It’s the time of year when the temperature starts dropping, pumpkin-flavored everything appears and the leaves put on quite the color-change show. It’s time to wear sweatshirts of your favorite team, enjoy a seasonal beer while watching football or cringe in fear at a haunted house.
Here are 10 excursions and activities to enjoy all that fall has to offer no matter what your age.
Cider Mill & Apple Orchard
What’s more autumn than a cup of cider and a cinnamon sugar doughnut? Or two? Besides partaking in this tradition, local cider mills usually have an accompanying apple orchard on the same grounds where you can pick your own apples. Some of the larger farms feature a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayrides, pony rides and more. One of my favorite places to go to is one and a half hours from my house, but it’s worth it because we make a day of it thanks to all of the activities they have on site, including a winery!
Fall Foliage Train Ride
If you want to take in landscape and foliage that changes with elevation, book an excursion on some of America’s best cog railways that carry passengers through national forests to mountain summits. From New Hampshire to Alaska and many states in between, there are train tours that typically last about three hours. In California, you can take the Napa Valley Wine Train to experience onboard meals, vineyard views and wine tasting. In Massachusetts, the Cape Cod Central Railroad travels past sand dunes, salt marshes, cranberry bogs and more!
Fall Foliage Cruise
A relaxing way to see nature’s transformation, views of wildlife or trusty lighthouses is via a cruise. From New England to the Pacific Northwest, you can choose from ships, schooners, cruise lines and riverboats for sights you just can’t get any other way. Some tours offer meal service, stops at harbor towns and even multiple night adventures. In New York, the Hudson River Foliage Cruise passes through Poughkeepsie, West Point and a Halloween favorite, Sleepy Hollow.
Ranch life can be inspiring any time of the year, but there’s something extra special about riding a horse on trails that pass quiet streams, mountain foothills or snowcapped peaks when the air is crisp. Explore a canyon in Utah or ride through bluegrass at a family farm in Kentucky. You don’t have to live in Wyoming or Texas to have access to horse trails either. There are a few stables just outside Detroit’s city limits, so if I can find a horse close to home, you can too!
If you’re looking for a less adventurous and more hands-on option, take a fall cooking class! If you live near a Sur La Table store you can create your own class or book existing sessions like “Fantastic Fall Tarts” or “Essential Skills for Fall Cooking”. Williams-Sonoma stores offer free technique classes like “Autumn Baking” or “Savory Cooking with Pumpkin”. Another option is to invite friends over to cook and bake fall favorites together and either have a feast inside or grab some blankets and have a picnic among the fall leaves.
National craft stores like Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics offer classes for adults and children for the fall season. Whether it’s adding embellishments to costumes, pumpkin carving techniques or fall scrapbooking, there are usually times available in the evenings and on weekends. Or you can make your own craft night at home with natural items like leaves, acorns, pumpkin seeds and more. Need inspiration? Check Pinterest for fun ideas like creating maple leaf mason jars, crafting spider webs out of coffee filters or sewing pumpkins out of old sweaters.
Art & Craft Fairs
No matter where you live, you can find art and craft fairs at community centers or gathering spaces around town that are usually hosted by schools, local organizations or church groups. You can find handmade items from local artisans or if you’re crafty, you could have your own booth! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah items are usually available at fall shows, so you can be ready for all upcoming holidays. Most fairs offer low- or no-cost entrance fees, which is an added bonus!
Obviously this isn’t just something to do in the fall, but it’s a good time to volunteer if you haven’t had much time to do so with summer activities or travel. Fall is the time nonprofits gear up for the holidays and winter season, which requires many helping hands to ensure those in need are taken care of. From helping out at food pantries to collecting coats or donating warm clothing, you can help individually or with friends, family or coworkers.
Camp & Stargaze
Telling stories over a roaring fire, roasting s’mores and stargazing are just a few of the things you’ll enjoy on a crisp night at a campground. Enjoy hiking during the day, try your hand at fishing in a stream or simply soak in the natural environment with a mug of hot chocolate. There are plenty of national, state and local campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada. The nice thing is, in the fall, many campgrounds drop their rates because peak season is over. Oh, and did I mention less bugs?
Haunted House or Ghost Tour
Not for the faint of heart, haunted houses are more for those up for a good scare. Haunted houses have taken their scare game up over the last few years with some places even asking you to sign a waiver before entering because they’re just that terrifying. Depending on location, you might also visit places that claim to be haunted via ghost tours. Walking tours, cemetery tours and more are offered in cities like Salem and New Orleans. If you visit Savannah, you can take a tour in a hearse for extra drama!
There are many reasons to enjoy fall with family and friends and these are just a few ideas. What do you plan on doing this season? Let us know in the comments below!
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