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Top 8 Things To Do in Whiting, NJ

Two friends walk on the beach near Barnegat Lighthouse

Part of the charm of Whiting, New Jersey is that it’s peaceful and quiet but only a short ride away from all kinds of pleasant ways to pass an afternoon. That includes local treasures like Jersey Berry wine, as well as world-class dining, beaches, parks and recreation. Here’s our nod to the top eight things to do near Whiting, NJ, as well as the distance you’ll need to travel to enjoy them.

1. Popcorn Park Animal Refuge (5 miles)

Located in Fork River, this animal refuge is currently home to more than 200 animals. It all began when the founders of Popcorn Park rescued a racoon caught in a leg-hold trap in 1977. Knowing that surviving in the wild was not an option, they created a refuge. Since then, tens of thousands of animals have been rescued and cared for at Popcorn Park — and they all have a story. Angel the pig was living with a family but became too aggressive to stay. Aslan the lion found himself homeless when the Canadian zoo he was at closed during the pandemic. Gandalf the baboon lived with an elderly man who could no longer care for him. Angel, Aslan, and Gandalf are just a few of the animals one can see here. If you love animals, Popcorn Park Animal Refuge will prove to be a unique and fun experience for everyone. The refuge is open from 11am to 5pm daily. Admission starts at $5. Note that, due to healthcare concerns, the feeding of animals, including popcorn, is no longer allowed.

2. Anvil Farms (6 miles)

It doesn’t get any more local than Anvil Farms in Forked River, where every season is celebrated with fresh produce. In the spring, that means fresh vegetables like arugula, turnips, and kale, while summer fills the fields with cucumbers, watermelon, peaches, zucchini, corn, peppers, and more. Fall brings more bounty in the form of sweet potatoes, onions, cauliflower and pumpkins. Even winter has something to offer, including honey, poinsettias, and fresh evergreen holiday décor. Check the farm’s Facebook page to learn what’s available — or simply stop by to see for yourself. Anvil Farms is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

3. Local Golf Courses (all less than 15 miles)

Looking to hit the links? New Jersey is home to what many consider the best golf courses in the world — Pine Valley Golf Club in the southern part of the state. But it’s about an hour away and you’ll have to know somebody to play there. The good news is there are three great options just outside of Whiting waiting to be played on:

  • Located in Lakewood, Eagle Ridge Golf Club offers 27 holes in a lush pine setting.
  • The municipality-run 18-hole Bay Lea Golf Course in Toms River is known for being well maintained and for having a friendly staff.
  • Cedar Creek Golf Course is located in Bayville on one of the highest points in Ocean County and has 18 holes, including an 11th hole known as a very challenging par 3.

4. Area Wineries (about 15 miles)

Since its first bottling of Merlot and Chardonnay in 2004, Laurita Winery has grown into a producer of more than 14,000 cases of local wine a year. It’s also known for its food truck festivals (you can get a season pass) and extensive line-up of events, including celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, Easter Brunch, and more. Chocolate lovers won’t want to leave without a bottle of Chocolate Therapy ($21), a blend of silky milk chocolate and grape wine with hints of caramel and vanilla. Cream Ridge Winery, meanwhile, prides itself on creations you won’t find anywhere else, including Almond Berry ($11.95), a blend of red raspberry and white Niagara wine infused with almonds; Jersey Berry ($16.95), a blend of New Jersey cranberries and Chardonnay; and Tropical Storm ($21.95), a blend of passionfruit and mango wine.

5. The Tea Room at Mathis House Victorian Bed & Breakfast (12 miles)

Located in downtown Toms River, this Victorian treasure offers a five-course afternoon tea ($50 for adults; $20 for kids 12 and under), including a pot of tea, scones with clotted cream and lemon curd, seasonal salad, tea sandwiches, soup and desserts. The delight, however, is in the details. Surrounded by antiques, you’ll be seated at a table with fresh linens and served on fine English bone china. Delicacies include cranberry tartlets, chicken salad pinwheels, macarons, truffles, and mini cupcakes. Even better, you can enjoy your tea on the wide wrap-around porch during warmer months. Make a day of it by venturing about 15 minutes further to the Jersey Shore. The tearoom is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5pm

6. Barnegat Lighthouse State Park (36 miles)

There’s a bit of magic at this state park where you can walk the 0.2-mile-long loop trail through one of the last remaining maritime forests in New Jersey under the shelter of black cherry, sassafras, and eastern red cedar trees. The park draws birders during the spring and fall migrations, while anglers should be on the lookout for striped bass, bluefish, summer flounder, and black sea bass. Learn more about the park’s history and its natural environment at the Interpretive Center. Our favorite exhibit? The gallery of historic photographs highlighting the lighthouse’s legacy and the critical role it played in helping ships avoid the shoals along the coastline. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Interpretive Center is open seasonally.

7. Lita (49 miles)

Lita has a lot to live up to. It was named a 2024 James Beard semifinalist for best new restaurant of the year and one of Esquire’s best new restaurants of 2023. Located in a strip mall (as so many great restaurants ironically are), Lita boasts a menu of modern Iberian fare, including fresh seafood, rich stews, and iconic dishes like piri piri chicken and bitoque steak. But it’s the paella that draws the most acclaim, including this praise from Esquire: “The fire gives it criminally generous amounts of socarrat, the smoky, crunchy, flavor-packed bits of rice that, to many, are the primary reason for the dish’s existence.” Finish the night with Portuguese flan, olive oil cake topped with sherry cream and almonds, or a custard tart — and see for yourself if the accolades warrant another trip to Aberdeen Township.

8. Atlantic City (52 miles)

Atlantic City’s iconic boardwalk was built in 1870 with the first casino opening in 1978, but there’s always something new happening in this town. For starters, there’s the $230-million renovation at Caesars Atlantic City, including two new restaurants — Nobu and Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen. But it’s the revamped rooftop pool (with the same old ocean views that never get old) that might inspire you to book a cabana and enjoy a cocktail. Over at Bally’s Atlantic City, The Yard is a new beer garden-style venue featuring local and national brewers, lounge seating, and an indoor/outdoor stage for live entertainment.

Life at Crestwood Manor

At Crestwood Manor, we believe in experiencing life to the fullest — both within our community and in the region surrounding it. We also believe in the comfort of a daily routine — and in having the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and try something totally new for an afternoon. That could mean learning woodworking or tai chi at Crestwood or heading to Aberdeen Township to try the paella at the new restaurant everyone’s raving about. Life at Crestwood Manor is about embracing the extraordinary in the ordinary, cherishing moments of tranquility and seizing opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow residents or embarking on a solo adventure, each day holds the promise of new discoveries. Schedule a visit to learn more about life at Crestwood Manor in Whiting, New Jersey.

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