Rake in the cool-weather fun this fall with 20 ideas harvested by New Jersey’s tourism department. Learn more at www.visitnj.org.
1. Tour a winery
With more than 50 wineries nestled throughout New Jersey’s verdant valleys, there are plenty of opportunities for wine tasting and scenic strolls through seemingly endless rows of grapevines. Sip your way through the award-winning wines at family-owned Bellview Winery in Landisville. Have three days free? Try this wine tasting road trip through New Jersey.
2. Take a scenic drive.
Exit the highway and cruise New Jersey with Scenic Byway Itineraries highlighting iconic routes noted for natural, recreational, cultural, historical and archaeological qualities. Travel this showcase of roads less traveled, away from the hustle and bustle, to discover diverse landscapes and experience the heart and soul of The Garden State.
3. Watch the geese fly south for the winter
Throughout New Jersey, you’ll find a number of wilderness areas rife with coastal marshes, ponds and forested islands ideal for bird watching. During the fall months, spot migratory birds from a network of trails at Cape May Point State Park or paddle your way through creeks that are home to more than 260 species of birds at Meadowlands Environment Center in Lyndhurst.
4. Spend a day at the spa
Before the hectic holiday season kicks off, relax and rejuvenate with a day of pampering at one of the many spas in New Jersey. Book a treatment and unwind in the Roman baths at Qua Bath & Spa at Caesars in Atlantic City, take a few laps in the heated indoor pool before getting a massage at Point Pleasant’s White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa, or get a facial at the expansive Woodhouse Spa at the W Hotel in Hoboken.
5. See fall foliage.
Fall means blazing colors of crimson, gold and orange washing across the mountainsides. Take in the breathtaking foliage at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where you can hike part of the iconic Appalachian Trail to take in the views. At High Point State Park in Sussex, trek to the top of High Point State Monument for sweeping views of the Pocono Mountains, Catskill Mountains and the Wallkill River Valley. Allamuchy Mountain State Park near Hackettstown offers several lakes, so you can enjoy the peaceful sounds of water while enjoying the display of dazzling fall colors.
6. Attend a fall food festival
From craft beer events to BBQ feasts to food truck parties, there’s no doubt about it: fall is food festival season in New Jersey. Sip your way through a variety of brews at the Annual Relief Beerfest in Moorestown, or head over to Alstede Farms in Chester, where pie tasting, wine tasting and more are on the itinerary. Search our events calendar for even more upcoming food festivals.
7. Go on a bike ride.
Explore New Jersey’s natural beauty on two wheels. On the 42.6-mile Pine Barrens River Ramble, marvel at pine and oak forests as they transform into the colors of blueberry fields and cranberry bogs and pass by several scenic rivers. For a ride that takes you along the oceanfront, pedal the Cape May Shoreline Ride, a 46.4-mile loop beginning and ending at Cape May Lighthouse and passing by numerous other points of interest along the way, including Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary, Cape May Park & Zoo and The Wetlands Institute.
8. Pick your own apples.
Feel the sun on your face and take part in a Garden State fall tradition when you pick your own bushel of fresh apples right from the orchards. At the family-owned Battleview Orchards in Freehold, take your pick—quite literally—of flavorful apple varieties from early September through the end of October, whether you enjoy Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Cortland, Gala, Golden Delicious or others.
9. Stay at a romantic B&B
Rekindle your romance this fall with a quick weekend getaway to a New Jersey bed and breakfast, where you’ll find charming surroundings and personalized service. Visit the Victorian-style 600 Main in Toms River or the historic Inn at Millrace Pond in Hope. For an oceanfront escape, try one of these bed and breakfasts near the beach. Try this list for even more unique date ideas.
10. Visit a pumpkin patch.
It wouldn’t be harvest season without some roasted pumpkin seeds and jack-o-lanterns, so bring the kids to Red Wagon Farm Market in Manalapan to choose from over 100 varieties of pumpkins—including ENORMOUS prize-winners—to pluck right from the vine. In East Brunswick, Giamarese Farm & Orchards hosts Fall Harvest Weekends, when you can head to the pumpkin patch to PYO and take your pick of other decorative seasonal selections.
11. Fill up on gourmet comfort food
This is the season to enjoy delicious, hearty foods and all your favorite indulgences. Get cozy with friends and family when you visit one of the many gastropubs in New Jersey touting elevated pub fare, from Kobe beef burgers to lobster mac ‘n’ cheese to juicy steaks served alongside hand-cut fries. From Publick House in Mountainside in the north to The Blue Pig Tavern in the south and a whole lot in between, there’s no shortage of options.
12. Shop ’til you drop
Whether you want to stock up on cozy essentials for cold weather or start checking things off your holiday shopping list, New Jersey has plenty of outlets for bargain finds, as well as high-end shopping malls for luxury labels. For even more unique finds, stroll down one of the many charming main streets in towns throughout the state for the best boutique shopping.
13. Try your luck in the casinos
Dream of striking it rich? Give your dreams a run for their money in Atlantic City, where bustling casinos boast action-packed table games, thrilling slots, bingo and more. Play and stay in upscale casino resorts like Tropicana Casino & Resort, Caesars Atlantic City and Harrah’s Resort, where restaurants, entertainment and nightlife abound. Be sure to check out all the casinos in New Jersey.
14. Explore a museum
When the weather is cool and blustery, head indoors to explore an array of exciting exhibits. See incredible artwork at the Princeton University Art Museum or the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville. Learn about history at the New Jersey State Museum or the Museum of NJ Maritime History. Or find a topic that interests you at one of the many other museums in New Jersey.
15. Get a Thrill with Roller Coasters & Monsters
Always good for a scream, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson presents its always-popular Fright Fest, where fearsome characters roam freely around the park. Halloween shows and attractions are interspersed with thrilling rides and roller coasters.
16. Journey through a corn maze
Let the kids loose—or maybe even play a little hide-and-seek—in the colossal corn mazes at Atlantic Farm Market in Manasquan, Heaven Hill Farm in Vernon and Happy Day Farm in Manalapan. These fresh fields also feature a frenzy of fall fun for your family—be sure to check their websites for details and tickets.
17. Challenge yourself at an Escape Room
Pirates, magicians and wizards are just some of the foes you can choose at Amazing Escape Room in Green Brook. For an extra spooky challenge, opt for the Murder She Wrote challenge, held in the dark and recommended for ages 15 and older. Or experience the excitement of Escape May Escape Room in Cape May, where challenges include saving London from an evil mastermind and escaping a medieval dungeon to find a magical sword.
18. Go on a Hayride
Whether pulled by a horse or a tractor, a good ol’ fashioned hayride is the perfect way to celebrate fall while enjoying the crisp, clean air of the great outdoors. Take the little ones for a spin at Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford, where the wagon ride is just one of the fun experiences in store as part of their Fall Harvest. VonThun Farms in Monmouth Junction hosts Fall Festival Weekends, where general admission buys you access to unlimited hayrides, plus over 20 more sensational seasonal activities.
19. Explore a Haunted Farm
For really big kids looking for a fright, take them to a nearby haunted attraction, where monsters and ghouls lurk around every corner. Visit BloodShed Farms Fear Fest in Columbus or the Farm of Horrors in Flemington for some scary-good horrors.
20. Dive into the Ghost Stories of Shore Towns
Join Paranormal’s pro guides for the Ghosts and Legends of the Downtown Tour of Asbury Park. Down in Cape May, a trolley can usher you around as your psychic guide introduces you to this historic Victorian town’s haunted past.
Before you go: check out the official websites and social media pages of destinations for up-to-the-minute dates, times and details.