Fall is hands down our favorite season here at MG. While there are tons of things to fall in love with locally (think extravagant fall decorations on homes, apple picking, pumpkin picking, and more), both just outside our city limits and scattered throughout the state are some pretty spectacular spots to experience vibrant and festive fall foliage. We’ve rounded up some of the best spots near Essex County to see these beautiful changing leaves. So throw on your flannels and boots, grab your cameras, and head to these top spots in New Jersey for fall foliage viewing. Here are some of the best spots for viewing fall foliage in New Jersey.
Battlefield State Park | Manalapan
This historic battlefield (home of the American Revolutionary War’s Battle of Monmouth) doubles as a 1,818-acre state park with fresh springs, walking trails, picture-perfect picnic spots, and of course, tons and tons of trees in all their autumn glory. Scenic beauty + huge historical significance = a great place to spend a fall Saturday.
Belleville Park | Belleville
The park is a 32.70-acre wooded landscape and is located along the Second River, which was once a part of the Morris Canal. This park makes for a lovely picnic location with some of Branch Brook Park’s cherry blossom trees overflowing into this park. While the cherry blossoms rule in spring/summer, don’t sleep on the fall foliage.
Branch Brook Park | Newark
This expansive park is a great place for a picnic, with tables placed throughout the park. You can spend the day strolling the paved paths. Enjoy the view of the open spaces and the lake. This park is especially beautiful during the spring because of the cherry blossoms and fall because of the foliage. The park also has a baseball field, soccer field, tennis courts, and a dog park.
Brookdale Park | Bloomfield
Bloomfield’s Brookdale Park has a variety of walking paths and picnic areas. There are playgrounds, sports fields, track facilities, tennis courts, an archery range. There is a rose garden and pollination garden in the spring/summer and beautiful fall-colored trees in the cooler months.
Cheesequake State Park | Old Bridge
Head on down the parkway and Route 9 to Old Bridge Township to check out Cheesequake State Park. Its unique location between two ecosystems enables the park to boast marshes, fields, a swamp, a hardwood forest, and Pine Barrens — a unique combo of beautiful features. With five walking/hiking trails AND campgrounds for fall camping, this park is the perfect place for a fun-filled fall day of picnicking, camping, boating, canoeing, and more.
High Point State Park | Sandyston, Montague, Frankford
The view from High Point State Park is impressive, to say the least — the High Point Monument is 1,803 feet above sea level, making it the perfect hiking spot. On a hike here, you’ll be blown away by the panoramic views of farmland and forest and in the fall, stunning autumn colors.
Palisades Interstate Park | Bergen County
In nearby Bergen County resides the NJ portion of Palisades Interstate Park. Best known for the steep cliffs that stretch from New Jersey to New York adjacent to the Hudson (some are as tall as 540 feet high and are surrounded on all sides by bustling trees), this area provides a stunning fall aesthetic in October and November months. If you’re into hiking, the park offers what’s considered by enthusiasts to be a “moderate” hike, with different loop and difficulty options that take about two hours or more. Not enthused? The Palisades Interstate Parkway near the GWB has pull-off look-out areas where you can sit back, relax, and take in the sights. (MG tip: pack some of your favorite goodies and have a picnic!).
Ringwood State Park | Ringwood
Northwest of Hoboken, this State Park is the pride of Passaic County with gorgeous growing forests nestled amongst the Ramapo Mountains. Boasting over 5,000 acres of stunning fall beauty, this park is also home to an NJ favorite wedding venue, Skylands Manor, as well as the Shepherd Lake Recreation Area where you can canoe, swim, fish, ride horseback, and more. Should the stunning State Botanical Gardens leave you wanting even more, the natural beauty of the thousands of surrounding trees in all their glory will leave you in awe.
Stokes State Forrest | Sussex County
Hikers, campers, fishermen, and even photographers frequent Stokes State Forrest for its insane views. Whether you climb the top of Sunrise Mountain or stay at the Tillman Ravine (with a rushing stream), you’re bound to get some insta-worthy pics (and soak in all that nature has to offer, of course).
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Verona Park | Verona
Verona Park, just off Bloomfield Avenue, is a great picnic location. With picturesque views of the lake, you can sit at a table or a bench and enjoy watching the paddle boats in the water. There are numerous connecting walking paths and a playground for the kids.
See More: 10 Fun Fall Activities to Do in New Jersey
Views by Train | Hunterdon County
The Black River and Western Railroad offers 70-minute train tours through Hunterdon County and has been doing so for over 50 years. A perfect autumn activity, you can ride through the towns of Lambertville, Ringoes, Flemington, and Three Bridges on adorable and historical steam trains. The Pumpkin Trains will take you to activity-filled Pumpkin Junction where you can enjoy hayrides, a small petting zoo, corn mazes, games, and more, and a special Trick or Treat Train operates near Halloween only where kids (in costume!) can enjoy spooky stories and trick or treat for candy for the Hoboken mamas. (MG Tip: there are special Christmas-themed rides available during the holiday season, too!)