Fall is my favorite time of the year. The weather cools to a comfortable temperature, nature’s color changes are exquisite, the foods are delicious, and it signals the holidays are coming. I want to share the love. So I’ve compiled a list of some great fall activities to add to your fall bucket list.
Fall Activities to Get Into Nature
Nature is one of my favorite parts of the autumn season. I’m from Washington state, where you can see the ocean and mountains an hour apart. The leaves changing colors is glorious, and there’s a crispness in the air before the Seattle rain hits for the next nine months. Here are some of the best fall activities to get you into nature.
1. Go on a Hike
Perhaps the simplest way to delve in is with your own two feet. Going for a walk in the autumn air with a colorful, changing background is a fantastic way to spark the fall mood. You can do this in your neighborhood or seek hiking trails around your home.
2. Go for a Bike Ride
A bike ride is an excellent alternative to walking through the scenery. Search for biking trails close by, grab some water and a snack, and hit the trails. This activity is fun solo or with a companion.
3. Go for a Drive
Taking a drive is another incredible way to explore the scenic joys associated with fall. Of course, if you ride as a passenger, it can be a bonus. One of my favorite drives is along the North Cascades Highway in Washington when autumn hits. There are areas where the trees canopy the road and others where you’re parallel with the Stillaguamish River. It’s stunning.
4. Take a Scenic Train Ride
Have you ever taken a scenic train ride? I remember taking one as a teenager in Whittier, Alaska; it was magical. The experience of being on the train was exciting, and the scenery was bliss.
5. Go on a Horseback Ride
Do you enjoy horseback riding? Nothing beats a nice trot through wooded areas and trails atop these majestic creatures when the season changes. Hearing the crunch of the leaves and twigs beneath your horse’s feet while enjoying the sounds of nature surrounding you is a beautiful experience and one of my favorite fall activities.
6. Read a Book Outdoors
Ideally, everyone would own a porch swing (or a porch to hang it from, for that matter). Nonetheless, throw on your favorite sweater, or grab your favorite wrap, a book, and a hot beverage. Enjoy the nature around you while getting lost in a good story.
7. Visit a Waterfall
Have you ever Googled to seek out the waterfalls closest to you? You may be surprised to find some you didn’t know existed, and they are worth the visit. There’s something serene about allowing the falls mist to dampen your face while the sounds calm your inner peace.
If you can find one without many people around, it’s even better. Waterfalls are a wonderful place to center yourself. Snoqualmie Falls in Snoqualmie, Washington, is one of my favorites.
8. Visit a Park
Alternatively, you can visit a park to explore the nature and scenic views. America has the best national parks globally, and admission fees are reasonable (free for military, volunteers, and people with disabilities).
From sea to shining sea, the terrains change, but the breathtaking beauty remains. Additionally, the state and local parks are opportunities to take in the fall foliage. Bring your camera for a family photo shoot.
9. Go Apple Picking
Washington state is home to the apple orchard, so there’s no shortage of apple-picking opportunities. However, apple picking is an activity to enjoy around fall time in apple orchards across the states. This family activity is a fun way to get your kids outdoors and away from screens.
Plus, the reward after picking apples is sweet! Enjoy a fresh apple, or make delicious treats, including apple butter, apple cider donuts, caramel apples, and fresh apple pie.
10. Backyard Campout
Having a backyard campout with family or friends can be an entertaining event. There are several opportunities for fun, including enjoying a clear sky filled with stars and making a backyard bonfire for roasting S’mores. Don’t start a random fire; this is for people with a fire pit who can safely contain the flames.
Additionally, pitch a tent for a whole camping experience. After seeing a cool one on the Grand Coulee Dam, my dad added a “laser light show” to our backyard campouts. However, his “laser show” involved a single flashlight and hand shadow puppets mimicking the salmon swimming upstream portion of the Dam’s laser program. Make the experience fun for the kids.
11. Go on a Hayride
October brings out hayrides; I’ve heard they are a blast. But unfortunately, my allergies do not allow me to participate in the fun of this autumn activity. Nonetheless, if sitting on hay bales while strolling on a hay wagon sounds like fall fun, a quick Google search for hayrides near you will provide ample opportunity for this autumn adventure.
Spooky Fall Activities
Speaking of October, who’s ready for the spooky part of the season? Avid Halloween fans look forward to this time of year for many reasons, including the costumes, the candy, and the frights!
12. Scary Movie Marathon
Scary movie marathon nights are one of the spookiest fall activities for bone-chilling nights. So gather your family or friends, and host a marathon of your favorite fright night stories. Or binge a horror franchise such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, or my favorite series, Scream. Some people grab the popcorn, but I tend to reach for the Halloween candy bowl (minus the candy corn).
13. Walk-Through a Haunted House
Are you daring enough to brave a haunted house? I’m not. True story; when I was a tween, my friend and I convinced her mother to take us to a haunted house. The line was long, and as we inched closer to the entrance, we became increasingly frightened. Hearing the screaming and watching the people coming out at the other end put a lump in my throat.
Nonetheless, we put on our brave faces and entered a blinding dark hallway. We had to feel our way through the pitch-black darkness—all the while hearing people’s blood-curdling screams.
After turning the first corner, a giant man with a chainsaw in full brum-brum-brrrrrum ran toward us, screaming. We started crying immediately, clinging to each other, frozen by fear.
Ultimately, he put the chainsaw down and helped us escape the maze from the way we came. So that’s as far as I’ve ever been inside a haunted house! However, countless people visit them every year for a frighteningly good time. Are you one of them?
14. Go on a Ghost Tour
Did you know that if you Google “ghost tours near me,” you’ll likely find a spooktacular adventure? So if seeking spine-tingling experiences to raise the hairs on the back of your neck is your thing, this might be the autumn activity for you.
15. Tell Ghost Stories Around the Fire
Sharing ghost tales around the campfire is a fun fall activity with a captive audience and flashlight. Do you like to tell stories? I do. In elementary school, lunch recess was my favorite time of the day.
It was a 30-minute break, and after scarfing down our lunches, a small group of peers would sit on the stairs and listen to me tell stories. Ironically, they were scary tales about Bloody Mary that fascinated my audience.
Of course, around a campfire, roasting marshmallows is the preferred setting versus the cold concrete stairs. Don’t forget the hot cocoa.
Holiday Fall Activities
Fall ushers in the best time of year for holiday activities and fun. It’s an excellent time for establishing family traditions that build on a lifetime of good memories.
16. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Visiting a pumpkin patch is an especially fun fall tradition for families with little ones. While no two pick-your-own farms are the same, the ones I’ve ventured to usually have activities like corn mazes and serve drinks like hot apple cider. The joy of walking through the patch and picking your own pumpkins versus grabbing them from the grocery store is known by many to be fun.
17. Carve a Pumpkin
Do you enjoy carving or painting pumpkins? When I was a kid, it involved a kitchen butcher knife and jagged teeth, smiling faces with triangles for eyes. However, pumpkin carving has evolved into an art form. You can buy stencils to perfect anything, including witches, cats, vampires, and celebrity faces.
Carving tools have progressed, and people have gotten creative with things, including electric drills. Also, if you don’t already know, one of the best parts of carving up a jack-o-lantern is scooping and roasting the pumpkin seeds.
18. Venture Through a Corn Maze
Do you enjoy a good challenge? Then you may be interested in making your way through a maize maze. Thousands of people like to get lost in corn mazes yearly, searching for their way out. It’s a good bonding experience that helps families overcome challenges and celebrate wins as they make their way through the cornfield.
19. Visit a Fall Festival
Some folks enjoy touring wineries and breweries and celebrating Oktoberfest this time of year. However, I’m a sober gal. Visiting a harvest festival is an entertaining alternative that involves autumn activities and delicious seasonal treats without the booze.
So it’s fall fun for the whole family. Some typical fall events include bobbing for apples, making scarecrows, cakewalks, pony rides, hay rides, a straw bale maze, a scavenger hunt, and a harvest carnival.
Often there is a petting zoo where people can observe and pet farm animals. The petting farm is my favorite place to take in all the goats. You may also see pie-baking contests, face painting, and craft booths where kids can make fall crafts.
20. Host an Autumn Movie Night
Do you have a favorite fall movie? I adore Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic every year. Enjoy an evening to yourself with classics such as When Harry Met Sally, or throw on The Goonies with the kids. Pair this fall activity with caramel popcorn balls and candy apples.
21. Host a Halloween Party
Trick-or-treat? Host a Halloween party, and have a costume contest. One of the quickest ways to get into the holiday spirit is to dress up with friends. Halloween parties should involve snacks, Halloween candy, and good music. It’s not Halloween until you’re dancing to Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash.”
22. Host a Friendsgiving
Hosting a Friendsgiving is a newer tradition that many friendship circles embrace around the more traditional Thanksgiving or, for indigenous people, the National Day of Mourning.
As you may have guessed, this day involves gathering your beloved friends for fellowship and a delicious feast. In addition, some circles enjoy playing a flag or touch football game in the fall foliage. I wonder how many Friends groups have their own “The Geller Cup?”
Delicious Fall Activities
The delectable fall dishes and desserts are one of the best parts of the autumn season. Add winter squashes and Brussels sprouts to your meals for a change in flavor. In addition, dishes such as butternut squash soup and stuffed sweet potatoes are tasty additions to the dinner table.
23. Explore the Deliciousness of Pumpkin
Fall is the season of everything, pumpkin, and I am here for it. In my best Bubba Gump impression, you can “barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it.”
Then, you can make various foods, like Pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin smoothies, ziti with pumpkin sauce, pumpkin hummus, and pumpkin chili.
24. Make a Pot of Chili
Speaking of chili, the autumn season is the ideal time to make a pot, or crockpot, full of savory chili. Pumpkin chili can be stewed with ground turkey or beef. Alternatively, meatless pumpkin chili is delicious. However, fall chili recipes without pumpkin are plentiful too.
25. Enjoy Fall’s Hot Beverages
I’m no Sheldon Cooper, but who doesn’t enjoy a hot beverage? Apple cider, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice lattes, and chai tea are some fall favorites.
26. Bake Autumn Desserts
Baking fall treats is another way to embrace the season. Of course, baking cookies is a favorite pastime. However, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, apple fritters, and pumpkin cheesecake are on my fall bucket list in the kitchen.
27. Visit a Farmers’ Market
Visit a farmer’s market for fresh fruits, vegetables, and gourds. Pumpkins, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, kale, swiss chard, and ginger are a handful of the best finds.
Creative Fall Activities
Finally, here are some creative fall activities to help ignite your autumn mood and fully enjoy the season.
28. Decorate Your Home With Fall Decorations
Drape your home in fall colors and add autumn decor to your home. Some fall decorations include cornucopias, gourds, wreaths, pumpkins, autumn-themed tablecloths, runners, candles, twinkle lights, throw pillows, and blankets.
29. Burn Fall Scented Candles
Burning fall-scented candles is one of my favorite fall activities. With the exception of Christmas Cookie candles, the autumn holiday scents are the best—for example, pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and vanilla pumpkin marshmallow are candles I will keep lit all day.
30. Rake Fall Leave Piles
Raking up beautiful maple leaves was a massive part of the fall in my childhood. However, since then, I’ve read that raking and removing the leaves from your yard isn’t suitable for animal habitats.
According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), “Critters ranging from turtles and toads to birds, mammals, and invertebrates rely on leaf litter for food, shelter, and nesting material. Also, many moth and butterfly caterpillars overwinter in fallen leaves before emerging in spring.”
Nevertheless, raking up colorful piles of leaves for kids to dive into or for a colorful autumn background for photo ops seems viable. Maybe just leave the leaves. Additionally, pups love jumping into them.
31. Start a Gratitude Journal
Lastly, starting a gratitude journal is the bullet point I want to really highlight on this list. Expressing gratitude with daily entries is a life-changing experience that helps embrace a positive mindset and keep you accountable for giving thanks. It shouldn’t only be practiced one month out of the year.
Alternatively, you can write a gratitude list. I hope you enjoyed this list of fall activities. Do you have something to add for more autumn fun?
This article was produced and syndicated by Sober Healing.
Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.