Photo: Noriko Cooper via 123RF

If you’re missing the fun and adventure your family shared during summer vacations, don’t fret. There are many fall activities ideally suited to a day of family fun! Since the temperate weather is often pleasant for spending time outside, take advantage of these events that will get the whole family out making memories.

Apple Picking/Cider Making

An afternoon of apple picking gets the kids outside and involved in a fun activity. They’ll love using the step ladders to reach the higher branches, and each family member can choose their preferred variety! Many apple orchards also have cider-making facilities. Stop in to watch this process unfold and take home a fresh gallon or two for the season.

Pumpkin Patch

Nothing is more quintessential fall than taking a hay ride out to a pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are great for decorating and baking. Visiting your local patch can continue to pay off with more family activities down the line (craft time or pumpkin pie, anyone?). Many kids are in awe the first time they see how pumpkins grow. They’ll enjoy strolling through the mud to find the perfectly-imperfect pumpkin to call their own. Pro tip: Bring sturdy tote bags to haul the smaller pumpkins around as you return to the car.

Local Farm Visit

Tour the fields, animal pens, and facilities if you’re lucky enough to live near a farm. This trek is a chance for kids to learn about a working farm and see where their food originates. Many farms offer specific times for kids to meet the baby animals and even help with feedings. Because much of the harvesting happens during the fall, you can often watch the farmers ride tractors, unload hay bales, and sort through produce. Buying a souvenir jar of jam or corn for dinner is a great way to support these local farms as you leave after a fun-filled day.

Harvest Festival

These festivals are a popular way to get a good dose of fall tastes and entertainment. Often hosted at a local farm or botanic garden, harvest festivals offer games, food, crafts, and demonstrations from artisans. Musical groups are common at these events, and energetic dancing is sure to follow! More prominent festivals are an excellent way for everyone in the family to find something they enjoy doing. You never know what new experiences you may try, like shearing sheep or milling apples

Photo: Roman Plesky via 123RF

Corn Maze

Heading out to a corn maze can be an adventure that will bond your family for years to come – if you make it out! Even simple corn mazes allow kids to practice their patience and problem-solving skills in a low-stakes environment. Running through the pathways expends energy on a weekend afternoon, hopefully leading to quieter evenings at home. Let older kids feel independent by trekking ahead while the younger kids experiment with taking wrong turns. Celebrate with a delicious apple cider or local treats when you exit successfully!

Leaf Peeping

Whether your family loves to hike or you’re more of a scenic drive crowd, leaf peeping in the fall showcases the season’s beauty. Depending on your location, foliage can change colors anytime between early September and late November. Check local reports from the areas near you. Gentle hikes around lakes are one of the best ways to see the fall foliage since you’ll also get the beauty of the reflection. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it!

State and County Fairs

Most state and county fairs pop up each fall in communities across the country. Farmers bring prized vegetables and livestock, artisans sell unique gifts, local bands take the stage, and thrilling games and rides pack the midway. What more could you want? Make sure to pace yourselves if you plan to spend the whole day at the fair, and be strategic about spreading out meals and rides so that no one ends up sick.

Farmer’s Market

Kids can help choose the weekly meal menu in a trip to the local farmer’s market during the last weeks of summer and early fall. Seeing fruits and vegetables, new condiments, and spreads makes it easier for them to envision trying something new for dinner. Take the opportunity to discuss community gardens, how to support local farmers, and perhaps even plan to start a backyard garden yourselves next year!

With so many great fall experiences, your family will be busier than ever this season!