New Jersey

Get Locavore at U-Pick Farms in New Jersey

They don't call it The Garden State for nothing. New Jersey is a great place to go to pick your own summer fruit and veggies. Whether it is strawberries, peaches, or peas, you can find plenty of u-pick farms in New Jersey.  Picking your own produce is great thing to do, especially with kids. Not only does it help you eat locally with farm fresh produce, but it's important for kids to learn about where their food comes from and make that connection with the farm. Plus it's lots of fun.

The NJ picking season starts end of May for strawberries with other berries and peaches coming in season end of June through end of July and apples, pumpkins and other vegetables available through the Fall.  Here are some of our favorite farms close to New York City for picking your own fruits and vegetables. Click through to each u-pick farm to find out what they have ripe for u-pick now, plus hours and directions, but also call ahead before you go to make sure they aren't picked out.

NJ State Fair: Farm Fun and Rides Just a Short Ride from NYC

We love state fairs. With all the animals, games, rides and junk food, they are full of old-fashioned fun for the entire family. While we've written about all the New York State and County Fairs and that post is in our Summer Activity Guide, but we also love the New Jersey State Fair, which is opening in the end of July.

The NJ State Fair was started in 1821 and retains an old-fashioned charm today. Just one hour’s drive from NYC, the NJ State Fair is filled with a slew of animals rivaling Noah, a fairway full of rides, pig races, butterfly exhibits, bee-keeping exhibitions and a food court offering everything from home-made baked-potatoes to blooming onions and corn-dogs—your kids’ll be enthralled.  And did we mention a wine-making competition and a beer tent?  And there's even free parking.

New Jersey Weekend Events for Kids July 17-19: Historic Train Rides, Ice Cream, Tall Ships, City of Water Festival and More

There is a bit of everything for everyone in New Jersey this weekend.  You can take a ferry from New Jersey to Governor’s Island for City of Water Day, sail the Hudson on a historic schooner, or ride an antique caboose train to the nostalgic sounds of old railroad tracks.  Animal lovers can attend the largest cat show in the Northeast and bird lovers can hike through Liberty State Park looking for summer shore birds.  Finally, who can resist the ice cream eating competitions and tasting events at the New Jersey State Ice Cream Festival?

Family Friendly Day Trips from NYC Without a Car

In my post about the farms you can visit in Westchester, I mentioned that it is easy to get to Philipsburg Manor and Stone Barn Farms without a car, using public transportation. I thought it would be cool to write about some of the other day tips you can take from NYC using public transportation. There's really no reason to be stuck in the city just because you're car-less (or want to save your gas money on, say, the down payment on an apartment). There are plenty of fun family day trips that can be easily accessed using Metro-North trains or busses.

The MTA actually has an entire section of their website dedicated to what they so romantically dub MTA Getaways . You've probably seen this advertised in the subway, but I know I never really looked into it before. Many of the trips you could do any time, but the MTA has also worked with local tours and groups to create specific event packages.

Here are some car-free day trips that are definitely worth a try:

Free Outdoor Movies For Kids

New York City has gone nuts for outdoor movies in recent years and with good reason, there's something magical about lying back on a picnic blanket and watching your favorite movie with hundreds of other New Yorkers.

Outdoor films are also the best way for grown ups to go see kid movies because you can just enjoy being out on a nice summer evening even if you aren't that into the movie. And, depending on your kids, it can be a great way to get out to see a grown up movie without spending the college savings on a sitter, as many kids will enjoy the classic films frequently shown or will just enjoy being out at night enough to sit (or sleep) through it.  Films begin at dusk which is generally at around 8:30 and many of these series include other entertainment.

Here's a rundown of the best free outdoor movies for kids in NYC this summer:

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