Fall’s the Season For Driving New Jersey’s Scenic Byways and Back Roads
Discover vibrant fall foliage, intriguing history and delightful treasures as you cruise along three of New Jersey’s Scenic Byways, two of which have also been awarded the federal designation. These three drives showcase the state’s cultural contributions, rich heritage and natural beauty—plus, they offer ideal landscapes for prime leaf peeping! Plan to stop along the way to fuel your energy and imagination, or make your fall foliage tour a romantic weekend getaway with a B&B stay. New Jersey’s foliage usually peaks in mid to late October, but get the latest conditions at The Foliage Network.
FALL FOLIAGE DRIVE #1: DELAWARE RIVER SCENIC BYWAY (32.8 MILES)
Meander along the Delaware River from Trenton north to Frenchtown on one of New Jersey’s two National Scenic Byways. You’ll pass by historic sites, recreational areas, farms and one of the largest flea markets on the East Coast. Of course, fall foliage reflecting on the Delaware River is the key attraction as you cruise through the historic towns of Titusville, Lambertville, Stockton and Raven Rock, ending in Frenchtown. Much of the way, you’ll parallel the historic Delaware and Raritan Canal. Stop at Washington Crossing Park to see where George Washington made his famous foray that changed the American Revolution. Explore galleries and antique shops in Lambertville and pass Stockton’s historic Prallsville Mills. Cross the walking bridge over the Delaware at Bull’s Island Recreational Area for perfect photo ops. Last stop: Frenchtown, a charming town for walking, dining and exploring boutiques. See map link.
FALL FOLIAGE DRIVE #2: MILLSTONE VALLEY SCENIC BYWAY (27.5 MILES)
This National Scenic Byway also lets you time-travel to Revolutionary War times and America’s canal era. It loops the Millstone River from Kingston to Millstone borough. Here you’ll see another part of the Delaware and Raritan Canal system that crosses through the center of the state and is ideal for walking, biking, kayaking and birding. And, yes, George Washington definitely slept here—and among the houses built in the 1700s that you’ll drive by is the beautifully restored Rockingham, General Washington’s last wartime headquarters. As you head north to Millstone, take detours to enjoy fall foliage as you stroll through Colonial Park & Garden or learn about environmental stewardship at Duke Farms. You’ll find dining options as you drive through hamlets or explore nearby Princeton's dining and shopping options. As this drive takes you on several roads, access the byways map created by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. See map link.
FALL FOLIAGE DRIVE #3: PALISADES SCENIC BYWAY (NJ SECTION, 13 MILES)
A palisade is defined as “a line of bold cliffs.” And nowhere will you see a bolder, better view than from New Jersey’s section of Palisades Interstate Park, a National Historic Landmark. The Palisades Scenic Byway includes 10 miles along the Palisades Interstate Parkway and another 8.5 miles on Henry Hudson Drive. In New Jersey, the park includes more than 30 miles of hiking trails—ideal for those who appreciate fall foliage and want a great workout. Fortify yourself with a bountiful breakfast at a classic New Jersey diner in Fort Lee or Tenafly before heading out. You won’t want to miss stops at three lookouts, which deliver jaw-dropping views of the 500-foot-high Palisades, the Hudson River and the New York City skyline. Possible stops include Fort Lee Historic Park, Tenafly Nature Center and the State Line Lookout. See map link.
For additional fall foliage drives as well as an itinerary for a perfect 3-day fall adventure, go to visitnj.org, where you can download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for e-news from New Jersey Travel and Tourism.
Byway maps may be found here.