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Autumn Activity Destinations For The Whole Family

As summer turns to fall and the smell of apple cider and pumpkin pie begins to fill the air, farms and seasonal destinations near and far are opening up shop once again! Apples are ready for picking, mazes are set up to explore and patches are abundant with pumpkins to take home for carving. While this year has been far from ordinary, there are plenty of unexpected fall destinations that have plenty of fun to offer you and your family. From Bradenton, Florida, to Watsonville, California, we’re taking you on a country-wide virtual journey to locations bringing autumn excitement to their corners of the county!

Pumpkin Patches

Wilkerson Farm – Orem, Utah

The Fall Fair at Wilkerson Farm in Orem, is a fun destination for the whole family, and its pumpkin patch steals the show! Entrance into the pumpkin patch is free of charge and the patch offers a wide variety of pumpkin sizes and colors, while the fair offers a large selection of local vendors who come out to join the fun and share their delicious food and treats The Fall Fair also boasts an impressive roster of attractions, including a ‘Little Barnyard’ petting zoo area, a scenic tractor hayride, ‘Wilkerson’s Windmill’ swing ride, and a four-acre corn maze. Wilkerson Farm is an organic and sustainable farm that specializes in growing root crops like carrots and potatoes. The farm also supports other area farms and hosts a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to provide the community with fresh produce. Any extra food is donated to Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry to keep those in need in the area fed.

Hunsader Farms – Bradenton, Florida

South of Tampa,  you’ll find Bradenton–otherwise known as The Friendly City. And you won’t find anything friendlier than Hunsader Farms’ Pumpkin Festival! Now in its 29th year, the Pumpkin Festival runs select dates Oct. 10-12. Admission is $10 a person, and children 10 and under are free. In addition to a huge pumpkin patch, Hunsader Farms’ Pumpkin Festival also offers a craft show, and live shows like musical performances, a motorcycle stunt routine, and a circus. There are hayrides, scarecrow displays, a petting zoo, and other activities included with admission. Other options include a corn maze ($2 a person), train ride ($3 a person), and a ton of fall goodies to enjoy like farm roasted sweet corn, pumpkin pie, and homemade ice cream. Apart from the Pumpkin Festival, Hunsader Farms has a market where it sells its homegrown vegetables, homemade jams, jellies, and honey. The farm even offers visitors the chance to harvest vegetables during what it calls its ‘u-pick season.’

Wise Acres – Indian Trail, North Carolina

Apart from its clever name, Wise Acres, just outside of Charlotte, also offers a fun time for the whole family! This family-owned farm is certified organic and grows strawberries and pumpkins. Wise Acres is a u-pick farm, which means that during the fall season visitors can pick their very own organic pumpkins. Other activities include a wagon ride through the woods, a farm animal meet and greet, and a barrel train for kids 12-and-under. And, if you find yourself hungry after searching for the perfect pumpkin, no need to worry–Wise Acres has its Wise Pie Pizza Kitchen which offers delicious, locally sourced wood-fired pizza during the fall season. The farm is open now through Nov. 1, though guests must make a reservation before their visit. The cost of admission varies depending on whether you visit Thursdays when pizza is not offered ($7 for adults and $6 for children) or Friday through Sunday when pizza is included ($25 for two pizzas, $8 for adults and $7 for children).

Parkhurst Ranch – Arcadia, Oklahoma

Parkhurst Ranch’s Pumpkin Ranch is the talk of the town in Arcadia, and has a pumpkin patch where guests can choose a free pumpkin included with admission ($9 a person). That’s just the start of the fun – Parkhurst also offers a hayride, games, a hay maze, and a petting zoo–all included, and fire pits where visitors can cook s’mores and hotdogs! And for those feeling extra adventurous, the farm also has pony rides for $6. The ranch is open for the fall season now through Oct. 31 and then opens again on Nov. 12 through Dec. 31 for its winter wonderland season.

Apple Orchards & Cider Farms

Weber’s Cider Mill Farm – Parkville, Maryland

Located just outside of Baltimore, Weber’s Cider Mill Farm is a local favorite for all things apples and more! According to its About Us page, Weber’s was established in 1908 and is the “oldest cider mill in continuous use in Maryland.” The farm’s Fall Harvest Days bring people of all ages out to the farm now through Nov. 8, and this year Consensus attended the event during its opening weekend. Tickets range from $8 – $11 and must be purchased by reservation. Admission covers the cost of fun activities including a scenic (and faster-than-expected) Hillside Slide, a mini-tractor ride (for the little ones), a large maze and mini-maze, and a farm animal petting zoo with bunnies, farm birds, and goats that you can feed. On weekends, there are food trucks, live music, and a balloon creation station.

A highlight of our visit was food-tasting. Weber’s is well-known for its homemade apple cider, apple cider slushies, and apple cider doughnuts – everything was delicious. The slushies were sweet and refreshing, and the freshly-made, melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts were coated in cinnamon-sugar.  Weber’s also runs its Farm Market in the fall where visitors can purchase locally grown produce, including apples, pumpkins, gourds, freshly-baked goods, honey, jellies, and of course, a jug of Weber’s famous cider. Weber’s grows much of the produce sold in its farm market, including some of its apples, at its nearby Peachberry Farm. While it depends on crop availability, Peachberry Farm visitors can pick apples September through early November.

Wills Family Orchard – Adel, Iowa

The Apple & Pumpkin Fest at Wills Family Orchard in Adel, takes place on weekends now through Oct. 25, and it’s not to be missed! While apple picking depends on crop availability, visitors can pick apples  in the four-acre orchard. For $25, guests are given a 10-pound bag to harvest all of the apples they can! All of the trees with apples that are ready for picking are marked with brightly colored indicator tape. The farm also has a five-acre pumpkin patch where visitors can bring a wagon and clippers out to the patch to collect as many pumpkins as they choose and transport them back for weighing at the entrance. The fall festival also offers hayrides, games, a hay bale maze, and a barnyard animal greeting area. The Wills family says on its About the Farm page that it is mindful of the impact that its farming practices have on the earth which is why its “orchards, squash, pie pumpkins, and strawberries are Certified Organic.”

Blue Jay Orchard – Hiram, Ohio

This fall season, Blue Jay Orchard in Hiram, is once again welcoming folks back to the farm to pick its variety of organically-grown apples! Depending on the time of the season, visitors will find all kinds of apples for picking, ranging from HoneyCrisp and McIntosh to Red Delicious and Granny Smith. The orchard also makes its apple cider on-site and sells honey made from on-property bee hives that are managed by local bee farmer Chickabuzz. “Holistic fruit, faithfully farmed,” is how Blue Jay Orchard describes its operations. According to the farm’s About page, the farm began in the late 1940s when its original owner began planting 40 apple trees per acre. After a few years, the farm’s owner found a flourishing orchard that resulted in the decision to start a pick-your-own program–the first in Ohio. Decades later, the farm’s new owners, Joe and Sandee Orlowski, have shifted toward a holistic model, now using organic-approved products.

Clearview Organic Orchards – Watsonville, California

In addition to offering picture-perfect views of the valley of Watsonville, Clearview Organic Orchards also provides guests the chance to pick apples from Sept. 5 through Nov. 1. Clearview’s selection of organic apples includes Fuji, Gala, HoneyCrisp, and Mutsu. Also grown on the orchard’s 7.5 acres of land are organic pumpkins and squash. Those who would rather shop than pick can visit the Apple Barn where they can find delicious products like local honey, homemade apple turnovers, and organic apple popsicles! The orchard’s About Us page says that all of its trees are dwarf trees–planted “with children in mind,” so no need to worry about the little ones not being able to reach.

Corn Mazes

Barton Hill FarmsBastrop, Texas

On select dates between Oct. 3 and Nov. 15, Barton Hill Farms situated outside of Austin will be welcoming back visitors to its annual Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch. Everything’s bigger in Texas, and Barton Hill Farms’ corn maze is no exception. The 3.5-acre corn maze’s design changes each year, and this year the farm chose to do a Scooby-Doo-themed maze, and it doesn’t disappoint! In addition to its awesome corn maze, Barton Hill also offers many other attractions for kids and adults alike. These include a bee train ride, live music, a Texas pasture farm animal experience, games, and a beer and cider garden. Admission is $16.95 on Fridays and $19.95 on weekends and covers more than 20 activities, including the corn maze and pumpkin patch. Visitors will also find seven food and drink locations serving up funnel cakes, pulled pork sandwiches, pizza, and apple cider.

Lucky Ladd Farms – Eagleville, Tennessee

The award-winning Corn Maze and other fun fall activities at Lucky Ladd Farms in Eagleville, just outside of Nashville, are open now until Nov. 1. The farm changes the design of its maze every year. But Lucky Ladd Farms’ corn maze is just one of many activities that attract guests. Other fun things to do include a petting zoo that is the largest of its kind in the state, a pumpkin patch with “thousands of pumpkins in different shapes sizes and colors,” and exploring Cedar Glade Trails. These trails are “home to a unique habitat found only in middle Tennessee called the Cedar Glades” which “occur in areas where limestone bedrock is present at or near the surface, with shallow soil and harsh condition,” and provide a habitat to around a dozen rare plant species. General admission prices are $13.99 online/15.99 at the gate for weekdays and an additional $2 for the weekends. Lucky Ladd Farms also grows a wide range of produce and uses sustainable farming practices. From around mid-summer through fall, the farm hosts a ‘Pick Your Own Strawberry Patch.” It’s “the only of its kind in Tennessee that is open to the public”–a “new vertical hydroponic growing system [which] showcases modern agriculture practices at its best. The system uses solar energy and a special drip irrigation system to feed over 15,000 strawberry plants,” the farm says.

(Photo by Erin Pennington)     (Photo by @callme_jz on instagram)

Shryocks Callaway FarmsColumbia, Missouri

The Corn Maze at Shryocks Callaway Farms in Columbia, home of the University of Missouri and Stephens College, is a show-stopper each fall–and it’s as popular as it is massive. This 16-acre corn maze has a design that changes each year, and the farm’s website features a page devoted to all of the maze’s impressive past iterations. Last year’s maze featured an outline of the contiguous U.S.! Other fun activities at the farm include a jumping pillow bouncing attraction, various outdoor activities, and pumpkins available for purchase. Shyrocks’ maze and other attractions are open Friday through Sunday, now through Nov. 1. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for children 5-12, and free for those four and under.

Roca Berry FarmRoca, Nebraska

Now through Oct. 31, Roca Berry Farm in Roca will be celebrating its 40th anniversary as it brings excitement to families with all kinds of outdoor adventure. The farm’s huge corn maze means a fun time for everyone! Other fun activities include an 80-foot slide, a life-sized Candy Land game, and pony rides for an additional charge. The farm offers three ticket types. Weekday admission for $8.50, weekend daytime admission for $13, and Scary Farm admission (Friday, Saturday, and the last three Sundays in October) for $23.50. According to the farm’s History page, Roca Berry Farm began as a small pumpkin and berry farm in 1980 and has since evolved into “a local tourist attraction and must-see entertainment destination for families throughout southeast Nebraska.”

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