Spring season is upon us and that means outdoor dining is almost back in full swing. You thought you had enough of outdoor dining when you were forced to do it during the pandemic. But at the end of the day, when it’s a choice instead of a law, remember how nice it is to eat alfresco.

For those of us that live in smaller Jersey towns, a good outdoor meal isn’t always easy to come by. Restaurant waits can be long, which usually leads to picking up sandwiches or a small snack instead of eating out. So a great outdoor restaurant in New Jersey has to really be worth a drive.

Now it’s time to really take stock of the quality outdoor restaurants in New Jersey. And some of them may not be right around the corner. Here are the five that are.

Battello, Jersey City

If you are looking for an authentic, yet classy meal outside, check out this fun restaurant. Menu items range from a Lobster Roll to a Crabby Patty, which are the perfect dishes to welcome the warm weather. This restaurant also has an incredible view of the Manhattan Skyline, making it a great place to go if you want to be near but not exactly in the city.

HAVEN, Edgewater

HAVEN has been rated one of the world’s best waterfront restaurants and also is known to have amazing brunch. They have a wide variety of seafood including a seafood risotto, and you can finish off the meal with a salted caramel ice cream sundae for dessert.

Orchard Park By David Burke, East Brunswick

If you live in Jersey, you have definitely been to a David Burke restaurant. Orchard Park has been popular for a while and is a great place to get a terrace drink with friends at any time of the day. The restaurant has tables, lounge chairs, a full bar and more making it the perfect spot to spend a couple of hours. If you come here you have to order the Clothesline Bacon, Burke’s signature dish.

Laguna Grill & Rum Bar, Brigantine

Laguna Grill opens in May every year and specializes in seafood and fun. They have a patio bar and live music which New Jerseyans love to enjoy throughout the summer. They also have a great kids menu so don’t worry about picky eaters here.

Robin’s Nest, Mount Holly

This modern American restaurant has a delicious menu full of fun dishes such as Honey Pecan Chicken and Lobster Ravioli. There is an outdoor waterside patio too, where you can enjoy these items in addition to the Pink Poodle, which is their signature Vodka Pink Lemonade drink.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: