15 Best Things to Do in Middletown, NJ

Middletown, NJ
Andrew F. Kazmierski / shutterstock.com

The township of Middletown in New Jersey is not just a hub for recreation but also historic and cultural enrichment.        

The area, considered among the state's oldest European settlements, started as a farming community.

Officially incorporated in 1667, the township is part of Monmouth County.

By the 20th century, the township developed as more transportation methods opened up.

Today, it is known as one of the safest localities in the country.

It also covers several historic sites, some listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

With its proximity to beaches and various open spaces for recreation, the township of Middletown has become famous for those looking to reside in a suburban area.

It doesn’t hurt that it also has easy access to neighboring New York City.

If you plan on going to New Jersey, give this area a chance.

Before you list your travel itinerary, review this list of the best things to do in Middletown, New Jersey!

Explore the Bayshore Waterfront Park

People fishing at Bayshore Waterfront Park
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

Don’t miss out on the Bayshore Waterfront Park when you visit Middletown.

It is located at 719 Port Monmouth Road in the unincorporated community of Port Monmouth.

Adjacent to the Monmouth Cove Marina, the 227-acre park protects Sandy Hook Bay’s thriving coastal landscape.

It is home to a fishing pier and the historic Seabrook-Wilson House, one of the oldest existing houses in the region.

Seabrook-Wilson house at Bayshore Waterfront Park
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

If you want to relax, you may go for a picnic, fishing, boating, or birding!

From here, you will get a sight of the beach and a stunning view of New York City’s skyline.

Bayshore Waterfront Park doesn’t just offer a perfect recreational space and an opportunity to get in touch with local history.

Exterior of the Seabrook-Wilson house at Bayshore Waterfront Park
ScottCAbel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have Fun Outdoors at Applebrook Park

If you want to spend some time outdoors and try fun activities, go to Applebrook Park.

You may find it at Iler Drive, the neighborhood behind Fairview Soccer Field.

It’s the perfect place to visit, especially when traveling with kids!

The six-acre park features a playground, a baseball and softball field, and a soccer field.

You may use the fields after securing a local permit.

Whether you want to wind down or get some exercise, Applebrook Park will welcome you.

Take a Swim at Ideal Beach

Have a fun day out with family or friends at Ideal Beach.

It is located at Bayside Parkway in the neighborhood of North Middletown.

The beach is open to anyone who wants to swim during the summer or hang out on the sandy shores.

You may even go fishing and boating here!

The 25-acre beach park also has a basketball court for those who enjoy playing the sport.

Add Ideal Beach to your list of places to visit, especially for the hot summers.

See the Historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse

Exterior of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse
George Wirt / Shutterstock.com

The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is among the historic structures standing in the township of Middletown.

It is situated at 84 Mercer Road, within the grounds of Fort Hancock, one of the best-known Sandy Hook peninsula's tourist attractions.

As the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States, the octagonal tower dates back to 1764.

Despite operating for centuries, it remains well-preserved to this day.

Top half of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Roman Babakin / Shutterstock.com

Through the years, it has only been closed during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II.

The U.S. Coast Guard maintains its light while the National Park Service owns the structure.

During your visit, catch one of the tours led by park rangers to get a whole experience of the historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse!

Grab a Drink at Belford Brewing Company

Visit Belford Brewing Company and taste a local favorite during your stay in Middletown.

It is located at 84 Leonardville Road in the unincorporated community and census-designated place of Belford.

The local brewery offers tap rooms with a Jersey Fresh craft beer selection.

The place carries many flavors, from blood orange and orange to strawberry and raspberry!

The place itself has the atmosphere of an old-style pub, adding to the local experience.

Don’t forget to ask about the best-selling drinks to taste the community’s favorites!

Add beer tasting at Belford Brewing Company to your list of activities to try when you’re in the area.

Take a Walk or a Hike at Tatum Park

If you want to exercise while surrounded by nature, you should go to Tatum Park.

You may find it at 151 Red Hill Road.

The 366-acre park has rolling hills, woods, and open fields.

Named after the Tatum family, who donated 73 acres of the land to the county, the park is now a go-to recreational area for the surrounding communities.

Here you may find an activity center and a playground for kids!

Seize the opportunity to hike its beautiful scenic trails, where you may see the birds living in the woods.

Tatum Park is another of Middletown Township’s beautiful recreational spaces that you can’t miss out on!

See a Piece of History at Fort Hancock

Battery at Fort Hancock
Walt Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Visit Fort Hancock and learn about its role in the nation’s history.

It is located at 26 Hudson Road in the historic district of Highlands.

The former United States Army fort at Sandy Hook once played a crucial part in the harbor defense and navigation in the area.

Weapon displayed at Fort Hancock
George Wirt / Shutterstock.com

By December 1974, the fort was decommissioned.

Most of Fort Hancock has since been used as a recreational area for the public.

Make sure to book a guided tour while exploring the place to learn all about its history.

A building at Fort Hancock
George Wirt / Shutterstock.com

Pick up a Book at Middletown Township Public Library

Find a quiet spot and read a book at Middletown Township Public Library.

It is located at 55 New Monmouth Road.

If you want to spend some quiet time or relax with a book in your hand, stay at the local library.

The library has a wide selection of books for leisure and education.

People of all ages are also welcome to find the perfect book for them.

Check out the schedule of author talks held at Middletown Township Public Library, and you might catch one of them!

Explore the Beautiful Deep Cut Gardens

Daytime view of Deep Cut Gardens
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

Visit Deep Cut Gardens if you want to discover the beauty of plants from all over the globe.

It is located at 152 Red Hill Road.

The 54-acre grounds have gardens and greenhouses for various cultivated and native plants.

Flowers at Deep Cut Gardens
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

It features a parterre that houses 52 varieties of roses and 180 bushes.

While here, you may request a guided walking tour to learn about everything you encounter at the park.

You may also explore further by joining one of Deep Cut Gardens’ programs and events about horticulture.

Gardening enthusiasts cannot miss out on this gem in Middletown!

Spring blossoms at Deep Cut Gardens
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

Go Rock Climbing at the Gravity Vault

Try something new at the Gravity Vault, an indoor rock climbing gym.

Its Middletown branch is located at 37 Kanes Lane.

The establishment offers thousands of square feet of climbing spaces and walls.

Whether you’re a beginner or an enthusiast, the facility has different climbing options.

It provides day passes as well as private climbing sessions and group classes!

Some of the wall features you may find here include arêtes, keyholes, arches, chimneys, cracks, and overhangs, to name a few.

Strength and cardio training areas are also available here at the Gravity Vault.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See a Historic Home at Thompson Park

The house at Thompson Park
Zeete, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thompson Park provides visitors with open spaces and access to nature.

It is located at 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft.

The park is also home to the visitor center, the former home of Geraldine Thompson.

Built in 1896, the grand Colonial Revival mansion was once used as a Visitor Center and was destroyed by a fire in 2006.

It was eventually rebuilt and maintained its original style.

A gazebo at Thompson Park
Zeete, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The park was once Brookdale Farm, a facility for breeding and training thoroughbred racehorses.

Today, the park stands by the beliefs of its former owner by allowing children “to feel the ground beneath them and go out into the woods and see the trees and birds."

You can use the multi-use trails that stretch up to 4.9 miles, a playground, a fishing lake, and electric boats.

Thompson Park also has a Creative Arts Center, tennis courts, and an off-leash area for dogs.

Learn about Local Art and Culture at Monmouth Museum

Monmouth Museum serves as a center for culture and education in the region.

It is located at 765 Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, an unincorporated community and census-designated place within Middletown.

If you want to know the place you’re visiting, you should see its museums.

The 15,000-square-foot museum has two wings for children and two galleries with rotating exhibits.

The museum grounds, meanwhile, have a garden and plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy.

Established in 1963, the independent and non-profit establishment is one of the biggest private museums in New Jersey.

It features exhibits related to the arts, history, and science.

People of all ages are welcome to see and learn when they visit Monmouth Museum!

Catch a Live Performance at Brookdale’s Performing Arts Center

Brookdale’s Performing Arts Center serves as a venue for the community’s concerts, dance recitals, rehearsals, and lectures.

It is part of Brookdale Community College, located at 765 Newman Springs Road in Lincroft.

It houses a 360-seat main theater with a proscenium stage hall, comfortable seating, professional lighting and sound, and a full orchestra pit.

It also has a separate experimental theater, a black box performance area that may be reconfigured and seat up to 100 people.

It is the perfect space for small recitals or plays!

If you want to see the local community's world-class talent, check for the scheduled events held at Brookdale’s Performing Arts Center.

Catch a Game at Robert J. Collins Arena

Robert J. Collins Arena is a multi-purpose facility that primarily serves as a venue for athletic competitions in the area.

It is located at Arena Drive within Lincroft’s Brookdale Community College.

The arena was recently renovated to accommodate a broader range of events, including concerts, live cooking demonstrations, trade shows, and tournaments.

It features a four-lane indoor track on its upper level, which is available to members of the Fitness Center and for community events.

Meanwhile, the arena's ground floor has a 23-square-foot space and a 2,000-seating capacity.

Catch the Original Harlem Globetrotters, The Jersey Shore Home Show, and the Boys and Girls Shore Conference Basketball Tournament at the Robert J. Collins Arena!

Ride a Horse at Sunnyside Equestrian Center

Sunnyside Equestrian Center offers therapeutic horseback riding, focusing on individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities.

It is located at 628 Middletown-Lincroft Road in the area of Lincroft.

If you have experience with horses, you may want to train to become a volunteer at the center!

More than a hundred volunteers assist with the care of horses and the equestrian program.

The history of the place dates back to the 1700s, but it was just transformed from a working farm into a country estate in 1933.

Develop an appreciation and care for horses when you learn more about them at Sunnyside Equestrian Center.

Final Thoughts

From indoor to outdoor activities, Middletown Township has something for you!

It has cultural centers, historical sites, and opportunities for relaxation and adventure—both on land and water!

Don’t forget to review this list of the best things to do in Middletown, New Jersey!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.