It’s not time to hibernate just yet! With the cold bite of winter not set to arrive until December 21, now is the time to get outdoors and check those last few fall activities off your list.
From apple and pumpkin picking to navigating corn mazes, we’ve rounded up the top places in America to experience six classic fall activities. Each spot is renowned for its gorgeous scenery, family-friendly attractions, and most importantly its ability to provide a day of seasonal fun.
Book yourself a cozy vacation rental, pack the flannel, and make the most of the fall season before winter sets in.
Top places for apple picking:
From mid-August until mid-December, Carter Mountain Orchard offers 16 different varieties of apples available for picking. Hike through the acres of orchards nestled in the mountains of Virginia, and fill your sack with a variety of apples, including Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Pink Lady.
Don’t let the enticing aroma of pies, cider and doughnuts from the Apple Barrel deter you from the fun of picking your own apples at Lyman Orchards. (Or, at least not until you’ve had your fill of picking for the day!) Lyman Orchards has been growing fruit on the same land along the Connecticut River for more than a century, so head here for a classic apple picking experience.
Peaches aren’t the only succulent fruit grown in Georgia. During the fall, apples hang from the trees and ripen for plucking at Red Apple Barn. The orchard opens for weekend apple picking in September and only closes in October once the trees are bare. Apple varieties available here include Gala, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious. Keep in mind that they ripen at different times during the season, so plan your trip ahead of time if you have a favorite.
Nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, Sky Top Orchard offers unparalleled panoramic views in addition to a long list of apple varieties. Work up an apple-tite exploring the grounds then taste lots of apple goods like freshly pressed cider and hot caramel apples. There is nothing quite like spending a fall day at Sky Top Orchard.
Apple picking is a highlight of fall at Terhune Orchards. The season brings bushels of pick-your-own fruit, and a walk through the orchard’s apple trees is the perfect way to disguise exercise as a fun activity. The aroma of baked goods from the Farm Store will tempt you inside to sample some fall treats before you leave.
Apples and fall go hand-in-hand at Westwind Orchard. From McIntosh to Cortland apples, many varieties are grown at this orchard and they’re available for picking from mid-August until they run out, typically in October. The fruits produced here are certified organic and absolutely delicious.
Top corn mazes to explore:
Mike’s Maze at Warner Farm | Sunderland, MA
For nearly 20 years, Mike’s Maze has been creating a challenging new corn maze for guests to explore every fall. When you’re not surrounded by towering cornstalks, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of New England’s fall foliage during the day. Once the sun sets, bundle up and brave the corn maze under the cover of darkness. This nighttime attraction is known as “Mike’s at Night” and features varying levels of scary as you make your way through the maze.
Poppell Farms | Odum, GA
Boasting “a-maizing adventures” and “farmtastic family fun,” a trip to Poppell Farms is never disappointing. This year, its 10-acre corn maze has been custom-designed to feature Peanuts themes and characters in honor of the 50th anniversary of the television special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. More than 30,000 visitors are expected to visit Poppell Farms this season.
Queens County Farm Museum | Floral Park, NY
From late-September through October, kids and adults alike flock to the Queens County Farm Museum to take on the challenge of making their way out of the corn maze. Begin by getting tips about finding clues and solving puzzles during “Stalk Talk,” and then venture into the maze to see how quickly you can escape. The theme of the maze this year is “The Big Apple.”
The Maize at Sherman Farm features 12 acres of farm-related fun set in a sprawling maze of corn. Intricate designs, riddles and corn-themed games add to the challenge of making your way through the outdoor labyrinth. Admission is $10 and gives you access most activities throughout the farm.
Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm | Lockport, IL
The corn maze at Siegel’s Cottonwood Farms will test even the best sense of direction. It is spread out over 15 acres of land and offers visitors five miles of cornstalk-lined paths to choose from. The maze is open on weekends during the fall and the farm features an additional 30 seasonal attractions that make for a full day of fall activities.
Even the most skilled navigators will agree that the corn maze at Treinen Farm can be extremely disorienting. It’s made up of over six miles of winding paths and features clues for getting out of the maze along the way. As well as the reward of completing the maze, there are chances to win prizes if you find secret locations that aren’t shown on the map. Expect the maze to take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to complete.
Top fall hayrides:
Donaldson Farms | Hackettstown, NJ
Set on hundreds of acres of land, Donaldson Farms features lots of fall attractions for the young and young-at-heart. One of the most popular attractions at the farm is its seasonal hayrides. Horses pull an open wagon full of visitors through the farmland of Hackettstown providing the perfect backdrop for fall photo-ops.
Miller’s Big Red Farms | Washington, MI
Every acre bursts of Miller’s Big Red Farms bursts with something delicious to discover. Take a hay ride past rows of apple trees and colorful pumpkin patches to inspire what you’ll do next at this charming farm.
Northern Star Farm | Trappe, PA
With a bale of hay as your seat, sit back and relax as a tractor pulls you around Northern Star Farm under the night sky. The hay ride typically lasts about 30 minutes before dropping guests off at a bonfire on the grounds. Warm up by the fire and trade stories over food and drink with other visitors.
Patterson Farm | Mount Ulla, NC
Patterson Farm offers many fall activities all with the aim of inspiring visitors to get outdoors and create memories on the farm. The tractor-pulled hayrides here are fun for all ages and take guests through fields and pumpkin patches on gorgeous fall days.
Smolak Farms | North Andover, MA
Sit back and relax on a scenic hay wagon ride at Smolak Farms. Choose a “hop-on hayride” during the day to take in the beautiful landscape of fir trees, beehives and fragrant fruit orchards, or purchase a ticket for a night ride for stargazing and fun at a nearby bonfire site. This fall, Smolak Farms also offers an Alice in Wonderland themed hayride that features a narration of the storybook on limited weekends.
On Saturdays and Sundays in October, Wolfe’s Neck Farm offers its guests hayrides out to its picturesque pumpkin patch. Climb into the back of its open-air wagon and relax as a tractor pulls you past the magnificent fall foliage.
Top spots for pumpkin picking:
Get lost in a sea of orange at Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch. Guests can pick their own pumpkins straight off the vines from mid-September to early November. Whether you’re looking for a perfectly round orange pumpkin, a warty one, or pumpkins of blue and white varieties, you’ll find a huge assortment at this pumpkin patch.
Harris Hill Farm offers a pick-your-own pumpkin patch open to visitors on weekends during the month of October. The family-owned farm is one of the area’s premier pumpkin growers, specializing in both large and mini pumpkins, as well as a variety of other fall crops that include gourds, winter squash and Indian corn. With five acres of pumpkins, you’re sure to find the perfect pumpkin for your jack-o-lantern at Harris Hill Farm.
Jubilee Farm | Carnation, WA
Every October, Jubilee Farm welcomes guests to its pumpkin patch to celebrate another bountiful harvest. Admission is free and the farm takes pickers out to the pumpkin patch via hay ride at no cost. Explore the rows of plump pumpkins while sipping freshly-pressed cider at this community farm in the Seattle area.
Mitchell Farms | Collins, MS
The pumpkin patch has been a vital part of Mitchell Farms for more than a decade. Besides offering pumpkins galore, visit this farm for a weekend of fun fall activities. Favorites include taking a wagon ride tour of the land, getting lost in a corn maze, wandering through a field of sunflowers and climbing aboard the Pumpkin Express train.
Start a new fall family tradition pumpkin picking at the Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch. Across a whopping eight acres of pumpkin picking grounds, you’ll find several unique varieties including Cinderella and ghost pumpkins. Purchase a wristband to gain entry to the patch and stroll along with one of the farm’s wagons in tow.
The Community Orchard | Fort Dodge, IA
While it’s known for its impressive apple orchard, The Community Orchard is also home to a magnificent pumpkin patch that features 12 different varieties. Ranging in size, shape and color, there is a pumpkin for every kid and kid-at-heart here. Head straight to the patch or board the Pumpkin Cruiser for a tour of the farm.
Top places for seasonal food and drink:
Pumpkin works its way into some of Cupcake Royale’s most mouthwatering creations during the fall. One taste of this shop’s Pumpkin Maple cupcake and you’ll immediately feel transported to a charming pumpkin patch surrounded by colorful foliage. The batter is made with pumpkin from Stahlbush Island and the cream cheese frosting has just the right amount of maple.
The pumpkin beer from Newport Storm by Coastal Brewing is equivalent to fall in a pint glass. The seasonal favorite “R.I.P. Pumpkin” boasts three pounds of pumpkin per keg, a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves, as well a variety of other flavorful ingredients. Take a self-guided tour of the brewery before enjoying a tasting of seasonal brews.
The apple cider doughnuts at Puritan & Company are a little known secret in Cambridge. They’re not on the daily menu, but ask for them during Sunday brunch during the fall and your taste buds will be delighted. They pair perfectly with a bubbly mimosa.
You’re in for a treat when you visit Rare Sweets during the fall. The Apple & Fall Spice Cake is a season favorite that features a sweet vanilla cake with housemade apple butter and fall spice icing. It’s worth every extra calorie.
A taste of the Deep Dish Chocolate Fudge Pecan Pie from Three Brothers Bakery will have you starting a new fall tradition with your family. The pie is made from scratch and packed with delicious pecans, gooey fudge and a crumbly crust. Not a fan of nuts? Try the Pumpecapple piecake or “the Turducken of pie and cake”, which has three layers of fall sweetness.
Two words sum up fall at this craft distillery: Maple Spirit. It’s made from fermented maple distilled in a copper pot still. The smooth spirit is then aged in Hungarian oak barrels for extra flavor until it takes on a warm amber color. You won’t taste anything like it!