20 Columbus Day Weekend Getaways and Fall Day Trips for NYC Families

Columbus Day Weekend Getaways and Fall Day Trips from New York City

Recently we asked you to tell us about your favorite fall outings, and the response was fabulous. We received lots of tips about fall festivals, apple and pumpkin picking places and your favorite spots to get outdoors and enjoy playing in the leaves.

Below, we've compiled our readers' favorite fall day trips and outings in or near New York City, perfect for a last-minute Columbus Day weekend getaway.

Apple Picking
Enjoy cider doughnuts, crisp fall air and the sweet smell of apples. Favorite destinations include Lawrence Orchard in Congers, NY—so close, yet so far away from the city—and Warwick, NY, where there are many orchards to choose from. Terhune Orchards near Princeton, NJ, is known for its apple and pumpkin picking, hay wagon rides, petting zoo, a corn maze, pony rides, live music and delicious food. It's just a short ride from the city, but feels like a different world.

See our roundups of pick-your-own-apple places within an hour of New York City, or read all of our posts about apple orchards in the tri-state area.

Pumpkin Picking, Corn Mazes and Festivals
We've got great roundups of pumpkin patches, corn mazes and harvest festivals in New York City, New Jersey and Long Island. Reader favorites include the corn maze at the Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville, NJ, and the one at the Queens Country Farm Museum. Bonus: You can go through the maze at night with flashlights! Plus the South Jersey Pumpkin Show Festival in Egg Harbor.

More Day Trips
Readers love to drive out to the country to look at leaves. Some head to Hudson Valley, others to the Berkshires or even Vermont and Maine. Here are some favorite destinations.

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.

Visit Storm King Art Center. Enjoy the art, let the kids run around and marvel at the changing leaves. Afterward, head to a nearby orchard for apple picking and cider doughnuts.

Ride out to Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, NY. The children can learn about President Theodore Roosevelt and the foliage on the grounds is fantastic. There is also a great train down to Cold Spring Harbor. Hint: Walks on trails and grounds are free, but the tours are reasonable and well worth it.

It's amazing to see what they can do with pumpkins at the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson.

The Mid-Hudson Children's Museum in Poughkeepsie is a great tot spot.

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

Enjoy New York City's Parks

Bike riding and playing in the leaves are favorite activities. Here are some of the parks people enjoy the most for fall and why.

Kissena Park, Queens has beautiful trees that are gorgeous and diverse. Ride bikes, admire the pond with its ducks and turtles, and play in the playground. Leaf crunching in this park is superb!

Playing football and shuffling through the piles of leaves in Riverside Park.

The Salt Marsh Nature Center in Brooklyn. The Park Rangers run great programs; you can hike around the marsh and go bird watching.

Walking through piles of leaves in Prospect Park then heading to the Prospect Park Zoo.

Enjoying the evening sun rays falling on the sculptures at Socrates Sculpture Park.

A walk to Fort Tryon Park and the playground right outside the entrance. The park has great views of the river.

Wave Hill is gorgeous this time of year and offers family programs.

And, of course, Central Park. Listening to some great musicians, watching the characters at the "roller rink" loop, playground hopping, renting a boat at the Lake and taking in the foliage against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.

This post originally published in September 2011.