New Jersey is undoubtedly beautiful in the summer, and while we at The Montclair Girl love the Jersey shore, we also know that our little corner of the country is amazing in all seasons — especially fall. We are so lucky to live in a state with amazing apple picking, pumpkin picking, hayrides, fall festivals, fall foliage, and so much more. To celebrate the official start of cozy season just as the weather is starting to cool down, we’ve gathered some of our favorite fall activities throughout the state. Read on for your ultimate guide for some of the best activities in New Jersey this fall.
Apple + Pumpkin Picking
New Jersey has an impressive roster of farms that offer apple and pumpkin picking — and we’ve rounded them up here. Here are some of our favorites, which also offer a host of festive activities including haunted hayrides, corn mazes, and so much more.
Alstede Farms | 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester
At Alstede Farms, you can pick your own apples, pumpkins, beets, corn, and so much more. There’s freshly-made ice cream, and a fun wagon delivers visitors to pumpkin picking along a scenic route of their farm. What’s more, there’s a kid-friendly wagon and even a handicap-accessible hayride that follows the same scenic route. There’s also live blue grass music. It’s a wonderful fall haven.
Demarest Farms | 244 Wearimus Road, Hillsdale
This Bergen County farm was founded way back in 1886. Demarest Farms is great for pick-your-own apples and pumpkins — plus, there’s a little petting zoo to hang out with some animals when you’re done. You must make a reservation ahead of time to be able to go, which you can do here for apples and here for pumpkins. There will also be a fun Halloween Light Show this year.
Hill Creek Farms | 1631 NJ-45, Mullica Hill
At Hill Creek Farms, kids can enjoy a barrel train ride through orchards while the adults stroll through the wine garden from Auburn wines. Plus, there are over 14,000 trees in the orchard to pick — that almost hurts our brains to think about so many trees. There are packages to choose from that will include either apple cider donuts, apple cider, and maybe even a jar of our Apple butter. Plus, there’s a pumpkin patch to explore as well.
Red Wagon Farm | 437 NJ-33, Manalapan Township + 136 Applegarth Road, Monroe Township
Red Wagon Farm is the largest pumpkin patch in New Jersey where the pumpkins can be picked right off the vine. The patch and corn maze are now open for the season until Halloween, and the farm has no admission fee and is cash only. Plus, it’s dog friendly, so you can bring your pup along for the fun.
(Photo credit: @happydayfarmnj)
We’ve rounded up our favorite corn mazes here — but here a few particularly noteworthy ones.
A. Casola Farms | 178 Highway 34 & Schanck Road, Holmdel; 200 State Route 34, Holmdel
Not only does A. Casola farms have the market cornered with the original pick-your-own-pumpkin and hayride farm — the crew also has two incredible mazes for visitors to enjoy. First up is the corn maze: five acres of corn planted and then cut down to create three miles of intricate trails. The Fall Festival runs from September 17th (September 18th for the 200 State Route 34 location) through October 31st, and both locations are chock full of things to do. Be prepared that the corn maze is available only open on weekends. There’s also a haunted sunflower maze.
Read More: The Best Hayrides in New Jersey
Happy Day Farms | 106 Iron Ore Road, Manalapan
Did you know that according to USA Today, one of the top 10 best corn mazes in the US is right here in New Jersey? Yes, it’s Happy Day Farms and you can visit this year’s corn maze. Happy Day Farm has been recognized for some of its past designs including Rutgers University 250th Anniversary, 4 Jersey Celebrities, and Superheroes. Last year’s theme is Super Mario, and this year’s is 10 Years of Happiness in honor of the farm’s 10th anniversary. The corn maze is part of the farm’s Fall Harvest Pumpkin Festival, which starts Saturday, September 10th and runs until October 31st. Advanced ticket purchase online is required. On-site purchases are cash only.
Here’s a list of the best hiking spots near Montclair and a list of great fall foliage spots locally — but for fall in particular, here are some of our favorites:
Palisades Interstate Park | Alpine, New Jersey
This is a must-take North Jersey hike because of the gorgeous foliage views it boasts. It features panoramic views of the Hudson River as well — there’s truly not much better than that.
Ramapo Park Lake Loop | Oakland, NJ
This hike takes hikers along the Ramapo Lake and through the ruins of the Van Slyke Castle, which is perfect spooky autumnal vibe to match the beautiful trees.
Grounds for Sculpture | 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township
Grounds for Sculpture, created by artistic visionary Seward Johnson (aka John Seward Johnson II), is a magnificent sculpture park that exhibits the transformative experience of seeing art in nature. Especially in the gorgeous fall weather, this is an absolute must-visit in New Jersey.
Walpack Inn | 7 National Park Service Road 615, Layton
Walpack Inn is in a national park service area — which means it’s incredibly scenic, and you’re bound to see bears, deer, duck, and other wildlife. This popular local spot, which has been open for the last six decades, boasts freshly-baked bread (so good that they sell the mix so you can make it at home), steaks galore, and views for days. There’s both outdoor and indoor dining – and its great woodsy ambiance is perfect for fall.
One super unique local event is Jersey City’s Zombie Opera, which was created during the pandemic by Half-Light Productions and is back again for its 3rd year. The 2022 Zombie Opera is being held on Saturday, October 29th from 6PM to 8:30PM at the Hamilton Park gazebo and features an awesome operatic zombie performance.
Fall Harvest Festivals
There are truly so many local fall harvest festivals, from north to south Jersey. We’ve compiled a list of North Jersey Fall Festivals that are worth a visit. Here are some noteworthy ones:
Chatsworth Cranberry Festival | October 15th and 16th
The fall cranberry harvest includes a craft show with over 150 vendors, 15 food vendors, and live music.
See More: The Best Pumpkin Spice Drinks in Montclair
Holland Ridge Farms Fall Flower Festival | Ongoing
Holland Ridge is known for its tulips, of course, but it also has a fall flower festival that’s not to be missed. On October 8th and 9th, there will be even crafters, music, free kids’ activities, and — of course — a full bloom of autumnal flowers. You can click here for tickets.
Sussex County Harvest, Honey, and Garlic Festival | October 29th, 10AM to 4PM
The 11th annual Sussex County Harvest, Honey, and Garlic Festival will be at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, located at 37 Plains Road, Augusta. The festival celebrates agriculture, ecotourism, and arts + heritage tourism. There will be a farmers’ market, beekeepers, a hayride, pumpkin paint, crafts, and more.