The Garden State sometimes gets an undeserved bad rap—and North Jersey in particular. Sure, there might be a permanent stink when passing Exit 15 on the NJ Turnpike, but you can’t judge a state from its industry-lined highways (or a drive to its biggest airport). The truth is the state has plenty of beautiful natural spaces, and New Jerseyans are much more than what you see on TV (don’t miss our Jersey Shore section!). Perhaps the best way to summarize the state would be to borrow the old Latin saying “sed parva fordi”: small but mighty. Despite being tiny in geographic stature, New Jersey makes up for it with an abundance of personality and a profusion of culture.

You are never more than two hours from the ocean (aka “the Shore”), or three hours from skiing the Kittatinny Mountains. An imaginary divide separates the state into two distinct halves—North Jersey and South Jersey, each with their own subtle differences. While there’s no definitive barrier, the division starts about halfway down the Garden State Parkway, when the Wawas begin to outnumber the QuickCheks on the convenience-store front and the state’s professional sports allegiances switch from New York to Philly.

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