Fall foliage in NJ is almost at its peak right now, and the timing couldn’t be better to gather the fam, head outdoors, and check out all the beautiful fall colors changing across the state. Though the pandemic has put some family traditions on the back burner, it’s nice to know celebrating the beauty of fall in NJ doesn’t have to be one of them. Whether you prefer to drive, hike or explore additional sites along the way, keep in mind that NJ’s northern-most counties reach their full, vivid shades in early to mid-October, while central NJ peaks in mid-to-late October, and south Jersey reaches its Insta-worthy potential late in the month. From Sussex County to Cape May County and everything in between, these 9 family-friendly spots are sure to take your breath away.
Featured Photo Credit: @standing.pine.acres
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Here are the top places to see the best fall foliage in NJ
Northern New Jersey
Allamuchy Mountain State Park
You can traverse this park by foot, bike or boat and prepare to be amazed by the myriad of copper, red, and orange leaves surrounding you. You’ll also want to scout Waterloo Village, a restored 19th-century canal town that dates back to the Lenape Indians and is rich in history.
800 Willow Grove St.
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
High Point State Park
This park is aptly named since it has the highest elevation point in the entire state. For unparalleled landscape views, climb the 220-foot monument where you’ll be rewarded with the majestic Pocono Mountains, the Catskill Mountains, and the Wallkill River Valley.
1480 Route 23
Wantage, NJ 07461
Stokes State Forest
It’s got some of the best fall foliage in NJ, and hiking a portion of the Maine to Georgia Appalachian Trail (which runs through here) should be high on your list. Make a game of hunting for waterfalls since this forest is home to the beyond beautiful Buttermilk Falls.
1 Coursen Road
Branchville, NJ 07826
Central New Jersey
Monmouth Battlefield State Park
Pack a lunch and plan to spend hours hiking through fields and forests filled with magnificent hills, farmland, and hedgerows. Afterward, visit the on-site pick-your-own orchards where apples and pumpkins are presently in season.
20 State Route 33,
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
Rent a canoe at Griggstown or Princeton to get the full experience of this 70-mile linear park. Play I Spy with the kids along the canal to spot mills, wooden bridges, and other historical structures. And don’t forget to bring your rod and tackle box since fishing is permitted along the entire length of the canal.
145 Mapleton Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Allaire State Park
If you have a train lover in the family, this park is not to be missed. It has antique steam trains on the Pine Creek Railroad and is also home to the historic 19th-century iron-making town, Allaire Village, where you’ll find a blacksmith shop, a general store, a museum, and some of the best examples of fall colors in New Jersey.
4265 Atlantic Ave.
Wall Township, NJ 07727
Southern New Jersey
Parvin State Park
Located on the Pine Barrens’ edge, this park is made up of swamps, lowlands, and hardwood forests replete with oaks and has some of the best fall foliage in NJ. Take along your binoculars to spot the federally protected barred owl in this diverse terrain it calls home.
701 Almond Road
Pittsgrove Township, NJ 08318
Wharton State Forest
An overnight stay is a must if you want to see as many fall colors as possible since this site is the largest single tract of land in the entire New Jersey state park system and has many campsites (you can reserve ahead). The park also includes the historic Batsto Village, where you can see live blacksmith demonstrations and take a tour of the Atsion Mansion, a true peek into what it was like to live in 1826, with no plumbing or electricity.
31 Batsto Rd.
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Cape May Point State Park
Cape May Point is a well-known major migratory route for birds, so while exploring this World War II military base and checking out the trees in all their glory, you’re sure to spot many species. If you time your visit right, you might even get to witness the Raptor Banding Project at work and see hawks at a close distance before they’re released back to the wild.
Light House Ave.
Cape May, NJ 08204