12 Outdoor Summer Adventures In and Around Bergen County

Day Trips  / 

Before *normal* life happens again, and the busy fall schedules with countless kids' activities dominate your calendar, take advantage of the slower pace of summer. Now is a great time to go on a family adventure and explore all that the area has to offer. The good news is you don't have to travel too far to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy a bonding experience with your family, whether you choose one by air, by land or by sea -- or all of the above. Don't worry, we threw in some food and drink adventures too, so even your stomach can end the season feeling satisfied. 


Boating and Water Play

Overpeck Park Paddling Center The soaring temps this year make paddling a perfect option for active adventure-seekers, and the calmness of Overpeck Lake is welcoming for even the most inexperienced paddlers, as well as families with young kids. Kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards are available to rent for two hours, plus you'll get in a nice workout for the arms as an added benefit. Be sure to check out Lake Tappan Paddle Day happening August 6th. (Overpeck County Park, 50 Fort Lee Rd., Leonia)


Bear Mountain From playing in the public pool to walking along the hiking trails to visiting animals at the Trailside Zoo, the activities are endless at Bear Mountain and worth carving out a full day to enjoy. One must-do while you visit is taking advantage of the hourly boat rentals, which are available daily. (Bear Mountain, 3020 Seven Lake Drive, Bear Mountain)


Hudson River Expeditions A short drive away in Peekskill, Westchester you'll find kayak, canoes and paddleboard rentals for everyone from beginners to the most experienced paddlers. The Peekskill location is open weekends, and provides visitors with options to rent, or take private instruction or classes to build confidence on the water -- available for kids and adults. (Hudson River Expeditions, 1 Annsville Cir., Peekskill)


Ropes Courses

Essex County Treetop Adventure Course Next to the Turtleback Zoo lives a TreeTop Adventure Course built for high-flying fun. Offering adult and junior courses, both take you through aerial obstacles that push you to challenge your limits. Don't miss the football-field length zip line, for a weeeeeeeeee-ally fun day. (Treetop Adventure Course, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)


Treescape Adventure Park Venture into the forested section of Vernon Township for a literal tree-hugging experience. Adults can dominate the obstacles, rope walks, climbing and more of the wooded ropes course, while younger kids ages 4 to 6 can tackle the kids park, which includes climbing obstacles, ropes and a zip line. (Treescape Adventure Park, 414 County Road 517, Vernon Township)


Diggerland Ropes Course Drive a bit further in NJ for the construction-themed amusement park, which is also home to one of the world's tallest ropes courses. Kids and adults can step, climb, zip and test their balance (and acrophobia!) as you make your way through the colorful course that stands at four stories tall. (Diggerland, 100 Pinedge Dr., West Berlin)


Hiking and Biking

Palisades Interstate Park With scenic views of Manhattan and the Hudson River, plus 30 miles of hiking trails and seven miles of roadway for biking (not for the faint of heart), this one-stop-outdoor-adventure-shop can challenge all ages and activity levels. Walk along the Palisades Shore Trail for an easy hike with waterfall views, or BYOBoat to paddle from Bloomer's Beach. (Palisades Interstate Park, Alpine)


Apshawa Preserve Miles of trails at this untouched park cater to beginner hikers as well as those looking for more of a challenge. This super scenic hike is perfect for birdwatching, and offers waterfalls and dams to take in -- and take pics of. (Apshawa Preserve, 4 Northwood Drive, West Milford)


Hot Air Balloons

New Jersey Lottery Festival of of Ballooning Nothing says adventure like sailing into the clouds, but the fun doesn't stop there. This huge festival happening from July 29-July 31 includes viewing more than 100 hot air balloons as they take to the skies, concerts, fireworks, entertainment (think: human cannonball) a balloon glow and much more. (NJ Lottery Festival of Ballooning, Solberg Airport, Readington)


Warren County Farmers' Fair The highlight of the Farmers' Fair, happening July 30-August 6, is the Hot Air Balloon Festival, which lets you view the launch of the balloons and hop on one for a ride. The mass balloon launch happens every night at 6:30 pm, while rides are available for either exclusive purchase or for tethered rides during the night -- a great options for younger families or hesitant adults. Also happening at the fair are live shows, carnival rides, kids activities and tons more. (Warren County Farmers' Fair, 877 Uniontown Road, Phillipsburg)


Eat, Drink and Be Merry

New Jersey Wine Festival at Demarest Farms If outdoor adventures that entail more relaxing fun in the sun is more your speed, there's no shame in the wine game. Demarest Farms' Wine Festival, happening August 13-August 14, is back this year, bringing tastings from four top NJ wineries to Bergen County, plus food and live music. Kids can enjoy the farm's playground and animal area while you sip. (Demarest Farms, 244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale)


Friday Nights on the Farm at Donaldson Farms Summer Fridays were made for experiences like Friday Nights on the Farm. Visit Donaldson Farms on Friday nights from 5-9 pm (check their schedule for days off), for their outdoor dining and music series featuring a variety of musical talent. Enjoy their delicious outdoor dining menu of a farm fresh, locally sourced menu plus live music while the sun sets. On July 29th and August 5th, Donaldson Farms will welcome a variety of food trucks to whet your appetite. Kids can enjoy activities such as laser tag, pony rides and special surprise guests. (Donaldson Farms, 358 Allen Road, Hackettstown)

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