Nothing says fall like a cool breeze and the leaves changing colors. 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
(Photo credit: @govenorsisland)
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.
The Great Jack ‘o Lantern Blaze | 525 South Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson
(Photo credit: @thegreatjackolanternblaze)
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. The event runs through late November so you can really extend the spooky season. Ticketed admission and flex passes are available online.
Turtleback Zoo | 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange
(Photo credit: @officialturtlebackzoo)
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.
Apple + Pumpkin Picking | Throughout NJ
(Photo credit: @happydayfarmnj)
This quintessential fall activity is a must for families. It’s the perfect way to have an outdoor adventure, engage in activities, and shake things up with something new. New Jersey is home to tons of farms and we’ve listed them all out in this ultimate guide.
Ken Lockwood Gorge + Colombia Trail | Raritan River Road, Califon
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. Leashed dogs are welcome on the hike so feel free to bring the pup along, too.
Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla | Central Park North, New York
(Photo credit: @centralparknyc)
Celebrate fall in Central Park. Bring a carved 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. 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.