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Top Events and Things to Do in Sussex County NJ

Updated on May 19, 2017

For those living in New Jersey or planning to visit soon, consider Sussex County as a must-stop New Jersey tourist attraction. Beautiful scenery, charming villages and close proximity to New York City make it an ideal vacation spot in the middle of a rural and picturesque landscape. Despite that the county is part of the metro area of New York City, it remains a quiet, forested area in north New Jersey that truly offers a place to get away from city life.

Whether you’re traveling solo, with a friend or the whole family, you’ll find plenty of entertaining events and attractions in Sussex County to keep your days and nights full of activities. Here are a few top things to do in Sussex County NJ while visiting this popular New Jersey destination.

Sussex County Fair
Sussex County Fair

Sussex County Fair

Each August the Sussex County fairgrounds is home to the New Jersey State Fair. Midway games bring out the competition in family members. Adventurers take on amazing amusement rides. Monster truck enthusiasts enjoy the massive machinery as it mucks around in the mud. Foodies disregard diets for the fried foods that only state fair food vendors concoct for the special event.

And what is a state fair without agriculture and livestock? Known formally as the Sussex County Farm & Horse show, this fair attraction promises all the horse, chicken, cow, pig and other farm animal specimens you expect. Although the fair lasts 10 days each August, the fairgrounds sponsors events in Sussex County all year long. Visitors to the area may also visit in the spring for the annual Springfest Flower & Garden Show. This event promotes horticulture and the environment with plenty of agricultural activities for the whole family to take part in while there.

Tomahawk Lake Water Park
Tomahawk Lake Water Park

Tomahawk Lake Water Park

A summertime staple attraction in Sussex County, the Tomahawk Lake Water Park is situated in a state park that has been successfully operated in Sussex County NJ for 61 years. Located in Sparta, New Jersey, the park offers 200 acres of family entertainment including a mini golf course, beer garden, horseshoes, picnic areas and white sand beaches. Of course, the centerpiece of family fun is the water park with splashy water slides and daring water coaster rides to bring out the extreme in water play adventures!

Wild West City in Stanhope, NJ

Take your family back to the old west when you visit Wild West City, a western heritage park located in Stanhope, New Jersey. The theme park brings the west to life with live action shows, mini train rides, pony rides and stagecoach. Open during the summer months, the venue provides a realistic experience of living life in the 1800s including a replica of the Main Street from 1880s Dodge City, Kansas.

Entrance to Wild West City
Entrance to Wild West City
Sterling Hill Mining Museum Tour Map
Sterling Hill Mining Museum Tour Map | Source

Sterling Hill Mining Museum

For a fun, educational trip, try the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. The complex is situated on what was once the area’s zinc mine. Visitors may take an underground mine tour and see geological wonders such as glow in the dark minerals, rare fossils and rocks that are found only in New Jersey. The museum also boasts an astronomic observatory with star viewing nights held monthly

Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Sussex County NJ


Space Farm Zoo & Museum

No trip to Sussex County NJ would be complete without a stop at the Space Farm Zoo & Museum. Situated on 100 country acres, the zoo provides one of the largest collections of North American wildlife in the world including rare species. People of all ages are able to observe wolves, bobcats, bears, tigers, monkeys and jaguars among the many species available at the zoo. The museum offers a showcase of American history such as war weapons from the American Revolution and Civil Wars, antique cars, primitive tools, Indian artifacts and more.


Green Valley Farms Fresh Produce and Rodeo

City slickers get a taste of the rural good life found in the Sussex County area with fresh veggies, fruits and flowers grown right on the property of Green Valley Farms. The farm also offers beef with no antibiotics, growth hormones or steroids – just fresh meat raised humanely in a natural environment. The strawberry harvest happens in summer with guests invited to pick their own strawberries during the festival in mid-June. Ice cream is on the agenda in July with farm guests enjoying samples of homemade ice creams made right on the farm. Come autumn area residents expect plenty of action from the Green Valley Farms professional rodeo. Every September, tourists and locals bring blankets and chairs to take part in all the rodeo festivities, which include live music, delicious barbecue and mechanical bull rides.

Happening Restaurants in Sussex County NJ

For a unique experience that will take you back in time, try the Chatterbox Drive-In, This 50s inspired restaurant located in Augusta NJ offers the best burger in Sussex County (according to the NJ Herald awards) along with a selection of malts and egg creams that will bring back the good ole days of fifties and sixties living. Owners also offer a center stage where they display a blast from the past such as classic cars, hot rods or motorcycles right in the middle of the restaurant.

The Chatterbox Drive-In, Sussex County, NJ
The Chatterbox Drive-In, Sussex County, NJ

Aside from restaurants, shopping and other local attractions, each season brings something for everyone to enjoy. Spring flowers fill the area with their lovely scent and colors. Summer brings in a tasty harvest of fresh fruits and veggies along with plenty of outdoor activities to satisfy hikers, bikers, boaters and swimmers. Fall visitors find harvest festivals, pumpkin patches, hayrides, apples, pumpkins and corn. The cold of winter finds tourists and residents enjoying skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing.

With so many events and things to do in Sussex County NJ, this year-round destination requires more than just a day or two to experience all the fun. Several state parks are located in the county, and the area is also part of the Appalachian Trail. Next time, you’re looking for things to do in New Jersey, why not try Sussex County?

Sussex County, New Jersey


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      Cassandra 2 years ago

      Just what the doctor orerded, thankity you!