With the blaze of summer days nearly behind us, the bustle of tourists along the boardwalks and hordes of sunbathers on the beaches have departed as well, leaving behind some peace and quiet. During the autumn season, you have the opportunity to 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 seasonal getaway.
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 leaf-peeping 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. Go window shopping at one-of-a-kind stores and unique boutiques along Washington Street. Or just stroll along the Hoboken Waterfront to enjoy some fresh air and riverfront views.
Delaware River Region
Why You’ll Love It: Get back-to-school vibes in our capital city’s museums and important historical sites. 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.
Greater Atlantic City Region
Why You’ll Love It: Enjoy a quiet day at the beach in this Jersey Shore town, 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.
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 hotspots to explore. Catch a live show at The Stone Pony or the Paramount Theatre. Make the scene at The Wonder Bar or Soundbooth, a sleek bar at The Asbury Hotel. Visit the Silverball Museum to try your hand at classic pinball games in their retro arcade. Or take in the sights along the boardwalk and shop the many unique storefronts along the way.
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. 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. Then, kick back and relax with an outdoor tasting and overlook the 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 on-site market at Beach Plum Farm, offering just-picked produced, freshly pressed juice and local jam, honey and more. For more local flavor, take a vineyard tour at Willow Creek Farm & Winery, and enjoy a wine tasting with one of their wine educators.
Before visiting the attractions of your choosing, please call ahead or visit their official websites or social media pages to get the latest hours of operation and other need-to-know details.