The 50 Best Reasons to Live in New Jersey

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There are about 9 million of us living here, and we all can’t be delusional.

Apart from those who live here primarily because of job or family, most New Jerseyans live here because they like it here! New York City is a quick PATH or train ride away — why live there?

The Shore, the Pine Barrens, beautiful countryside, diners, beaches, the nation’s most diverse city, small towns, great scenic highways — does any state pack as much variety into one compact package as New Jersey? Nope.

Here are the 50 best reasons to live in New Jersey, from someone who was born here (Trenton) and has travelled endlessly to every part of the state. This list could have easily included 100 or more items.

Roadside farm stands

Forget that store-bought, grown-in-California, -Mexico, -Peru or wherever produce. Nothing beats a tomato, peach or other fruit or vegetable from a Jersey roadside stand. Scores of family-run stands dot the landscape, and there are an additional 144 community farmers markets in towns across the state. N.J. ranks third nationally in cranberry production, fourth in tomatoes, bell peppers, peaches and cucumbers (cukes? who knew?) and sixth in blueberries. We’re not called the Garden State for nothing.

Small towns

New Jersey may be the nation’s most densely populated state, but its small towns are underpublicized, underappreciated treasures. Of our 565 municipalities, 397 have populations under 15,000 and 190 have populations under 5,000, according to census figures. Those numbers don’t even include the towns and hamlets that are part of municipalities: the Chatsworths, Mauricetowns and West Trentons of the world. Unlike, say, the Shore, small towns make for great year-round exploration. Here’s my list of the state’s top 33 small towns, ranked.