Fall for Fall With These Fun Outdoor Activities

Local farms offer family-friendly fall fun. Take a trip to enjoy winding corn mazes, lazy hayrides, pumpkin patches, apple picking and petting zoos.

Mother and daughter sit on pumpkins at a pumpkin farm

by NEA Member Benefits

Did you know that petting a baby goat can lower your blood pressure? Are you aware that even the most serious adults break down into fits of giggles as they try to beat the twists and turns in a corn maze? Have your kids been begging to go on a hayride?

If so, plan an outing to a farm near you when the air gets crisp and the trees display their jewel-hued leaves.

This autumn, introduce your family to some wholesome entertainment in countrysides across the nation. Our selection of “agritainment” activities—such as apple picking and pumpkin chucking—promises fun for all ages.

After enjoying an outdoor activity or two, end the day sipping hot cider or indulging in a freshly made doughnut or slice of apple pie. 

Find farm-focused activities near you — or plan an extended getaway — that will help you make the most of the outdoors before Old Man Winter arrives.

Go apple-picking

Nothing screams “fall” like apple picking, and you can do it on farms across the United States.

At Riley’s Apple Farm in Oak Glen, California, the youngsters can pick apples and then make a few corn husk dolls.

Stir a giant copper kettle of apple butter during the Apple Butter Festival, which is usually held over Columbus Day weekend in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

If you’re a true apple gourmand, stop at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, to bite into fresh-picked heirloom apple varietals and handmade apple pie. Make sure to ask for a taste of apple cider; many farms press their own.

Beat the corn maze

Think you have what it takes to make your way out of a corn maze, Field of Dreams-style? Sorry, but you can’t use your GPS! Sign up for the challenge at a farm near you.

Check out Kroll’s Farm in Waukegan, Illinois, where human GPS routers will help you if you get disoriented or need to take a break. Many farms host kiddie versions so the little ones don’t get overwhelmed and cranky.

Among its many attractions, Swore Farms in Pocatello, Idaho, offers night walks through the corn maze—a fun activity especially under starry skies.

Some farms, such as Conner’s A-Maize-ing Acres in Hilliard, Florida, offer school field trips and birthday party packages. 

Visit a pumpkin patch

Fall is the perfect time to gourd-ge yourself on all things pumpkin. The Great Jack ‘O Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley and Long Island, both within easy driving distance of New York City, easily squashes the competition with a stunning display of more than 7,000 carved pumpkins to create a fall wonderland. Visitors can watch a Pumpkin Carousel twirl and a Pumpkin Windmill whirl, as well as view a Statue of Liberty replica made completely from the round orange fruit. 

Feel like carving one of your own for the cause? Spring Haven Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, hosts pumpkin-carving events with their friendly resident goats. Participants are encouraged to feed the extra pumpkin parts to the goats for a no-waste jack-o-lantern.

Go on a hayride

Hayrides are just plain fun. You sit atop bundles of golden hay in the back of a truck or horse-drawn carriage for a lazy ride around a farm on a brisk fall day. 

Craven Farm in Snohomish, Washington, offers hayrides through its 20-acre pumpkin patch and even inside the farm’s secret corn maze. The farm also has a pint-sized corn maze for kids and a 15-acre version for those who really want a challenge.

Weston Red Barn Farm in Weston, Missouri, offers scenic tours of its farm, including the pumpkin patch, on a tractor-drawn hayride. You can also eat delicious barbecue at the concession stand every October weekend.

Say hello to the animals

Many farms host small petting zoos to delight kids of all ages. Moo-ove from the sheep and goats to maybe watch cows getting milked.

Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland offers a petting zoo, a cow train, pony rides, fresh produce market and wagon rides to its pumpkin patch. Stroll through the Enchanted Forest featuring figures from your favorite childhood nursery rhymes and fairy tales. 

At Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville, North Carolina, you can check out the petting zoo, feed animals for a small fee, take a ride on a mini train and even pan for gemstones. Maybe you’ll strike it rich!

Work a pumpkin chucker or corn cannon

Had enough of corn this year? Chuck a couple through a corn cannon at Yahoo Farm in Jasper, Georgia. While you’re there, roast some marshmallows for s’mores and even take part in a pumpkin hunt led by a pumpkin bunny every Sunday.  

A special Pumpkin Chucker at Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm in Homer Glen, Illinois, will rocket pumpkins through the air for a fun, messy view.

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