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New Year’s Day Activities: Kick Off Your Year in Style!

As far as holidays go, January 1 has become an unlikely underdog. Year after year, all of the hype surrounding New Year’s Eve overshadows the lovely and peaceful 24 hours known as New Year’s Day. Don’t let the first day of the New Year pass you by in a leftover Christmas cookie-fueled Netflix marathon.

Set the tone for an outstanding New Year by getting outside, spending time with friends and family — and maybe even by getting a jump on your resolutions. Here’s how!

More From Best of NJ

Polar Bear Plunges

The Polar Bear Plunge is a great way to do something a little crazy for a good cause. Grab your friends, throw on your bathing suit, and take a jump in the ice-cold Atlantic with a bunch of strangers. At least no one can call you boring in 2017.

Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge

Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge

Location: Convention Hall, 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park
Details: This year, the Sons of Ireland’s charities include Shore House, an organization that benefits adults living with mental illness, and Stephy’s Place, a charity helping those suffering with grief and loss.
More info: Visit the website.

Brigantine Polar Bear Plunge

Location: Laguna Grill & Rum Bar, 14th Street South and the beach, Brigantine
Details: The Brigantine Polar Bear Plunge benefits Fisher House, which is a charity that helps military families.
More info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Atlantic City Polar Bear Plunge

Location: Resorts Casino, 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City
Details: The Atlantic City Polar Bear Club asks that you make a donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.
More info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

First Day Hikes

First Day Hikes are free, guided hikes hosted by the New Jersey State Park Service to help start your new year off in a fun and healthy way. The hikes are of varying distance and difficulty level, and offer a great opportunity to get outside with friends and family. Individual parks throughout the state organize these hikes. See the below list for some options!

Family On Countryside Walk

Bass River State Forest – Burlington and Ocean Counties
Belleplain State Forest (Hike or bike ride available) – Cape May and Cumberland Counties
Boxwood Hall State Historic Site (First Day Tour) – Union County
Cheesequake State Park – Middlesex County
Kittatinny Valley State Park – Sussex County
Monmouth Battlefield State Park – Monmouth County
Round Valley Recreation Area – Hunterdon County
Stokes State Forest – Sussex County
More info: Click here or you can call the NJ State Park number.

Grab a Bite

From low-key brunches to pizza parties that let your kids run off some of their holiday energy, here’s where you can chow down on January 1.

Historic Smithville Inn

Location: 1 N New York Rd, Absecon
Details: Head to the Historic Smithville Inn for a delicious New Year’s Day brunch buffet. Seatings begin at 11 am, with the last seating taking place at 5 pm, and the cost is $28 per person with a glass of champagne included. Make your reservation today!
More info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Cloverleaf Tavern

Location: 395 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell
Details: Enjoy New Year’s Day brunch with the whole family at Cloverleaf Tavern. Menu items include mini pork roll sandwiches, kids mac and cheese, grilled chicken tacos, prime rib roast and more. There’s something for everyone at the Cloverleaf!
More info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Rat’s Restaurant

Location: 16 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton
Details: Zagat-rated Rat’s offers a New Year’s Day brunch buffet featuring house-made charcuterie, iced seafood, and carving and omelet stations. The food, combined with the beautiful sculptures surrounding Rat’s, makes this the perfect way to start off 2017.
More info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

More First Day Fun

The Tuckerton SeaportFood Trucks and Fireworks at the Tuckerton Seaport
Location: 120 West Main Street, Tuckerton
Details: Head to the Tuckerton Seaport for a day filled with food trucks, live music, and fireworks. Starting at noon, the whole family can enjoy programs such as an ice cream-making demonstration, trips through the historic Captain’s House, a hayride through the frozen woods, and, last but not least, the fireworks (set to go off at 6 p.m.)!
More info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Ocean City PierFirst Day at the Beach
Location: Music Pier, Ocean City Boardwalk between 8th and 9th Streets
Details: After ringing in the New Year with Ocean City’s First Night celebrations, keep the fun going with a 5k boardwalk run (more information here) followed by the first plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re into a more low-key New Year’s Day, take advantage of the bargain-filled shopping extravaganza taking place in downtown Ocean City.
More info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Hero (Feature) Image: © dolphfyn/Dollar Photo Club
Additional images (in order) courtesy:
Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge / Facebook
Monkey Business/ Dollar Photo Club
Cloverleaf Tavern / Facebook
Ocean City NJ Vacation / Facebook
The Tuckerton Seaport / Facebook