What’s not to love about fall? The cool autumn air, brilliantly colored leaves, apples, pumpkins, Halloween... the list goes on and on. Once fall begins, I always find that my calendar is bursting with activities, from pumpkin picking to harvest festivals and everything Halloween. Get outside and take advantage of all of the fall fun our Garden State has to offer. Here are 50 fabulous fall activities to enjoy with your family.
Looking for more? Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide, which we'll continue to update throughout the season.
Apple picking at Demarest Farms is an essential part of fall fun. Photo by yusuke toyoda via Flickr.
1. It’s apple picking season! Pick at Terhune Orchards, Alstede Farms, Demarest Farms, and plenty of others.
2. Relish the Garden State’s beautiful fall foliage at a scenic park or playground.
3. Breathe in the crisp autumn air on a family hike to one of New Jersey's beautiful waterfalls.
4. The beaches are FREE to roam after Labor Day. (Of course, that means they are usually closed to swimming for safety reasons, but still!)
5. Hurry! It's not too late to celebrate the "circle of life" at Liberty Science Center's Lion Guard exhibit, through Sunday, September 8.
6. Now that crowds have thinned down the shore, it’s the perfect time to climb the steps at one of NJ’s great lighthouses.
7. Tony Award–winning tap dancer and choreographer Savion Glover directs a talented cast of young performers in a revival of the hit Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid, Friday–Sunday, September 13–15 at NJPAC.
8. Watsessing Park's brand-new accessible playground is fun for kids of all abilities.
9. Celebrate all things creepy crawly at Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County’s 17th Annual Insect Festival: "Please Bug Me" on Saturday, September 14.
10. Didn’t get enough time in the pool this summer? There are plenty of great indoor water parks in our area.
11. It's not too late to dine alfresco, throw a Frisbee around, or take in the sights at one of NJ's top picnic spots.
12. Sip some of the best wine around—with your kids in tow—at one of NJ's family-friendly vineyards and wineries. Cheers!
13. Fall is a great time to try out a new class: Sign up for a new baby-and-me class, preschool music class, or an after-school enrichment program.
RELATED: Best Apple Picking Orchards and Farms in New Jersey with Kids
Burn off some energy at CatchAir. Photo courtesy of the venue
14. Spend an afternoon in one of our favorite indoor play spaces and fun zones, from romper rooms to ice rinks to museums.
15. If your kids have grown bored with your neighborhood park, find a new playground that's worth the drive.
16. Meet more than 80 of your child's favorite authors and illustrators at the annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, September 14.
17. Celebrate fall every weekend in September and October (starting Saturday, September 7) at Johnson's Family Farm with live music, a corn maze, apple and pumpkin picking hayrides, and tasty treats.
18. Bring your special-needs child to Storybook Land on Friday, September 20 for Special Abilities Night. The lights are turned down and the sounds are kept low allowing sensitive kids to explore the rides and attractions in a relaxed and welcoming setting.
19. Pretend to be king or queen for the day with a day trip to Kip's Castle Park in Verona.
20. Get in the autumn spirit at a harvest festival; check out the Hopewell Harvest Fair (Saturday, September 21) and Dunellen HarvestFest (Sunday, October 13).
21. Join Peppa Pig on an exciting camping trip to the woods with George and her friends on Saturday, September 21 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.
22. Spend Family Day at State Theatre New Jersey enjoying performances by illusionist Jason Bishop, free live music on an outdoor stage, costumed characters, face painting, balloon animals, games, and photo booth and much more on Sunday, September 22.
23. Make a splash at SeaQuest Aquarium when it opens this fall at Woodbridge Center Mall.
24. Everyone's invited to NJPAC for an amazing journey with Elmo to discover the “power of yet” in Sesame Street Live!: Make Your Magic, Friday–Sunday, October 4–6.
25. Party with the pumpkins at the annual Pumpkin Festival at the Whippany Railway Museum on Sunday, October 6.
RELATED: Best Fall Events for NJ Preschoolers
Pick pumpkins and have tons of fall fun at Alstede Farm.
26. Pick your very own pumpkin at one of NJ’s fun-filled pumpkin farms.
27. While you’re there, take the family on a hayride and get lost in a corn maze.
28. Instead of a sandbox, let the kids dig through a corn pit at Wightman’s Farm. This is a must-do with my own children every year.
29. It's Oktoberfest time! Enjoy this annual autumn festival at Morey's Pier with family-friendly activities and games Friday–Sunday, October 4-6 and 11-13. Little ones can decorate pumpkins and cookies in the "Rootbier Garten" while parents enjoy live music and authentic eats like fried pierogies, Bavarian pretzels, cheddar bratwurst, and of course, German beer.
30. Master bubble wrangler Jeff Boyer pops over to Bergen PAC with his amazing bubble spectacular on Sunday, October 6.
31. Jets or Giants? In my house, fall means football. Catch a home game at MetLife Stadium.
32. Cozy up with farm animals at these NJ agri-spots.
33. Take a stroll with the dead at one of New Jersey's Zombie Walks. Our favorites are the Asbury Park Zombie Walk (Saturday, October 5) and the Smithville Zombie Walk (Saturday, October 27).
RELATED: See Baby Animals and More at Family-Friendly NJ Farms
Camp out at Diggerland on Saturday, October 26!
34. Sleep under the stars at one of NJ's best family campgrounds. Or camp out at Diggerland on Saturday, October 26 and enjoy rides, arcade games, and s'mores over a bonfire.
35. Stroll, shop, and eat your way through the fall street fairs, such as the Caldwell Street Fair (Sunday, October 6) or the annual New Providence Street Fair (Sunday, October 27).
36. Check out a zoo full of boo at a zoo Halloween event.
37. Drop in and burn some energy on a chilly fall day at Cedar Grove's Woodland Indoor Playground.
38. Have more fall fruity fun at The Chatsworth Cranberry Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 19–20.
39. Tip off the start of basketball season on Tuesday, October 22 by supporting local college teams, from the Rutgers Knights to the Seton Hall Pirates.
40. Pretend play at new indoor play space Tay + Te in Northvale is a fun cure for cabin fever.
41. Hop aboard a Halloween train ride, including the Great Pumpkin Train for a boo-tiful choo-choo ride along the Delaware River starting Saturday, September 28.
42. Get your thrills at an NJ amusement park fall event. Storybook Land hosts Happy Hayrides on Thursdays – Sundays in October, and Trick-or-Treat Weekend Friday–Sunday, October 25-27.
43. Take a Halloween trip to a theme park during Six Flag’s Fright Fest, held weekends September 13-November 3.
44. Enjoy a good fright at one of New Jersey's haunted houses.
45. Get goose bumps on Cape May's ghost trolley tour. It's known as one of the most haunted towns in America!
46. Throw on your costume and enjoy the festivities at a Halloween Parade. We love Hoboken's Ragamuffin Parade & Costume Contest (Wednesday, October 31) and Boo at the Boardwalk on Jenkinson's Boardwalk (October 19-20, 26-27).
47. Calling all LEGO lovers! The BrickFair LEGO Fan Expo comes to the Meadowlands Expo Center Saturday–Sunday, November 2-3. From miniature models to life-sized brick creations, plus a bounce house, miniature golf course and more, this two-day event is a brick-builders's dream.
48. Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures skates into the Prudential Center Thursday–Sunday, November 6-10. This year’s special guests are Woody and Forky from Toy Story 4.
49. Get an early dose of seasonal spirit with Disney Junior Holiday Party! at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Saturday, November 9.
50. Frozen fans rejoice! Anna, Elsa, and Olaf return to the big screen on Friday, November 22 in Frozen 2.
Unless otherwise noted, photo courtesy of the venues