If you’re looking for scenic lakes, family parks, or local recreation spots you can enjoy on a family holiday, Lakewood, New Jersey, has all these and more.
The Lakewood Township is in Ocean County with a rapidly growing community, ranking as the 5thmost populous municipality in the state in 2020.
The township is also home to many Orthodox Jewish and Latino communities, thus presenting a diverse township culture.
Lakewood is also known as a center for Orthodox Judaism.
You can find the Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva outside Israel, in Lakewood.
Historically, Lakewood went by the name Bricksburg, after Joseph Brick from the Bergen Iron Works.
After incorporation in 1892, the town became famous for the rise of luxury hotel resorts that hosted the prominent and affluent.
The township shifted to other industries in the 1960s when the hotel industry dwindled.
Today, you can enjoy an array of historical, natural, and local attractions.
Here are the best things to do at Lakewood, NJ:
See a Show at Strand Theater
Strand Theater is a vintage theater that opened in 1922.
It is one of Lakewood’s historic jewels.
The renowned architect Thomas Lamb designed the theater, which is now a State Landmark.
The National Register of Historic Places has also added the building to its list.
The Strand in the earlier days showcased an array of vaudeville, films, and Broadway show pre-performances.
Currently, the theater offers an airconditioned interior that can seat 1,066 people.
It also remains the county’s premier entertainment location.
It is also hailed as one of the best-sounding theaters in the United States thanks to its exceptional acoustics.
Catch the featured shows on the theater or join a theater tour to learn about the Strand’s history.
View the elegant and fantastic architecture.
Experience theater life by peeking into the backstage areas, dressing rooms, and secret passageways.
You might even want to know how a fly system works.
Enjoy the Beautiful Outdoors at Ocean County Park
John D. Rockefeller once owned Ocean County Park as a part of his vacation estate.
Today, the Ocean Park No.1 is a free public park that offers many outdoor activities.
This incredible 565-acre park teems with hemlock, white pine, Norway spruces, and unique specimen trees.
Rockefeller himself imported these trees from around the country.
On warm summer days, you can enjoy a relaxing swim or fish at the sizeable pristine lake.
Enjoy a stroll at the 3.1-mile perimeter walking trail or have a bike ride at the biking trail.
Get active, play tennis and pickleball at the courts, and enjoy a game of disc golf at the 18-hole course.
Little ones can also enjoy active fun in the playground while pets can run about on the off-leash facilities.
Other great amenities include the open play fields, volleyball courts, driving range, restrooms, and a vast picnic area.
If you’re here during the winter, you’ll see the beautiful winter slopes with cross-country skiers speeding their way through.
Paddle a Canoe or Kayak on Lake Carasaljo
Check out the sparkling waters and sceneries around Lake Carasaljo on a canoe or kayak.
This lake gets its name from the three daughters of pioneer and businessman Joseph Brick: Carolina, Sarah, and Josephine.
It is one of the township’s natural gems, spanning 4.5 miles in its perimeter and sitting on the 176-acre parkland.
Aside from paddling, you’ll enjoy plenty of activities by the lake like fishing and swimming.
Run some laps, go biking on the trails, and enjoy a relaxing lakeside picnic afterward.
The area is also a popular community events venue and a favorite spot to catch the 4th of July fireworks.
The lake is also a great ice skating spot during the winter.
See the Splendid Gardens at the Sister Mary Grace Burns Arboretum
Located on the Georgian Court University campus, The Sister Mary Grace Burns Arboretum features a series of historic garden landscapes.
In the early 1900s, the architect Bruce Price designed the gardens.
Pass by the Italian Garden to see the Apollo Fountain, numerous old statutes and floral urns, and the vast Eagle sculpture made of wrought iron.
All of these come with budding florals and lush greens.
The Sunken Garden shows an elaborately designed marble staircase leading to the brick path winding around the lagoon and a 17th-century fountain.
The lovely Formal Garden comes in the French parquet circle style.
It has beds of colorful Dianthus and marked with towering trees like white pine, Norway spruce, Japanese apricot, and sapphireberry.
Lose yourself in the Japanese garden, filled with Japanese yew, Japanese cherry, Hinoki falsecypress, Japanese maple, and the weeping Higan cherry.
Walk along the garden path to view the sukiya or tea house leading to a small wooden bridge.
Landscape architect Takeo Shiota designed all these areas.
You’ll also see various medicinal plants and herbs at the Wellness Garden, an addition to the historic gardens.
You can take free self-guided tours and personal tours around the arboretum.
Cast Your Lines at Lake Shenandoah Country Park
Lake Shenandoah County Park is a 143-acre parkland with a hundred-acre lake area surrounded by tall oaks and pines.
You’ll love fishing on the calm waters of Lake Shenandoah with its abundant stock of trout.
You also have access to the large piers, boat rentals on the site, and the bait and tackle shop.
Aside from fishing, the park also offers a conservation area you can visit, a biking trail, a playground, and a picnic area.
Restrooms are also available, and park facilities are all handicap accessible.
Likewise, you can play sports at the soccer fields, softball fields, and basketball courts.
Discover the Town’s History at Lakewood Historical Museum
If you want to discover more of the township’s colorful past, the Lakewood Historical Museum should satisfy your curiosity.
Located in the historic school building, Kuser Hall, you’ll see an extensive collection of local artifacts and memorabilia.
See the old photographs of Joseph Brick and his daughters.
View the galleries dedicated to the military accomplishments of Lakewood citizens and athletes like Purnell Minc, Robert Carlson, and Jack Arden.
Some exhibits feature the township’s elementary education and houses of worship, specifically the Beth Medrash Gohova.
Likewise, you can explore town's significant hospitality and entertainment industries.
The museum also features fascinating paintings of local landmarks and historical photos.
You can drop by the museum from Monday to Friday.
Play Outdoor Sports at Pine Park
Located in the northwest area of the Lakewood Township, Pine Park is one of the public parks you can enjoy with your family.
This area formerly belonged to George Jay Gould’s estate.
Today, it offers various recreation and sports.
The 149-acre park hosts sports areas, campgrounds, ball fields, and an open area that serves as a venue for community events.
Visitors can access the basketball, handball, softball fields, and tennis courts.
Have a picnic on a sunny day and let your little ones jump and run around the playgrounds.
Enjoy the Musical Celebrations at the Carousel of Music Concert
One of the ways you can surely enjoy the Lakewood community is watching annual events like the Carousel of Music Concert.
Held on Sunday nights from July to August, this open-air event features the Lakewood Municipal Band and the Lakewood Jazz Ensemble.
You’ll enjoy this famous summer jazz concert for free.
Tap your feet to the beat of the incredible music in the company of family and friends.
Wilbur Wittemann directs this annual event, which will help you appreciate and love jazz music the Lakewood way.
If you’re dropping by during the summer, don’t miss out on the fantastic performances at this event.
Level Up Your Game at Eagle Ridge Golf Club
The Eagle Ridge Golf Club is a 27-hole championship golf course in Ocean County’s northern area.
The course offers a vast fairway and bent grass greens with enough elevation changes to challenge your game.
Eagle Ridge Golf Club is also surrounded by Northern Ocean County’s lush natural pines, so you’ll enjoy a dramatic natural setting.
If you want to take your tee game to the next level confidently, the Golf Academy can help you improve your golf skills.
Enroll in programs for individuals and small groups, women, couples, and family groups, which are available year-round.
You can end the day on the scenic course with delicious food paired with a pint of ale at Eagles Nest.
Eating or enjoying a pint of ale are the top activities at the recently remodeled Eagles Nest.
Watch Exciting Ballgames at First Energy Park
Take yourself out to the ballgame at First Energy Park.
The park features a 6,588 seating capacity and grass seating that can accommodate up to more than 3,000 people.
It also has 17 SkyBoxes, a party box by the Kimball Medical Center Champions Club, and two party decks.
You can enjoy the picnic areas for group picnics and family gatherings.
Watch and cheer on the Lakewood baseball team, the Jersey Shore BlueClaws.
A better way to enjoy the ballgame is by grabbing a bite of traditional ballpark food at the concession stands.
You can also find collections of BlueClaws memorabilia and fantastic merchandise at the Claws Cove retail store.
Bounce around at Sky Zone
Bounce around with the whole family at Sky Zone Lakewood.
This trampoline park offers exciting attractions for all ages like the Freestyle Jump, which features wall-to-wall trampolines.
You can also play the Skyslam, where you can jump and dunk on the trampoline court.
Challenge your friends on the obstacles at the Ninja Warrior Course, play Ultimate Dodgeball, or test your balance at the Battle Beam.
Climb up to the Warped Wall, fly up and land safely on the Foam Zone.
Then, enjoy swinging and soaring through the air on the Trapeze and Swing.
There’s also a VR Zone where you can explore and enjoy virtual worlds and games.
Bond with your little ones at Little Leapers, where they can climb, bounce and have energetic fun and adventure.
If you want to burn some energy while having fun, you can join an hour of dynamic workouts at SkyFit.
Weekends at SkyZone offer lots of Glow fun where you can jump and party all night.
Play with lasers, backlights, and dance music, plus glow gears, swag, prizes, giveaways, and face painting to add to the fun.
Taste Local Crafted Brew at Icarus Brewing
Taste locally brewed beers and drinks at Icarus Brewing.
The brewery includes a tasting room, an al fresco beer garden, and a mezzanine that lets you view the production room.
You can book an indoor tasting from Wednesday to Monday.
Likewise, they are open throughout the week from noon to evening.
Drink barrel-aged flavors like the Little Grey One, BA Valjean, Coconut, and Desist.
Sip on the Hoppy Ale samples like the Aztec Shake, Samarra Sauce, and Through The Spyglass.
Try their different Lagers, Pilsners, and Traditional Ales like Private Beach, Tmavy Lezak, and Christoph Maltz.
Otherwise, order the Stouts and Porters series like the Making Whoopie, Feed The Altar, and Our Riviera.
They also serve a local sour mix of The Juice Is Worth The Squeeze and the Thyykarus slushies.
The establishment is kid and pet-friendly, and you can bring your food to enjoy with their drinks.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Climb the Heights at ClimbZone
You’ll have hours of indoor family fun at ClimbZone, an attraction just a few minutes away from Lakewood.
This place is in Howell Township, New Jersey, ten minutes from Lakewood.
Climb up the 68 climbing walls with various hand-painted themes.
Slay the giant with Jack and climb the beanstalk, help Rapunzel by climbing her hair up the tower, or soar into space.
Try the 2-Level Sky Trail Rope Course and Zip Line, reaching up to 30 feet high and features a curving roller rail and wobbly walking plank.
Little tots can enjoy bouncing and running around the Soft Play area with slides, climbing walls, tunnels, and landing on soft air balls.
Another attraction at ClimbZone is the Virtual Reality Center, where you can have loads of virtual fun.
If you miss your favorite classic game, head out to the Arcade and play Air Hockey, pinball, or Galaga.
They also have several massage chairs available throughout the facility in case you need quick relaxation.
Get Fresh Catch at the Scenic Echo Lake
Echo Park, also known as Alfred C. Sauer Park, is a small municipal park in Howell on Maxim Southard Road.
The large lake area is a lovely spot offering plenty of things to do on your visit.
Enjoy the waters on a kayak or canoe and fish for a fresh catch of trout.
Little ones can enjoy the park’s playground while you can enjoy downtime at the gazebo or eat at the picnic benches.
You can go on a nature trek on the short trail that winds through the woods behind Echo Lake.
Visit the duck blind and watch ducks, geese, and a variety of wildlife species roaming the park’s area.
Explore Interesting Bugs at Insectropolis
Learn about the life and ways of insects and bugs at Insectropolis.
You can find it in Toms River, New Jersey, 12 minutes from Lakewood.
Learn the basics at Bug University and hear about Class Insecta and its unique characteristics in the Taxonomy.
Know interesting facts about these insects through touch-screen computer games and discover their appetites at the Caterpillar Café.
Explore how insects communicate on WBug Radio and learn about the harmful agricultural pests in Rock State Prison.
Marvel at insect activities in the different sections like the Battle Zone, Rubber Tree Plant, Mud Tube, and Creepy Cavern.
Take a peek into the busy bee colony at the Hive Airport and see extraordinary specimens at the Bugseum.
Of course, visit the Insectropolis Zoo and check out the arthropods in season and other venomous creatures.
Insectropolis is open from Friday to Sunday, so you can find a unique place to visit on the weekend.
Lakewood Township should be on your list of family-friendly places for your next vacation.
It offers excellent attractions, from nature parks and lakes to outdoor recreation spots.
The town also presents enjoyable events and engaging local spots that highlight the unique township.
Experience the diverse community and beautiful sites at Lakewood and do the best things on the list.
Book your trip today!
See also: Best Restaurants in Lakewood, NJ