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Your next New Jersey, post-finals bucket list

If you find yourself with an empty schedule after the semester ends, try some of these great spring and summer activities. – Photo by @PtPleasantBchNJ / Twitter

Finals are near, and it's hard to feel like you have time for anything but studying. The sun's out, but students are inside, busy making flashcards and working on final projects. But don't worry — the end is in sight, and we have you covered with a post-finals bucket list to start as soon as your last final ends!

Spend the day at the boardwalk 

There’s nothing better than destressing by walking on the beach while hearing waves crash on the sand. May is the perfect time to head to the shore, especially after finishing a stressful finals season. And as a plus, New Jersey high schools aren't out until June, so if you go during the week, you'll find it to be less busy than during peak season.

Looking for a place to shop and eat? Head to Pier Village in Long Branch, New Jersey, for the perfect day. While parking can be hard to find, eating at Turning Point for breakfast and shopping for a new summer wardrobe at Molly and Zoey makes the hassle worth it.

You should head to Point Pleasant and Seaside Heights for the traditional Jersey Shore experience. Expect lots of amusement park rides, arcade games, food and people. Make sure to grab some pizza, fried Oreos and lemonade when you're there.

Spring Lake, New Jersey, and Sea Girt, New Jersey, are two of my favorite hidden gems if you’re looking for somewhere quiet. Both are perfect options for a morning jog, reading a book or just taking in the salty ocean air. Many students go for larger beach towns, but if you're looking for less noise and more peace, this is where you’ll find it.

Find a new brunch spot

Brunch is undoubtedly the best meal of the day, so post-finals season is the time to find your new favorite restaurant where you can celebrate your victory!

If you want to stay close to campus, Old Man Rafferty's in New Brunswick and Le Peep in Edison are great choices. With so many breakfast and lunch options on both establishments' menus, you’ll be sure to find something you love. And Le Peep has an extensive selection of both savory and sweet options to satisfy whatever cravings you have that day.

Other great New Jersey brunch places include Project Brunch in Englishtown, Hatch 44 Cafe in Metuchen and Over Easy Kitchen in Marlboro. Usually, I’d go with French toast and bacon, but whenever I find myself at one of these spots, I always want to try something new.

Watch outdoor movies 

There’s nothing better than watching a movie under the stars. Head into New York City for the night to see one of your favorite movies for free at a city park.

From "Black Widow" to "Lightyear," you'll find a movie you love on the upcoming park schedule. Movies start around sunset and are offered throughout the five boroughs.

Love experiencing cinema amidst beautiful scenery? Point Pleasant Beach at Jenkinson's Boardwalk has a series starting June 27. I love grabbing some funnel cake and ice cream while relaxing in my beach chair during the movie. Be sure to arrive before sunset for the best view of the screen!

If you’ve always wanted to go to a drive-in movie, here’s your chance! Burlington County Fairgrounds is showing "Top Gun: Maverick" on May 6. The event starts at 4 p.m. and will have food trucks, music and games.

Go see plays-in-the-park 

Just next to Menlo Park Mall, you can watch three amazing outdoor musicals this summer. Roosevelt Park in Edison is showing performances of "Rock of Ages," "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Cinderella."

Tickets are only $8 for adults and are sold at the in-person box office. Performances start on June 14 and go until August 5, with no Sunday performances. Make sure to bring your own lawn chair for the best experience!

No matter how you fill your post-finals bucket list, use it as a way to reward yourself for all you've accomplished this semester. After working so hard, make sure to enjoy the warm weather and have fun! You've earned it.

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