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6 Iconic Fall Activities & Where to Enjoy Them

Fall has always been my favorite season. The cooler temperatures and the beautiful changing of the leaves, along with the many fun activities it’s known for make it especially enjoyable. Having lived in quite a few different areas of the country and visiting many more, I’ve been able to enjoy the delights of fall in multiple cities and small towns from California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Rockies to the Midwest, New England, and beyond. The result is this list featuring some of the best pumpkin patches, apple orchards, leaf-peeping spots, haunted houses, corn mazes, and apple cideries across the nation.

Iconic Activities

Pumpkin Patches

Craven Farm - Snohomish, Washington Craven Farm
Credit: Craven Farm by Craven Farm Inc.

Craven Farm - Snohomish, Washington

Craven Farm has been providing generations of families with all sorts of fall fun from mid-September through late October. Located just a 40-minute drive from Seattle in the small town of Snohomish, famous for its many antique stores, the family-owned farm hosts a 20-acre pumpkin patch with over 30 different varieties of pumpkins. Not only are you virtually guaranteed to find your perfect pumpkin, but there are many other activities that can be enjoyed, including a 15-acre corn maze. On weekends, there’s a hayride and a sling where you can test your luck at hitting the targets. There are animals, storybook scenes re-created with painted pumpkins, and a gift shop too.

Pastorino's Pumpkin Farm - Half Moon Bay, California Pastorino's Farm, Half Moon Bay, California
Credit: Pastorino's Farm, Half Moon Bay, California by Pastorino's Farm

Pastorino's Pumpkin Farm - Half Moon Bay, California

Generations of San Francisco Bay Area families have made a day out of visiting Half Moon Bay annually in early fall to enjoy the beautiful beaches, delicious seafood eateries, and Pastorino Farms. It dates back to 1957, established by Italian immigrants Enrico and Lorriane Pastorino, with son Hank starting the pumpkin patch in 1971. Today, the third generation of Pastorinos are running the operation with the property transformed into a seasonal pumpkin farm every October. There are farm animals, hayrides, train rides, and giant slides too. On the weekends, a haunted house opens up and face painting can be enjoyed as well.

Linvilla Orchards - Media, Pennsylvania Linvilla Orchards
Credit: Linvilla Orchards by Linvilla Orchards

Linvilla Orchards - Media, Pennsylvania

Linvilla Orchards is just a short drive south of Philadelphia offering more than 300 acres of pumpkin and other fall-related fun for the whole family. Pumpkinland features more than 100 tons of pumpkins on display and there are themed hayrides that can be taken to the spooky witch’s house. Enjoy many other activities, including getting to know the barnyard animals which include horses, goats, sheep, and even white-tailed deer. There’s a duck pond with a variety of ducks and many other birds too, from chickens and geese to peacocks, doves, quail, and guineas.

Corn Mazes

Anderson Farms - Erie, Colorado Anderson Farms
Credit: Anderson Farms by Anderson Farms

Anderson Farms - Erie, Colorado

Just 40 minutes north of Denver, Anderson Farms is home to Colorado’s longest-running corn maze, providing entertainment to visitors since 1999. The 25-acre site includes more than eight miles of trails and as you try to make your way through, you’ll encounter many different kinds of terrifying creatures. Before stepping in, you’ll choose from one of three games, like the crime/farm scene investigation, with six checkpoints hidden in each of the maze’s three sections. Your goal is to find all 18, but if you struggle, you can exit from one of the designated locations at any time. The farm also has a pumpkin patch, zombie paintball, gem mining, and other attractions.

Great Vermont Corn Maze - Danville, Vermont Great Vermont Corn Maze
Credit: Great Vermont Corn Maze by Great Vermont Corn Maze

Great Vermont Corn Maze - Danville, Vermont

The Great Vermont Corn Maze is said to be the largest of its kind in New England, spanning about 24 acres with three miles of trails and a variety of options that start with the easy 40-minute experience that comes with directions. Those who are up for a challenge can attempt to navigate the big maze. However, make sure to arrive early. You’ll want to allow yourself at least 3 hours to complete it – but don’t worry, there are a couple of places to sit down if you need to rest. They also have a 3,000-square-foot indoor blacklight maze, as well as over 100 feet of bridges and an underground tunnel that are a part of the maze.

McPeek's Mighty Maze - Coshocton, Ohio McPeek's Mighty Maze
Credit: McPeek's Mighty Maze by McPeek's Mighty Maze

McPeek's Mighty Maze - Coshocton, Ohio

McPeek’s Mighty Maze is family-friendly with a giant corn maze and a kids’ corn maze that sits on over seven acres of farmland. Everyone from tiny tots to adults will find something to enjoy here in addition to the maze, with wagon rides, barrel train rides, a duck race, and more. Plus, there’s a campground with tent sites, RV sites, and cabins available if you want to stay awhile – campers get free admission to the legendary labyrinth too.

Apple Picking

Thompson's Farm - Naches Thompson's Farm & Market
Credit: Thompson's Farm & Market by Thompson's Farm & Market

Thompson's Farm - Naches

Yakima Valley leads the entire country in apple growing, producing high-quality apples of every variety. Thompson’s Farm in the small town of Naches, about 15 miles northwest of Yakima, offers pick-your-own apples on weekends during the harvest or by appointment with box lunches available. A variety of local produce is available for sale, along with cider, jams, and gifts. There’s also an old-fashioned soda fountain, and wine enthusiasts can taste Yakima Valley Wines.

Alyson's Orchard - Walpole, New Hampshire Alyson's Orchard
Credit: Alyson's Orchard by Alyson's Orchard

Alyson's Orchard - Walpole, New Hampshire

Alyson’s is a 450-acre orchard nestled in the hills with tranquil views that stretch all the way to Vermont. It’s so picturesque that weddings and other events are hosted throughout the year, but fall is the favorite time for many to come as visitors can pick their own from more than 50 different varieties, including many heirloom apples. Family-friendly entertainment is available on the weekend, and at the farm stand, apple cider and apple pies are available for purchase. If you want to make an entire weekend or longer out of it, accommodation is available in the restored 19th-century farmhouse or a rustic lodge.

Honey Pot Hill Orchards - Stow, Massachusetts Honey Pot Hill Orchards
Credit: Honey Pot Hill Orchards by Honey Pot Hill Orchards

Honey Pot Hill Orchards - Stow, Massachusetts

About 30 miles northwest of Boston, Honey Pot Hill Orchards is a fourth-generation family farm that’s nearly a century old. While there are many different types of fruit grown here, the standout is apples, with 14 different types available to pick from late August through late December, including the classics like Red Delicious and Honeycrisp. There are other activities to enjoy too, including hedge mazes and hayrides, along with farm animals like pigs, goats, rabbits, cows, and ducks to feed.

Fall Foliage

Stowe, Vermont Stowe, Vermont
Credit: Stowe, Vermont by © Snehitdesign | Dreamstime.com

Stowe, Vermont

In a region renowned for some of the world’s most breathtaking fall colors, Stowe is a standout for leaf-peeping. This town looks like a postcard in every season with its covered bridges and soaring church steeples, but when the autumn leaves blanket its hills from around late September through most of October, it’s even more enchanting. If you’re here in early October, you can enjoy the Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival too. Held at Stoweflake Mountain Resort, it includes activities for the kids, live music, a chili cookout, and a trebuchet contest.

Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor, Maine Autumn sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, Maine
Credit: Autumn sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, Maine by © Mitgirl - Dreamstime.com

Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor, Maine

Acadia National Park is home to the highest point on the east coast, the granite peak of Cadillac Mountain. Between late September and mid-October, it will be blanketed with fiery red, golden yellow, and vibrant orange hues that can be viewed from the summit. A scenic drive or a hike up will also reward you with a view of the town of Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, and the Porcupine Islands. If you’re here around the first weekend of October, you can join in the fun at Acadia Oktoberfest too, which features artisan crafts, games, contests, wine and beer tasting, and all sorts of delicious food.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - Ontonagon, Michigan Porcupine Mountains, Michigan
Credit: Porcupine Mountains, Michigan by Bigstock.com

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - Ontonagon, Michigan

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula may not be the first you’d think of for leaf-peeping, but if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know its one of the best. The colors that spread across the state’s northernmost point are breathtaking, with a kaleidoscope of golds, oranges, and reds, that begin around mid-September and typically last through the first half of October. The trees form colorful tunnels over meandering two-lane roads that make for beautifully scenic drives but the very best place to visit may be Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park with 60,000 acres of hardwood forest. Combined with wild rivers, nearly 100 waterfalls, and a long stretch of Lake Superior coastline, it’s truly jaw-dropping.

Cider Tasting

Tumbling Creek Cider Company - Abingdon, Virginia Tumbling Creek Cider Company
Credit: Tumbling Creek Cider Company by Tumbling Creek Cider Company

Tumbling Creek Cider Company - Abingdon, Virginia

To try another fall favorite, you might want to head to Abingdon, Virginia where you’ll find Tumbling Creek Cider Company, known for its “Appalachian heritage-inspired hard cider.” Its award-winning ciders are made from southwest Virginia apples and are all pressed in-house and fermented on-site. In the taproom, visitors can enjoy classic ciders along with small-batch and experimental ciders. Regular events, including live music, are hosted too.

Maiden Rock Apples Winery & Cidery - Stockholm, Wisconsin Come on in for a tasting and tour
Credit: Come on in for a tasting and tour by maidenrockappleswinerycidery.com

Maiden Rock Apples Winery & Cidery - Stockholm, Wisconsin

Maiden Rock Apples Winery & Cidery sits on an 80-acre farm, producing ciders and wine from fresh, local fruit. A family-owned business, it offers a tasting room, and while it has limited hours much of the year, in the fall it’s open daily from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. There are fun fall activities to enjoy too, including hay rides, a corn maze, and a straw maze. Customized group tours are also available, typically including a walk through the orchard while learning about the cider- and wine-making process, concluding with a sample of various offerings.

St. Vrain Cidery - Longmont, Colorado St. Vrain Cidery
Credit: St. Vrain Cidery by St. Vrain Cidery

St. Vrain Cidery - Longmont, Colorado

Located in Longmont, about an hour’s drive north of Denver, St Vrain Cidery is a newer cidery, founded in 2016, but it already has numerous Great Lakes International Cider Competition medals under its belt. It hosts the largest cider taproom in Colorado, with 36 rotating cider flavors on tap, and serves cider from across the state. All sorts of entertainment is offered as well, including special craft nights, games, live music, and food trucks. Plus, it has a family-friendly environment with friendly dogs welcome.

Haunted Houses

Candle Lighters Ghost House - Fremont, California Candle Lighters Ghost House
Credit: Candle Lighters Ghost House by Candle Lighters Ghost House

Candle Lighters Ghost House - Fremont, California

What’s fall without a little spooky fun? The 1870s Chadbourne Carriage House in Williams Historical Park in Fremont has been transformed into the Candle Lighters Ghost House annually for Halloween for over a half-century. It’s the only building left on what once was a 143-acre ranch, developed in the 19th century. While everything around it has changed significantly, today, those looking for a scare will find plenty of ghosts, the undead, witches, and more upon entering. The theme changes every year but it never fails to provide a good time.

13th Gate - Baton Rouge, Louisiana The 13th Gate
Credit: The 13th Gate by The 13th Gate

13th Gate - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

13th Gate is often noted as one of the spookiest experiences in the U.S., going beyond scary as a heart-pounding, scared-out-of-your-wits kind of terror. From getting lost in dark, underground tunnels to standing on a rickety bridge where there are hundreds of live snakes below and crawling through a crematory oven, this one is not for the faint of heart. It’s set up by movie industry professionals and includes Hollywood actors that all come together to create a terrifying show.

Yuma Nightmares Haunted House - Yuma, Arizona Yuma Nightmares Haunted House
Credit: Yuma Nightmares Haunted House by Yuma Nightmares Haunted House

Yuma Nightmares Haunted House - Yuma, Arizona

Located near the border of Mexico and California, Yuma attracts lots of snowbirds who come to enjoy the sunshine, but it’s also popular for its rather frightening Halloween attraction. Every October, the Yuma Nightmares Haunted House opens, recommended only for those 12 and older as it’s your worst nightmares, come to life, often ranked among the scariest in the country.

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