Extraordinary New Jersey Fall Getaways: Unique Experiences & Hidden Gems

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Looking for some fabulous New Jersey fall getaways? 

In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through lesser-known NJ destinations that might not be on your usual travel radar but are certainly worth every bit of your weekend for seasonal fun!

What makes these places special is the one-of-a-kind experiences they offer during the autumn season.

From the tranquil beauty of nature to the charm of small-town living, these New Jersey gems have something unique waiting for you.

You might also like our favorite New Jersey fall foliage locations! Or, read all of our NJ guides here.

Fall Getaways in New Jersey

In order to make navigation easier, the following towns are organized from north to south NJ. 

Each section includes attractions and recommendations for where to stay.

From scenic nature escapes to picturesque small-town charm, these New Jersey fall getaways promise to make your autumn adventure one to remember!

Ringwood

Situated along the New York border in Passaic County, Ringwood is a perfect fall getaway in NJ.

Expect forested land and plenty of lakes where fall foliage can brighten even a cloudy October day.

Here are our recommendations for a visit to Ringwood in the fall.

Downtown Ringwood

For parents who are more comfortable with a stationary trick-or-treat experience, take the kids to Ringwood Recreation’s Trunk or Treat.

This two-hour event will feature locals and tourists all parked side-by-side with candy and costumes, recreating the traditional trick-or-treat experience without the extensive walking across town.

New Jersey Botanical Gardens

The New Jersey Botanical Gardens (2 Morris Rd) hosts many fabulous fall-themed events, perfectly equipped with hayrides, corn mazes, and all other autumn activities.

In mid-October, guests can enjoy Harvest Fest, a classic fall event featuring face painting, applesauce-making, games, mazes, pumpkin decorating, and other great activities that the kids will enjoy to no end.

Also in mid-October, visitors can join in a family woodland hike, journeying through the different nature trails around the estate, across creeks, and through patches of forests that will make for a great day for children of any age.

In late October, there is also a guided tour of the Skylands Manor (5 Morris Rd), a local mansion built in the 1800s on the estate, and still serving as a historical museum open to the public.

The Botanics also features in our guide to fall activities in New Jersey.

Ringwood State Park

Take in the sights of northern New Jersey at Ringwood State Park, full of forest, open trails, creeks, and lakes.

There are trails equipped for biking, hiking, and even horseback riding, the most popular being a 10-mile high-difficulty hike through creeks and steep hills known as the Stonetown Circular Trail.

If the weather is warm enough earlier in the fall, hike over to Shepherd Lake Recreation Area, where you can rent a canoe or just sit by the water for a few hours.

You may also like our list of New Jersey state parks.

Old looking outhouse at Ringwood Manor in New Jersey

Ringwood Manor

If you have the time, you should also stop at Ringwood Manor (1304 Sloatsburg Rd), a stunning 51-room Victorian mansion originally built in the early 1800s and provides guided tours through the end of October.

In mid-October, there is a fascinating event known as Native American Artifact Identification Day, in which a local archaeologist will review native artifacts and help discover the stories and background of each item.

There is also the History Show & Tell, in which guests are encouraged to come with their own stories and share in a large communal experience near mid-November.

Different guided tours are scheduled throughout October and November in the manor, including themed tours related to the children of the original family, the history of farming and gardening on the property, and an evening tour of the grounds with a haunted edge.

Where to Stay

The Castle at Skylands Manor (5 Morris Rd) is a very popular inn at Ringwood, an old Victorian-style home that has been transitioned into a boutique hotel.

Parking is free, along with wifi and breakfast, making for one of the most affordable and high-quality experiences around Ringwood.

The Victorian decor will transport you to an autumn hundreds of years ago during your stay, while the accommodations will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.

Stanhope

For a quintessential fall escape, head to the small town of Stanhope, conveniently located just off Route 80 in Sussex County.

Known as a former iron manufacturing hub, Stanhope still harkens back to earlier days with its emphasis on historic sites and locations, perfect for a unique getaway during the autumn months!

Here are our favorite seasonal things to do to make your planning easier.

Waterloo Village

Immerse yourself in history at Waterloo Village (Waterloo Rd), a restored 19th-century canal town.

The various canals and colonial buildings make for absolutely jaw-dropping views, especially when lined with trees of all colors in autumn.

Mule Barn At Waterloo Historical Village along the Morris Canal in Stanhope New Jersey

Rutan Cabin

The Rutan Cabin was relocated from a previous setting, originally built in the early 1800s as rustic farm cabin.

Though not originally a piece of Waterloo Village, Rutan Cabin shares many similarities and in many ways is a reflection of the same time period.

Winakung

One popular fall program is Winakung, an interactive historical program that provides insights into the culture of the Lenape Native Americans who lived on this land for thousands of years.

In this program, there are opportunities to learn about hunting, fishing, construction, along other cultural activities that really put you in the shoes of the native people who once lived with the land in most of New Jersey.

The Fields at Waterloo

The Fields at Waterloo (2 Kinney Rd) is a large event space neighboring the Morris Canal west of Tilcon Lake, home to many events in the fall such as concerts and festivals.

Where to Stay

While there are multiple hotels and motels a short drive from downtown Stanhope, most notably a delightful inn called the Whistling Swan Inn (110 Main Street).

This bed-and-breakfast is a quaint and family-owned operation, with a beautiful yard and a wraparound porch.

Savor the peaceful experience of living in a true home while on your New Jersey fall getaway.

Another option would be the Residence Inn Mount Olive (271 Continental Drive) which offers units with full kitchens, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a dishwasher.

They feature suite and studio rooms that can sleep 4-6 adults and come with well-lit work desks and private bathrooms. 

Morristown

Just an hour from NYC, Morristown is a perfect NJ fall getaway for NJ or NY residents!

Primarily known for its connections to the American Revolution, there is more to Morristown than meets the eye…

Here are some of our favorite fun fall activities and places to go, but check out our full list of things to do in Morristown for tons more suggestions.

Historic Speedwell

North of Speedwell Lake, Historic Speedwell (333 Speedwell Ave) offers guests a historic tour of the original ironworks that once operated on the premises hundreds of years ago.

The property itself boasts the historic claim to fame that the telegraph was first demonstrated at Speedwell, and the original building operates as a museum celebrating this fact with historic documentation and tours.

In addition to touring the museum, the 7.5 acres of surrounding green space make for great exploring opportunities to see the many beautiful colors of fall in New Jersey, as well as boating and other water activities on Speedwell Lake if the weather is warm enough.

Red Factory Building at Historic Speedwell in Morristown New Jersey

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 E Hanover Ave) is home to beautiful colonial architecture and gardens that are designed with fall themes around October and November.

With 147 acres of pristine fields and gardens, guests could spend a whole day wandering the grounds or touring the neighboring Victorian mansion.

Ford Mansion

Originally built immediately before the start of the American Revolution, the Ford Mansion (30 Washington Pl) is a living museum that transports guests to the time of colonial elites.

Guests can either tour the grounds around the mansion — which lends itself an additional sense of eeriness in the fall — or enter for a guided tour that will showcase the many different highlights of the generations of Fords that called this place their home hundreds of years ago.

Jockey Hollow

Explore the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center (586 Tempe Wick Rd) and Washington’s Headquarters Museum (30 Washington Pl) as well, with wooded trails lined with historic markers that tell the stories that have decorated this town over hundreds of years.

The term ‘Jockey Hollow’ most directly applies to the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, which is one of the most popular dining destinations in the area.

In addition to the restaurant, Jockey Hollow is also used to describe the stunning property itself, as well as the expansive surrounding estate.

While it is incredibly enjoyable just strolling the beautiful property during the fall yourself, there are also options for horseback-riding tours of the surrounding trails.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of options for staying in Morristown, including popular hotels that are in the center of town.

The most popular hotel is the Madison Hotel (One Convent Road – Route 124), an art-deco building originally constructed in 1936 and still filled with the same charm from that time.

The accommodations are just as refined as the building’s style, and guests are only a quick drive to downtown Morristown.

Another option is the Best Western PLUS Morristown Inn (270 South St) featuring Georgian Colonial vibes.

They have different types of rooms that can sleep from 2 to 4 adults. 

Bedminster

Located in Somerset County just about an hour from NYC, Bedminster offers history and natural beauty to enjoy during the fall.

Take advantage of the rural opportunities for apple picking and pumpkin patches to truly enjoy this area!

Here are our top picks for a weekend getaway in Bedminster and nearby areas around it.

Burnt Mills Cider

If you’re all about enjoying a crisp cider during the fall season, make sure to swing by Burnt Mills Cider (3540 Route 206) in Bedminster. 

You can kick back and savor a glass or two of their handcrafted cider in their welcoming tasting room, which is open to everyone. 

While they offer their delicious ciders year-round, visiting this spot during the fall is a fantastic idea because, let’s be real, cider just hits differently when autumn rolls around. 

Hacklebarney State Park

Hacklebarney State Park (119 Hacklebarney Rd, Long Valley) offers a vibrant setting with a meandering river and cascading waterfalls, making for a wonderful day hiking through one of New Jersey’s best state parks.

There are plenty of fall-themed activities around this park, such as the Hacklebarney Farms Cider Mill (104 State Park Rd, Chester Township)l, an apple orchard with a beloved menu of fresh-made apple cider, along with other apple-themed treats.

Sunlight peers through the trees in early Autumn in Hacklebarney State Park in Morris County New Jersey

Alstede Farms

Alstede Farms (1 Alstede Farms Ln, Chester) is another nice destination from Bedminster, offering apple picking, pumpkin picking, scenic hayrides, and a corn maze.

Though located outside the area, it’s just a short 15-minute drive from Bedminster.

Woman picking apples

Stony Hill Gardens

Stony Hill Gardens (Stony Hill Gardens, 8 Rte 24, Chester) is near Hacklebarney and features a farm market with fresh produce and flowers, as well as a charming country store filled with fall decorations and gifts for the fall season.

Where to Stay

There are not many notable places to stay in Bedminster proper.

But there are many hotels in neighboring towns, such as a Marriott (595 Martinsville Road, Basking Ridge) that is a 15-minute drive east or the Hyatt House in Branchburg, also a 15-minute drive south.

If you are hoping for something a little more boutique for your fall getaway, you will have to take a 20-minute drive to Long Valley, where you can stay at the lovely Neighbor House B&B.

Fall leaves on the ground.

Allaire State Park

We always love a state park visit at any time of year!

But there’s something extra special about a fall adventure when the leaves are changing and the majority of the crowds have gone.

Allaire State Park is located in Wall Township near the Jersey Shore, so take a look at our other Jersey Shore guides for tons of helpful suggestions to plan all your regional adventures.

These are our favorite things to do in and near Allaire State Park in the fall.

Campgrounds and Villages

Allaire State Park is a beautiful green space immediately west of the Jersey shoreline, west of Spring Lake, and southwest of Belmar.

There are multiple campsites in the park, including the Allaire State Park Campground along Long Swamp Brook.

If you are looking for different fall activities, the Allaire State Park Disc Golf Course is a popular destination for competitive sports, within walking distance of campgrounds and hiking trails.

In terms of hiking, there are bike trails and forested paths that cross brooks and creeks, as well as Brisbane Lake on the southern end of the park which features stunning views of fall foliage as the leaves begin to change.

Allaire Village

Guests are encouraged to explore the historic village of Allaire, with ironworks, a general store, and beautiful parkland adorned with fall foliage.

There are also many events and activities fitting for fall, including pumpkin carving contests, Halloween-themed celebrations, and workshops for various historic activities.

Old Chapel in Allaire Village New Jersey

The New Jersey Museum of Transportation

Kids will absolutely adore The New Jersey Museum of Transportation (4265 Atlantic Ave Suite A, Wall Township), a quaint train museum that brings a historic era of travel back to life.

Visitors can tour historic trains that have been fully refurbished back to their original days of running in the early 1900s and even 1800s in some cases.

While guests can tour the different steam trains on their own, there is also a guided tour hosted by volunteers that will provide even more context and education to the experience.

There are train rides every day of operation throughout the day; NJMT prides itself on being a “living museum” in the sense that all historic vehicles and equipment have been fully restored and put back into operation for children and enthusiasts alike to enjoy.

Available only in the fall, the Haunted Express Night Time Ride takes guests on a spooky night ride through the woods of Allaire State Park, featuring a light show, Halloween decorations and even ghostly characters that will be in the surrounding property.

Where to Stay

Due to the natural design of Allaire State Park, there are no hotels on the premises.

For an authentic experience, guests often choose to bring camping gear and stay at one of the campgrounds inside the park.

Allaire State Park can also be one of the best fall day trips in NJ, with so many surrounding towns and easy routes to major cities.

If you are more interested in spending a day in the park and having a place to stay after, there are many options that are a quick drive east into Allenwood or to the coast in Spring Lake.

Allaire State Park in New Jersey's fall color leaves on path

Hammonton

About 45 minutes from Philadelphia, Hammonton is actually known as the Blueberry Capital of the World!

Of course, fall isn’t the blueberry season, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit this pretty destination in NJ.

It’s not just blueberries that grow well here – grapes are also plentiful, resulting in a variety of wines to enjoy.

Here are our top recommendations for your fall getaway.

Sharrott Winery

One of the top attractions in Hammonton, Sharrott Winery (370 S Egg Harbor Rd) is a vineyard with an accompanying bar and restaurant that attracts locals and tourists year-round.

There are vineyard tours and wine tasting on the stunning rolling hills, as well as dining and entertainment in the main facility.

Check the schedule of live music and other events to make the most of your trip, as this should be at the top of your list of fall getaways in NJ.

Friends Drinking Red Wine.

Wharton State Forest

Tucked directly inland of Long Beach Island, Wharton State Forest is an expansive forest featuring countless miles of hiking trails and scenic landmarks.

One of the most popular hiking trails in Wharton State is Batsto Lake Trail, a 4-mile hiking trail that winds around Batsto Lake, across beautiful old bridges and dirt trails through the pine trails that make for stunning fall visuals.

Batsto Village

Batsto Village (31 Batsto Rd) offers a glimpse into the state’s industrial history, as well as archaeological history dating back thousands of years, and can be an excellent afternoon tour while you are exploring the forest.

Historic Batsto Mansion Hammonton New Jersey

Where to Stay

Just a bit of a drive outside of town, around 15 minutes away is Chateau Renault (72 North Bremen Avenue Egg Harbor City), one of the most popular places to stay in the area.

The large grounds include a beautiful hotel, as well as lakes and ponds mixed with wooden bridges and large green spaces.

The actual winery was originally built in 1864 and is still in operation today as a wine bar.

Attached to this picturesque setting is a popular golf course, which makes for even more opportunities for entertainment once you are done touring all Hammonton has to offer.

Cape May

Pretty Cape May is always a beloved destination for us, not just in the summertime either!

In the fall, Cape May offers more of its classic charm plus some seasonal surprises including ghosts, spirits, hayrides, and more!

Enjoy the fall festivities with our favorite Cape May options for the season.

For year-round activities, check out our guide to things to do in Cape May.

Historic Cold Spring Village

Historic Cold Spring Village (735 Seashore Rd) is a town that has been redeveloped and preserved so that it looks and functions just like a traditional community from the 1700s.

Guests can tour local mills, blacksmith quarters, and fully-preserved historical buildings, learning about the history firsthand from trained actors.

One popular autumn event is the Ghost Walk, an interactive 45-minute night walk under lantern light throughout the village, guided by a host that provides stories on the different ghosts from historic moments in Cape May’s history through time.

Emlen Physick Estate

The Emlen Physick Estate (1048 Washington St) hosts Halloween-themed events throughout October, including the Halloween Decoration display and the Scarecrow Alley haunted tour.

Another major event hosted by the Emlen Physick Estate is the Cape May Harvest Brew Fest Outdoor Crafts and Collectibles Show, an all-day event featuring local vendors and artists around the beautiful estate.

Another popular fall-themed event at the estate is the Strange Victorian Obsessions House Tour, in which guests are provided an evening tour of the home, with special attention paid to the Victorian era and all of the notable historical figures that spent time there.

The focus of the tour, although there is also a general historical element, is material related to illusionists and magicians of the Victorian time period.

Tools, equipment, and other keepsakes of notable magicians and illusionists of that time period are examined and shared alongside stories of their feats and accomplishments, including Harry Houdini and The Great Lafayette.

Downtown Cape May

Additionally, every day in October the Ocean Street Trolley Stop hosts a Spirits and Oddities Trolley Tour, in which the trolley guide will take you through downtown Cape May and share different haunting stories of the history of the town.

In late October, usually the weekend before Halloween, there is a Halloween parade that starts in the center of town and ends at Emlen Physick Estate.

There will be floats, marching bands, and a steady stream of creative and adorable costumes as young as babies.

You could spend all day parading through town, then strolling the route for all the best costumes, and with Washington Street marking the start there is a multitude of dining and shopping options if you ever feel like you need to take a break.

If you do come down make sure you stay until the end if you want to see who the judges select as the best costumes for each age group.

Cape May Convention Hall

Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts will also love to attend the Cape May Fall Festival, hosted by the New Jersey Audubon Society.

The Cape May Festival is hosted at the Cape May Convention Hall (714 Beach Ave), and visitors can choose to take different field trips and workshops associated with nature walks and birdwatching, along with speakers and interactive exhibits in the convention center.

Rea’s Farm Market

Rea’s Farm Market (00 Stevens St) is a 100-acre farm that has been in the Cape May community for over 100 years, providing fresh produce along with activities for kids of all ages.

In mid-October, Rea’s hosts a festival known as Hot Rods & Hayrides, featuring vehicles like cars, trucks, and tractors that small children and car enthusiasts could spend all day gazing at in awe.

There are also corn mazes, live music, craft vendors, pumpkin designing, and other activities that will be perfect for kids as young as two and as old as teenagers.

Cape May Point State Park

Autumn is a special time of year in terms of bird migration, and Cape May serves as one of the most vibrant and diverse points along the migration pattern of many birds.

In late October, the E-Z Birding event takes visitors on a 2-hour morning hike around the state park, traveling through forest, open fields, ponds, and even the beach to detect all of the exotic bird species that call Cape May home during their long journey south.

Any bird-watching enthusiast should circle this event on their calendar, and even those not especially interested in birds may find this hike refreshing and informative all the same.

This place is located on the Jersey Shore, which has a nice range of towns and beaches to explore.

The Cape May Lighthouse from 1859 stands at the southernmost tip of New Jersey in the charming little resort of Cape May Point

Where to Stay

There are dozens of excellent hotels and bed-and-breakfasts in downtown Cape May and along the shoreline; it is one of the most surprisingly vibrant options for fall getaways in New Jersey despite hugging the shoreline.

One of the most popular stays is the Grand Hotel of Cape May (1045 Beach Ave), a 3-star beachfront hotel with excellent dining and amenities, including Hemingway’s Steakhouse and a large indoor pool.

Another beachfront hotel is the Marquis de Lafayette (501 Beach Ave) which features standard rooms for 2 adults and a variety of suite rooms that can sleep up to 6 adults.

This one is close to prominent locations in Cape May including the downtown area which is a 4-minute drive and Cape May Point State Park which is less than 10 minutes drive.

Boat with Cape May written on it in New Jersey

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has inspired you to start planning your own New Jersey fall getaway. 

If you’ve explored any of these towns or have recommendations of your own, we’d love to hear from you- feel free to drop your comments below.

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