cool breezes and September’s still-sunny skies, the next few weeks are the
perfect time to enjoy the beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons with
your loved ones, and lucky for us, the city (and New York’s surrounding states) boast some
amazing locations to see the magnificent fall foliage. To help you plan your autumn
adventures, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite destinations to marvel at
Mother Nature and enjoy the great outdoors. Enjoy!
The City Parks
We all know that Central Park is one of the city’s brightest gems,
but with its 250 acres of lawns, 26,000 trees, 150 acres of lakes streams
and 130 acres of woodlands, the park is especially breathtaking during the
fall. With trees like the rare American Elm, the Norway Elm (which turns deep yellow in the fall), the Shingle Oak (which keeps its leaves longer than other species), the Sugar Maple (whose leaves boast a wide variety of spectacular fall colors in its leaves), kids will love spotting different trees and collecting a
diverse trove of leaves.
Pack a picnic for Sheep Meadow or the Great Lawn, hike
through the Ramble, take a Gondola ride on the lake or a Guided Walking Tour
through the park. Of course, there’s always great family events in Central Park happening every day, from story
times to outdoor fitness and play. For a complete schedule of Central Park activities, click here.
This city park is an oasis that radiates peace and tranquility. Six
flower-beds border Bryant Park’s Lawn to the north and south; two on the South end
and three on the North end, which are planted seasonally with 100 species of
woody shrubs and herbaceous perennials and 20,000 bulbs. The park’s twin
promenades are bordered by London Plane Trees, which can grow up to 120 feet in
height. Finally, Bryant Park’s lawn is 300 feet long and 215 feet wide, making
it a great place to stretch out, play and enjoy the autumn air. With such a
wide variety of flowers and lovely trees, this is a fantastic place to visit
with your family to enjoy the coming fall.
Madison Square Park
Madison Square Park is a charming green space and
playground, and is particularly attuned to the wants and needs of families,
with frequent arts and craft projects, outdoor concerts and self-guided
educational activities. The playground also has tons of hands-on fun for kids
of all ages, and the lawn boasts plenty of shady spots for picnics and
relaxing. Some of the
plants in bloom at Madison Square Park include September
Charm, Honorine Jobert, London Plane Trees,
Rose Mallow, and Nikko Blue Hydrangeas.
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is a lush natural oasis for
families, boasting 585 acres and 150 different types of trees, including the Black
Cherry, Norway, Sycamore Maple, Red Oak, and Sweet
Gum. Bring along a guide book to trees and plant life—your kids will love
trying to spot some of the more rare trees in the park, like the Cutleaf Beech,
Single Leaf Ash and Weeping Mulberry. Prospect Park also has plenty of outdoor fun activities
for kids, including horseback riding lessons, bird watching, fishing, a great
zoo and walking tours.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
famous, 1,255-acre Queens Park is the largest and has a wide range
of sights to see and places to explore. Looking for fun fall activities? This
park has it all; they offer picnic areas, miniature golf, bicycle rental
stands, fields for soccer and baseball and have noteworthy sites such as two
lakes where you can rent paddle boats, the Queens Botanical Gardens, the New
York Hall of Science the Queens Zoo, and the Queens Museum of Art.
Check out Willow Lake, where you can see beautiful willow
trees as well as Sweet Gum, Maple, Witch Hazel, Dogwood and more gorgeous fall
largely undiscovered local neighborhood spot, this Queens park is bigger than one
might think. Cleaned up in 2004, they offer golf courses, baseball and soccer
fields, a cricket pitch and the only Velodrome, a bike track for racing
bicycles, in New York City. The park also have areas
where you can play basketball, cricket, or baseball as well as hiking
trails. When it comes to taking in the fall foliage, Kissena Park is a great destination, boasting 100 different types of trees, including Maples,
Iranian Parrotia and Cork, Chinese Toon, Asian
Katsura, Beeches, and the rare Bald Cypress.
718.1 acre park has some of NYC’s most beautiful outdoor spaces, in addition to an ecologically diverse wildlife population! The park is home to Maples, Oaks, Beeches, Orange Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac, and
Witch Hazel. Families can take a walk along the Bronx River and check out the
habitats of different fish and birds, or visit any of the fields to play
soccer, baseball, or to sit down and have a picnic. Bronx Park also has dog runs, fitness
equipment, tennis courts, zoos and aquariums, and areas where you can go
kayaking or canoeing.
is also home to the vast and breathtaking New York Botanical Garden, which boasts the great family resource, the Edible Garden where you
and your family can learn how to create your own vegetable garden, view
demonstrations from food and gardening experts, see cooking demos; participate
in festivals, and more!
Van Cortlandt Park
over a thousand acres and located in the Northwest Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park is New York City’s fourth largest park.
It boasts fields, horseback riding trails, playgrounds, basketball courts, and
dog runs. This park also allows you to fish, visit nature centers, and is home
to the oldest House in the Bronx and the borough’s largest fresh water
lake. Check out its beautiful, majestic Oak and Grey Birch trees to get your
fill of stunning fall foliage.
Clove Lakes Park
One of the
more famous sites to see at this Staten Island Park is the borough’s largest living plant, the
Tulip Tree; which is 107 feet tall and is at least three hundred years old, and
survived the clearing and logging of the area. In addition, the park is also
home to red oaks and silver maples too. This 198.05-acre park also has fields
and courts for children to play in, a dog run, fitness equipment, hiking
trails, and more!
This Staten Island oasis offers families plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun, as its equipped with a nature center, hiking trails,
educational programs for visiting students, and a classic Victorian carousel.
Majestic Oak, Beech, Maple, Sweet Gum and Tulip trees sport their fall attire
as the temperature drops and the days become shorter while shades of crimson,
gold, orange and yellow will remind us that the season is changing and Autumn
is here. The park’s stunning vistas are particularly lovely where colors are
reflected in any one of the area’s glacier ponds and spring-fed lakes.
Just Outside of New York City
Blue Mountain Reservation
1538-acre park located in the northwest section of Westchester County offers families plenty of
trails for hiking, nature study, and mountain biking. Its mixed hardwood
forest contains Oak, Hickory, Tulip, Sassafras, Dogwood,
Sugar Maple, Birch, and Beech trees, and kids will love spotting and identifying different species. Older kids and more serious hikers looking for a challenge will enjoy taking on Blue Mountain and Mt. Spitzenberg. This park also has
boating and fishing opportunities, picnic areas, and much more! For more
information, please visit their website at:
Bronx River Parkway
is Westchester’s oldest park and boasts 807 acres that are
located in the heart of southern Westchester. This park features a
variety of native flora and fauna, ponds, nature trails, and areas for biking.
Some of the foliage includes Red Maple, River Birch, White Oak, Sycamore, and Sweet
Gum; it’s the perfect getaway to discover the wonders of fall!
Monmouth Battlefield State Park
in New Jersey, this state park preserves a landscape
straight out of the 18th century and offers miles of hiking and
horseback riding trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, and a variety of events. For
great foliage, check out their Oak trees and their orchards where you can pick
your own apples or pumpkins in September and October.
Photo: Greenbelt Park, courtesy of Greenbelt Park.