Kid-Friendly Fall Activities Within Two Hours of Hoboken 

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Nothing says fall like a cool breeze and the leaves changing colors {seriously, those deep reds and vibrant orange colors are beautiful}. With the cooler, easy to handle temps, now is actually a great time to get outside and spend some quality time with the family. To make the most of the season, here are a few exciting events beyond the classic apple picking and pumpkin patches within two hours of home. Keep reading for a roundup of fall activities and events within two hours of Hoboken.

Governor’s Island {New York City}

govenors island

{Photo credit: @govenorsisland}

Dates: Year-Round

Distance from Hoboken: 50 minutes by ferry

Cost: Adults, $3, Seniors $1; Children under 13 are free {round trip from Pier 11}

The kids will love getting to Governor’s Island because it’s only accessible via ferry. Take the Hoboken South ferry to Pier 11/Wall Street and from there take the Governor’s Island ferry. Historically home to military headquarters, the island is now known as “New York City’s Backyard,” an island full of family-friendly activities. Enjoy biking around the island with a wide variety of bike rental options including single bikes, tandem bikes, and four-person surreys with a shade covering ideal for sunny days. Get a thrill at Slide Hill, let the kids go wild at the playground, or just walk the perimeter which offers amazing views of NYC. For independent kids who love to explore, check out The Yard, a 50,000 sq ft kids-only outdoor area open Saturdays and Sundays to the public.

Garden State Food Truck Festival {270 Mendham Road, Morristown}

Dates: Saturday, October 5th, from 11:00AM-7:00PM

Distance from Hoboken: 53 minutes driving

Cost: Adults, $10; Children five and up, $5

Located at Lewis Morris Park in Morristown, NJ, this food truck festival is not one to miss. Beyond the food trucks, the festival also provides lawn games for adults, carnival games for the kids, face painting, and balloon artists. For the older “kids” {ahem, the adults}, they also have hatchet throwing and a Brewsky + Vino tent. Bring a picnic blanket, friends, and four-legged pals to enjoy live music and a great day in Morristown.

See More: The Best New Jersey Spots for Festive Fall Foliage

The Great Jack ‘o Lantern Blaze {525 South Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson}

Dates: October 3rd-31st; November 1st-3rd, 8th-10th, 15th-17th, 22nd-23rd, and 29th-30th

Distance from Hoboken: Just over one-hour driving

Cost: Adults, $22/27 on weekends, Children three to 17, $16/$20 on weekends, Children under three, free

With over 7,000 glowing gourds there is no shortage of pumpkins at The Great Jack ‘o Lantern Blaze. Located along the river near Van Cortlandt Manor, this is a spooky sight that will bring Halloween to life. Each pumpkin is intricately carved, some stand-alone, while others play part in larger-than-life formations. In addition to the blazing show, visitors can also catch a stargazing experience in the Pumpkin Planetarium with special guest appearances by The Headless Horseman and his ghostly friends. Plan on about 90 minutes to walk through the Lantern Blaze. Food tents on-site offer cider, candy apples, popcorn, and a variety of other fall treats.

Turtleback Zoo {560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange}

turtleback zoo

{Photo credit: @officialturtlebackzoo}

Dates: Year-round

Distance from Hoboken: 40 minutes driving

Cost: Adults 13+ $15; Children two to 12 $12; Infants under two free; Seniors$12

Cooler weather makes exploring the zoo less painful than in the summer heat, especially when wrangling little ones. Enjoy the nearly 1,400 animals who represent every continent on the globe except Antarctica. With 20 acres of land for the animals, the Turtle Back Zoo is a great mid-range option that will keep the kids interested without wearing them out with too much walking. The zoo also features a train, carousel, playground, and Safari Mini Golf course. Even if the animals are sleeping there’s still plenty to do.

Diwali Fest NJ 2019 {60 Woodland Road, Maplewood}

Dates: Sunday, October 20th, from 12:30PM- 6:30 PM

Distance from Hoboken: 30 minutes driving

Cost: Free

Head to Maplewood to check out the 3rd Annual Diwali Fest NJ. This Festival of Lights celebrates the arts and culture of South Asia and brings it to the community. Enjoy exotic food, authentic music, and mesmerizing Bharatanatyam dance performances. Children can learn all about the Festival of Lights through interactive children’s workshops which include books, stickers, and coloring pages, in addition to other family events put on by SOMA Cross Cultural Works.

Read More: Fall 2019 Fairs and Festivals in Hudson County

Ken Lockwood Gorge + Colombia Trail {Raritan River Road, Califon}

Dates: Year-round

Distance from Hoboken: Just over one-hour driving

Cost: Free

This easy-level hike is great for families. To hike the complete trail is 7.5 miles but a picnic makes for a great pause or the optimal time to decide to turn around and save the smaller legs in the family. Starting in the small town of High Bridge, the trail takes hikers into Ken Lockwood Gorge and eventually to the banks of the streaming Raritan River and the Colombia Trail. The path goes over and under a variety of old bridges with great places to explore. Dogs are welcome on the hike so feel free to bring the pup along, too.

Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla {Central Park North, New York}

central park

{Photo credit: @centralparknyc}

^ One of the beautiful fall views in Central Park! 

Dates: Wednesday, October 30th, 4:00PM – 7:00PM 

Distance from Hoboken: 50 minutes driving, 55 minutes via public transportation

Cost: Free

Celebrate fall in Central Park. Kick off the evening with a pumpkin carving demonstration by Hugh McMahon or make a Halloween craft to take home. Spooky stories create the eerie mood for the costume parade at 6:00PM. Don’t forget to bring a pumpkin to float on the Harlem Meer at twilight. Pumpkins must weigh around eight pounds {carved} and cannot have any artificial decorations like glitter, paint, food dye, marker, etc. Floating pumpkins are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of 50. Pumpkin or not, everyone gets to enjoy the hauntingly beautiful view along the water’s edge as the meer fills with glowing jack-o’-lanterns around 6:30PM.

Which of these activities will you be taking your kids to this fall? Let us know in the comments! 

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Originally from North Carolina, Ainsley became a proud Hoboken Girl years ago. As a freelance journalist she has written about everything under the sun for the past six years. She works from her home office in uptown Hoboken or sometimes from Choc-o-Pain, because nothing says “freelancer” like working from a café with a fresh croissant nearby. As the mother of one very fast toddler, she has a passion for self-care, parenting hacks, and discovering all the fun things the Mile Square has to offer.