Where: Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, Solberg Airport, Readington, N.J.
When: July 23-25
Miles from Metuchen: 23.4 mi – about 32 mins
Perfect for: Families, soft adventurers
Why: Because there are few sky-high experiences as magnificent and breathtaking as going up, up and away in a beautiful, technicolor balloon right at sunrise or sunset. Even if it is the sky over New Jersey.
Actually, the area is one of the prettier parts of the state, and the festival, now in its 28th year, offers more than just the chance to soar in one of the more than 120 participating hot-air balloons. There are kiddie rides, puppeteers, clowns and even a trapeze act, plus loads of big-name music acts throughout the weekend for all ages and tastes, including Air Supply and “Hannah Montana’s” Emily Osment.
Balloon rides – held at 6:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m., when winds are calmest – are $200-$225 per person and includes festival admission. For the less-adventurous, tethered balloon rides that only soar 100 ft.-high are available for $15.