It is with great excitement that I welcome you to the New Jersey Historic Trust’s new “Journey through Jersey” website. Designed to help visitors experience the richness and beauty of New Jersey’s heritage, the New Jersey Historic Trust has created this comprehensive, user-friendly resource to bring attention to all the state has to offer heritage tourists.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past.” This encompasses all the historic, cultural and natural resources of an area that compel travelers to visit the destination. Established in 1967, the New Jersey Historic Trust works tirelessly to advance historic preservation in New Jersey for the benefit of future generations through education, stewardship and financial investment programs that save our heritage and strengthen our communities. With the “Journey Through Jersey” website, they are fulfilling this mission by engaging the millions of heritage tourists who travel each year, contributing billions of dollars to state and local economies and helping to fund continued preservation efforts.

A “Journey through Jersey” offers a vast and varied view into the past. From Cape May to High Point, the state has an impressive collection of heritage tourism attractions and offerings like these:

- Marvel at Thomas Edison’s laboratory, the Invention Factory, or behold the beauty of the Great Hall at Ellis Island; just two of many of the nation’s most significant historical and cultural assets found here in New Jersey.

- From historic towns like Morristown and Haddonfield where visitors can experience some of the best of New Jersey’s colonial history, to cities like Newark and Elizabeth where the state’s industrial heritage is well preserved, around every corner the state has sites to satisfy history buffs of all kinds.

- The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area is right here in New Jersey, where visitors can discover the magnitude of the state’s Revolutionary heritage while retracing George Washington’s footsteps, or watching a re-enactment of his crossing of the Delaware River each year on December 25.

- 2017 marks the centennial of the United States' entry into World War One (WWI). Considered the first modern war, WWI brought millions of U.S. troops through New Jersey on their way to Europe. From Collingswood to Totowa, New Jersey's cities and towns commemorate WWI veterans with monuments and memorials that range from simple roll calls to "Doughboy" statues. (See more at: http://www.visitnj.org/ww1)

- When you want to go big, gather alongside 20,000 spectators at Monmouth Battlefield State Park to witness the Battle of Monmouth re-enactment – the largest on the east coast, or climb aboard the Battleship New Jersey Memorial and Museum – the nation’s most decorated battleship.

- Scale one of New Jersey’s revered lighthouses. The state boasts some of the oldest and historically noteworthy lighthouses including: Sandy Hook, the oldest lighthouse still in operation; Barnegat Light at the tip of Long Beach Island and Twin Lights of Navesink, which overlooks Sandy Hook Bay.

Travelers, residents and day-trippers alike can use “Journey through Jersey” to discover and plan these authentic and engaging experiences, as they learn the story of how the people and places in the Garden State helped shape the world we live in today. Promoting visitation to New Jersey’s cultural and heritage sites is critical to helping justify their preservation for future generations, and New Jersey’s Division of Travel and Tourism embraces its role as a steward of these assets.

Heritage tourism is a vital part of New Jersey’s tourism economy. A 2012 study by Tourism Economics (the same company that produces the Division of Travel and Tourism’s annual economic impact study) showed that heritage tourism in New Jersey generated nearly 11 million visits, $2.8 billion in visitor spending and supported 38,000 jobs. High concentrations of historic sites in Bergen, Essex, Morris and Burlington counties helped attract more than 5 million out-of-state visitors that year, with the greatest number of visitors travelling to sites in Bergen, Essex, Cape May and Morris counties. The 2012 heritage tourism spending in New Jersey amounted to 8% of the state’s total.

With tourism in New Jersey growing to a $43.4 billion industry in 2015, we at the Division of Travel and Tourism understand the importance of leveraging New Jersey’s heritage tourism assets as an increasingly significant part of the tourism economy. Heritage tourists traditionally stay longer and spend more, and their contributions to the state’s economy are part of what helps to preserve the historic sites for future visitors to enjoy.

A world of historical discovery awaits you in New Jersey. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Jake Buganski
Acting Executive Director
New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism