Indoor Miniature Golf in New Jersey

Is any summer vacation complete without a round of miniature golf? If that thought gets you revved up, how about getting started now? NJ has a few indoor mini-golf courses, ranging from quiet putting practice to standard windmills and waterfalls, to full-on glow-in-the-dark monsters and music, so brush up on your stroke and prepare yourself for the great outdoors!

And for more indoor fun, check out our Indoor Play Spaces, Sports Centers and Fun Zones Guide.

Cross-Country Skiing Near NYC: Where to Nordic Ski with Kids

While we've written plenty of posts about downhill skiing with NYC kids, we've never covered cross-country skiing. Also known as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a great winter sport for families. Children as young as five can ski alone, and parents can tow tots in a sled or carry them in a backpack while on the trails. You can't do that while swooshing down a mountain!

Cross-country skiing is a fun way for active kids to burn off energy in the colder months and spend time outside. While you use most of the same equipment that you'd need for a day on the slopes—skis, boots, bindings, poles, goggles, helmets and warm clothing—cross-country skiing is nowhere near as dangerous or as expensive as downhill skiing. You won't be at risk for slamming into a tree at full speed, and trail passes usually cost about $20 per person.

After a good snowfall in New York City, you can cross-country ski just about anywhere. I've seen people doing it in parks and even right down the middle of Fifth Avenue before the snow plows cleared the street. But if you're looking to go cross-country skiing in a more scenic (and less bumpy) environment, there are tri-state area destinations that offer many miles of well-groomed trails, as well as amenities like warm lodges where you can sit back, relax, sip on hot cocoa and enjoy a family meal.

Unlike traditional ski resorts, most cross-country trails aren't in the business of making their own snow. So you're going to have to wait for the white stuff before you can get out there. Once that happens, here are six spots where families can enjoy cross-country skiing, most less than a two-hour drive from New York City.

Top 20 Things To Do With Thrill-Seeking NJ Kids

My six year old son is a thrill seeker. I cringe at the playground watching him climb to the tippy top of the jungle gym. When we go hiking he is always the first to suggest trying the more difficult trail. While I admire his adventurous spirit, as a mom it's hard to not imagine the worst case scenario. That's why I'm so happy that I found some safe local activities that will satisfy both his need for thrills and my need to protect him. Check out our list below for some great activities for your adventurous child. If you have little ones, be sure to read our post 25 Things To Do With Preschoolers Before They Turn 5, and for October fun for the whole family make sure you check out our New Jersey Halloween Guide.

Birthday Parties at Pumpkin Farms in New Jersey

When you think of the fall, you think of crisp weather, vibrant colors, pumpkins and hay rides. If your child has a fall birthday, celebrate with all the best elements of the season at a pick-your-own pumpkin patch. New Jersey is home to great pumpkin farms throughout the state, and many offer party packages jam-packed with seasonal activities, such as hay rides and corn mazes. Pumpkin parties are typically offered September through November and tend to book up early. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, some pumpkin farms offer indoor options or date changes; see individual websites for rain policies. Enjoy all the fun of the fall at these Garden State pumpkin farms. And for all kinds of party ideas, visit Mommy Poppins NJ’s Birthday Party Guide.

Unique NJ: Some Unusual Summer Activities and Day Trips for Families

School’s out for summer! Now that the kids are home full-time, it can be somewhat challenging to find new ways to keep them busy every day. Yes, there’s always the playground and the beach, but those looking for something different this summer will find that New Jersey is full of surprises. How about visiting the six-story tall elephant in Atlantic County? Or getting up close and personal with wolves in Warren County? Here’s the scoop on seven of New Jersey’s most unique destinations…there are plenty of fun ways to occupy everyone until September rolls around! And for even more summer awesomeness, check out our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.

Best New Jersey Bike Shops for Kids

I will never forget my first bike—it was a yellow Schwinn with pink ribbons around the handlebars. My patient father showed me how to cycle around our suburban New York neighborhood when I was seven! New Jersey is a very active state for bike enthusiasts of all ages. Below is a list of bike shops in New Jersey that sell bikes for girls and boys of all ages—with and without training wheels. And, of course, do NOT forget your helmets when bike riding with family and friendly. Safety first; no exceptions! For even more summer awesomeness, check out our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.

Family Getaways in New Jersey for Memorial Weekend

While there's plenty to do in NYC with kids on any weekend including Memorial Day, lots of families like to celebrate the unofficial start of summer with a fun-filled day or weekend trip out of town. In the past, we've rounded up Pennsylvania getaways that are far enough away to feel like bona fide vacations without the plane ride. But there are lots of closer destinations in New Jersey that are just as engaging but with less time spent cooped up in the car/train/bus.

From nearby spots like Jersey City's enriching Liberty Science Center, which you can do in a day via public transportation, to relaxing multi-day jaunts filled with sand, surf and rides on the Jersey Shore, we've got the goods on where to go in the Garden State this Memorial Day or any summer weekend.

You can find more vacation inspiration in our NYC Day Trips Guide and on our Travel site.

Great Small Towns in NJ: Sparta

Nestled in Sussex Country, Sparta is great little country town and lake community. Whether you are strolling the Lake Mohawk boardwalk or shopping at Olde Lafayette Village, the fresh country air and slower place is a refreshing change. You don’t need to board a plane to explore a new town. By travelling up Route 80, you’ll not only see the beautiful, serene fall foliage, but experience a ‘different’ New Jersey, so head out to Sparta, NJ!

NYC Labor Day Weekend Family Getaways: Nearby Destinations for Weekend or Day Trips

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is fast approaching. While there are certainly plenty of ways to enjoy one last blast of summer right here in NYC, the three-day weekend is the perfect time for a quick family getaway before school starts.

Whether you're looking for a spectacular day trip or a multiday break, our tri-state area sites in New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut and recently launched Westchester County have been covering the best things to do and places to go in their respective locales all season. In just one click, you can find out everything you want to know about visiting the Poconos, the Jersey Shore and other family hot spots with kids. We're highlighting six awesome areas for a Labor Day getaway, all within comfortable commuting distance of New York City. For even more family travel inspiration, check out our NYC Day Trips Guide, which includes a post about car-free Labor Day getaways, and our Travel site, which has a roundup of Labor Day weekend vacation deals.

Indoor Play Spaces in Warren and Sussex Counties

"The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day."-- Dr. Seuss. Well, you're not making any more of a mess in MY house--my basement looks like a Disney Princess Island of Misfit toys. Even if Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, I'm still not seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. Get out and explore some of the best indoor play spaces in Northwestern NJ--in other words, a place where your kids can make a mess and you don't need to clean it up!


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