Whether you plan to carve the perfect jack-o-lantern or (for the ambitious) try your hand at a homemade pie, picking your own pumpkin can be the best part of the process. Plan to go in September and October, but check ahead of time: different farms will have different schedules. Many pick-your-own farms across New Jersey offer not only pumpkins but also apples and a variety of other fresh fruit and produce. It’s a great way to spend the day, too.
Conklin Farm U-Pick in Montville
Walk through a field of sunflowers to Conklin’s pick-your-own pumpkin patch. The farm store also offers gourds, Indian corn, scarecrows, straw bales, and mums along with fresh apples, apple cider, apple and pumpkin butters, as well as jams. Grab a freshly-made apple cider donut, walk the free corn maze, and check out the farm animals. They’ve also got a pumpkin slingshot. Free entry.
Demarest Farms in Hillsdale
With both pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, you can come home with a car-full of fresh produce. Demarest Farms also offers visitors a hay ride, a playground, and a petting zoo. Don’t forget the apple cider! $5 admission.
Related: The Best Pumpkin Beers
Duffield’s Farm, Sewell
This family farm has been in operation for over 80 years and offers a year-round farmers market and bakery. Starting in September, hop aboard a hay ride to their pumpkin patch. You can also find mums, a corn maze, a “BarnYard Express” and “BarnBounce.” You might even catch the last of Duffield’s heirloom tomatoes. Activities individually priced, $18 for all.
Hacklebarney Farms Cider Mill, Chester
A seventh-generation family farm just a half mile from Hacklebarney State Park, Hacklebarney Farms Cider MIll is a great destination for pumpkin-seeking families who also love their apples. Donuts, cider, and all manner of pies accompany a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and apple orchard as well as a four-acre corn maze. If you are grabbing lunch, try a hot dog topped with their signature cider kraut and a side of cider baked beans. Free entry.
Related: The Best Beaches in New Jersey
Heaven Hill Farm, Vernon
This northern New Jersey farm plays host to a large-scale Great Pumpkin Festival every weekend between mid-September and early November. In addition to pick-your-own pumpkins, there are over 30 activities (from duck racing to a dancing robot show), a corn maze and hayride and farm animal exhibit. Did we mention the carnival rides? Heaven Hill Farm has carnival rides. $10 admission.
Ort Farms, Long Valley
This enormous farm in Morris County offers the classic hayride/pumpkin-patch combo, but also invites guests to take a spin on a train, a pony, and even a monster truck. Explore Ort Farms’ corn maze, visit with their farm animals, and take home some donuts, pies, cider, local ice cream, and farm-raised beef. Activities individually priced.
Springdale Farms, Cherry Hill
A large working farm, the programs and events that Springdale offers tends more towards the instructive, with kid friendly educational hayrides, seasonal lectures, and hands-on-demonstrations. Along with everything you’ll learn, their elaborately designed corn maze (2015 had a Polynesian theme) and delicious cider donuts make the trip well worth it. Activities individually priced
Sussex County Strawberry Farm, Newton
Don’t let the name dissuade you—once strawberry season ends, it’s pumpkin time in Sussex County. Catch a hayride to the Sussex County Strawberry Farm’s pumpkin patch, stock up on autumnal décor (you can never have enough gourds), and sample their cider. You can find a whole array of different types, from the baking-friendly sugar to the white lumina to the classic jack-o-lantern variety. Free entry