New Jersey holds true to its moniker of the great Garden State especially during the fall. There are lots of beautiful places to see the fall foliage and attend fall festivals. While you’re traveling along the Garden State Parkway or NJ Turnpike, stop off at these great towns which are NJ’s best fall destinations.
Arguably the best place to enjoy the change of seasons is northern and western NJ. Sussex Borough and neighboring Wantage are naturally beautiful. Take a hike at High Point State Park or take a leisurely walk through the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. Afterward, enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Ventimiglia Vineyard or The Green Olive or Eastern Garden.
Paterson is home to the Great Falls National Historical Park and its gorgeous waterfalls and train bridge – and the popular Stony Ridge Trail. If you prefer to be indoors, check out the Lambert Castle Museum or the Paterson Museum.
Margate may bring to mind thoughts of summertime, but Ventnor Avenue has lots of great shopping for your fall and winter needs. You can still get fresh seafood at Steve & Cookie’s By The Bay. Plus, Margate is only about 5 miles from Atlantic City so you can enjoy the small-town feel before heading to big city life for more entertainment. Or stay in town and eat at Margate Dairy Bar & Burger, known for its milkshakes since 1952.
Hammonton calls itself the “blueberry capital of the world.” The downtown area includes an arts district; lots of off-road biking, hiking and canoeing; historical tours. Red Barn Farm offers a corn maze and fall festival. Check out live music at Annata Wine Bar. Check out Funky Cow Cafe and El Nuevo Mariachi Loco for eats, take the family to Royale Crown Handmade Ice Cream and Grille or visit a winery or brewery.
Smithville started as a simple, one room, stagecoach stop. Today, there are 60 shoppes along the cobblestone walkways and foot bridges. Eat at the Historic Smithville Inn. The Carousel, Train and Paddle Boats offer lots of fun for the family. There are more than 40 free weekend events so make sure you check the calendar for all the special fall activities.
Atlantic City is a playground for adults, but there is also plenty for kids to do too. During the fall you can still walk the boardwalk to play at the arcade on the pier, go go-kart-racing, eat at Sugar Factory inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (challenge your family to eat the King Kong sundae: 24 scoops of ice cream covered in chocolate, caramel and strawberry, and then smothered in chocolate chip cookies, a cupcake, gummy bears, candy necklaces and more) or visit the former Showboat Hotel for Mini Golf Mondays or Family Fun Fridays.
Cape May is a lovely town known for its beautiful Victorian houses, but during the fall there are ghost tours of cemeteries, mansions and the downtown area. Hop aboard the Spirits & Oddities Trolley Tour. Visit the Physick Estate for Scarecrow Alley.
Hoboken has beautiful views of the Hudson River and New York City, which means you’ll get to see the fall foliage all around. The streets, too, have their own changing leaves. Start your day with a crazy concoction at O’Bagel and then have a loaded slice of pizza at Tony Boloney’s. Stop into the Hoboken Historical Museum, go shopping along Washington Street or sit on one of the benches and gaze out at the Hoboken Waterfront. Some great restaurants are The Cuban, Blue Eyes Restaurant (named after Frank Sinatra) or Del Frisco’s if you’re feeling fancy.
Trenton is the capital of NJ, so of course there are lots of historical and museum sites. Driving along Route 29 you get a picturesque view of the waterfront. The fall is a great time to visit the gardens and grounds of the 1719 William Trent House Museum or the Old Barracks Museum to learn about NJ’s war history. JoJo’s Tavern has great pizza, or Cooper’s Riverview has a scenic view.