Apple picking, corn mazes, Halloween—we kind of wish it were fall all year long. We looked at everything going on this season and narrowed it down to the best five.

1. Pick-your-own apple & pumpkin farms

From start to finish, fall is all about the apples and pumpkins—apple pie, pumpkin pie, cider, jack-o’-lanterns, you name it! So instead of getting your stash at the local grocery store, pile everyone into the car and head to one of Jersey’s many pick your own apple and pumpkin farms, open now through November. The kids will have a blast piling their bags high with galas and honey crisps, or searching for the perfect jack-o’-lantern-worthy giant. And when you’re all finished, spend the rest of the day racing through mazes, visiting farm animals and hopping on hayrides.

2. Escape Rooms

Do your kids love a good puzzle? Take them to an escape room, where they’ll get to make their way out of a staged set filled with props, clues, locks and riddles. They’ll need to solve the mystery before the clock runs out to escape. You can expect everything from hidden keys to word puzzles to secret codes. Try Adventure Rooms in Montclair for a bare bones kind of experience that focuses on clue hunting and opening locks above all else. Your crew will solve puzzles and conduct experiments to make their way out. Kids ages 10-13 must have a parent present. If you want something spookier, try Bane Escape Room or Haunted Scarehouse Escape Visit during Halloween time to brave both of these haunted walk-through attractions. Check each venue’s website to find out if tickets need to be purchased in advance and the max number of players.

things to do in nj this fall

3. Fall festivals

Summer’s over, but that doesn’t mean festival season has gone with it. Now through Thanksgiving, spend every single weekend hopping on and off rides, decorating pumpkins and eating amazing seasonal treats (apple cider doughnuts—yum!) at our state’s many fall fairs, like the Harvest Festival in Allenwood (Oct. 27), 4th Annual Witches Day in Historic Smithville (Oct. 29) and The 18th YCS Annual Festival of Flavors in Park Ridge (Nov. 13).

things to do in nj this fall

4. Garden State parks and nature centers

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and take the kids to one of New Jersey’s many arboretums, gardens, nature centers and parks for some fresh air and exercise before that freezing winter weather keeps everyone cooped up inside until March. See how many of the more than 200 species of birds you can spot on the 8,000-acre Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Vernon; go on a scavenger hunt to find each of the 270 sculptures (and live peacocks!) at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton; and step off the 18 miles of trails to check out the manmade waterfall at Duke Farms in Hillsborough. If you're itching to see some fall foliage in its prime, head to one of these NJ spots across the state to see stunning leaves before they fall. 

things to do in nj this fall

5. Haunted Halloween attractions

If you and the kids are feeling particularly brave this fall, plan a trip to one of the Garden State’s “haunted” attractions, like Brighton Asylum (the facility closed in 1952, but legend has it some residents remain!) or the Night of Terror at Creamy Acres Farm (hop on a hayride to escape a zombie apocalypse). Looking for a little more authenticity? Jersey’s got plenty of truly spooky spots, too. Head to Burlington County Prison in Mount Holly to see if you can catch a glimpse of 19th-century inmates rattling their chains, or stop by Branch Brook Park in Newark for a chance to catch the legendary ghost of The Lady in White.