Everyone loves summer, but by the time August rolls around there’s a pretty good chance you’re sick of the heat and ready to trade your beachwear for cooler temps, a cozy flannel shirt, and a hot glass of apple cider.
There’s something about autumn; it’s rich with crisp air, mouthwatering traditional foods, hot bonfires and falling leaves. The season’s only downside is that it’s over so quickly. Before you know it, winter will have you shivering under a blanket, missing autumn’s fresh temperatures and distinct flavors.
Fall goes fast. Get the most out of the season by putting these classic and creative activities on your autumnal bucket list.
1. Get scared with someone you love
Forget “Netflix and chill” — when fall rolls around and halloween draws near, “Netflix and thrill” is the way to go. Fall nights were practically made for curling up on the couch with your sweetheart, a warm blanket, and a movie that will absolutely terrify you both.
If a well-intentioned thrill isn’t your cup of tea, opt for a more lighthearted autumn classic like Silver Linings Playbook, Halloween Town, Garden State, or Hocus Pocus, any of which are guaranteed to put you in the fall spirit without scaring your socks off.
2. Beat the crowds at a state park
State and national parks are jam-packed through the summer months, but attendance tapers off when autumn sets in. Fall offers the chance to take in the beauty of nature with none of the scorching temperatures, pesky insects, or overwhelming crowds.
Plus, parks located in Colorado, New York, Maine, Alaska, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont have some of the best and brightest fall foliage scenes in the entire United States.
3. Snack on apples at a pick-your-own orchard
Fall is harvest season for apples, meaning there’s no better time to explore an orchard. Pick-your-own farms allow visitors the chance to select their own produce fresh off the tree (and snack a bit while doing so). Pumpkins, local honey, and other seasonal goodies are also generally available.
4. Bake a mouthwatering pie
Nothing says “fall flavour” quite like a pie cooling on the window sill. From traditional pumpkin to tangy apple, baking is a classic fall activity with an undeniably delicious outcome. Best of all, it will leave your home smelling sweetly of mouthwatering autumn flavours.
5. Get lost in a corn maze
During the autumn months, farmers often repurpose their harvested fields into corn mazes in order to draw in a little extra income and entertain the local community. In most situations getting lost is nothing but frustrating; when it comes to corn mazes, however, losing your way is somehow loads of fun.
6. Take in the fall foliage with a scenic road trip
Fall is famous for the way it turns any wooded area into a kaleidoscope of rich color. If you’re lucky enough to live in New Hampshire, Vermont, or any of the other “leaf-blessed” locations across the United States, there’s a pretty good chance you can take in some of autumn’s color from your backyard or bedroom window.
For the less fortunate, packing the family (or your significant other) into the car and taking off towards a rural area is the perfect way to unwind while taking in the beauty of fall’s dramatic foliage.
7. Create a masterpiece by carving a pumpkin
The idea of the Jack O’Lantern began in Ireland, where superstitious families would place embers inside carved turnips and potatoes in order to ward off evil spirits. When the Irish immigrated to the US, they quickly discovered that squash and large gourds were much easier to work with.
Since then, pumpkin carving has become one of the most iconic and unmissable autumn activities. It’s the perfect way to get creative (and a little messy) with someone you love. Afterwards, instead of dumping the seeds, season and roast them for a classic fall treat.
8. Cook dinner over a campfire
There’s something about gathering around a fire on a cool autumn day that relaxes the mind and invigorates the soul. If you’re looking for a seasonal twist on the classic family meal or dinner date, getting cozy by the campfire is the way to go.
While hotdogs are the classic go-to for campfire meals, try thinking outside the box for a more memorable twist. Beef shish kabobs, corn chowder, Irish soda bread, and veggie skillet dishes can all be easily (and deliciously) made over an open flame. When it comes to dessert, don’t forget the s’mores!
9. Go camping
Despite the favorable temperatures and gorgeous autumn colors, less people camp in fall than any other season of the year. This makes the autumn months the perfect time to gather friends or family for a weekend of bonfires and outdoor fun.
Fall’s cooler temperatures also mean there’s less bugs than the summer months, which makes the camping experience just that much easier.
10. Plant bulbs for spring
Spring is known for bright blooms and beautiful flowers, but fall is the best time for planting. Tulips, daffodils, bluebells, lilies, and other spring-sprouting bulbs do best when planted about six to eight weeks before hard frost.
Best of all, this fall activity gives you something bright and beautiful to look forward to during the upcoming winter months. Other plants that do well when planted in fall include cool-season vegetables, many types of trees, shrubs, and perennials.
11. Visit a sunflower farm
Fall is sunflower season, meaning that fields across the country come to life with breathtaking colors of orange and yellow. A visit to a local sunflower farm is the perfect opportunity to grab some stunning photos and marvel at the gorgeous, giant blooms.
12. Fly a kite
No matter your age, kites never quite lose their magic. In many parts of the US, fall’s brisk temperatures ushers in cold fronts that create cool, pleasant breezes. These winds are ideal for sailing a kite from an open field or local park. Add in a packed lunch and a thermos of hot cider and you’re in for the perfect picnic.
13. Attend a fall festival
Whether you’re in the heart of New York City or a quiet corner of North Dakota, there’s a pretty good chance that a local community near you celebrates autumn with a fall festival. These seasonal events vary from community to community, but generally feature pumpkin carving competitions, local crafts, music, apple bobbing, corn mazes, bounce houses, local ciders, traditional foods, and a whole slew of other fall favorites.
14. Let loose at a local football game
You don’t have to be a die-hard fan to enjoy a game and the full tailgating experience. Autumn is football season, which means it’s the perfect time to toss on a sweater, climb into the bleachers, and take in the atmosphere.
Whether you’re watching the NFL, a college game, or just the local highschool players, this classic fall activity provides the perfect excuse to let loose and cheer on your favorite team.
15. Sample seasonal products
Unless you’re living under a rock there’s a pretty good chance you’re familiar with the mass-scale craze created each year when Starbucks puts the pumpkin spice latte back on their seasonal menu.
From chestnut to baked apple, autumn is known for its distinct flavors and mouth-watering treats. Each year, companies roll out special fall-themed products. Whether you’re sampling the local brewery’s pumpkin beer selection or checking out the halloween-edition sweets at a nearby candy shop, trying out seasonal products is the perfect way to indulge this fall.