Autumn Colors Reveal New Jersey’s Surprising Hidden Gems
TRENTON, N.J., August 31, 2020: As summer winds down in New Jersey, the onset of fall signals the favorite time of year for insiders who know there’s a reason it’s called the Garden State. Picture-perfect bucolic landscapes and pleasant weather make it an ideal time to visit a local farm, hit the links, go fishing, or hike to the highest point in the state. Meanwhile, Jersey Shore aficionados know that fall heralds in the serene season: the perfect time of the year to enjoy the state’s iconic beaches, long after summer crowds have said their farewells.
The following is a sampling of autumn’s hidden, but dazzling, gems tucked away across all corners of New Jersey; sites may also be found at www.VisitNJ.org.
Farms & Orchards
New Jersey has an abundance of farms filled with pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and hayrides, as well as orchards, rich in crisp apples. Apple-picking season typically begins in mid-September and carries into the beginning of October. Many farms offer harvest festivities and special experiences, such as feeding goats at Sun High Orchards in Randolph or moonlight corn mazes and campfires at Von Thun’s Country Farm Market in Monmouth Junction.
Hiking & Leaf Peeping
From the Appalachian Trail to a casual nature walk, there are hundreds of hiking opportunities in New Jersey offering great views of the changing leaves. To reach the top of the world (or at least the state), visitors should check out High Point State Park in Sussex, home to New Jersey’s highest elevation at 1,803 feet. On a clear autumn day, one can see 80 miles of spectacular fall colors with a great panorama of rich farmland and forest, soft hills, and lush valleys across three states. For scenic hikes through a shaded hemlock ravine, abundant with trout fish, Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley is one of the Garden State’s undiscovered treasures.
Home to some of the top-rated golf facilities in the country, golfers have long been drawn to New Jersey’s pristine courses. Duffers and hackers alike have their pick of more than 150 of the finest public courses in the nation, including: Hominy Hill Golf Course, the crown jewel of Monmouth County Park System’s golf courses; the award-winning Ballyowen Golf Course at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg; and Vineyard National Golf Course, a picturesque layout that meanders through South Jersey’s Renault Winery.
Fishing has seen a surge of popularity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due, in part, to its built-in social distancing. This trend is expected to continue throughout fall’s trout season. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife stocks more than 15 large streams and rivers in northern and coastal areas during the second and third weeks of October to begin the season. Top spots throughout the state include South Branch Raritan River, Big Flatbrook, and the Manasquan River. For the inspiring combination of great trout fishing and beautiful autumn colors, Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Byram is a “must-see” travel experience.
From serene settings to downhill switchbacks, biking enthusiasts can explore miles of unpaved mountain trails at Wharton State Forest, the largest forest in the state. The 50-mile Batona Trail is the longest in the Pine Barrens and home to bald eagles, hawks, owls and more. In northern New Jersey, Ramapo Mountain State Forest offers miles of rugged mountain biking for the seasoned rider, including the challenging 6-mile Cannonball Trail. For those who prefer a gentler terrain, Monmouth County’s Henry Hudson Trail is a rails-to-trails option that runs through six Bayshore towns.
About New Jersey
New Jersey provides a wide variety of experiences to visitors all year long. Travelers can enjoy outdoor adventures, renowned culinary offerings, educational opportunities, and a strong arts and cultural scene. With numerous state and national parks, beaches, skiing, tax-free shopping, historic sites, museums and more, New Jersey blends together its rich history and exciting present. Home to the nation’s first beach resorts and the birthplace of major inventions, New Jersey offers picturesque escape opportunities for all ages. For more information, visit www.VisitNJ.org.