Outdoors

5 min read

Unlock Edison's Secrets: 20 No-Cost Activities for Epic Days

Imagine exploring Edison, NJ without spending a dime. Dive into our list of 20 free thrills that promise to turn ordinary days into unforgettable adventures!

Tobi Miles
June 3, 2022

To honor the legacy of Thomas Edison, the town of Edison, New Jersey, has at least four memorials or museums dedicated to this famous inventor. Edison, NJ, has three sites to enjoy golf, a dine-in movie theater, and six different nature preserves or parks.

Children will be delighted with the numerous outdoor parks with picnic areas within Edison or the waterparks just outside the city limits at Crystal Springs City Waterpark. The Triple C Ranch offers a unique opportunity for children to learn about and interact with farm animals.

History buffs will love the city with its numerous museums and sites dedicated to Thomas Edison. Further, many parks and recreational areas are steeped in history and offer local, onsite museums to visit.

Free Things To Do in Edison, NJ

1. Rutgers Ecological Preserve

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For those asking what to do in Edison NJ, consider a day spent at the Rutgers Ecological Preserve. This nature preserve is ideally located and easy to access. There is plenty of parking for visitors, and the entrance fee to the Ecological Preserve is free.

Nature enthusiasts will enjoy a range of wildlife and various plants and trees. Terrain ranges from wooded and forested areas to flowing streams and waterways. Most of the trails are gentle and short, with the longest trail just 1.8 miles. It is possible to join several trails together on your hike to make for a long day in nature.

Address: 83 Rockafeller Rd, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Open Hours: Sunrise to Sunset daily

Phone Number: (848) 932-1580

Website: https://ecopreserve.rutgers.edu/

Cost: Free!

2. Farrington Lake

Credit: East Brunswick Patch / Facebook

While not officially sanctioned by the township or municipality, Farrington Lake is a favorite, and free, attraction for visitors. This lake is formed by a dam upstream, which has created a nature lover's dream.

The lake offers beautiful scenic views and is surrounded by lush trees. Repeated visitors have created unofficial trails around the lake, open to hikers, bikers, and pets.

For really great views and an unbelievable photo opportunity, try to stop on the side of the bridge by Riva Avenue. The views will not disappoint. Be careful visiting the lake area after a storm or heavy rains. Because this is not a maintained lake, several downed trees or branches may block possible paths.

Address: Garden Terrace Road, Edison, NJ 08817

Open Hours: All Hours

Phone Number: N/A

Website: N/A

Cost: Free!

Related Read: 50 BEST Things To Do in New Jersey

3. Light Dispelling Darkness Statue

Credit: Trip Advisor

The statue titled "Light Dispelling Darkness" is the main feature within Roosevelt Park. This fountain is made of ceramic and was designed by Waylande Gregory. The fountain was inspired by the site in Menlo Park, where Thomas Edison started his early experimentation with electric lights.

The statue represents man's mission to conquer evil and strive for science and knowledge. The statute is 15 feet tall and is positioned in the center of a 40-foot diameter pool. The fountain is ideal for sitting and resting or cooling off on a hot day. The thought-provoking statue creates a beautiful rest stop while strolling through the park.

Address: Pine Drive, Edison NJ, 08837 (Inside Roosevelt Park)

Open Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Phone Number: (732) 745-3900

Websitehttps://www.middlesexcountynj.gov/

Cost: Free!

4. Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower

Credit: The New York Times

The Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower was designed in 1937. The tower pays homage to Thomas Edison, who created the modern electric lightbulb. The memorial is a tower that is made of aggregate and ceramic. These materials were chosen because they intensify as the light gets dimmer. A replica of the original Edison lightbulb is proudly displayed at the top of the tower.

Visitors to the park love going to the Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower. Not only is it a prominent and ideal place to meet up with friends, but the surrounding picnic area can make a wonderful day in the park.

Address: 37 Christie Street, Edison, NJ 08820 (Inside Edison State Park)

Open Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Phone Number: (732) 549-3299

Website: https://www.menloparkmuseum.org/commemorative-history

Cost: Free!

5. Edison State Park

Credit: Shutterstock

Edison State Park is in the Menlo Park section of Edison, NJ. Not only is this area ideal for history buffs, but it is a beautiful area to rest, relax, walk, or picnic. The Edison State Park is home to the Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower.

The green space is inviting for people of all ages. The park includes 37 acres of grassy areas and tree-lined paths. The park is located on Christie Street, which was the first street in the entire world to have electric lighting.

There is a small nature trail with plenty of wildlife, including birds that frequent the small pond. Visitors also will enjoy a visit to the small Edison museum onsite.

Address: 37 Christie St., Edison, NJ 08820

Open Hours: Sunrise to 4:00 pm daily

Phone Number: (732) 549-3299

Website: N/A

Cost: Free!

Related Read: 15 Best Hiking Trails in New Jersey

Fun Things to Do in Edison, NJ

6. Plainfield West Nine Golf Course

Credit: GolfPass

Although membership to the country club is required to play on the main golf course, this is a must-play course in the United States. The Plainfield West Nine Golf Course is continuously ranked in the top 100 golf courses by Golf Digest and Golfweek.

The course was designed by Donald Ross and hosted two U.S. National Championships, as well as a U.S. Women's Open. There is also a 9-hole version of the golf course that is semi-private. Golfers rave about the well-maintained course and the low price for a quick round of 9 holes to hone your skills.

Address: 1541 Woodland Ave, Edison, NJ 08820

Open Hours: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm

Phone Number: (908) 757-1800 ext. 132

Website: https://www.plainfieldcc.com/

Cost: $16 to $35 for 9 holes, depending on day and time

7. New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center

Credit: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center / Facebook

With new vendors, shows, and attractions coming every month, why not catch a trade show at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center? This event center boasts over 150,000 square feet of exhibition fun.

Check out the calendar online to stay up to date regarding new events coming to the center. The convention center hosts everything from gem and jewelry shows to construction conventions to collector exhibitions.

Address: 97 Sunfield Ave, Edison, NJ 08837

Open Hours: Varies depending on the exhibition

Phone Number: (732) 417-1400

Websitehttps://www.njexpocenter.com/

Cost: Free Parking, but various shows and events may have ticket costs

Related Read: 45 BEST Things To Do in Atlantic City, NJ

8. Triple C Ranch

Credit: Triple C Ranch and Nature Center / Facebook

If you are looking for a fun activity for children, a visit to Triple C Ranch and Natural Park may be just the answer. This non-profit ranch is the only working farm in Middlesex country and has several rescue animals to visit, including goats, pigs, and horses.

The animals at the Triple C Ranch are constantly changing, so no two visits will be alike. The staff is incredibly friendly and eager to answer questions. The ranch stays open by relying on donations from visitors. As part of the Edison Wetlands Association, this park is focused on teaching and providing learning opportunities for all ages.

Address: 206 Tyler Road, Edison, NJ 08820

Open Hours: Temporarily closed; check the Facebook page regularly for updates

Phone Number: (732) 321-1300

Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/Triple-C-Ranch-and-Nature-Center-469108939886373/

Cost: N/A

9. Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park

Credit: Menlo Park Museum

Although a small museum, the Thomas Edison Museum has plenty to offer visitors. There are several artifacts, photographs, and even phonographs over 120 years old for visitors to see. The staff is incredibly friendly and passionate about Edison's history.

Tickets are required for entrance, and a guided tour is provided with the purchase. The last tour starts at 3:00 pm. Groups larger than 15 people are encouraged to inquire about separate group arrangements and pricing. Following a museum tour, many people enjoy a picnic at the adjacent 37-acre park.

Address: 37 Christie Street, Edison, NJ 08820

Open Hours: Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Phone Number: (732) 549-3299

Websitehttps://www.menloparkmuseum.org/

Cost: $7 for adults (with a $0.99 service fee), $5 for children, seniors, or active military (with a $0.99 service fee)

10. Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve (Dismal Swamp)

Credit: NJ.com

Locally known as the Dismal Swamp, this nature preserve area has a wide range of biodiversity. The swamp is also steeped in history, with ties dating back to a Russian exile settlement established in the early 1900s.

The swamp was originally named after the Dismal Brook, which once existed in the area. In 2021, Dismal Swamp was renamed the Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve.

Overall, the swamp is located in a 650-acre marsh conservation area, a haven for birds. Bird watchers will be thrilled with the various species that frequent the swamp. Plus, this area is easily accessed from the Middlesex Greenway rail-trail program that may provide biking access to the swamp.

Address: Reading Road, Edison, NJ 08820

Open Hours: N/A

Phone Number: N/A

Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Dismal-Swamp-Conservation-Area/331189364361594

Cost: Free!

11. Inman Sports Club

Credit: Inman Sports Complex / Facebook

There are many organized activities and camps for the residents of Edison, but there are also plenty of fun activities for visitors to enjoy. The Inman Sports Club has hockey, basketball, and soccer facilities and even has its own golf range.

There are also practice holes that feature a sand trap and putting green so you can practice your skills. The Inman Sports Club also has a mini-golf course for the less serious golfers in the family. Lessons are even available for any ability level and any age.

Address: 2 Villa Drive, Edison, NJ 08820

Open Hours: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm daily

Phone Number: (908) 756-8100

Websitehttps://inmansportscomplex.com/

Cost: Various Costs

12. Roosevelt Park

Credit: Shutterstock

As the oldest park in Middlesex County, Roosevelt Park offers plenty for visitors to do. The park's highlight is the eight-acre lake in the center of the park. Enjoy fishing in the continually stocked lake. Visitors can also hike along several trails, bike or walk on dedicated paths, or enjoy playing sports on the tennis courts and softball fields.

There is also the famous "Light Dispelling Dark" statue and a Veteran's Memorial in the park. The entrance is free for visitors. Be sure to check their website frequently for activities and events. Roosevelt Park will host various camps and sporting events throughout the year.

Address: 151 Parsonage Rd., Edison, NJ 08837

Open Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Phone Number: (732) 745-3900

Websitehttps://www.middlesexcountynj.gov/

Cost: Free!

13. Amazing Escape Room

Credit: Groupon

Adults who love to solve puzzles will be thrilled with the Amazing Escape Room in Edison, NJ. This escape room offers several opportunities to solve mysteries and, hopefully, solve the puzzle to escape the room.

People who have completed the challenge report having a great time, with the puzzles just challenging enough to solve. This escape room is a great group activity for multiple people to enjoy.

Address: 2300 Woodbridge Ave, Edison, NJ 08817

Open Hours: Closed: Monday and Tuesday  |  Wednesday and Thursday: 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm |  Friday and Saturday: 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Phone Number: (848) 209-6545

Websitehttps://amazingescaperoom.com/edison-nj/

Cost: $30 per person

14. Island Spa and Sauna

Credit: Island Spa and Sauna / Jackie Lee

Every vacation needs some downtime, and what better way to enjoy some low-key moments than going to the spa? Island Spa and Sauna offers several services ranging from massages to manicures. Enjoy time relaxing in the sauna as you cleanse and rejuvenate.

Visitors can enjoy the steam rooms, hot baths, and saunas with just a general admission price. There is a restaurant on site for a quick meal. Family days are offered periodically for those under ten years of age to enjoy the spa.

Address: 1769 Lincoln Hwy, Edison, NJ 08817

Open Hours: Monday - Sunday 9:00 am to 11:00 pm

Phone Number: (732) 253-7379

Websitehttps://www.islandspasauna.com/

Cost: General admission is $34 Monday through Friday and $40 Saturday and Sunday. Additional services vary in price.

Related Read: 25 Best Romantic Getaways in New Jersey

15. Top Golf Edison

Credit: Top Golf (Edison) / Facebook

Like other Top Golf event centers around the country, the Top Golf in Edison does not disappoint. Golf alone or bring a group to enjoy the fun, interactive golf games. There is no need to bring your clubs; both men's and women's clubs are provided with each private golf bay.

Food and beverage are available for purchase at this location. The staff is particularly friendly and welcoming, and this location is great for golfers of any ability or age.

Address: 1013 U.S. Route 1, Edison, NJ 08820

Open Hours: Monday through Sunday from 10:00 am to Midnight

Phone Number: (732) 374-4097

Websitehttps://topgolf.com/

Cost: $30-$55 per hour, depending on the day and time reserved

Things to Do in Edison, NJ at Night

16. Cypress Brewing Company

Credit: Cypress Brewing Company / Facebook

One of the best microbreweries and attractions in Edison NJ, Cypress Brewing Company offers visitors the chance to sample exclusive brews. With over 20 years of brewing experience, the owners aim to bring their customers innovative, delicious, and filling beers.

Cypress Brewing offers beers on tap and cans and growlers for purchase. While this location doesn't have food, there are small snacks available to munch on while you enjoy their newest release. If you time it right, you may even enjoy a meal from the food trucks that will stop in the parking lot periodically. The menu for beer options is constantly changing, so be sure to check out what is on tap.

Address: 30 Nixon Ln #1e, Edison, NJ 08837

Open Hours: Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday: 2:00pm - 5:00pm can and growler pickup only, Thursday/Friday: 2:00pm - 10:00pm, Saturday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm, Sunday: 12:00pm - 9:00pm

Phone Number: (732) 243-9565

Website: http://cypressbrewing.com/

Cost: Draft beers $6-$7, 4-packs $14-$18, snacks start at $1

17. AMC Dine-In Movie Theater

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you want to catch your favorite movie, the AMC Dine-In Movie Theater is the ideal location with many movie times available. Not only does this theater offer the latest box office hits, but you can enjoy your favorite snack or drink while you watch.

With state-of-the-art movie technology, movie-goers can enjoy a full meal, ranging from salads to flatbreads to burgers. Customized menus are prepared at this location so you can enjoy dinner and a movie in one stop. Plus, MacGuffins Bar is happy to make your favorite cocktail for movie time.

Tickets are discounted 30% if you see a film before 4:00 pm and are further reduced for movies on Tuesdays.

Address: 55 Parsonage Rd unit 390, Edison, NJ 08837

Open Hours: Movies start at 12:00 pm

Phone Number: (732) 321-9093

Website: https://www.amctheatres.com/movie-theatres/edison/amc-dine-in-menlo-park-12

Cost: Various depending on time/day/movie features

Related Read: 15 Best & Most Popular Buffet Restaurants in America

Places To Visit Near Edison, NJ

18. Washington Rock State Park

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A visit to Washington Rock State Park is a must for any history buff. With a quick 20-minute drive from Edison, NJ, you can enjoy all the natural wonders of this scenic area. Not only is this park beautiful, but it held strategic importance during the American Revolution.

A trip to Washington Rock State Park wouldn't be complete without visiting Washington Rock, which provides a beautiful scenic overview allowing you to see 30 miles of the valley.

There are plenty of hiking trails for visitors offering a range of wildlife and fauna throughout the park. Washington Rock State Park also makes a phenomenal site for a picnic with family and friends.

Address: 355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Open Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset

Phone Number: (908) 722-1200

Website: https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/washingtonrockstatepark.html

Cost: Free!

19. Crystal Springs Family Waterpark

Credit: Crystal Springs Family Waterpark

Just 20 minutes outside of Edison, NJ, Crystal Springs Family Waterpark offers a fun activity for the entire family. When it comes to outdoor fun, this water park has everything from fast waterslides to a relaxing lazy river. Visitors can enjoy a nice swim in one of several pools, including a lap pool, family pool, kiddie pool, activity pool, and recreational pool.

On top of endless opportunities for swimming, guests can also speed down water slides or cool off in the spray park. Keep in mind that the Crystal Springs Family Waterpark is fully outdoors, so they may close if inclement weather is in the area.

Address: 380 Dunhams Corner Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Open Hours: 12:00pm to 6:00pm

Phone Number: (732) 390-6834

Website: https://www.eastbrunswick.org/crystalsprings

Cost: Weekdays: $20 for residents, $25 for non-residents, Weekends: $25 for residents, $30 for non-residents

20. Gateway National Recreation Center

Credit: The Cultural Landscape Foundation

With just a 45-minute drive from Edison, NJ, you can visit the beautiful Gateway National Recreation Center. The area encompasses several different sites and offers something for everyone within the recreation area.

Visitors can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, like archery, biking, bird watching, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. If you are more of an indoor person, you'll be delighted to see the oldest maintained lighthouse in the United States, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge or Fort Wadsworth. There are also select guided tours available for visitors, but these should be reserved before your visit.

Most of the activities and indoor buildings in the Gateway National Recreation are free for visitors. The Gateway National Recreation Center truly offers something for everyone and makes for an easy day trip from Edison, NJ.

Address: 28 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732

Open Hours: Varies - Check indoor facility times before arriving

Phone Number: (718) 354-4606

Websitehttps://www.nps.gov/gate/index.htm

Cost: Free! (Parking may be additional)

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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