Family-Friendly Harvest Activities & Halloween Events

Once you start feeling that brisk coolness in the air and the leaves begin to change to glorious shades of gold and red, you know autumn has arrived. Make the most of the season with our list of family-friendly things to do this fall.


1. Go apple picking

There’s a reason New Jersey is known as the Garden State: we have acres and acres of farmlands and fruit-laden orchards. Take a trip to Alstede Farms in Chester, where plenty of tasty apple varieties are ripe for the picking. At Mackey’s Orchard in Belvidere, you’ll need to hop aboard a hayride to get to their 45-acre mountaintop orchard. (Bonus: The Delaware Water Gap view is free!) Treat the family to a jug of fresh apple cider too.


2. Visit a pumpkin patch

It wouldn’t be harvest season without some roasted pumpkin seeds and jack-o-lanterns painted for Halloween, so bring the kids to Red Wagon Farm Market in Manalapan to choose from over 100 varieties of pumpkins—including ENORMOUS prize-winners—to pluck right from the vine. Head over to Duffield’s Farm & Market in Sewell for plenty of fall festivities, including a fun-filled hayride to the pumpkin patch to PYOP (Pick Your Own Pumpkin.) Be sure to stock up on some warm apple cider doughnuts from the bakery too!


3. Take a hayride

Whether pulled by a horse or a tractor, a good ol’ fashioned hayride is the perfect way to celebrate fall while enjoying the crisp, clean air of the great outdoors. Take the little ones for a spin at Springdale Farms in Cherry Hill, VonThun Farms in Monmouth Junction, Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and Atlantic Farm Market in Manasquan. Check out the fresh fall produce, flowers and more while you’re there.


4. Explore a corn maze

Journey with the family through the four-acre corn maze at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell, featuring two miles of paths, music and maze games with hidden clues. Wind your way through the 6-acre corn maze at Bullock Farms in Cream Ridge with a platform featuring spectacular views of the farm, and venture through the colossal 8-acre corn maze at Etsch Farms in Monroe Township for the ultimate fall adventure.


5. Visit a zoo

Fall is a fantastic time to visit a zoo. The air is cooler, the animals are livelier, and the day is filled with endless unforgettable moments and learning experiences. Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, Bergen County Zoo in Paramus, and Cape May Park Zoo in Cape May are just a few of our favorite places to see animals, reptiles and birds.


6. Hike, walk or bike

Gather the family and head outdoors. New Jersey is home to hundreds of national parks and scenic trails ready to be hiked, walked or biked on. Trees dressed in colorful fall foliage make the experience even more delightful. A few to try: Cape May Point State Park, The Great Falls of Paterson and the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area.


7. Get crafty

Painting pumpkins isn’t the only way to explore your artsy side this fall. New Jersey is filled with studios where kids, teens and adults can learn a new and exciting hobby. For one of the latest artistic trends, try glassblowing at Glassworks Studio in Morristown or Hot Sand Glassblowing Studio in Asbury Park. Another great idea: pick and paint your own pottery at All Fired Up in Collingswood or enjoy family clay sessions at Mud Clay Studio, with locations in Boonton and Madison.


8. Explore the Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore isn’t just for the summertime. In Fall, the air is cooler, the crowds are gone and there’s still plenty of things to do. Here are some of our top picks: Spend the day beachcombing, enjoy delicious seafood in beach town eateries, go whale watching, visit a lighthouse or maritime museum, fly a kite, ride a beach cruiser on the boardwalk or dive in early and start your holiday shopping.


9. Take a scenic drive

Grab the keys and cruise the lesser-traveled roads of New Jersey with Scenic Byway Itineraries that explore iconic routes noted for natural wonders, recreational parks, cultural landmarks and historical standouts. Our scenic byways are home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and discoveries in The Garden State, see for yourself.


10. Enjoy trick-(and trunk-)or-treating

Take the little ones to collect a sackful of candy in their scariest (or cutest!) costumes with this quintessential Halloween activity on October 31—and watch for the latest trend with “Trunk or Treat” events popping up in schools and towns around the Garden State. If you’re in the area, check out the craft and trunk-or-treat event at the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove on October 29th from 2pm to 4pm. And see Halloween like never before during Haunt O’ Ween in Holmdel September 30 – October 31. This immersive, thematic Halloween adventure spans 200,000 square feet and includes a spook-tacular interactive playground for all ages, 35,000 pumpkins, face painting, games, rides, and trick-or-treating in the house of Haunt O’ Ween. Click here for tickets and details.


Fall for family fun in New Jersey, but be sure to check out the official websites or social media pages of destinations before you go for the latest dates, times and details.