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Quaint and Quirky Holiday Celebrations for New Jersey Families

We all have our favorite family holiday traditions, whether it’s viewing an annual light display, cutting down a fresh Christmas tree, or having breakfast with Santa. All good stuff, to be sure. But if you’re looking to shake things up this year, try an experience you won't find at your local mega-mall.

One option is to go small: New Jersey’s charming small towns play host to a variety of quaint holiday happenings, from Dickens carolers to Christmas Candlelight House Tours.

If you're after something truly unique, NJ has plenty of that, too. You can celebrate Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium, get festive with the furry residents of Bluebird Farm Alpacas, or explore an animated wonderland at the Christmas Ice Caverns.

Who knows? One of these activities might become your family’s new holiday favorite. Check out our roundup below for some great small-town and off-the-beaten-path fun. For more ways to celebrate the festive holiday season, visit our Holiday Fun Guide.

Best Places To Take Pictures with Santa in New Jersey

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he's ready for his close-up. From simple setups to elaborate events, there's no shortage of opportunities for your little elves to pose with the big guy. We've rounded up our favorites, and there's something for every budget. Want more QT with jolly St. Nick? Book a breakfast with Santa. And for even more seasonal activities, check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

15 Stores That Offer Free and Cheap Classes for NJ Kids

Extracurricular activities create enriching experiences for kids, but they can also take a toll on your wallet. While kids are encouraged to explore their passions, the price tag on sports teams, dance classes, and art lessons can be overwhelming.

The good news is that stores throughout the state offer free—and nearly free—classes that allow you to save money while developing your family’s interests. These low- or no-cost classes, crafts, storytimes, and other activities are great ways to fill in schedule gaps without busting your budget.

Many stores have various locations, so be sure to check the websites for local schedules.

Harvest Festivals, Hayrides, and Fall Fair Fun in New Jersey

The air is crisp, the apples are ripe, and fall fair and harvest festival season is about to get underway! We've rounded up two dozen great harvest fests in New Jersey, all packed with signature autumn activities like hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin decorating (and picking), pie contests, scarecrow making, live animals, live music, and more. Some even incorporate a little early Halloween fun.

Read on to find an event near you, including the Great Pumpkin Festival, the Fall Festival at Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, and more.

For more seasonal activities around the Garden State, be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide and our list of 35 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall

Best Fall Fairs and Festivals for NJ Families in September

As the carefree days of summer draw to a close, NJ families can look forward to plenty of fun in the Garden State this fall. Explore nature at the NJ Wild Outdoor Expo, chow down on delicious seafood at the Atlantic City Seafood Festival, or listen to some exciting tales at the NJ Storytelling Festival.

Check out the 17 awesome festivals below, and visit our Events Calendar and September GoList for more fabulous fall ideas, or head over to our just released Fall Fun Guide if you're already envisioning fall foliage and that pumpkin spice.

20 August Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

New Jersey has fairs and festivals galore this August. Flutter over to Pennington for a Butterfly Festival, indulge in sweet summer peaches at Princeton's Just Peachy Festival, or enjoy classic fair fun like carnival rides and games at a county fair. With so many options, the family calendar will be packed all month long. Read on for our top picks, and find more ways to make the most of August with our Summer Fun Guide.

20 Super-Fun Summer Day Trips for New Jersey Families

We've got 20 ideas for NJ summer day trips your family can take without leaving the state—and many are low cost. Whether it's gathering fresh fruit at a pick-your-own farm, swimming at the lake, hitting the Jersey shore's beaches and boardwalk, or visiting an amusement park, grab the camera and hit the road!

Need more inspiration? Check out our NJ Family Day Trip and Getaway Guide for even more ideas.

If it's too hot or rainy to head outside, look to our indoor guide and rainy day suggestions to keep the good times rolling. 

Best July Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

Fairs and festivals and feasts, oh my! It’s non-stop action in NJ this month—read on for our recommendations and choose your favorites. With everything from state and county fairs to music and food festivals—and of course, awesome July 4th celebrations—there’s something happening almost every day in July. Mark your calendar now, and have a blast all month long.

Berry lovers: be sure to check out our roundup of NJ's awesome blueberry festivals, many of which take place in July. And for more warm-weather action, visit our Summer Fun Guide.

Best Pick-Your-Own Blueberry Farms and Festivals for NJ Families

Blueberry picking is a perfect summer activity for the whole family: the bushes are low, the berries pop off the plants easily, and your family can literally pick hundreds without breaking the bank—or your back hauling them home. Lucky for us, blueberries are the official state fruit of New Jersey, and they are plentiful throughout the Garden State. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best pick-your-own farms and blueberry festivals NJ has to offer for kids. Happy picking!

Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

When the heat becomes unbearable with the kids this summer, you might be yearning to bust open a fire hydrant. Before you do, consider one of New Jersey's splash pads and sprinkler parks, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, organized by region. Remember, these are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of cattails (Van Saun Park!); animal fixtures (Bridgeton); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Visit our Best NJ Water Parks article to go all in for theme park fun. Or strap on those water shoes, pack the towels, and read on for some of New Jersey's best water playgrounds and spray parks in your neighborhood. 

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