Get Outta Town: 30 Family Day Trips from NYC This Fall

Fall Day Trips: Kid Hikes, Harvest festivals, Halloween Fun Near New York City

With fall upon us, we're craving more than just a change of seasons. Sometimes, fresh scenery—even just for a day—can do wonders to reboot and re-energize weary New Yorkers who dodged tourists and packed subways all summer.

Whether fall in your house means an afternoon harvesting nature's bounty at local farms, heading out for a hike, or staying close to home to explore a new-to-you corner of the city, we've got daycations sure to satisfy any mood. Read on for 30 picks sure to inspire your love of the season.

1. Enjoy cider doughnuts, crisp fall air, and the sweet smell of apples visiting one of these nearby orchards for a day of harvest fun.

2. Don your period garb and head to Sterling Forest for the New York Renaissance Faire, playing weekends through October 2.

3. Head to Mystic, Connecticut, for a day of seafaring fun, complete with marine animals and lobster rolls.

4. Take your Lego lover on a journey to Westchester's Legoland Discovery Center.

5. No car, no problem! These five destination-worthy museums are accessible via public transportation.

6. Breathe in some fresh air and catch a fall festival in Westchester.

7. Find dinosaurs just over the GW bridge at Field Station. This seasonal spot sticks around into November. 

8. Learn some presidential history by hopping on The Roosevelt Ride, which offers a car-free way to explore FDR's history in the Hudson Valley.

9. Don't forget about the first President Roosevelt. 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.

10. Hit a pumpkin patch near NYC or further afield in New Jersey, or on Long Island.

11. Enjoy a step back in time (and more farm fun) at one of New Jersey's living history farms.

RELATED: Best Fall Events for NYC Preschoolers

Aerial view of the Amazing Maize Maze in Queens. Photo courtesy of the Queens County Farm Museum.

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

13. Have more corny fun with a visit to CORNucopia at Westchester's Philipsburg Manor.

14. Spend the day at Alstede Farms where kids can pick apples and pumpkins, but also see the barnyard animals (gratis), climb a tower of hay, and hitch a wagon ride. There are also bounce houses, concessions, and pony rides on weekends, making it almost a farm-themed mini amusement park that happens to grow really great apples.

15. The North Fork of Long Island is great for leaf peeping, cider doughnuts and a visit to a family-friendly vineyard. Don't forget a stop at the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck and Briermere Farms for pie. You can pick up pumpkins and gourds on the way at any farm stand.

16. Marvel at what they do with pumpkins at the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson.

17. If Long Island is more your style, visit the the Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns in Old Westbury, or in Secaucus, New Jersey, where it opens in the Meadowlands for the first time this year. 

18. Explore a new-to-you park such as Fort Tryon. There's a playground right outside the entrance and stunning views of the river and the fall foliage dotting the Palisades.

19. Been there, done that? Check out our other favorite under-the-radar parks within city limits, or our hall-of-fame-worthy playground picks.

RELATED: Best Fall Festivals Around NYC This September

Storm King is a bit of hike from the city, but the perfect fall day trip. Photo by Tal Atlas via Flickr.

20. 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.

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

22. Take a picnic and go ice skating at Bear Mountain State Park.

23. 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.

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

25. Couldn't make it to Niagara Falls this summer? Try a closer-to-home hike to one of Pennsylvania's stunning waterfalls.

26. Explore the new Westchester Children's Museum, which is reachable by Metro North.

27. Make STEM learning fun with a day trip to one of these outside-the-city science centers.

28. Tackle a family-friendly Hudson Valley hiking trail.

29. Finally ride the tram to Roosevelt Island, and run amok in the park.

30. Need more ideas? Start checking items off our 100 Things to do with Kids in New York State Before they Grow Up list, from the best New York state parks to cool museums.

This post originally published in September 2011.

Top image: The Pumpkin Planetarium at the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze. Photo by Jennifer Mitchell/courtesy of the event.