6 East Coast Fall Family Road Trips that will Thrill the Kids

6 East Coast Fall Family Road Trips that will Thrill the Kids
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6 East Coast Fall Family Road Trips that will Thrill the Kids

Fall decor, pumpkin treats and farm festivals are finally here! If you’re looking to make the most of the cozy season, have you considered planning a road trip with your family? Road trips are the perfect, quick escape from the city where you can dive into family friendly fall and winter festivities. Whether it’s apple picking or nature hikes, tractor rides or fudge tastings, your kiddos will have plenty of fun activities to do, all while exploring the history of unique towns. We’ve rounded up some of the best road trip destinations for your family this year. Get your train tickets or GPS ready, because these are fall vacays you do not want to miss!


Central Massachusetts 

Antsy kiddos who could not last hours in a car? Not to worry– Central Massachusetts is a quick 30-minute flight away. In fact, there are 4 flights arriving daily from NYC, both from JFK and LGA, making it easier than ever to plan your getaway. Once you arrive we recommend you set up camp at a brand name or boutique hotel in Worcester, MA. You’ll be 30 minutes or less from a ton of family-friendly attractions, like the Southwick’s Zoo, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, Old Sturbridge Village and the Ecotarium.

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun, we recommend you go on a family hike to Lookout Rock or the summit of Wachusett Mountain. But with 22 state parks in the region, you’ll have your pick of hiking trails. Central Massachusetts also has plenty of seasonal celebrations: you don’t want to miss KidsFest, AppleFest, BooFest, and Fall Food Truck Fest at Wachusett Mountain. The Annual Harvest Festival is also a family-favorite because of its well-loved scarecrow contest. And we can’t forget about Southwick Zoo’s Festival of Illumination, showcasing the stories of legendary creatures and fairytales through handmade Chinese lanterns. Add on all the usual fall classics– apple picking, cider donuts, and tractor rides– and Central Massachusetts is the place to be! Book your amazingly convenient flight today. 


New Jersey

New Jersey is home to some of the most exciting family destinations in the Northeast – from the quaint shops of Cape May to High Point State Park in the Skylands. Families come back year after year for cool-weather experiences and adventurous ways to enjoy every last one of those fall and winter days.

Enjoy the great outdoors, for New Jersey’s 130 miles of coastline delivers some of the most magnificent (and Instagrammable) views in the U.S. Visit mural-filled Asbury Park. Travel scenic byways for an impromptu leaf-peeping session. Hike serene nature trails. Go snow tubing in winter at Mountain Creek Resort and skiing at American Dream year-round. Enjoy the East Coast’s famed national and state parks like Liberty State Park, the Delaware Water Gap and Paterson Great Falls.

New Jersey is bountiful in the arts, history, culture and more. The New Jersey State Museum and The Newark Museum of Art are famous family go-tos. Princeton’s Tony Award-winning McCarter Theatre provides unforgettable live music, dance and theater performances including American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker November 25– 27 and A Christmas Carol December 7 – 24. Dive in and discover over 15,000 aquatic animals and the Northeast’s largest collection of sharks at The New Jersey State Aquarium on the Camden waterfront. Also along the Delaware: Big Kahuna’s Indoor Water Park – always a huge splash with kids.

Looking for a quick 3-day family getaway? A road trip with stops at New Jersey’s top spots will do the trick. Choose the best journey for your crew including American Revolution, Scenic Byways, Anthony Bourdain Food Trail and Black Heritage itineraries. Spend time together, learn something new, and see the best places to play, dine and stay.

Discover more at VisitNJ.org. Get your free Travel Guide and sign up for their informative e-newsletter.


Newport, RI

Only a few hours from NYC, Newport, Rhode Island brings fall festivities to the next level. Cider tasting and apple picking at Rocky Brook Orchard, named one of the best apple orchards in New England, offers eighty varieties of apples to choose from.

Next on your fall bucket list is The Pachet Brook Tree Farm for a family-friendly hayride that leads you to a pumpkin patch. Looking for more adventure, visit Escobar’s Highland Farm, and wind your way out of their 8-acre corn maze.

Experience more outdoor fun aboard a pedal-powered rail bike with Rail Explorers. The tour includes different experiences such as an evening lantern or fireside tours.

Newport isn’t short of sport or history; your family can visit the interactive Sailing Museum, Audrain Automobile Museum and International Tennis Hall of Fame with just one ticket. Newport has family-friendly year-round events and activities, so be sure to check out the extensive calendar of seasonal events at DiscoverNewport.org.


Putnam County, NY

This gem in New York is easy to travel to, making it an ideal road trip. A must-first stop is the Tilly Foster Farm. Only Putnam County, NY, would have a farm that regularly attracts families from all over to come and visit during the fall season. What makes Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster, NY, special? There’s something for everyone in your family to enjoy! From candle making to farm animals, sculptures to fishing, fresh veggies to concerts, this farm is the talk of the season every year. 

But beyond Tilly Foster Farm, Putnam County offers a spooky, kid-friendly musical, Hearts of the Hollow, that runs weekends through October 31. With 20 original songs, your kiddos will definitely be singing them all night long. And if you want to sneak in some apple picking on your trip, look no further than the Boscobel Heritage Applefest in Hudson Valley. Packed with cider pressing, apple preserving, arts & crafts, and sweet cider sampling, it’s a must-visit. 


Rockland County, NY 

Just 30 miles north of NYC, Rockland County makes the perfect family road trip. Nestled among 32,000 acres of untouched parkland, you can expect lots of outdoor fun: hiking trails, mountain vistas, and plenty of fall foliage. There’s also exquisite waterfront villages along the Hudson River that feature world-class restaurants, art galleries, shopping, champion golf courses, historic sites, and more. 

If you’re looking to get your fall fix, visit one of the many farms and farmer’s markets for fresh produce, pumpkin picking, and apple picking. We recommend Orchards of Conklin, the oldest working farm in Rockland County. You can pick your own pumpkins and apples, escape the corn maze, and shop homemade pies, donuts, and cookies. 

And with all the nature surrounding you, it can be tricky to choose just one hiking adventure. One family-favorite is Buttermilk Falls, which has several trails leading to the falls and steam with overlooks and areas for picnicking. 

Take your time planning this trip, because Rockland County has natural, hidden gems you’ll want to explore for a while!  


Frederick, Maryland 

Location, location, location! This fall road trip includes the National Scenic Byways and historic downtowns. Once you arrive at Frederick, Maryland, you are a short drive from Baltimore, Washington, D.C, and Gettysburg, making this the perfect getaway. There are truly so many family adventures you can embark on here! And the best part? You can take your time by staying a few days at one of Frederick County’s 20 nationally-branded hotels. 

There’s no shortage of fall festivals at the many farms and pumpkin patches in Frederick County, offering hayrides, apple cannons, corn mazes, arts & crafts, duck races, farm animals, and more. And if your kids are craving a sweet treat, Frederick has some of the best creameries with farm-fresh ice cream. For a blast to the past, check out Walkersville Southern Railroad and Monocacy National Battlefield. Little ones will also love saying hello to the many animals at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, while older kids may enjoy a hike to the cascading waterfall in Cunningham Falls State Park. Last but not least, the food scene in Frederick is top-notch and super kid-friendly: don’t miss Pretzel and Pizza Creations, a restaurant where everything is made out of delicious pretzel dough, including the pizza crust.