Union

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

Family-Friendly Walkable Towns in New Jersey

Do you ever crave a city scene while living in the suburbs? Like many New Jersey residents, I moved here from Manhattan years ago but still feel that itch for metropolitan perks, like walkability, diversity of restaurants and shops, and an energetic community hub. The good news is, there's no need to leave the state for city amenities. Explore great walkable downtowns right here in New Jersey, where you'll find both chain and independent shops, art museums, unique bookstores, delicious cafes serving up local eats, and more. If you choose to leave the car at home, most of these downtowns are in close proximity to New Jersey Transit trains or buses.

Whether a day trip destination or a quick stop for lunch and shopping, these great walkable downtowns are worth a visit. 

Explore Lush Gardens and Nature with Kids at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

The perfect antidote to the stress of crazy family schedules might well be Mother Nature herself—and Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit is just the place to stop and smell the roses.

The Arboretum is not your average park outing; this serene Union County oasis offers some unique and interesing ways to learn about and experience the outdoors while giving the whole family some much needed R&R.

Where To Rent Paddleboats and Rowboats in New Jersey

Looking for a great summer outing that’ll float the family’s boat? A ride in a paddleboat (sometimes called a pedal boat) or rowboat offers panoramic views of New Jersey's scenic parks and lakes, and an opportunity for family time that may actually be peaceful. 

Paddleboat rentals are available throughout the state. Check the specific paddling locations for any age or weight restrictions, then sit back and enjoy the ride. (And don't forget the sunscreen!)

Feeling more adventurous? Find the best places for tubing and rafting in and around NJ.

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.

Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in New Jersey

Looking for a place to take your little ones for gentle thrills and kid-friendly amusements? We've rounded up 15 NJ amusement parks that are perfect for the younger set. Some, like Storybook Land, are geared exclusively toward small children, while others, like Morey's Piers and Jenkinson's Boardwalk, offer a solid selection of kiddie rides in addition to bigger thrills. 

We've limited our list of amusement parks to those located in New Jersey—to search for more tot-friendly spots in surrounding areas, check out the Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC.

10 Fun Things To Do with Kids at Warinanco Park in NJ

I have fond childhood memories of my dad lacing up my ice skates and guiding me around the rink at Warinanco Park on the border of Roselle and Elizabeth, New Jersey. Much has changed about this Union County park since that time, but what remains constant is that families have tons of ways to have a great time at this 205-acre park—including sports classes, skating, trails, and paddle boats

Read on for 10 fun things to do at Warinanco Park with kids. And don't miss our Guide to NJ Playgrounds and Parks for even more options.

Echo Lake Park Offers Year-Round Fun for NJ Families

In the midst of New Jersey's Union County's busy highways lies a grassy, spacious retreat known as Echo Lake Park. The sprawling park offers an escape from the bustling surrounding towns and truly provides something for everyone, even the family pet.

At the heart of the park is the scenic Echo Lake, home to activities such as boating, fishing, and ice skating, as well as several peaceful walking paths. Surrounding the lake are green hills, ball fields, playgrounds, a dog park, and a snack bar. Echo Lake hosts a variety of seasonal activities, from sledding to Halloween fun to summer concerts. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a day of activity, you can get the best of both worlds here.

NJ Cat Cafes: Purr-fect for Feline-Loving Kids and Families

If you're a cat-lover who craves a new place to sip a cappuccino while enjoying some downtime with your kids, then you're in luck: the cat cafe trend has officially arrived in New Jersey. Three kitty cafes have opened in the Garden State since July 2016—in Asbury Park, Rahway, and Palmyra—and the best part is, they're all kid-friendly. Guests big and small are encouraged to pick up a toy and get down on the floor to interact with the cafe's feline friends. For kids who go gaga for kitties, it's a cool alternative to a traditional indoor play space—and, since all of the four-legged residents are up for adoption, you just might leave with a new best friend.

Read on for more about NJ's three cat cafes and get ready to plan an a-meow-zing visit. 

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