Union

A Dozen Must-Do Holiday and Christmas Experiences for NJ Kids

This year, 2018, has the earliest possible date for Thanksgiving: November 22. What we lost in turkey prep time, we'll make up for in a lovely, elongated holiday season on the road to Christmas and New Year's. In between your Christmas shopping and holiday to-dos, we've assembled our annual list of activities kids will love—and won't cost an arm and a leg. From holiday light shows to breakfast with Santa to Christmas trains, we’ve compiled 12 great memory-making activities for this month.

Check out our full calendar of events and our holiday guide for even more options.

Watchung Reservation Sensory Trail Caters To NJ Kids of All Abilities

Sensory play—any activity that stimulates any one or all of a child’s five senses—is a crucial part of development. And for children who have difficulties processing all the different sensations that they receive from their senses, sensory stimulation can be even more valuable.

Enter the Watchung Reservation Sensory Trail in Mountainside. The first of its kind in Union County, the trail, located in Union County's largest park, is designed to provide sensory stimulation and interaction for all kids, with an emphasis on special needs children and their families. According to Union County park officials, it is the most extensive sensory trail in the U.S.

On a recent visit with my 5-year-old, we set out to determine if this sensory-friendly trail would stimulate all five of our senses. Read on to find out what we saw, heard, smelled, touched, and yes, maybe tasted, too.

Check out our Fall Fun Guide to find more easy trails along with other seasonal fun.

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!

Best Trick-or-Treating Neighborhoods for New Jersey Kids

Halloween is nearly here, and in several New Jersey neighborhoods the locals are thinking, “Bring it on!” These Halloween-obsessed towns deck out their homes every year with fabulous decorations that delight trick-or-treaters big and small. Others turn their streets into festive Halloween block parties.

Where can you join in the fun near your home? We’ve compiled a list of more than 30 towns and neighborhoods that are worth a visit. Those who make the trip can expect lots of treats—not to mention some prime photo ops.

Find more fun in our New Jersey Halloween Guide, including pumpkin patches and the best FREE Halloween events for local kids.

20 Family-Friendly Things To Do with NJ Kids in Westfield

Warning: It may take just one visit to fall seriously in love with Westfield. This Union County town off the Route 22 corridor is known for its beautiful tree-lined residential streets and smart downtown with great restaurants and shopping. Though Westfield is just 6.29 square miles, families have a host of options for enjoying this great town with a sophisticated but homey feel.

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.

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.

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