Best Fall Getaways in New Jersey: Destinations

  • Fall at High Point State Park in Sussex, New Jersey
    High Point State Park

With the blaze of summer days behind us, the bustle of tourists along the boardwalks and crowds of sunbathers on the beaches have departed as well, leaving behind some peace and quiet. During the off-season, explore charming coastal towns, historical sites and major attractions—without the large crowds. In the northern parts of New Jersey, the cooler weather means glorious fall foliage to enjoy as well. Take your pick from these must-see destinations for a relaxing fall getaway.

 
Hoboken
Gateway Region
Why You’ll Love It: Just across the Hudson River from New York City, this hipster-cool enclave touts picture-perfect views of the Manhattan skyline, and during the off-season, you’ll enjoy beautiful tree-lined streets with breathtaking fall colors. Stop into the Hoboken Historical Museum or Barsky Gallery to see the latest art exhibitions, and go window shopping at the brand-named stores and unique boutiques along Washington Street. Or just stroll along the Hoboken Waterfront to enjoy some fresh air and riverfront views.

 
Trenton
Delaware River Region
Why You’ll Love It: With the crowds dissipated, you can enjoy all the museums and important historical sites without the lines. See dinosaur fossils, Civil War relics, Native American artifacts and a collection of fine artwork at the New Jersey State Museum. Explore the gardens and grounds of a historic country house at The 1719 William Trent House Museum, and then see where American troops rested, recovered and lived during the Revolutionary War when you take a tour of the Old Barracks Museum, dating back to the mid-1700s.

 
Margate
Greater Atlantic City Region
Why You’ll Love It: Enjoy a quiet day at the beach during the shoulder season at this Jersey Shore town, and then stroll along Ventnor Avenue to peruse the shops (and maybe even catch some end-of-summer sales). Be sure to stop by Lucy the Elephant, a 65-foot wooden elephant dating back to the 1800s that you can actually go inside for a guided tour. This National Historic Landmark is recognized as America’s oldest roadside attraction.

 
Asbury Park
Shore Region
Why You’ll Love It: After a fresh dose of creativity, this coastal town is enjoying a resurgence, with plenty of new (and classic) eateries, nightlife and hotel hot spots to explore. Catch a live show at The Stone Pony, the Paramount Theatre, the recently updated Wonder Bar or Soundbooth, the lobby bar at The Asbury Hotel. Visit the Silverball Museum to try your hand at classic pinball games. Or take in the sights along the boardwalk and shop the many unique storefronts along the way.

 
Sussex/Wantage
Skylands Region
Why You’ll Love It:

Fall foliage. Need we say more? These neighboring towns in northwestern New Jersey are wooded, rural and absolutely gorgeous when the leaves begin to change colors. Hike the trails at High Point State Park to take in the sight of the monolithic monument rising above rolling hillsides awash in crimson and gold colors. At Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, go for a stroll to see the fall color, and be sure to keep your eyes out for flocks of birds, as fall is the peak of migration season. Then, kick back and relax with a glass of wine as you overlook the grape vines at Ventimiglia Vineyard.

 
West Cape May
Southern Shore Region
Why You’ll Love It:

As the weather gets cooler, the beach-seeking tourists depart, and flocks of birds arrive instead. Bring a pair of binoculars to this rural town on the southernmost tip of the Jersey Shore and explore the wetlands at Cape May Point State Park—a well-known birding area, particularly during fall’s migration. While you’re here, hike the trails and take in views from the top of the Cape May Lighthouse. Nearby, revel in the bounty of harvest season in the onsite market at Beach Plum Farm, offering just-picked produced, freshly pressed juice and grab-and-go snacks. For more local flavor, take a vineyard tour at Willow Creek Farm & Winery, and enjoy wine tasting with a flight of your choice.

 

Next, find out where you should stay during your fall getaway with the next piece of this three-part article:
Part 2: Best Hotels and Places to Stay in New Jersey this Fall

 

After you’ve booked your hotel, find out the best places to eat:
Part 3: Where to Eat in New Jersey