The Best Fall Day Trips in New Jersey

Autumn is all about exploring the Garden State's outdoor pleasures—hiking trails, waterfalls, seasonal festivals, and tasting rooms with scenic views.

Branch Brook Park in the fall
Branch Brook Park's seasonal foliage is spectacular. Photo: Ron Wyatt

What does your perfect fall day in New Jersey entail?

A gorgeous drive through the mountains, taking in the colors of changing leaves along the way? An afternoon of festival-focused fun with the family, picking pumpkins and apples? A laid-back evening at a winery, tasting new varieties and catching up with old friends?

Whatever your ideal autumn excursion, we can bet it features the Garden State’s great outdoors. Below, browse a comprehensive guide of places to visit and things to do this season.

6 Breathtaking Waterfalls You Need to See

Hunterdon County’s Lake Solitude

The beauty of Hunterdon County’s Lake Solitude can be enjoyed solo or with pals. Photo: AEROJO Drone Productions

Ready for an autumn rush? Check out these lesser-known splendors. READ MORE

New Jersey Fall Festivals and Fairs You Won’t Want to Miss

Entrance of corn maze

Photo: Shutterstock/Michael Warwick

From Oktoberfest celebrations to family-friendly events, the Garden State has a plethora of fun fall happenings. READ MORE

A Guide to Exploring NJ’s 36-Mile Lenape Trail

A man and his dog hike at the Quarry Point lookout

The Quarry Point lookout offers a dramatic view over Montclair and beyond. Photo: Ron Wyatt

The sprawling Essex County trail links suburban streets with woodsy mountains and hidden history. READ MORE

Haunted Attractions Sure to Scare NJ This Fall

Collection of Jack-o-lanterns

Eek! Give yourself a fright in the Garden State this season. Photo: Shutterstock/Alexander Raths

Find frights and delights all over New Jersey as Halloween nears. READ MORE

Unwind at NJ’s Most Scenic Tasting Rooms

The inviting outside area at Source Farmhouse Brewery in Colts Neck

Source Farmhouse Brewery in Colts Neck boasts an inviting outside area, complete with Adirondack chairs, a beer garden and games. Photo: James J. Connolly

Ready to enjoy a brew with a view? Here’s your guide to the Garden’s State’s most picturesque breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries. READ MORE

Take a Trot on Horseback at Watchung Stable

Horseback riders at Watchung Stable in Mountanside

Watchung Stable connects to 26 miles of bridle paths and features a main barn, an isolation barn, paddocks, one show and four riding rings, and an outdoor hunter course. Photo: James J. Connolly

Guests can traverse the Watchung Reservation—a verdant, 2,000-acre preserve in Union County—on horseback while learning about local wildlife. READ MORE

Ride a Train to the Ol’ Susquehanna Mine

Passengers on the River and Steam Train in Phillipsburg

Michael Van Grieson, Aja Mullins and baby Aiden enjoy a ride on the historic River and Steam Train. Photo: Joe Polillio

Board a historic passenger train in Phillipsburg, ride along the Delaware River and arrive at an interactive mining exhibit. READ MORE

Visit the Historic City of Paterson

The Great Falls in Paterson

Paterson’s Great Falls are second largest waterfall by volume on the East Coast. Photo: Steve Greer

People come from as far away as France to gaze at the stunning Great Falls. Plus, there’s an abundance of fabulous Middle Eastern cuisine to try. READ MORE

Explore the Great Swamp, a Sanctuary for All

A felled tree in the Great Swamp's woods

A felled tree in the Great Swamp shows its age with its many rings. Photo: Laura Baer

Take a trek through the Great Swamp, where woodlands, grasslands, brooks and ponds provide a habitat for a wealth of aquatic life, birds and mammals. READ MORE

Geek Out on Hamilton History (And Much More) in Trenton

Trenton's capitol building amid fall foliage

Trenton is well worth a visit this autumn. Photo: Shutterstock/Henryk Sadura

New Jersey’s capital city offers the kind of deep-dish American history you can only find in a few U.S. cities. (And don’t forget about its thin-crust pizza!) READ MORE

Get Lost in South Mountain Reservation

Two hikers at South Mountain Reservation

Explore South Mountain Reservation’s rocky trails and shady inclines this autumn. Photo: Laura Baer

Put on your walking shoes and hike to Hemlock Falls, a 25-foot-high cascade in the heart of the 2,110-acre wooded oasis. READ MORE

Can’t get enough? Check out more autumnal excursions:

Get Lost But Find Fun in a Corn Maze
Visit NJ’s Often-Overlooked Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway
Spend a Peaceful Day at Watchung Reservation
Stroll Where Washington Stood Fast
Kick Back in a Kayak on the Manasquan River
Visit Pequannock Watershed, a ‘Pristine Forest’ in New Jersey


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