Outdoors

A Dozen Easy Fall Hikes in NJ for Families with Small Children

Hiking with small children can be fun for the whole family, if you choose the right trails, pack enough snacks, and build in some break time for little legs. Autumn in New Jersey may be the ideal time to get the family outdoors for a nature walk or easy hike, when trees are ablaze with fall colors and temperatures are just right.

Read on for our list of short, family-friendly hikes with scenic vistas and shady picnic spots. As for the snacks, try letting kids make their own trail mix before a nature walk: set out some bowls of nuts, pretzel sticks, dried fruits, and chocolate chips or M&Ms, and let the kids fill a plastic baggie with their favorite fuel. Before setting out, make sure everyone dresses in layers and wears comfortable shoes, and don't forget to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.

For more outdoor adventures, check out one of the state's many nature centers, which offer a host of family-friendly activities as well as hiking trails. Happy hiking!

9 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks to Visit with Kids in NYC

Now that the beaches are closed for the season, it's time to bundle up and sharpen those ice skates. Many of New York City's outdoor rinks are open for family fall, er, winter fun.

Whether you prefer an iconic New York City destination like the ice rink at Rockefeller Center or something off the beaten path like Lasker Rink, the city offers plenty of options for beginner and experienced skaters alike — there’s even a FREE skate spot. And if it ever gets too cold to glide outside, you can always hit one of NYC's indoor ice skating rinks.

NJ's Living History Farms: Old-Fashioned Farm Fun for Families

The Garden State's many wonderful farms are perfect spots for a family-friendly outing any time of year. But a few special farmsteads offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience farm life just as it existed many years ago. These living history farms give visitors the chance to try their hand at chores like bottle-feeding lambs, gathering honey, and harvesting ice. If you're looking for a fun, educational experience for the entire family, hands-on historical farms are a great choice.

For even more outdoor family fun, check out these New Jersey farms and historic villages

Best Neighborhoods to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween Night with Los Angeles Kids

Trick or treat! Los Angeles consistently makes the top 5 cities on Zillow's Halloween list of the country's best spots for trick-or-treating. The real estate website bases its trick-or-treat ranking on criteria like home value and crime rates. That's good, but what about special effects and Halloween decorations? If one figures in the number of film industry creatives living in a given metropolitan area, LA wins first place by a country mile. Speaking of country miles, if you've walked the distance between houses in the most expensive LA neighborhoods, you know that higher home value does not always translate to better trick-or-treating. What does? Well, keep your Halloween hats on, because we've got a list of some of LA and Orange County's most legendary trick-or-treat neighborhoods. I defy anyone in Philadelphia to beat these!

Foliage on Foot: 10 Great Fall Hikes for Westchester Kids

It officially feels like fall, and the leaves have begun to change. While fall foliage drives can be fun, bringing the kids on an outdoor hike has the added bonus of letting them burn off some energy.

We polled our writers and readers and have gathered up a list of some of our favorite places in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley to bring kids to hike for beautiful autumn views. (Does the word “hike” make you instinctively grimace? No worries—we’ve included some easy options for those who are used to seeing the leaves from behind a windshield.)

Be sure to consult our Fall Fun Guide for more seasonal activities, and follow us on Facebook

Trick-or-Treat and Pick Pumpkins on Governors Island This Year

Tis the season for fall festivals and Halloween fun in New York City, and what better place to celebrate the changing seasons than beautiful Governors Island, which has again extended its season through Halloween and filled its October calendar with plenty of fun.

For the second consecutive year, the Friends of Governors Island invite big-city dwellers to hop on a ferry and enjoy a classic small-town Halloween at Pumpkin Point. The fun kicks off the weekend of October 20, with a pumpkin patch in Nolan Park.

10 Great Places for Fall Leaf-Peeping Right in NYC

Signs of fall's arrival are all around us as the leaves in New York City's parks and along tree-lined streets start to turn. This is the time of year when many families plan a day trip upstate or to New Jersey to gaze at gorgeous red, orange, and yellow foliage. But you don't need to leave NYC to take in some stunning autumn sights. In addition to major green spaces like Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Staten Island's Greenbelt and Van Cortlandt Park, there are some wonderful off the beaten path city spots where you can enjoy colorful panoramic views that deliver the full splendor of fall.
 

Find Outdoor Family Fun Year-Round at Lewis Morris County Park

I begin my review of Lewis Morris County Park with a word of caution: the park does not have a playground, much to the disappointment of my 5-year-old daughter. While plans are in the works for a new play space (the previous one was removed several years ago), you won’t find any brightly-colored jungle gyms, slides, swings, or climbing walls here. 

That said, Morris County’s second-largest park still offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. You can swim, hike, bike, and even ski during a day trip to this four-season park. So with all that Lewis Morris has to offer, chances are your kids won't even miss the slides and swings.

Read on for more about this historic park. Find even more great day trips in our NJ Day Trip Guide, or check out our Parks & Playgrounds Guide to discover a new-to-you playground.

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