Sick of shore traffic, gas prices and endless waits on the Parkway and Turnpike?
While there's an appeal to salt water and boardwalks, sometimes it's not worth the hassle. Luckily, the activities in and around Somerset County mean there's something for everyone.
Have kids? There are craft, cooking and other events geared toward all ages. Single? Head out to a charity event that will let you meet area singles. Just looking to relax? There are a number of concerts where you can sit and chill.
Here's what's happening this weekend:
When/Where: From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick.
Why Go: Because it is a unique opportunity for ages 30 to 55 to meet community-oriented singles and help a great charity simultaneously.
When/Where: From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at in Hillsborough.
Why Go: To hear the unique sounds of one of New Jersey's top country bands. It's been tsaid that they can convert many of today’s pop music fans into a "Boot Scootin’ Frenzy."
When/Where: From 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at in Warren.
Why Go: To cheer for your favorite teen band. Who knows, someday you may be saying, "I knew them when."
When/Where: At 3 p.m. on Thursday at the in Warren.
Why Go: Children ages 4 to 10 will be entertained with animals, puppets, magic, and audience participation.
Pricing: Free. Registration required.
When/Where: At 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Attendees will leave from the Community Center in Basking Ridge and travel to Monmouth Park Race Track in Oceanport..
Why Go: It's for seniors ages 55 and older to enjoy a day trip while trying their luck at the track. Pick-up is available to those without transportation.
Pricing: Free. Registration required.
When/Where: From 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday at the in Warren.
Why Go: For children ages 3 and up to drop in during listed times and create an Aztec Mask.
When/Where: At 7:05 p.m. on Friday at in Bridgewater.
Why Go: To celebrate the spirit of Christmas early by bringing a new unwrapped toy and receive a ticket voucher to enjoy a future game. Come early, the first one thousand fans also receive a T-Shirt.
Pricing: $7 to $13.50 per ticket.
When/Where: At 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark.
Why Go: To watch Hillsborough High School graduate Eric Eden take the mound as the starting pitcher in the Newark Bears game against Brockton Rox. A portion of proceeds will benefit lifelong resident of Hillsborough, guidance counselor, and HHS head boys basketball coach as he fights against brain cancer.
Pricing: $10 per ticket.
When/Where: At 8:30 p.m. on Friday at in Bridgewater.
Why Go: To watch a teenage descendant of a Greek god set out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods. Don't worry, your car will keep you safe from stolen lightening bolts.
When/Where: From 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday at in Hillsborough.
Why Go: To enjoy the marvelous mysteries of nature on one of the darkest nights of summer.
Pricing: $8 per person. $5 per person for members of N.J. Audubon, maximum charge of $20 per family. Registration required.
When/Where: At 8:30 p.m. on Friday at The Planetarium at The Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg.
Why Go: To see colorful laser lights choreographed to the music of ELO..."Don't Bring Me Down."
When/Where: At 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at in Basking Ridge.
Why Go: To enjoy a Shakespearian play about two couples in love with the wrong partners. The complications become fantastically funny.
When/Where: At 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Villagers Theatre in Somerset.
Why Go: To pay homage to the pop songs of the 1980s with a song-and-dance extravaganza. "If you find somebody you can love, you can't let that get away."
Pricing: $16 per ticket.
When/Where: From 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Uproot Restaurant in Warren.
Why Go: To hear the sounds of smooth jazz from the talents of guitarist "Arturo" with Meghan Glynn and Tom Marciano.
Pricing: No cover charge.
When/Where: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Rutgers Gardens School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in New Brunswick.
Why Go: Because the festival is packed with events for all ages. Lectures, children's activities, and a garden tour of spectacular plantings. Those ages 21 and older may enjoy raising a glass with friends at the Wine Garden
Pricing: Rutgers Gardens members are admitted free. Other adults, $5. Children under 13, free. There's a $10 separate gate fee for the wine tasting for attendees 21 and older.
When/Where: At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at the in Basking Ridge.
Why Go: Because kids ages 4 to 6 will learn all about dinosaurs with games and activities.
Pricing: $9 per person. Registration required.
When/Where: From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at in Hillsborough.
Why Go: To bike under the light of the moon past lakes, waterfalls, and the beauty of Duke Farms.
Pricing: $10 per person. $5 per children in a bike seat or a trailer. Registration required.
When/Where: From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday at in Bridgewater.
Why Go: Because besides great Louisiana music and dancing, the party includes sensational selections of Cajun and Southern Cooking. Get ready for a Zydeco good time.
When/Where: From 8 to 10 a.m. on Sunday at in Basking Ridge.
Why Go: For ages 16 and older to try the "Tri," including swimming, biking and running. Children ages 8 to 15 can try the "Splash and Dash" to test their skills in a metered swim and run.
Pricing: $25, adults. $10, children.
When/Where: From 11 a.m. to noon or 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday at Wegman's in Bridgewater.
Why Go: Because the Kids in the Kitchen series continues with apple salad, caramel apples, and kid made cider.
Pricing: $5 per child & parent with Shopper Plus Card / $10 without card. Registration required.