide selection of drinks.
The mighty Delaware River is a historically significant body of watermarking the western borders of Frenchtown.
Spanning 301 miles, the river starts from mountains in New York before emptying into Delaware Bay.
It’s an important resource for the agricultural communities on its banks, but many people also use it for recreation.
In fact, it’s the main destination in Frenchtown for water-related activities.
Many businesses in the village offer tube rides on the river, while other outfitter offers kayak and canoe rentals.
Fishing is also a favorite activity, whether on the shore or on a boat.
Some freshwater species to watch out for include carps, large and smallmouth bass, catfish, and sturgeons.
Once you’re done with your Frenchtown adventures, why not visit these other attractions in the vicinity?
Traveling to the other side of the Delaware River will bring you to another state—Pennsylvania.
It has many hidden wonders, especially the communities near Frenchtown.
One of these is the charming Erwinna, home to the historic Tinicum Park.
After less than five minutes of driving, you’d reach this magnificent woodland area sitting next to the river.
It covers 126 acres, with many natural attractions and manmade facilities within the spacious grounds.
You’ll find a disc golf course, picnic grounds, ball fields, and playgrounds where the kids can stay all day.
There’s also a rustic barn that you can rent for photo shoots, private events, and other activities.
There’s a thriving agricultural industry in this region of New Jersey, thanks to the fertile lands and nutrient-rich waters from rivers.
One of the main products in these areas is wine produced from grapes that flourish in the continental climate of the area.
There aren’t any big vineyards in Frenchtown, but there are lots in the nearby rural lands.
So if you’re looking for a place where you can sample fine bottles, head to Beneduce Vineyards.
It’s just 13 minutes away from the borough and is open all year except during the winter months.
By growing many grape varietals, the owners can produce various wines for any preference.
Join their tasting room and sample some of their chardonnay, pinot noir, reds, whites, and other types of wine.
Before leaving, don’t forget to bring home a bottle or two for special occasions and celebrations.
For a unique outdoor experience, head to Ringing Rocks County Park, another attraction across the Delaware River.
This famous destination is just 10 minutes away from Frenchtown, so you can easily drive to it if you have spare time.
At first, you might find the eight-acre patch of rocks unremarkable, but these melodic stones hold a wonderful secret.
These rocks are geologic wonders that produce distinct notes when tapped with something hard.
Owing to the unique composition of these primordial igneous diabase boulders, the stones create a resonating ringing sound in every hit.
Just find the right notes, and you’d be able to recreate your favorite song.
It’s like one giant xylophone, so bring a hammer!
The lengthy Delaware Canal State Park is unlike most state parks, which are usually expansive areas.
Instead, this state park follows the path of the Delaware Canal, a small body of water running parallel to the Delaware River.
So it’s much longer than it is wide.
Surrounding this small body of water are verdant trails, patches of forests, and colonial homes with well-preserved architecture.
It’s listed under the 25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks, attracting crowds of people from all over to see its magnificent views.
So come check out the pedestrian bridges, river islands, and small meadows that create picturesque views.
Fishing is also a favorite activity here as the canal is teeming with freshwater species usually found in the adjacent river.
While Frenchtown is small, it packs an array of attractions that will satisfy every preference.
Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, nature lover, gem collector, or food connoisseur, you’ll find an attraction that suits your needs.
Reference this list when making your itinerary so you won’t miss the top spots!
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