It may not feel like fall with these hot temps but all things fall (like apple and pumpkin picking and harvest festivals) are in full swing here in New Jersey. Here are a few of our must-dos at this gorgeous time of year:
Pick your own! Fall is the perfect time to PYO apples and pumpkins or get some fresh veggies from the farmer’s market before you come home to bake a pie, carve a jack-o-lantern or savor some locally made apple cider donuts.
Head to a fall festival. We’re talking street fairs, block parties, harvest fests and fun on farms. Think petting zoos, craft vendors, food trucks and bands playing live music. Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon is hosting its first fall fest ever, where you can go on the zip line or Alpine Mountain Coaster. Terhune Orchards’ Fall Family Fun Weekends include everything from a corn or hale bay maze to the Adventure Story Barn and pollinator sunflower trail. Adventure Aquarium turns the seascape into an underwater trove of carved pumpkins and displays during Fintastic Fall Days Festival.
Plan on an Oktoberfest. German-style activities and food typically include keg tapping, German bands, and authentic German food and beer.
Snap some pics at a fall flower festival. Holland Ridge Farms in Cream Ridge is a go-to destination in the spring for its massive tulip fields, but there are gorgeous fall flowers you can pick in the fall, too. Dalton Farms has its Festival of Sunflowers through October. Longwood Gardens in PA is worth the drive for its Chrysanthemum Festival where 5,000 flowers are arranged in an Asian artwork style.
Take a walk through some spectacular fall foliage. We can’t wait for the leaves to change colors and bring their beautiful red, orange and yellow hues to our neighborhoods. Here are a few of the best spots to see the fall foliage.
Wander through a corn maze or hay bale maze. This year’s theme range from country singer Reba McEntire to Barbie. Grab a map or your phone for clues, then see how quickly you can make it out. Some farms let you enter at night for a moonlit and spooky stroll.
Then take the hay to build your own scarecrow. At Scarecrows in the Village in Peddler’s Village, you can look at 100 scarecrows on display, or sign up for your own scarecrow-making workshop.
All aboard a pumpkin train! There will be activities on board the train to keep your kids entertained during the journey, and then plenty to do once they disembark. Patch & Halloween Trains in Whippany include pumpkin picking and decorating. Pumpkin Trains in Flemington brings you to Everitt Farms at Pumpkin Junction where you get entry to the corn maze, a kid’s corn box activity, a wagon ride, music and games. The Great Pumpkin Train has you ride along the Delaware River starting in Phillipsburg. You’ll stop at Snyders Station to spend 2 hours at the mine panning for gemstones you can take home.
Get your Halloween on. Six Flags Great Adventure has Boo Fest for kids and Fright Fest for teens and adults. The Halloween Light Show at Demarest Farms lets you drive through 32 acres of holiday lights. Skylands Stadium transforms into a Jack O’Lantern Experience, where you can stroll through more than 6,000 jack-o-lanterns while picking your own pumpkin and playing outdoor games. Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park is filled with scary mazes, scare zones and live entertainment, or take your little ones to the Great Pumpkin Fest instead. Norz Hill Farm & Market in Hillsborough changes from Fall Harvest Days during the daytime to Scare Farm at night.
Go prehistoric. Dinosaurs are making their way to Jersey in a big way this fall! LuminoCity Dino Safari places lifelike animatronics throughout the Freehold Raceway Mall parking lot; your kids will get a kick out of seeing their jaws open and tails swaying. T-Rex Takeover at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia is home to more than 30 larger-than-life-sized dinosaurs and includes the Jurassic Jump attraction, activities like dino trivia or feeding a T-Rex, time to speak with actual paleontologists and a scavenger hunt.