Farms & U-Pick

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Farm Stays Near NYC: Enjoy a Farm-Themed Family Vacation

For New York City area families, it only takes a few hours to arrive in the bucolic countryside, where the landscape seems thousands of miles away from the crowded subways and packed playgrounds. Farm stays are an increasingly popular vacation option to enjoy that countryside and a back-to-nature experience. For children who’ve never been around livestock, farm stays provide a firsthand way to learn about the animal world in a casual fashion. It also often comes with a few more amenities when compared to camping.

If you're interested in the source of your food, farm holidays offer a fine way to connect with what you eat and sometimes even pick your own fresh fruit, veggies, and eggs. You're not required to work during your farm stay, but many visitors find farm chores so different from their regular routines that they are eager to participate. Curious kids should relish the opportunity to gather eggs, watch cows be milked, and pick fresh peaches off the tree. 

Consider these eight farm stay options in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, New York, and in Pennsylvania for your next family vacation

A Visit to Auerfarm in Bloomfield

Sprawled on 120 acres in Bloomfield, Auerfarm is a pastoral oasis in the Hartford area. From the moment you turn on the dirt road, you feel the freedom and peace of farm life. Children will be more than happy to explore for a couple of hours, romping in meadows, spotting dragonflies, and greeting farm animals. 

Apple Picking Orchards in the New Haven Area

There's something about the way the air feels as summer fades to autumn that is uniquely New England. It's that time of year when we begin to break out hats and scarves and crave warm drinks on nippy days. One of our favorite fall activities is apple picking and the New Haven area surely doesn't disappoint when it comes to Pick Your Own orchards. In fact, the whole state is spilling over with fresh fruit just waiting to be harvested. Find an orchard near you in our CT Apple Picking Guide.  And not to worry if your apple harvesters go a little overboard, we have some awesome recipes to help you turn your autumn bounty into a fruit-filled feast.

Get Lost in Fairfield County's Best Corn Mazes

Corn mazes are a favorite fall adventure for many families: the scent of autumn, the wind swooshing through golden stalks, and the opportunity to safely hand over the reigns to your children and let them be in charge of where to go and how to find the way out. What better way to bond than to band together and head straight into a place where you know you can get lost and the only way out is to concentrate on the map, read the clues, and work together to get to the other side. Combine your trip with a pumpkin patch and cider mill and you've got yourself a pretty excellent fall day to make lifelong family memories. For more fall fun, check out our CT Fall Fun and Halloween Guide. These corn-y masterpieces are only around for a few weeks each fall, so don't miss your chance. For even more ideas in your inbox, sign up for our weekly newsletter

Apple Picking Orchards in Hartford County, CT

The nights are beginning to have a cool crisp breeze in the air, the leaves will soon be changing their colors, and the days are getting shorter….all signs of the start of my favorite season here in Hartford County. Fall marks the end of summer and with it comes many great things like fairs, breathtaking foliage, cozy sweaters, and especially apples! What better way to mark the start of fall harvest than to go apple picking with the kids. Many farms in the central Connecticut area offer pick-your-own fruit. While you’re there don’t forget to try a warm apple cider donut! For even more areas to go apple picking check out our CT Apple Picking Guide.

Corn Maze, Apple Picking, and More Farm Fun at Lyman Orchards

Lyman Orchards is one of those idyllic places where sprawling vistas, trees brimming with fruit, and a deliciously stocked country store make you feel like you are splurging on a vacation; however, given their 30-minute proximity to Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury, chances are you’re probably still very close to home. This Connecticut landmark is a favorite family-friendly destination throughout the year, but the views and ambiance are especially spectacular in the fall.

Corn Mazes and Fall Farm Fun for Long Island Kids

Fall on Long Island means cooler weather and shorter days, but it also means fun activities such as hayrides and corn mazes. Whether you make it a race or plan your route strategically, corn mazes are fun for the whole family and they don’t always have to be scary. Many mazes and hayrides are available during the day, so even the youngest family member can enjoy these seasonal outdoor activities.

Call venues ahead of time to be sure they are open, especially if the weather is bad or if there has been a storm. Wearing boots or comfortable shoes is a good idea as the fields can be uneven and potentially wet. For more seasonal fun, check out our list of fall fairs and festivals and the best farms for apple picking. Sign up for our weekly newsletter for more family fun delivered right to your inbox.

Top Pumpkin Patches and Farms for Long Island Kids

The leaves soon will start turning colors, and you might have noticed there’s a crispness in the air, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to go pumpkin picking. Happily, no matter where you live on Long Island there are places to find the perfect family pumpkins—whether you want to pick your own off the vine or have the picking already done for you.

All of these farms and pumpkin patches offer other family-fun activities such as corn mazes, hayrides, and more, so make a day of it. Pick-your-own farms are fun, but can get messy, so make sure kids are dressed appropriately. Look at individual websites for hours and costs since some activities are free while other attractions have added fees.

If you’re heading to one of the farms on the East End, why not stop at a kid-friendly winery or a pick-your-own apple farm? And, for more seasonal fun, check out our list of the best fairs and festivals.

Happy autumn.

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