Fall is the ideal time to book a short getaway. By the time the leaves start to change, many New Jersey residents have already taken their vacations and are back at work or school. Crowds, an unavoidable aspect of summer vacations, are practically non-existent when you travel during the autumn months. If you have the itch to travel this fall, but haven’t chosen a destination yet, you may want to consider these best fall getaways in New Jersey.
If you want the classic fall experience, you’ll want to add a weekend or mid-week visit to Vernon to your calendar. Popular with skiers, a visit to the Sussex County township is just as much fun before the first snowflake falls. The vibrant fall foliage colors provide the backdrop for hikes on the Appalachian Trail, boating at Wawayanda State Park or golfing at one of the local courses. After a busy day on the courses or trails, treat yourself to a meal at of the area’s highly rated restaurants, like the Hawk’s Nest at Mountain Creek Resort or The Lamp Post Inn.
You won’t even have to leave your room to view the changing leaf colors when you stay at Alpine Haus Bed and Breakfast Inn. The inn offers views of the Pochuck Mountains from its rooms and covered porch. The Buttercup Suite, located on the ground level of the Carriage House, features a four-poster queen bed, Jacuzzi tub, stone gas fireplace, sofa bed and WiFi Internet access. Your stay includes a hearty country breakfast and complimentary coffee, tea and homemade cookies.
The weather may be a little too chilly to take a dip in the ocean or bay, but there’s still plenty to do in Barnegat Light in the fall. Up your daily step count with a trek to the top of the Barnegat Lighthouse, or try your hand at fishing off the jetty. The town’s A. Jerome Walnut Eco Trail offers scenic views of the ocean and dunes. When you’ve worked up an appetite, stop for lunch in one of the borough’s eateries, or make the short drive to Long Beach Island for even more restaurant choices.
Make The Sand Castle Bed & Breakfast or one of Barnegat Light’s other B&Bs your home base while you explore the area. The resort offers six rooms and two suites designed with your comfort in mind. The Sunset Vista Suite features vaulted ceilings, views of the bay and the lighthouse, a two-person Jacuzzi, fireplace, big-screen TV, king-size bed, private entrance, glass-enclosed marble shower, sitting area and kitchenette.
Are you looking for a quaint little town for a romantic weekend trip? Stanhope may be small but it offers the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway. From the moment you check into the Whistling Swan Inn, you’ll become a honorary member of the historic borough. Located on a quiet residential street, the inn is just a few blocks away from Stanhope’s compact entertainment and shopping district, which includes Stanhope House, a popular live music venue. The European-inspired Walnut Valley Suite, one of nine rooms and suites in the Inn, features a king-size bed, gas fireplace, two full baths, Jacuzzi tub and robes. The buffet offers a tasty selection of breakfast offerings, such as spinach cheddar quiche, lemon pancakes or cranberry apple French toast. If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to make time for a visit to Waterloo Village. You’ll find Victorian homes, a recreated Lenape Indian village, a blacksmith shop, and a grist and saw mill in the living history village. If you happen to be in town on October 27th, stop by the Village’s annual Fall Festival.
Do you crave peace and serenity? Just 90 minutes from Central New Jersey, Newton is far away enough to get away from it all yet still close enough for a quick getaway. While you’re in the area, hike the Appalachian Trail or one of the many other trails at area state parks or the Delaware Water Gap. At this time of year, you may not even run into another person during your hike.
The Newton area offers plenty of other outdoor activities to keep you busy during your getaway. Fish, canoe, boat or kayak on local lakes or the Delaware River. The hilly terrain is the ideal place to try out your new mountain bike or even ski if we get an early snowstorm. Of course, the area also offers a variety of shops, restaurants and galleries.
The Wooden Duck Inn bed and breakfast provides a convenient base to explore Sussex County. Set on 14 wooded acres, the house offers beautiful views of the countryside and wildlife. The Canvasback, one of 10 rooms named for duck breeds, features a king sleigh bed, separate sleeping area, two-person soaking tub, flat-screen TV and electric fireplace.
Picturesque Mullica Hill is an antique lover’s paradise. The Main Street area is home to more than 30 antique shops, including the three-story Old Mill Antique Center. Many New Jersey towns have a few properties on the National Register of Historic Places, but not Mullica Hill. The entire town is a designated historic place. Today, the Civil War-era houses are home to a collection of shops, galleries, boutiques and restaurants.
Two popular local events – Civil War Weekend and Ghost Walk – will be held on October 13th this year. Civil War Weekend offers a battle reenactment and recreations of Northern and Southern army camps, while the Ghost Walk provides a glimpse into Mullica Hill’s haunted history. If you’re looking for a scarier Halloween experience, pay a visit to Night of Terror, which offers seven frightening attractions, including Slaughter Cave, Dark Dreams, The Zombie Mayhem, Ride of Terror, Head Hunters, a spooky Cornfield Maze and the Haunted Paintball Hayride.
If a stay in a busy hotel isn’t your idea of a relaxing vacation, check out the Candle House Inn. Located on 33 acres of former farmland, the Inn contains just three ensuite guest rooms.
A walkable downtown area, one-of-a-kind shops, excellent restaurants and unique bed and breakfasts make Frenchtown a great choice for a getaway. This laidback little town on the Delaware River may be quiet, but you’ll never run out of things to do. After you do a little shopping and enjoy a gourmet meal at a local eatery, work off those calories with a walk or bike ride on the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail. The wooded trail borders the river and offers the perfect vantage point to view the changing leave colors.
If you’re in town on October 26th, you may want to join the undead for the Zombie Crawl. During the annual event, participants dress as zombies, roam the town looking for scavenger hunt clues, and finish the day with a dance party. (Makeup is provided for a small fee if you don’t have your own zombie transformation kit.)
At the end of a long day taking in the sights or terrorizing the town, it’s nice to have a comfortable place to relax and rejuvenate. Frenchtown offers two upscale lodging options for visitors. The Widow McCrea House Bed and Breakfast features antique furnishings that may make you think you’ve traveled back to 1878, the year the Italianate Victorian Inn was built. Although the furnishings may belong in the 19th century, the amenities certainly don’t. The B&B features comfortable guest rooms and suites with private baths, queen-size featherbeds, Jacuzzis and fireplaces.
The National Hotel, established in 1850, once served as stagecoach stop for weary travelers, including Annie Oakley. You’ll find elegantly appointed rooms with king or queen-size beds and thoughtful amenities, such as Jacuzzis and private porches. The hotel offers an onsite restaurant and a popular bar that often holds karaoke and open mic nights.
Do you prefer to forget about your car once you reach your vacation destination? When Cape May is your getaway destination, restaurants, stores, attractions and the beach are all in walking distance. Unlike other shore towns that offer mile after mile of motels and condos, Cape May features stately Victorian homes and mansions that have been converted to upscale hotels and bed and breakfasts.
Congress Hall, a popular summer retreat for 19th century Presidents, offers spacious guestrooms and suites, a pool bar and three restaurants. Located across the street from the beach and just a few blocks from the town’s shopping district, it offers an ideal location for vacationers.
The Southern Mansion, built in 1863, features period furnishings in its rooms and suites. Although you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into the 1800s, the bed and breakfast offers all of the modern conveniences, including wireless Internet, cable TV and private bathrooms.
Cape May’s Victorian Weekend, held October 5th – 9th, provides a glimpse into life in the historic town during the Victorian era. Events include a night of Victorian parlor games, the Cape May Wine Trail, the Behind the Walls and Under the Crawls Tour, murder mystery dinners, The Chocolate Lover’s Tasting Tour, private home tours and the Victorian Weekend Crafts and Collectible Show.
With its insanely wide beaches and large selection of accommodations, Wildwood is the place to be if you’re looking forward to an uncrowded fall beach getaway. Although mornings may be a little chilly, temperatures are still warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities. Spend your mornings strolling along the beach and boardwalk, then make time in the afternoon for boating, biking, shelling, volleyball or fishing. Attractions nearby include golf (both miniature and 18-hole), Wetlands Institute trails, the Cape May Bird Observatory, historic Cold Spring Village and the Cape May County Park and Zoo.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy a stay at the Candlelight Inn, a Victorian bed and breakfast located three blocks from the beach. Rooms feature period furnishings yet don’t skimp on modern amenities, like whirlpool tubs, flat-screen TVs, fireplaces and wireless Internet access. Need more room to spread out? The Lotus Inn offers townhouses with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, living rooms and kitchenettes.
If a short drive is one of the most important factors in your getaway choice, you’ll want to consider visiting Montclair, New Jersey. The town that was once home to Yogi Berra and TV’s mafia boss Tony Soprano is a 50-minute drive from Central New Jersey.
While you’re in town, stop by the Yogi Berra Museum, tour the Van Vleck House and Gardens, or take in the American and Native American art exhibits at Montclair Art Museum. Montclair’s Wellmont Theater is the place to go for musical and and comedy performances. During the fall, the theater offers performances by Craig Ferguson, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield and Richard Marx, World of Dance, O.A.R. and Lewis Black.
Although you’ll find the usual selection of chain hotels in Montclair, The George is the best option if you prefer one-of-a-kind accommodations. Once the Georgian Inn, the historic hotel now offers 32 bespoke rooms and suites that provide luxurious furnishings and amenities. Room rates include a complimentary continental breakfast.
The best getaway destinations aren’t always far away. In fact, some of them are in your very own backyard. If you’ve only visited Princeton for a few hours at a time, you may want to consider devoting an entire weekend to exploring the town. After you’ve visited the historic sites, why not spend the afternoon checking out the Asian art collection at the Princeton University Art Museum or enjoy a little mid-afternoon snack at Halo Pub or Chez Alice Gourmet Café and Bakery? The popular JazzFeast, an annual event that features performances from some of the top names in jazz, plus food from an array of area restaurants, will be held on September 17th this year.
If a stay at a generic hotel isn’t your idea of the perfect getaway spot, The Peacock Inn offers a better option. The Inn, a recently restored colonial mansion-turned-hotel, is conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from shops and restaurants. The boutique hotel offers 16 guest rooms with top-of-the-line beddings and furnishings and a restaurant that earned four diamonds from AAA.
Other Fall Getaways Outside New Jersey
You don't have to always stay in New Jersey to get away this fall! Check out these honorable mentions that just outside of New Jersey but still close enough to visit for a day trip, weekend, or longer getaway!
Does your perfect getaway involve long walks on nearly deserted beaches and dinners in cozy, little restaurants? Shelter Island, one of the barrier islands off Long Island, may be the ideal spot for a romantic getaway or a laidback family trip.
Two ferry companies provide convenient access to the island and offer room for your car. While you’re on the island, go for a bike ride, try surf fishing, or explore the trails at Mashamock, the island’s 2,000-acre nature preserve. You won’t find any mega resorts on the island. A collection of small hotels and inns offer quiet, luxurious accommodations near island beaches.
The Pocono Mountains are just far enough away to qualify as a getaway yet close enough that you won’t have to spend most of the day traveling. If you’re in the mountains during the weekend of October 12th, you’ll want to check out the Autumn Timber Festival at the Shawnee Mountain Ski Area. The festival features lumberjack competitions, chainsaw sculpture, blacksmith and sawmill demos, food and craft vendors, and kids’ activities.
The leaves may be mostly green in October in New Jersey, but that’s not the case over the river in the Poconos. Driving isn’t the only way to enjoy the changing foliage. The Stourbridge Line offers a relaxing train ride through the colorful forests that line the tracks. Trains travel between Hawley and Honesdale and can be boarded at either station.
Accommodation options in the Poconos are many and varied and include large resorts, cozy inns, condo rentals and romantic rustic cabins.
You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to 1776 when you make time for a stroll through the historic area or the Old Town section of Philadelphia. The streets are full of gracious old homes and buildings that played pivotal roles in U.S. history.
Philadelphia is an excellent, but often overlooked, getaway choice. The nation’s first capital is just over an hour from Central New Jersey and offers an overwhelming number of attractions and activities. During your trip, visit Independence Hall and see the very room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, or tour the tiny house where Betsy Ross sewed the country’s first flag.
Philadelphia may be a big city but it still offers plenty of outdoor activities. Fairmount Park, located just outside of Center City encompasses 2,000 acres on either side of the Schuylkill River. Picnic on the banks of the river or hike or cycle the trails that crisscross the park. Historic homes add unexpected ambience to this city park and can be toured during certain times of the year.
If you’re an animal lover, you’ll want to add a visit to the Philadelphia Zoo to your itinerary. The oldest zoo in the country is home to 1,300 animals and includes a rare animal conservation center, primate reserve, underwater penguin viewing area and avian center with exotic birds.
The city is busy in the fall with a popular film festival in October, Philadelphia Eagles’ games, a hard cider festival and a revolutionary war battle reenactment. Catch a performance of Hamilton at the Forrest Theater or enjoy scary Halloween fun at Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary.
Thanks to hundreds of fine and casual dining spots, finding a place to enjoy a meal in Philadelphia is never difficult. The Center City District Restaurant Week, normally held in September, offers the chance to try three-course meals at discounted prices at more than 125 restaurants. You’ll find plenty of places to stay in Center City, from major chains to intimate boutique hotels.
New Jersey has plenty of amazing fall getaways, and we hope you get to enjoy them all. If you'd like to make your stay a bit more permanent, we recommend checking out our brand new community at Country Classics at Scotch Plains. Learn more about our new homes for sale in Scotch Plains here, or click on the button below to download our complimentary brochure!
Frenchtown: Welcome to Frenchtown
Widow McCrea House Bed and Breakfast
The National Hotel
The Southern Mansion
Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities: Victorian Weekend
Princeton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Peacock Inn