North Carolina is a beautiful state to visit all year long, but the fall is an especially good time with all of the fun fall activities offered from the beach to the mountains. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure junkie or a wine connoisseur, you’ll find something to do in the Tarheel state this fall.
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Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Corn mazes are quickly becoming a popular fall activity for people of all ages and North Carolina has its fair share of mazes to offer. From Ken’s Korny Corn Maze in Garner, the state’s first and longest running corn maze, the Regal Corn Maze in Statesville and Country Days Corn Maze in Charlotte, to the Clayton Fear Farm in Clayton and the Cold Mountain Corn Maze in Canton, there is a maze for every skill level, every budget, and if you like being scared… a few that include haunted attractions. Try finding your way out of a maze during the day, or if you want an added challenge, grab a flashlight and try tackling one of them at night. Be sure to bring your appetite with you too, because most of them also offer some yummy fall snacks like apple turnovers, caramel apples and s’mores.
Go Pumpkin Picking
Of course, it wouldn’t be fall without pumpkins. So, why not skip the ones at the grocery store and turn it into an adventure by picking your own at one of the many farms across North Carolina. Most farms offer a hayride out into the pumpkin patch, where you can choose a pumpkin to take home with you, with sizes ranging from little pumpkins perfect for kids, to ones that are so large, you may just need a friend to help you carry it out! Many also offer decorative gourds and farm markets with lots of delicious pumpkin products like pumpkin butter and pumpkin pies.
Go Apple Picking
If pumpkins aren’t your thing, or you want some apple pie to go with that pumpkin pie, you can also pick your own apples at a NC orchard or farm. Fall is prime season for apples, so you’ll be able to find all of your favorite varieties like golden delicious, granny smith, gala and Fuji. And since you’ll be picking them straight off the trees, they’ll be as fresh as can be! But if filling up your basket with fresh apples isn’t reason enough to visit an orchard, many of them also offer seasonal treats like apple turnovers, homemade apple cider doughnuts, caramel apples and even, apple cider slushies.
See the Changing of the Leaves
North Carolina is a great place to take in the annual changing of the leaves because of its majestic mountain ranges that offer a long showing as the colors slowly make their way down from the higher elevations to the lower ones. In early fall, catch a glimpse of the colors in spots like Boone, Blowing Rock or Grandfather Mountain. Or as the season rolls on, head for some of the lower elevations like the Pisgah National Forest or the cities of Asheville or Brevard. In late November, Lake Lure is a great place to not only see the colors, but also get some rest and relaxation.
Stomp Some Grapes
North Carolina wines have become increasingly popular over the years and are giving the big guns of Virginia and California, a run for their money. But if you still haven’t tried a North Carolina winery yet, fall is a great time to do it. Not only will you get to tour the winery and taste the wines, but many NC wineries hold their annual “grape stomp” festivals during the fall season. Vineyards like Duplin, Cypress Bend, Childress and Gregory invite guests to give the grapes their best stomp and one vineyard (Cypress Bend) even measures the amount of juice stomped out by each contestant and awards a winner at the end of the day.
Go to an Oyster or Seafood Festival
Fall is also known as Oyster Festival season in North Carolina, so you’ll find them being held all throughout October and November, in cities and towns across the state. Some of the best ones to check out: the North Carolina Oyster Festival on Ocean Isle Beach, the First Flight Rotary Oink & Oyster Roast in Kitty Hawk, the Airlie Gardens Oyster Roast in Wilmington and the Burke Arts Council Oyster and Shrimp Festival in Morganton. But if you can only make it to one NC seafood festival this year, make sure to check out THE North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City. It’s one of the largest festivals in the state and in addition to great food, also features a sailing regatta, a boat show, fishing tournaments, a “Flounder Fling” and a special memorial to those who have lost their lives in the fishing industry.
Sample Some Hard Cider
Fall is the season for apple cider, but if you like yours with a little kick, North Carolina has plenty of cideries with hard cider tasting rooms all across the state. Try the cider-lavender mead blend at Black Mountain Ciderworks, The Village Tart – a cherry-infused cider from Noble Cider in Asheville or Sidra del Diablo, a cider infused with smoked habanero peppers and vanilla, from Urban Orchard Cider, also in Asheville. There’s even an official cider festival, CiderFest, held every year in Asheville, where ribbons are awarded for the top-produced ciders in North Carolina.