Summer is the season of socializing. As the warm weather and long days linger on, people seek out ways to celebrate the season. Often, this includes spending more time outside with family and friends, indulging in seasonal foods and frozen cocktails. For those of us who choose not to drink — whatever the reason may be — socialization options may feel limited. Having fun with friends in the summer without drinking can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are countless ways to enjoy yourself and hang out with friends in North Jersey while staying completely sober. Read on for some fun activities to do in the North Jersey area that don’t involve drinking.
(Photo Credits: @applegatefarmic)
It’s no secret that alcohol is full of sugar. While it may look luxurious to sip on a fancy cocktail, you’re probably taking in as many calories as a scoop of delicious ice cream. Replacing that sugar with the delicious Applegate Farm is a must this summer. Not only is the ice cream top notch, the farm itself is a piece of New Jersey history. Dating back to the 1800s, Applegate Farm had a slew of different owners until it was purchased by Betty Vhay in 1980 and then transferred to her nephew Jason Street in 1991. Today, it remains an ice cream institution in New Jersey, situated on Grove Street in Montclair, NJ. Grabbing a scoop with close friends is a great alternative to grabbing a drink.
Bury the Hatchet I 672 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield
(Photo credit: @burythehatchetmain)
Axe throwing is such a fun way get competitive, blow off some steam, and get a little workout in at the same time. Plus, after the couple of years we’ve had, throwing an axe is just the best way to destress. For anyone in the mood for team competition, Bury the Hatchet offers multiple throwing lanes to go head-to-head with your friends. There are even leagues available to try out. This location is BYO food + drink, so you can bring along snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to sip on while you watch your friends toss an axe.
See More: Fun Ziplining Spots in New Jersey
Doin’ Dishes I 50 Church Street, Montclair
(Photo credit: @doindishesmontclairnj)
This is a great spot for both artistically-inclined and non-artistically-inclined friends (let’s face it, it’s more fun for the non-artists). Paint-your-own ceramic shops are a fantastic way to spend an afternoon while socializing and catching up. Though these types of spots often draw a younger crowd (many kids opt to have birthday parties here), that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun for all ages. Guests choose from a range of bowls, coffee mugs, decorative plates, etc.; spend time painting + creating the designs for their ceramics; leave the items to get glazed and fired; and then pick up the finished product to use for years and years to come. Brushes, sponges, stamps, stencils, and of course, paint are all provided. There’s a $10 sitting fee, which covers 1.5 hours of paint time (there are additional fees the longer you stay). Different ceramics are different prices, but will range from $8 to $45. Reservations are encouraged here.
Escape Rooms | Multiple Locations
There’s no denying that escape rooms can be a ton of fun and are an excellent group activity (though we recommend knowing the group you come with — escape rooms require a lot of collaboration and communication!). These puzzle-filled rooms are a great way to exercise your mind, bond with others, and have a wonderful day no matter the weather or season. There are escape rooms all over the place these days. Trap Door Escape Room in Morristown, Puzzle Out Escape Room in Newark, Escape Garden State in Fairfield, and Escape Room NJ in Madison are just a few in the North Jersey area to try out.
Flat Water Paddle Co. | 1081 Greenwood Lake Turnpike, Ringwood
(Photo Credits: @flatwaterpaddle)
Located in Ringwood, New Jersey, Flat Water Paddle Co. offers Kayak and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals as well as SUP Yoga classes. There’s nothing like gliding along the Monksville Reservoir, surrounded by endless trees and rolling hills with a close friend or two. Enjoy the change of scenery, exploring some of New Jersey’s lesser known rural landscapes. Both Kayaking and SUPing offer great exercise, so if you work up a sweat you can jump right into the water. The only drink you’ll want after this activity is an ice cold glass of water to hydrate.
Hoboken Pier A Park | 100 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken
The only thing that beats a summer picnic is a summer picnic with a view of the Manhattan skyline. Hoboken’s Pier A Park offers just that, with an enormous, plush lawn that provides ample room for relaxing by the Hudson River. Invite your friend to join you for an afternoon under the sun. We recommend making it extra fun by having each person bring their own special treat to share amongst one another. You can even design a signature Mocktail for the group to enjoy. This park is pet-friendly too, so furry friends are welcome. After the park, we recommend wandering around Washington Street — there are simply so many shops, restaurants, and other cool spots to explore. Touch the Heart, located at 324 Washington Street, is also known for having awesome mocktails.
This is an awesome option for anyone looking to meet more people. Joining a local intramural sports league means joining a structured community that centers around a central activity, which is one of the best ways to meet people — plus, it’s a built-in workout. You can opt to sign up with a friend, with a group, or just by yourself — no matter what, it means regular fun activities that don’t involve drinking. We’ve also covered intramural sports leagues in Hudson County on our sister site, The Hoboken Girl.
Luxurious Wellniss, The Skin Lab | 557 Nassau Street Suite 3, Orange
(Photo credits: @luxuriouswellniss)
There aren’t a lot of things in this world that beat being pampered while simultaneously taking care of yourself. Luxurious Wellniss is a Black-owned, women-owned online brand turned brick and mortar. Its storefront, known as The Skin Lab, has a variety of different services available ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. The What it Dew oxygen facial is a newer treatment that guests have been absolutely loving. You can find the range of different services here. This business is booming and books out fast, so we recommend getting your appointments in ahead of time. Another fun option is buying the products to have at home and hosting a stay-at-home spa night.
Montclair Art Museum | 3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair
(Photo Credits: @mammontclair)
If you’re interested in art, culture, and history, The Montclair Art Museum is the best place to spend your day or evening. Dedicated to Native American and American Art since 1914, the MAM has over 12,000 pieces for you to browse at your leisure. The first Thursday of every month is free, allowing visitors to explore their creative side without having to pay a dime. A trip to the museum is the perfect way to escape the summer heat or a rainy day, too.
The Gravity Vault | Multiple Locations
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For anyone looking to stay active this summer while avoiding the brutal heat, indoor rock climbing is the best way to do it. With eight separate locations in New Jersey alone, it’s so easy to find a facility that is close by. Whether you are looking to begin your rock climbing journey or hone your skill set, each facility offers over 14,000-square-feet of climbing. There are options to host a private party, join one of their fitness classes, or just pop in for a quick session. Activities like this are a great reminder that there are so many benefits to not drinking alcohol, even if it can feel challenging. Rock climbing is the best way to strengthen your body and sharpen your mind at the same time. And it’s even better doing it alongside friends.