Monmouth

Best and Brightest Christmas Light Displays in New Jersey

It may be hard to believe, but Christmas is right around the corner, which means holiday shows, visiting Santa, snowy sleigh rides, and, of course, checking out the amazing light displays throughout the state. New Jersey really shines during the holidays, with many different ways to see some holiday sparkle—from walk-through spectacles at amusement parkszoos, and aquariums to massive drive-through displays; plus private homes and entire towns that go all-out!

These sparkling spectacles—some of which feature more than a million lights—are sure to impress even the grinchiest member of your family. So bundle up the kids and head out to one of these illuminating shows soon! And of course, you can find even more ways to be merry in the Mommy Poppins Holiday Fun Guide.

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner in New Jersey

Not feeling up to hosting Thanksgiving this year? Here's something to be thankful for: There are plenty of restaurants open throughout the state on Thanksgiving Day. Having your holiday out means that you can sit back and enjoy the party—and you won't have to wash a single dish.

We've chosen 21 of New Jersey's best spots to enjoy a holiday feast. Call ahead for a reservation, and then use your extra time to plan some fall fun with the family, or try out one of these Thanksgiving crafts. Happy Thanksgiving!

Polar Express and Christmas Trains for New Jersey Kids

Every year, New Jersey's railroads get decked out in their holiday best to offer special Christmas-themed rides for the whole family. Wait—Christmas? We know, it's a bit early to start hauling out the holly, but these rides are a popular holiday tradition, and they sell out fast!

Though these trains don't go all the way to the North Pole, most include a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, along with treats, caroling, and stories. One storybook Santa train invites kids to wear their pajamas and hear a classic Christmas story read aloud on the rails, while another ferries passengers to a Christmas tree farm.

Read on to find out where to take a holiday train ride with Santa Claus, and book your tickets as soon as possible. Then you can put Christmas aside for a while and get back to your fall fun.  

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 26 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 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 40 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Festivals, and Decorating Events in NJ

Are your kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Kick off the festive fall season at one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events happening around NJ, from elaborate pumpkin exhibits and carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating fun.

Read on for our top picks, plus a bonus event that’s worth a drive across the state line. You can find even more even seasonal events in our Fall Fun Guide

Halloween and Fall Foliage Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures—plus one across the Delaware in Pennsylvania.

From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.

Amazing Corn Mazes at Family-Friendly New Jersey Farms

Get ready… get set… get lost in an amazing New Jersey corn maze! The Garden State is home to oodles of spectacular corn mazes, ranging from massive 10-acre labyrinths to simpler, child-friendly courses, including hay bale mazes just right for toddlers and preschoolers. Games, clues, and even techie bonuses enhance many of the more elaborate maze experiences. Got a tween or teen? Check out courses that are open after hours for a nighttime and sometimes spooky adventure.

Many of these 16 corn mazes we've rounded up are day trip–worthy on their own, but you'll also likely find apple and pumpkin picking options, hayrides, and even fall festivals, plus petting zoos in some instances. So get out your fall to-do list, and navigate your way through one of these great New Jersey corn mazes. Check out our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids to find even more ways to enjoy the crisp autumn days.

18 Top Pick-Your-Own Peach Farms in New Jersey

There’s nothing that screams summer more than a warm-off-the-tree peach, with the sweet juices dripping down your chin. With farms a-plenty and peaches ripe for the picking, choose your spot from the list below, grab your baskets and babes, and head to one of these u-pick farms

The peach-picking season in the Garden State really gets going in mid-July and carries on through August and early September at some farms. Before you go, call ahead or check the farm’s Facebook page to make sure crops are still plentiful and what, specifically, is available on any given day. (You might also be able to pick blueberries, which are available at many farms through July.)

Read on to find out where the juiciest fruit can be found.

Best Pools with Day Passes in New Jersey

If your summer roster includes camp and vacation, you may not be willing to take the plunge on the price and commitment of a pool membership. Luckily, pool clubs throughout New Jersey offer guests the opportunity to spend the day at the pool without membership or residency. Take a swim at the following clubs, which offer day passes without restrictions.

The Water Safety Skills That Could Save Your Child's Life This Summer

FACT: Most kids who drown were supervised. Let that sink in. While accidents do happen from babies being left alone in tubs or a toddler falling into an unattended pool, the most common way is while grown-ups are around, but not paying attention.

According to the CDC, drowning is the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14. It is the number one cause for children four and under! And thousands more are hospitalized for these incidents.

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