Your guide to fall in North Jersey: 12 things to add to your bucket list this season

Fall is now upon us. We can finally break out those sweaters, platform Uggs and pumpkin cream cold brews without worrying about someone telling us it's too early.

This also means we can finally start taking advantage of all of those activities that fall has to offer. Thankfully, North Jersey has plenty of options for things to do, but where should you start?

Here are 12 things to do to add to your fall bucket list to make the most of the season.

Go pumpkin picking

Go pumpkin picking at Demarest Farms. Not only do they offer pick-your-own pumpkins daily throughout the fall, but they also offer pick-your-own apples and peaches. The farm also has its own market for all those fresh baked goods, as well as a petting zoo full of farm animals. 244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale; 201-666-0472,

Attend the Great Pumpkin Festival

If you want to take pumpkin picking to the next level, attend the Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hill Farm & Garden Center. In addition to a wide selection of pumpkins to choose from for your carving endeavors, the festival also has 12 carnival rides, an apple cannon, a paintball range, wine tasting, famous apple cider donuts and, best of all, pig racing.

The festival is open on Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 5. 451 State Route 94, Vernon; 973-764-5144,

Conquer a corn maze

Dale Davis, of Stony Hill Farms, walks through the corn maze at his farm.
Dale Davis, of Stony Hill Farms, walks through the corn maze at his farm.

Navigate through all of the mazes at Wightman Farms in Morristown. Known as Mazeland, there is a giant corn maze, hay bale maze, rope maze and paver maze, as well as a rock labyrinth, a hay bale pyramid and a hay bale tunnel. 1111 Mt. Kemble Ave., Morristown; 973-425-9819,

You can also visit Stony Hill Farms, which also offers four different mazes, or Ort Farms and Middle Valley Farms, which each have their own six-acre corn mazes.

Visit the botanical gardens

The octagonal breakfast room at Skylands Manor in Ringwood is a good vantage point for viewing the terraced gardens of the New Jersey Botanical Garden.
The octagonal breakfast room at Skylands Manor in Ringwood is a good vantage point for viewing the terraced gardens of the New Jersey Botanical Garden.

The New Jersey Botanical Garden may be the most visited during the spring and summer months, but it's just as beautiful to visit during the fall. It features things such as a perennial garden with colors that change with the seasons, a magnolia walk with a number of large magnolias — unusual for this far north — and a wildflower garden.

The grounds of the botanical gardens are also home to Skylands Manor, which offers limited tours on Sundays. 2 Morris Rd, Ringwood; 973-962-9534,

Explore a castle

A pride of North Jersey is its abundance of sites that demonstrate the state's history. Take advantage of this by visiting one of North Jersey's many historic castles, like the Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus.

Built in the 1700s, the Hermitage has seen many owners and was renovated in 1847 in the Gothic Revival style that can still be seen on the property today. By visiting the museum, you can see collections of photos from families who inhabited the mansion, including the Rosencrantz family. who owned the property from 1807 to 1970. There are also mannequins dressed with the clothing typically worn through centuries, and period furniture and toys. The grounds and gardens of the mansion are free to explore daily, and guided tours of the mansion are offered during the weekends. 335 Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus; 201-445-8311,

Celebrate Oktoberfest 2023

While it might not be Munich, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate Oktoberfest here in the Garden State. You can take a look at the complete list of celebrations going on throughout New Jersey here, but these are a few taking place in North Jersey:

See the Paterson Great Falls

The Great Falls of Paterson is the perfect location for those looking to connect with nature this fall. The Great Falls feature one of the largest waterfalls in the country. While the trail bridge that directly overlooks the Great Falls is temporarily closed, you can still get a great view of the waterfall and the colors of changing leaves on the surrounding trees from any location.

The Great Falls are also part of the National Park Service, and offers historic mill tours of founding father Alexander Hamilton, who also founded Paterson. 72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson; 973-523-0370,

Shop for antiques

Fall is the perfect time for antique shopping because you don't have to worry about going in and out of stores in overly hot or overly cold weather. This season, take a trip to Montclair Antique Center.

A group shop of over 50 dealers, Montclair Antique Center is the spot for those looking to find American and Continental antiques from the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the types of items that you can find here are 1940s vintage crystal perfume bottles, an original Jane Chenoweth oil painting from the 20th century and a variety of Judith Leiber bags. 34 Church St., Montclair; 973-746-1062,

Go horseback riding

Horseback riding at Echo Lake Stables
Horseback riding at Echo Lake Stables

Besides being a good full body workout and mental challenge, horseback riding is a fun way to explore North Jersey's fall foliage. Not only will saddling up on the back of a horse be a full experience on its own, but being able to see the changing leaves while doing so is an added bonus.

Echo Lake Stables in Newfoundland not only offers regular trail rides, but they also offer special night rides on Saturdays and Sundays. The 90-minute night ride begins at 6 p.m. and is followed by a 90-minute Western-style BBQ with live entertainment and hay rides. Echo Lake Stables, 55 Blakeley Lane, Newfoundland; 973-697-1257,

Other places for horseback riding in North Jersey:

Try the fall flavors at your local brewery

Go on a pumpkin beer tour across North Jersey this fall. If you're a fan of local-made beer and fall-inspired beverages, this is the perfect time to try those limited-edition brews. Even if you aren't a fan of the seasonal flavors, breweries are still the perfect destination on a breezy Saturday afternoon or to catch the game on football Sunday.

Seven Tribesmen Brewery is located within an old furniture woodworking store.
Seven Tribesmen Brewery is located within an old furniture woodworking store.

At Seven Tribesmen in Wayne, you can get the headless horseman inspired beer, the Headless Tribesmen. This pumpkin ale is made with pumpkin puree, and features notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and allspice to create the ultimate fall drink. 1151 Route 23, Wayne; 973-706-7337,

At New Jersey Beer Company in North Bergen, you can try Grammie's Apple Pie Ale. This beer was created to be the beverage version of a homemade apple pie. Biscuit and caramel malts were used to create a pie base, and the beer was then fermented on fresh apples and conditioned on brown sugar and cinnamon. 4201 Tonnelle Ave.; 201-758-8342,

Visit a winery

Fall is typically thought of as the prime time for visiting wineries in New Jersey because it's harvest season. So, if beer isn't your thing, spend a day at the winery instead.

Ventimiglia Vineyard in Wantage is located on the 50 acres of Rocky Ridge Farm and has been family-run for generations. They produce a variety of hand-crafted wine made in small batches. Open tastings are offered on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weekdays by appointment only. The vineyard also offers picnic tables for visitors to hang out while tasting, as well as hiking trails nearby. 101 Layton Road, Wantage; 973-875-4333,

You can also try making your own wine at Make Wine With Us in Wallington. Here, certified instructors will guide you through the process, from choosing the perfect variety of grapes to crushing the grapes to produce pressed juice to be made into wine. 21 Curie Ave., Wallington; 201-876-9463,

Take a walk downtown

Drone image of downtown Montclair.
Drone image of downtown Montclair.

Another pride of North Jersey is its abundance of walkable, downtown areas.

Downtown Montclair, which is just over a mile long an run downs Bloomfield Avenue, is home to a variety of different restaurants, stores and wellness centers. It is the perfect place to spend a few hours, or even an entire day, in the fall. From stores like Montclair Book Center, Lululemon, Montclair Art Museum and The Claridge, there's something for everyone.

Another downtown area that's perfect in the fall is in Hoboken, which runs down Washington Street. Similarly to Montclair, Hoboken offers an abundance of restaurants, bars and every store you can think of. Hoboken also has the added bonus of the Hudson River waterfront, with piers where you can sit and enjoy the cool weather.

This article originally appeared on Things to do in North Jersey: Fall bucket list for 2023