30 Fall Day Trips from NYC for Families

Between the towering artwork and Mother Nature's handiwork, Storm King Art Center is a stunning destination for a fall day trip from NYC. Photo courtesy of the venue
Between the towering artwork and Mother Nature's handiwork, Storm King Art Center is a stunning destination for a fall day trip from NYC. Photo courtesy of the venue

With fall looming on the horizon, it's hard not to dream of fall day trips from NYC because 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. 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 fall day trips from NYC to fit your style. Some of these fall day trips are even accessible via public transportation. Read on for our top fall getaways for families that are 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: 10 Farms Near Westchester and the Hudson Valley with Family-Friendly Fun

Fall day trips from NYC Renaissance Faire
Try your hand at archery or more old-school tests of skill at the New York Renaissance Faire on weekends from late August through early October. Photo courtesy of the Faire

3. Renaissance Faire

Step back in time at Sterling Forest for the New York Renaissance Faire, which plays weekends through early October.

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. Ride a Mountain Coaster

Hit one of these local thrill rides where you can whirr down the mountainside.

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.

7. 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.

RELATED: 20+ Fall Weekend Getaways Near NYC

Fall day trips from NYC The Amazing Maize Maze
Get lost in The Amazing Maize Maze in Queens. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

8. 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.

9. Petting Zoos

Snuggle up to animals at these kid-friendly petting zoos, including White Post Farms on Long Island.

10. Long Island State Parks

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

11. Bask in Fall Foliage

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

12. Hit the Shore

Fall is a fine time to visit the Asbury Park beach and boardwalk with fewer crowds.

RELATED: Visiting the Adventure Aquarium in NJ: 10 Best Things To Do and See

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

13. 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.

14. Picnic at Bear Mountain State Park

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

15. Hit the Rails

Pedal your way along abandoned rail trails on quad bikes for a fun outing and plenty of leaf peeping.

16. Whale Watching

Early fall is prime whale-watching season and we've found 10 whale watching cruises near NYC.

17. Drive the Hudson Valley

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

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

Fall day trips from NYC South Mountain Reservation
The South Mountain Reservation has a kid-friendly playground and plenty more perks for an all-day visit. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

18. Daycation at South Mountain Reservation

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

19. Conquer Some Thrill Rides

Most theme parks are open well into the fall and these amusement parks near NYC serve up big-kid thrills.

20. Pick Some Sunflowers

New Jersey, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley come into full bloom with sunflower picking at these flower farms near NYC.

21. Visit Mystic

The seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut, overflows with family-friendly attractions including the Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium.

RELATED: Catskills With Kids: 35+ Family-Friendly Finds in Sullivan County

Fall day trips from NYC hiking in Northern New Jersey
Northern New Jersey is home to a collection of fun waterfall hikes easy enough for families. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

22. Take a Waterfall Hike

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

23. Liberty Science Center

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

24. 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.

25. 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

Fall day trips from NYC Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Long Island
Old Bethpage Village Restoration is the backdrop for the stunning Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze on Long Island. Photo courtesy of the venue

26. 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.

27. Visit Legoland

The sprawling resort in Orange County has tons of fall fun on tap, including its Brick-or-Treat Monster Party.

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

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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