End-of-Summer Bucket List: 35 Things To Do With NJ Kids Before School Starts

Splash in Pirate's Cove at the Land of Make Believe. Photo by the author
Splash in Pirate's Cove at the Land of Make Believe. Photo by the author

August is here, and Target is fully stocked with school supplies...which only means one thing: Summer is almost over! If you haven’t been to the beach, picked your own fruit, or ridden a roller coaster yet, there's still time to squeeze in more fun before saying so long to summer. Read on for 35 awesome adventures to have with your kids before school starts, and get ready to go out with a bang!

Find even more bucket list-worthy ideas in our Summer Fun Guide, picks for the best things to do this August, and our Activity Calendar.

1. Pick Your Own Peaches

This sweet summer fruit is in peak season this month. Pick your own peaches at one of New Jersey’s family-friendly farms.

2. Go Skating

Sandy Hook transforms one of its parking lots into an old-school roller rink for a one-day-only event on Thursday, August 19.

3. Climb a Lighthouse

On Saturday, August 7, celebrate National Lighthouse Day by attending the re-opening celebration of the Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse in Paulsboro.

Zoom down the slides at the NJ State Fair summer bucket list fun
Zoom down the slides at The New Jersey State Fair. Photo courtesy of the fair

4. Go to the State Fair

When it comes to fairs and festivals, August in New Jersey is like one big party! You can't miss the NJ State Fair: Sussex County Farm & Horse Show, which runs from Saturday, August 7-Saturday, August 14; it's an eight-day extravaganza of carnival rides, live entertainment, and delicious food.

5. Catch a Movie Under the Stars

Ditch that regularly scheduled bedtime, grab a blanket and some snacks, and make it a family movie night with a free outdoor flick.

6. Look up to the Sky

There's nothing like a hot-air balloon festival to infuse everyday life with a touch of magic. Catch the last weekend of the Warren County Farmers' Fair and Hot-Air Balloon Festival through Saturday, August. 7.

RELATED: 30 Summer Day Trips for New Jersey Families

Fireworks at Jenkinson's Beach summer bucket list fun
See fireworks all summer at Jenkinson's Beach. Photo courtesy of Jenkinson's

8. See Some Fireworks

It's like Fourth of July all summer long with Thursday nights on Jenkinson’s Beach in Point Pleasant.

9. Take a Dip

These swimming pools let you and your fam splash and sun for the day. Or go for a dip in a calm, family-friendly lake.

10. Soak up Some Jersey Shore Charm

Check out one of these cute New Jersey beach towns for family-friendly summer fun.

11. Feast at a Food Festival

Terhune Orchards' Just Peachy Festival on Saturday, August 7, and Sunday, August 8, promises tons of tasty peach-filled treats, including pies, cakes, homemade ice cream, and more.

RELATED: Fun Things To Do in New Jersey This Weekend With Kids

Peach Pancakes at Alstede Farm's peach breakfast makes our summer bucket list
Devour delicious pancakes and other peachy treats at Alstede Farms' Farm to Table Peach Pancake Breakfast. Photo courtesy of the farm

7. Enjoy a Special Breakfast

Have peaches for breakfast at Alstede Farms' Farm to Table Peach Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, August 8, then stick around to pick-your-own fruit.

12. Take the Bikes for a Spin

Pick one of these favorite spots for a family-friendly ride.

13. Cool off at an Inflatable Water Park

Elevate your last swim of the season with a visit to an action-packed inflatable water park.

RELATED: Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in NJ

The Land of Make Believe Coasters belong on your summer bucket list
Younger kids can get a thrill on the small roller coaster at the Land of Make Believe.

14. Enjoy the Thrill

Nothing says summer like a trip to an amusement park. But coasters aren’t just for the big kids. Land of Make Believe and other amusement parks for preschoolers provide plenty of fun for little ones, too.

15. Book a Trip to Legoland

The long-awaited Legoland New York Resort is finally open! You can visit daily through Labor Day and weekends in the Fall.

16. Make a Splash

Visit your neighborhood sprayground or splash pad before the sprinklers are turned off for the year.

18. Gear up for an Outdoor Adventure

Climb through one of New Jersey's treetop obstacle courses, or buckle up for a soaring ride on a zip line.

RELATED: Best Things To Do in New Jersey in August 2021 With Kids

Water parks make our summer bucket list
Relax with your little ones as you float down the Lazy River at the Land of Make Believe. Photo by the author

17. Float Down the Lazy River

Or kick it up a notch and go for a tricked-out water slide at an awesome outdoor water park, like this new one at Diggerland.

19. Spend a Rainy Day at the Mall

American Dream is no ordinary shopping center. This larger-than-life mega mall recently added two new kid-friendly destinations to its ever-expanding lineup: Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center.

20. Dine Alfresco

Pack a picnic lunch or dinner and pick the perfect place to throw down your basket and blanket and spread out.

22. Camp Out

Pitch a tent at a family-friendly campground—or even in your own backyard. Nothing beats s'mores around the fire and sleeping in a tent under the stars.

RELATED: Best NJ Zoos and Aquariums for Animal Encounters with Kids

Play mini golf at the Cape May course
The whole family can putt at Cape May Miniature Golf. Photo courtesy of the course

21. Tee Up

Find your way fore-ward to a mini-golf course sized just right for your minis.

23. Venture to a New Playground

If your kids have worn out the swings and slides at your neighborhood playground, find a new themed or drive-worthy playground for your kids to explore.

24. Go Flower Picking

Pick a bouquet of beautiful blooms at a gorgeous sunflower field or flower farm.

25. Sneak in One Last Trip to the Shore

From the beaches to the boardwalks, soak up the sun and fun along the state's gorgeous 130 miles of shoreline.

RELATED: August Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

An over-the-top-treat from Coney Waffles is a summer bucket list item
Buckle up for a sugar rush at Coney Waffles. Photo by thosemarlingirls via Instagram

26. Eat Ice Cream for Dinner

Enjoy an over-the-top ice cream treat at Coney Waffle, or pick up a scoop or two at our favorite ice cream shops.

27. Get Into the Groove

Boogie on down to the sweet sounds of jazz and blues at a summer music festival at the Downtown Westfield Jazz Festival through Tuesday, August 31.

28. Stop and Smell the Roses

The fabulous green spaces at the state's arboretums and gardens offer a great opportunity for children to see nature up close.

29. Hang Out With Dinos

Field Station: Dinosaurs reopened this summer and remains open to pint-sized dino-lovers weekends through Sunday, November 14.

30. Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Rent a paddleboat, kayak, or rowboat to sail across a scenic lake and take in the breathtaking views.

RELATED: Free Beaches in New Jersey: No-Cost Fun in the Sun

Go on a tubing adventure at Lakeview Marina
Hang on tight! Lakeview Marina offers motorboat-towed tubing adventures. Photo courtesy of the Marina

31. Try Tubing

Slip-on a life jacket and enjoy a wet and wild ride down one of Jersey's thrilling waterways.

32. Take a Day Trip

You still have a few summer Fridays left to enjoy a quick getaway without even leaving the state.

33. Save Money

From FREE festivals, comedy shows, and movies to fireworks, crafts, pony rides, and more, check out these totally FREE kid-friendly events.

34. Stay Cool and Beat Boredom

Keep the kids entertained with these fun water games, or bring the fun inside with a beat-the-heat craft.

35. Sticking Around for Labor Day?

Take advantage of the long weekend to check something off our ultimate bucket list for New Jersey kids, or the 35 must-dos for kids under 5.

This post, originally published in 2018, is updated annually.

St. Mary of the Lakes Carnival
Saint Mary of the Lakes School - various times Pick
Kids Art Classes at Hoboken Historical Museum
Hoboken Historical Musem - 10:00 AM
Barnes & Noble Storytime
Barnes & Noble Livingston - 10:00 AM
Barnes & Noble Storytime
Barnes & Noble - 11:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides