Travel and Activities

UPDATED: 15 Indoor and Outdoor Chol Hamoed Destinations

Esther Pransky March 22, 2021

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They’re words that strike fear in the hearts of parents everywhere:

“Where are we going on our Chol Hamoed trip today?”

This year, skip the fruitless research and endless arguments – we’ve got you covered. Here are 15 destinations for all ages and stages.

Our list is based in the Tri-state area, but many of these ideas can be applied to your locale, too.

Before you plan a trip, of course, we want to encourage you to consult and observe the COVID guidelines and precautions in your area. Safety first!

Outdoor Destinations:

If you’re not comfortable with an indoor venue (or you just love the outdoors) here are some amazing outdoor destinations for you and your family:

1. Turtle Back Zoo

We all know about the Bronx zoo. It’s one of the best, and never disappoints. But if you’re looking for a change of scenery, then NJ’s #1 zoo (aka Turtle Back Zoo) is a great one to explore!

Check it out:

  • (973) 731-5800
  • 560 Northfield Ave

West Orange, NJ 07052

2. Abma’s Farm

Looking for a simpler trip that’s close to NYC but feels like you’re in the country? Abma’s Farm has a petting zoo, greenhouses, a flower shop, and a Farmer’s Market.

Check it out:

  • (201) 891-0278
  • 700 Lawlins Rd

Wyckoff, NJ 07481

3. Van Saun County Park is 146 acres of fun in Paramus, NJ, including a huge playground with equipment for all ages, 1.5-mile walking/biking trail, ball fields, Walden Pond, Washington Spring Garden, picnic tables, and the Bergen County Zoo (free admission through the end of April!)

Check it out:

  • (201) 262-3771
  • 216 Forest Ave.
    Paramus, NJ 07652

4. Online Scavenger Hunts take you on a self-paced outdoor adventure in the city of your choice. Using your smartphone, your team earn points as you solve clues and complete challenges. The website gives you all the details for each hunt such as time, walking distance, and a map.

Check it out:

5. Cheesequake State Park is just 45 minutes to an hour from Lakewood, Passaic, or New York City. The 1,610-acre park has five beautiful hiking trails, including easy, kid-friendly options. There are also playgrounds and picnicking areas.

Check it out:

  • (732) 566-2161
  • 300 Gordon Rd
    Matawan, NJ 07747

6. NYC Playgrounds are sprinkled throughout the five boroughs. Many are recently updated with cool new equipment.

Check it out:

Here’s a sampler of playgrounds from around New York:

  • Fort Washington Park Playground is a nature-themed playground with a tree house, rope pyramid, zip line, and much more. It’s located at 165th Street and the Henry Hudson Parkway.
  • Seaside Wildlife Nature Playground has a “shipwrecked” jungle gym, lighthouse, and other seaside features. It’s located at Nelson Avenue and Tennyson Drive in Staten Island.
  • Domino Park, as you may have guessed, is next to the old Domino Sugar Factory. It has a factory feel with a “centrifuge container,” ramps, “conveyor belts,” catwalks, and much more. It’s located at Kent Avenue at Grand Street in Williamsburg.

7. Bike Trails will get the whole family moving! You can bring your own bikes, borrow, or rent some for a few hours. And for the littlest ones, consider a bike carrier trailer. Don’t forget your helmets!

Check it out:

This link will take you to a complete list of bike trails in all 50 states! You can read descriptions, maps, and reviews to choose your perfect destination.

Indoor Destinations:

If you’re ok with being indoors, you’re in luck because many attractions are now open with COVID safety measures in place.

1. Liberty Science Center

A place we’ve heard of , and maybe even been to, but haven’t thought of it as a chol hamoed trip. Honestly, what don’t they have? From a butterfly house, “Wobbly World“, Dino Dig Adventure, Climbing adventures, a Planetarium and 3D films, this is an amazing trip option that kids of all ages will truly enjoy.

Check it out:

  • (201) 200-1000
  • 222 Jersey City Blvd

Jersey City, NJ 07305

2. Crayola Factory

Bursting with 28 hands-on crafts, this is for all the children that love to create. Be sure to get there early as it can get very busy in the afternoon!

Check it out:

  • (610) 515-8000
  • 30 Centre Square

Easton, PA 18042

3. Digger Land

“Drive, ride, soak, slide”? Yes please! With over 30 different adventures like “gold digger”, “big diggers”, “crawl space”, “bumper cars” and “ropes course”, there’s endless fun here! Be sure to call ahead of time to see which attractions are open at the time of your visit!

Check it out:

  • (856) 768-1110
  • 100 Pinedge Dr

West Berlin, NJ 08091

4. Topgolf is the 21st century version of a golf driving range. Challenge yourself to hit the targets from the comfort of your own indoor, heated bay. Topgolf offers multiple game options, all electronically scored. It’s a budget-friendly activity for large groups since you pay per bay, not per person.

Stay safe:

Topgolf keeps its visitors safe with social distancing, safely spaced bays, bay dividers, and frequent cleanings. Masks are required. See their COVID Safety Policy here.

Check it out:

Edison, NJ

  • (732) 374-4097
  • 1013 U.S. Route 1
    Edison, NJ 08817

Mount Laurel, NJ

  • (856) 793-4086
  • 104 Centerton Rd.
    Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Topgolf Swing Suite at iPlay America

  • (732) 577-8200
  • 110 Schanck Rd
    Freehold, NJ 07728

Topgolf has many other locations around the U.S., too!

5. iPlayAmerica is a gigantic indoor fun center about 20 minutes from Lakewood. It has bumper cars, go-karts, laser tag, arcades, air hockey tables and more. Wednesday is half price day.

Stay safe:

Masks are required, temperatures are checked at the door, and social distancing is observed throughout the premises. iPlay America also has an HVAC system in use and all rides and equipment are cleaned frequently.

Check it out:

  • (732) 577-8200
  • 110 Schanck Rd
    Freehold, NJ 07728

6. Rage rooms, also called “smash rooms” or “anger rooms,” help let off steam and relieve stress. We could all use some of that after the pre-Passover cleaning marathon. You enter a room with a choice of breakable objects, don protective gear, choose a weapon, and smash away.

Stay safe:

Rage rooms required PPE long before anyone heard of COVID. You’ll be in your own privately booked room, so no worries about social distancing either.

Check it out:

Rage rooms are all the rage, so you should easily find locations in your area. Here are some possibilities in NY/NJ:

7. Escape rooms will give you the experience of a personal Passover redemption. You and your team will have 60 minutes to escape a themed, locked room by finding clues, cracking codes, and solving puzzles. Reservations are a must, so call your location for times and bookings.

Stay safe:

Escape rooms are inherently COVID-safe since you and your group are locked into your own room for the activity. Check your location for more rules and policies.

Check it out:

Escape rooms are popular around the world, but here are some locations in the Tri-state area:

8. Monster Mini Golf is a fun twist on an old favorite. You’ll play an 18-hole course with quirky monster-themed decorations under the “luminescent glow of black lights.” There’s also an arcade, and some locations feature a mini bowling alley and laser tag.

Stay safe:

“Smart Monsters are SAFE Monsters.” Monster Mini Golf keeps its visitors safe with distancing, tee time reservations, and frequent cleanings. Team members wear PPE, and masks are required for guests. See their COVID Safety Policy on your location’s website page.

Check it out:

Monster Mini Golf has locations all over the U.S. For a full list, visit the website; here are some of the Tri-state options:

For all these attractions, it’s a good idea to call before you go to confirm hours and see if you need a reservation. And with the COVID situation still unpredictable, you’ll want to make sure the attraction is open.

Stay safe and have fun!

Originally published March 2021. Updated and improved April 2022.