Parks & Playgrounds

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Paterson Great Falls: History and Natural Beauty for NJ Families

Waterfalls are one of those treasures in life that we don’t often come across—but when we do, we’re mesmerized.

While New Jersey has a handful of picturesque cascades, most are tucked away on hiking trails or in wooded areas, such as Hemlock Falls in the South Mountain Reservation in West Orange or Boonton Falls in Grace Lord Park in Boonton.

If you’re not much of a backpacker, however, or are just looking for a quick jaunt, check out Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson. It’s an easy day trip with a view to remember—and one you can drive right up to.

35 Best Things to Do with Kids in Williamsburg

Williamsburg has a reputation as a haven for the hipster set, but families are just as at home in this buzzy, culture-rich neighborhood. Sprinkled in among all the nightlife and trendy boutiques are lots of family-friendly restaurants, shopping, and activities. And the neighborhood is home to some of NYC's most action-packed parks: McCarren Park, a 35-acre park with playgrounds, sports fields, and a poolEast River State Park, home to Smorgasburg and skyline views; and the newly-opened Domino Park, the exciting waterfront playspace inspired by the former Domino Sugar refinery, a neighborhood landmark.

Williamsburg is easily accessible by subway from the G, J, M. Z, and L lines, so even if you don’t live in the neighborhood, you can experience all of the culture and color of this unique part of Brooklyn. Here are some of the best things to do with kids in Williamsburg.

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!

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.

Caumsett State Park: A Jewel for Kids on Suffolk's North Shore

Parents with spirited kids know the value of time spent in nature.

Besides just being an awesome experience, nature and the outdoors are known to build immunity, lower stress, and reduce symptoms of ADHD. Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve near Huntington is a spacious waterfront parkland where tots can enjoy year-round fishing, hiking, picnicking, and more on Long Island Sound.

For more great things in and around Long Island's North Shore, check out our guides to Centerport with kids and family fun in Northport. For more outdoor fun, check out our guide to LI parks and playgrounds, including 15 state parks that are absolutely worth a visit.

9 Easy Fall Family Hikes in NYC

It finally feels like fall in New York City, which means my family is headed to the hiking trail. At least once a quarter, usually coinciding with the change of seasons, someone in the family decides it's time to escape to the woods for a little urban relief. And really, there's no need to head upstate or to the 'burbs to get that outdoors fix.  

Did you know that our fair city is home to over 300 miles of hiking trails through 10,000 acres of unencumbered Mother Nature? We have sampled enough parks around NYC to confidently share this list of trails that vary in length, scenery, and difficulty (including those just right for little legs), and that reward hikers with views of water, bridges, and yes, that gorgeous fall foliage. Whatever borough you call home, my boy, who helped to compile this list, and I hope you will have a blast lacing up and hitting the trails. Note: He is too young to share mommy's byline. 

Nature Walks on Long Island to View Fall Foliage

The leaves across Long Island are starting to turn beautiful colors. Luckily, Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End have some of the best trails around, ideal for looking at that gorgeous fall foliage. And these lovely backdrops lend themselves to great family photos that will put you ahead of the game for upcoming holiday cards. Strike a pose and take some candid shots of the kids: Fall on Long Island is perfect for memory-making. 

So, strap on your hiking shoes, pack a few snacks, and head out to one of these destinations for fresh air and splendid fall oranges, reds, and yellows. For more kid-friendly activities, be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide.

Register for Free Fall/Winter Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults all year round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE fall/winter swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, October 1, 2018, at noon.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kids' swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those in Brooklyn and in Queens.

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