New Jersey is a northeastern state known for its beaches, industries and diverse population. The state is a densely populated area with an economy centered on the service sector, and many residents commute into the big cities of New York and Philadelphia. The state’s natural features include the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the steep cliffs of the Palisades facing Manhattan, and the swampland and marshes of the Pine Barrens.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are located in the city of Jersey City, which is also home to several historic districts. The city’s famous boardwalk, the setting for the TV show Boardwalk Empire and the game Monopoly, is a must-see attraction in its own right.
As with most of the Northeastern United States, winters in New Jersey are cold but not freezing. Spring and summer are hot and humid, and fall brings cooler weather and leaves changing color. The state is prone to flooding and severe storms, especially on the Atlantic coast.
Many well-known industries are based in New Jersey, including pharmaceuticals and communications. The state is also a major center of tourism.
The state’s economy has been diversified since World War II, with the addition of technology and biotechnology companies. It has also become a leader in financial services, and is the nation’s most densely populated state, with a high percentage of the nation’s population living within its borders.
A major highway system links the state with the Northeastern United States and Canada. New Jersey is also a leader in public transportation, with two light rail systems and a rapid transit line serving metropolitan areas.
A plethora of parks and state-owned properties help make New Jersey a great place to visit. Some of the most popular are the Meadowlands, which are managed to promote wise land use and pollution abatement; and the Great Swamp in Morris county, a relic of glacial lakes. Increasing suburban development has encroached on wildlife habitats, however, and deer, raccoons, skunks, and bears are common pests.
One of the most unusual attractions in New Jersey is High Point State Park, a high spot overlooking the Hudson River that provides panoramic views of New York City. Other natural highlights are Lake Hopatcong, the largest lake in the state, which offers 45 miles of shoreline and is a favorite place for waterskiing and making golden summer memories; the sand dunes at Cape May, where a classic Victorian hotel still stands; and the Palisades cliffs that are a popular spot for hiking. The state’s official fruit is the blueberry, first cultivated in Whitesbog. Fourth graders at Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School in Brick led a campaign to pass legislation naming the berry the state fruit, and their efforts included media interviews, letter and petition drives, presentations to local governing bodies, and visits to the state’s blueberry festival. The bill was eventually passed in 2004.