30 Perfect Family-Friendly Fall Day Trips from NYC

Embark on a family-friendly fall day trip and explore a hiking trail in New Jersey, on Long Island, or in the Hudson Valley. Photo by Matt Nighswander
Embark on a family-friendly fall day trip and explore a hiking trail in New Jersey, on Long Island, or in the Hudson Valley. Photo by Matt Nighswander

With fall upon us, we're craving more than just a change of seasons. Sometimes, fresh scenery—even for a day—can do wonders to reboot and re-energize New Yorkers weary from the back-to-school routine. With that in mind, we've rounded up 30 family-friendly fall day trips from NYC.

Whether fall in your house means an afternoon harvesting nature's bounty at local farms, heading out for a hike, or something else, we've found nearby day trips to fit your style. Some of these day trips are even accessible by public transportation. Read on for our top family-friendly fall day trips sure to inspire your love of the season, and find more getaways in our Day Trip and Weekend Getaways Guide.

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1. Apple Picking

Enjoy the crisp fall air and the sweet smell of apples by visiting one of these nearby apple orchards for a day trip full of harvest fun.

2. Doughnut Tasting

Eat your way through the treat of the season—apple cider doughnuts—at these Westchester farms.

RELATED: Best Things To Do in NYC in October 2021 With Kids

Kids running through a pumpkin patch on a fall day trip near NYC
Find the perfect pumpkin at an area farm. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

3. Pumpkin Picking

Hit a pumpkin patch near NYC, further afield in New Jersey, or on Long Island for a seasonal day trip destination.

4. Explore the North Fork

The North Fork of Long Island is great for leaf-peeping, cider doughnuts, and (most important!) a visit to a family-friendly vineyard.

5. Kid-Friendly Farms

Spend the day at Alstede Farms, where kids can pick apples and pumpkins, see the barnyard animals, hitch a wagon ride, or climb astride a pony on weekends, making it almost a farm-themed mini-amusement park that happens to grow great apples.

6. All-Aboard for a Hudson Valley Getaway

Embark on a no-car required getaway to one of these charming towns in Westchester and beyond.

RELATED: 20+ Fall Weekend Getaways Near NYC

Small children navigate teh Amazing Maize Maze
Get lost in The Amazing Maize Maze in Queens. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

7. Corn Maze

You need not even clear city limits to visit the Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum, NYC's only corn maze.

8. Petting Zoos

Snuggle up to animals at these kid-friendly petting zoos.

9. Long Island State Parks

Enjoy the magnificent state parks of Long Island for some nature-themed fun.

10. Bask in Fall Foliage

Enjoy the foliage on one of these family-friendly hiking trails dotting Long Island.

RELATED: Best Family Theater in NYC This Fall

Storm King Art Center offers plenty of room to run and explore on a fall day trip
Autumn is the perfect season to visit Storm King Art Center. Photo by Eva Schwartz

11. Storm King Art Center

Visit Storm King Art Center in Orange County, New York. Enjoy the art, let the kids run around, picnic, and marvel at the changing leaves.

12. Hit the Slopes

Hit Hunter Mountain in the Catskills before the snowflakes start to fly.

13. Picnic at Bear Mountain State Park

Take a picnic and explore the grounds of Bear Mountain State Park.

14. Explore Sagamore Hill

Drive or ride out to Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay on Long Island to learn about Theodore Roosevelt. The foliage on the grounds is fantastic.

RELATED: Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in NYC to Tackle This Fall

A day trip to the South Mountain Reservation includes a visit to its cool playground
The South Mountain Reservation has a kid-friendly playground and plenty more perks for an all-day visit. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

15. Daycation at South Mountain Reservation

Experience the best of the 'burbs by spending a day exploring New Jersey's South Mountain Reservation with its zoo, hiking trails, destination playground, and more.

16. Rent a Boat

Row, paddle, or peddle your boat at one of these New Jersey rental spots.

17. Drive through the Hudson Valley

Take a scenic drive or hike through these leaf-peeping hot spots in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

18. Explore the Palisades

Enjoy the natural beauty and changing colors at Palisades Interstate Park.

RELATED: 5 Waterfile Hikes in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Kids frolic at the foot of a waterfall on a day trip from NYC
Northern New Jersey is home to a collection of fun waterfall hikes easy enough for families. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

19. Take a Waterfall Hike

If leaves aren't enough eye candy, explore one of these waterfall hikes in Northern New Jersey.

20. Liberty Science Center

Hop across the river to visit one of our favorite Jersey-kid spots: The Liberty Science Center.

21. Hit an Out-of-Town Museum

Weather iffy? Head to Long Island's "museum row" to hit the Cradle of Aviation, Firefighter's Museum, and more great kid spots in Garden City.

22. Ride the Pumpkin Train

Kids love trains and Halloween, so combine the two with one of these Halloween and fall train rides in New Jersey.

RELATED: Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in NYC to Tackle This Fall

Forget a day trip, take a night trip to Van Cortlandt Manor for The Blaze
Stroll the grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor to see the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze come to life each night. Photo by Susan Miele

23. The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Marvel at what they do with pumpkins at the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson or Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Long Island.

24. Visit Legoland

The sprawling resort is now open in Orange County, so take advantage of its inaugural season fun with a visit. Weekends mean Brick-or-Treat fun, too.

25. Book a Ghost Tour

The Garden State has never looked as spooky as it will during one of these evening outings where you never know who or what you'll encounter.

26. Take in a Seasonal Festival

Might we suggest the Happy Day Farm Fall Festival in Manalapan, New Jersey, or the Oktoberfest at the Riverhead, New York, farm Garden of Eve, and the Soukup Farms Harvest Festival, in Dover Plains, New York?

RELATED: The Sweetest Catskills Weekend Getaway for Families

A bear lounges on a log at Six Flags Great Adventure, a perfect day trip destination
Enjoy a different kind of wild ride at Six Flags Great Adventure Safari. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

27. Experience a Drive-thru Safari

Load up the family station wagon for a wild drive through Six Flags Great Adventure Safari.

28. Indoor Water Parks

Make summer last a bit longer with a day pass to the indoor water parks at Camelback and Kalahari resorts, and explore the rest of the family-friendly fun in the Poconos with kids.

29. See the Wolves at the Lakota Wolf

While you're in the Poconos, consider stopping by the Lakota Wolf preserve for an educational tour.

30. Conquer 100 Things

Start checking items off our list of 100 things to do with kids in New York state before they grow up.

Originally published in 2011.

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