10 NJ and PA Outdoor Holiday Season Activities to End the Year with Cheer

Pack those pumpkins away and string the Christmas lights! Christmas is coming and I think we could all use some Christmas magic in our lives. While many indoor activities are limited or closed, the outdoors are still wide open to adventuring and exploring. Christmas seems to add that extra special something where every light has a magic sparkle, every snowflake is a miracle, a cup of hot cocoa makes you feel like a kid again, and even the chill in the air seems inviting. Help me welcome in the Christmas season with everything it has to offer- hot cocoa, fireplaces, Santa, lights, family, and the magic of the Christmas spirit. Escape the classroom and get your dose of Christmas cheer! Here’s where to go!

Must See walk through towns and villages

  1. Have a CAPE MAY christmas. Walking the cobblestone streets of Cape May is like stepping into a Charles Dickens novel at Christmas time – especially during their Dickens Festival! It is easy to imagine women in long dresses enjoying tea on the front porch, and men in their top hats and Christmas best leading the horse drawn carriages. Cape May’s Christmas showcase includes a tree lighting, plays, trolley tours, walking tours, horse drawn carriages, shopping, and streets of beautifully strung lights and Victorian style decorations.


  1. Walk the lighted village at SMITHVILLE’S Christmas. Smithville village takes you on a leisurely walk along a festively lit lakeside with shops and restaurants. It is a great opportunity to work through some of your holiday shopping list, with the added bonus of a magical talking tree, a Christmas train, s’mores, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  Don’t forget to check out the periodic light shows on the lake, orchestrated to music playing every half hour from 5:30 to 8:30 PM until January 4th.


  1. KOZIARSchristmasvilliage: Welcome to Koziar Farm in Bernville PA, a sweet step back in time to the old traditional Christmas. Grandpa William M. Koziar was the first to decorate the farm for his wife, Grace and their 4 children in 1948. Now passed to his children and grandchildren, the family is still decorating and inviting the public to come and enjoy their family traditions and Christmas village. Some have described the farm as “a treasure of Pennsylvania.” Open every day through Jan 2.


  1. DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express in Hammonton is an outdoor train ride through dazzling lights. You can also do a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, as you walk through the outdoor holiday village. DiDonatoś is open daily through Dec. 23 from 5 to 9 p.m.


  1. Creamy Acres Farm is hosting the Night of Lights Hayride in Mullica Hill. Their farm has been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with a dancing tree light show. You can choose to take a hayride or stroll the barnyard walk (or both!). Shopping and food is available. Night of Lights is open Friday-Saturday from 5:30-8:30 until December 21.


Drive through light shows

  1. The Winter Wonderlights Spectacular is a half-mile drive through of lights and music in the Middlesex County fairgrounds in East Brunswick open daily through Jan 3, from 5:30-10PM.


  1. The South Jersey Holiday Light Show is a one-mile drive through, radio-station-accompanied light show running on select days until December 30. Get your hot cocoa and blankets and follow the signs on your way through this one! It is open at 5:00PM, Thursday-Sunday, and daily from December 17 – 30.



  1. Trucks and tractors shine under the twinkling Christmas lights at the Diggerland holidaylight show. It runs daily from 5:30- 9:30PM until January 3 (closed some Mondays and Tuesdays). You can stream a radio station that accompanies the light show. While the park itself is closed, there are yummy treats (and bathrooms) available!


  1. Magic of lights is a giant, drive through light spectacular at the PNC Bank Arts Center opening at 5:00PM daily through January 3. It is a beloved tradition in New Jersey – and often crowded- so pack some snacks and plan accordingly for time.


  1. Six Flags Holiday In The Park is open for Christmas light viewing and select rides are open every weekend through January 3! Santa, marshmallow roasting, a laser show, Christmas characters, and other holiday treats are located throughout the park. In response to the growing COVID concerns, they are also offering a drive through experience, Monday-Thursday, where you can enjoy the lights from the safety of your car through December 17.

Jessica Cicalese-Kurtz, MA, K-12 Teaching and Technology; BA, K-8 Education; BS, Biology, Science and Engineering, is a high school STEAM Bio and AP Research teacher at Toms River High School East. Jess is also the Science Fair Coordinator at Toms River Middle School South. Jess has written curriculum for K-8 Science and High School Biology, as well as designed and implemented workshops for teachers. She is a freelance writer, wife, and budgeting mom of four who loves to travel, enjoy nature, connect with animals, and read.

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