New Jersey

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!

30 Christmas and Holiday Events for NJ Babies and Toddlers

Now that Santa has paraded into our living rooms and into all of our shopping malls, the 2018 ho-ho-holiday season is officially underway. And whether you have an infant who can really only look cute in his or her "First Christmas" footie pajamas, a toddler who’s a bit more clued-in to the Santa scene, or a preschooler who’s been on his or her best behavior to impress your Elf on the Shelf, you can rest assured that you’ll have enough fun things to keep your under-5 crew occupied.

We’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of some wonderful holiday must-dos to take you through the New Year—from Christmas light displays to breakfasts with Santa, rides aboard the Polar Express to the merriest musicals and theater treats—and we’re pretty sure you’ll find them nice!

So, cue up that seasonal soundtrack and make a note of all the local little one–friendly yuletide hangs in our Holiday Guide, plus be sure to check out everything festive flagged in our Event Calendar.

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.

Paterson Great Falls: History and Natural Beauty for NJ Families

Waterfalls are one of those treasures in life that we don’t often come across—but when we do, we’re mesmerized.

While New Jersey has a handful of picturesque cascades, most are tucked away on hiking trails or in wooded areas, such as Hemlock Falls in the South Mountain Reservation in West Orange or Boonton Falls in Grace Lord Park in Boonton.

If you’re not much of a backpacker, however, or are just looking for a quick jaunt, check out Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson. It’s an easy day trip with a view to remember—and one you can drive right up to.

When Pediatric Urgent Care Can Save a Visit to the ER

It's past bedtime, but a barking cough and noisy breathing are keeping your toddler wide awake. Weekend soccer practice ends abruptly with a slide tackle right to your middle schooler's ankle. Your otherwise healthy teen is suddenly covered with welts from head to toe. The pediatrician’s office is definitely closed and panic starts to set in as you weigh whether the circumstances warrant an emergency room visit.

Well, as it turns out, there may be a better option. A pediatric urgent care center—like those operated by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in Chalfont, Pa., Glen Mills, Pa., and King of Prussia, Pa.—can actually handle all of these problems and then some, including a number of illnesses and injuries you might think require an emergency department visit. And while many issues may feel ER-worthy to us worried parents, they might not meet the medical criteria that require a trip to the hospital. So, instead of booking it to the nearest emergency room or waiting for the pediatrician's office to open for your kiddo's next fever or fall, call your child’s doctor and ask if an urgent care for kids might be the best option. These facilities treat your child when you need it—on evenings and weekends—and how you need it—with special consideration for his or her needs.

Weekend Fun: Cape May Halloween Parade, Zoo Boo, Cranberry Fest

Get ready to have a howling good time this weekend with a calendar of October fun for everyone—even the family pet! Show off your creative canine costumes at events like Strut Your Mutt, Howl-O-Ween Dog Festival & Pooch Parade, Marty's Place Howl-O-Ween, and Trick or Treat Street and Howl-O-Ween. Or celebrate Halloween with all kinds of creatures at Boo at the Cohanzick Zoo.

Harvest festivals are going strong this weekend. Find pumpkins, hayrides, and more at the Hoboken Harvest Festival, 26th Annual Pumpkin Festival, Harvest Festival at the Frazee House, and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood YMCA Fall Harvest. And with Halloween just around the corner, get spooked at Boo at the Boardwalk, the Cape May Halloween Parade, and (for the more adventurous) Bane Haunted House.

Find even more options in our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids, including 35 Free Halloween Events and Parades for New Jersey Kids and Top Pumpkin Patches and Picking for New Jersey Families. And look to our October GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

A Dozen Easy Fall Hikes in NJ for Families with Small Children

Hiking with small children can be fun for the whole family, if you choose the right trails, pack enough snacks, and build in some break time for little legs. Autumn in New Jersey may be the ideal time to get the family outdoors for a nature walk or easy hike, when trees are ablaze with fall colors and temperatures are just right.

Read on for our list of short, family-friendly hikes with scenic vistas and shady picnic spots. As for the snacks, try letting kids make their own trail mix before a nature walk: set out some bowls of nuts, pretzel sticks, dried fruits, and chocolate chips or M&Ms, and let the kids fill a plastic baggie with their favorite fuel. Before setting out, make sure everyone dresses in layers and wears comfortable shoes, and don't forget to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.

For more outdoor adventures, check out one of the state's many nature centers, which offer a host of family-friendly activities as well as hiking trails. Happy hiking!

Are Daycare Kids Better Behaved? This Study Says Yes

Torn between a nanny, daycare, or staying home with your kids? Choosing childcare can be a difficult—and deeply personal—decision for any family, and of course involves a number of factors, from costs to the length of your commute. A new study out of France suggests that daycare might offer some significant advantages in terms of our kids' development.

Researchers at Sorbonne Université in Paris followed nearly 1,500 kids from the womb to age 8 as they either attended a center-based daycare or were cared for by a nanny or family member. The daycare kids, particularly those who attended at least a year before the age of three, were less likely to have problems with peers and other emotional and behavioral issues, according to the researchers.

NJ's Living History Farms: Old-Fashioned Farm Fun for Families

The Garden State's many wonderful farms are perfect spots for a family-friendly outing any time of year. But a few special farmsteads offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience farm life just as it existed many years ago. These living history farms give visitors the chance to try their hand at chores like bottle-feeding lambs, gathering honey, and harvesting ice. If you're looking for a fun, educational experience for the entire family, hands-on historical farms are a great choice.

For even more outdoor family fun, check out these New Jersey farms and historic villages

Best Kid-Friendly Hotels for a San Diego Family Vacation

Whether you're driving down from Los Angeles or flying in from afar, a weekend in San Diego is the perfect getaway to find rest and relaxation all year long. The SoCal destination offers a wide array of family activities to keep everyone entertained, in between the requisite visits to Seaworld, Legoland, and the Safari Park. Here, we round up eight of our favorite spots to kick back and unwind in this picturesque beach town.

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