If you love cooler days, bonfires, and busting out the cozy sweaters, this is the list for you! We love the crisp and colorful days of autumn and want to help you plan some fun fall activities the whole family can do together. Whether you love leaf peeping, a good craft day, or want to bake all things pumpkin spice, we just know there’s something perfect for you and your crew to enjoy together. Let’s dive in!
Awesome Autumn Adventures
With the weather cooling off, it’s a great time to get outside and explore! Adventures From Scratch is a fun-filled family activity book that will keep you busy throughout the year, and autumn is no exception! Our experts have crafted over 50 fun outings the whole family will love. The book also functions as a journal, allowing you to easily document your adventures. It keeps all your memories together in one place, and we think you’re going to love it!
The Best Fall Activities for the Whole Family
1. Compete in a pumpkin carving contest.
There is nothing more quintessentially fall than carving jack-o-lanterns, but if your family is a little competitive, you can turn your gourd carving into a game! Start up a seasonal playlist, and let each family member carve their own pumpkin. Number each one, and then invite your neighbors, or friends and family, over to vote on the winner! Remember to save the guts for delicious roasted pumpkin seeds.
2. Make apple cider.
Mmmmm…. maple syrup, cinnamon, and cloves—nothing smells better than brewing homemade apple cider! Take a few minutes in the kitchen as a family, and make your own! It’s easy, and it will fill your house with the aromas of autumn.
3. Have a bonfire.
Load up on firewood, set up a few chairs, and grab some marshmallows. There’s nothing quite like the glow of the embers as you relax by the fire and tell ghost stories while stuffing your faces with s’mores. Invite family friends over and make it a party! The more, the merrier. This is what autumn is all about.
Note: Be sure you are not in a burn ban, and abide by all local fire-building ordinances.
4. Leap into piles of leaves!
Running and jumping in a freshly raked pile of leaves is one of childhood’s greatest joys! But, we’ll let you in on a little secret—it’s just as fun as an adult! It is a great way to spend a few hours and have some laughs. Plus, it doesn’t cost a dime.
5. Take a fall foliage tour.
Hop in the car, and plan a road trip to the nearest deciduous forest on a hunt for fall colors. Autumn is when changing leaves fill the forest with the most brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges. Many popular areas even have train rides to view the fall leaves. A quick Google search of your area should show you what is available, so jump on it quick! This dazzling time of year tends to not last very long, so don’t miss out.
Before you leave, be sure to check out our lists of road trip snacks, car games, and packing essentials!
6. Visit a pumpkin patch.
In the last decade or so, taking the kids to the pumpkin patch has become a favorite fall activity for many families. It’s not just walking through a garden of pumpkins. These farms get really creative and boast all kinds of family-friendly activities like petting zoos, bobbing for apples, costume contests, crafts, and even fall-themed food! Each one is a little bit different, so make a list of the ones near you and visit a different one each Saturday.
7. Hit up a farmers’ market.
Fall is the time for hearty fruits and vegetables. Farmers’ markets are stocked with freshly picked gourds, butternut squash, zucchinis, apples, and more. If you’re lucky, you might even find some sugary apple cider doughnuts!
Spend a day sampling tasty goods and perusing local crafts. You’re sure to find healthy foods, a few splurges, and unique artisan items. Plus, you get to feel good about supporting hard-working merchants in your area. Everybody wins!
8. Plan a hoedown!
Shimmy into those tight jeans and pull on your boots—it’s time for a boot-scootin’ boogie! A good old-fashioned hoedown is a fantastic way to spend a night with friends. Set up some speakers in your driveway, and throw down some sawdust. Create a country playlist, and see who has the best moves!
Pull out the camping chairs and coolers. Fire up the barbecue. Pop open a few beers. Play a game of cornhole and let the kiddos bob for apples. It will be a rootin’-tootin’ good time!
9. Enjoy a hayride.
Organized hayrides range from spooky treks through haunted woods to kid-friendly pulls through a corn field. Check out the offerings in your area!
If you have access to a tractor and trailer as well as some land, set up your very own hayride, and invite the neighbors. End your evening with some stargazing, and you have the makings of a perfect fall day your family will remember forever!
10. Pick some fall fruit.
If you are looking for something cheap and simple to do on an autumn weekend, go apple picking! Apple orchards are brimming with bright reds, pinks, and yellows in the fall. Just stock up for snacks, or collect fall recipes and try out some new tasty apple treats!
11. Craft your Halloween costumes.
Halloween might be scary for some, but there’s no denying that it’s one of the most interactive and exciting holidays for children! Every kid gets excited about who or what they want to be when they show up for school or head out for trick or treating. This year, why not get creative and make your costumes? You might not save a ton of money, but a fun fall activity like this can keep the kids entertained for weeks as they brainstorm, sketch, shop, and create their ensembles. You might be surprised to see what they come up with!
12. Get busy in the kitchen.
With the weather getting cooler and lots of rainy days, you may find yourself trapped inside with the munchkins. For a fun fall activity that you can do indoors, bust out the pots and pans and teach the kiddos how to make your favorite fall recipe. Pumpkin spice lattes, apple pie, homemade hot chocolate, pecan or pumpkin pie, and the list goes on. Cooking with kids is a mess, and it can be stressful, but if you go into knowing that there is going to be chaos, and that’s okay, you will find that you all have a blast creating in the kitchen together. Plus, you get to eat your creations, so that’s a plus!
13. Get lost in a corn maze.
Corn mazes (or “maize mazes,” if you prefer!) are fun for the whole family. Some businesses that offer them also have fall activities and games on offer, so see what’s available nearby. You might be able to make a day of it!
Mazes appeal to older children, as working their way out of a difficult situation is a challenge that should hold their attention. Get everyone involved, or have a contest to see who can escape first. The winner gets to pick the pumpkin this year!
14. Brave a haunted house.
When was the last time you took a tour of a haunted house? In small towns, there are often family-friendly houses set up by local groups. Be sure to call ahead and ask questions, particularly if you have any young or jumpy family members.
If learning about the true history of neighborhood hauntings is your thing, Let’s Roam offers spooky sightseeing tours. These app-led walking excursions will help you learn about local legends while you wander through parts of town known for their paranormal occurrences.
15. Host an autumn ugly sweater party.
Ugly sweaters aren’t just for Christmas—you can throw an ugly sweater party any time of year! Stock up on fabric glue, orange glitter, and acorns, and invite all your best buds. Stir up some apple cider in the crockpot. Put on a Hocus Pocus, and get crafting!
To make the activity even harder, and uglier, challenge participants to glam up their garments using only fall decor they can find around the house or the yard.
16. Splurge on a football game.
Fall for many revolves around the gridiron. If your family is obsessed with fall’s favorite past-time, splurge on NFL tickets in a city near you. If you live close to a university, plan to tailgate at one of the home games. If none of this is in your budget, just head to the nearest high school on Friday night and take in the electric atmosphere of hometown football!
17. Go on a scavenger hunt in your city.
Scavenger hunts are a fun activity well suited for the cool temperatures of fall. Let’s Roam offers hundreds of amazing scavenger hunt tours in cities all over the globe. These hunts combine expertly-curated itineraries with silly photo challenges and tough trivia. They are a blast for the whole family, and all you need to do is download our interactive adventure app, purchase tickets, and start exploring!
18. Get wild at Oktoberfest.
The original Oktoberfest was definitely not a child-friendly event, but over the years, several festivals in the U.S. have added kid-friendly activities to their celebrations. You might find fun fall activities like parades, caramel apple and candy-making stations, costume contests, and autumn-themed craft stands. There are often talent shows, professional entertainers, and more. So grab a craft beer and enjoy the festivities!
19. Visit a botanical garden.
During the autumn season, botanical gardens do a turnover to display all their fall flowers. Botanical gardens are generally cheap to visit, and the scenery changes all year round, so you always have something new to see. They often have terrariums or butterfly exhibits that kids will love, and they are a great place for fall family portraits.
20. Spruce up your home with seasonal decor.
Sit down together and decide on a color scheme and how you want it to look. Check Pinterest for ideas, hit up Hobby Lobby, and get busy decorating! String some lights, embellish with leaves, and let the kiddos put out the pumpkins, hay bales, and cornstalks. Then, heat up some cider, sit back, and take it all in.
21. Create a new family watchlist on Netflix.
There is a list of movies that are fall must-watches. Sit down together with your crew and find all the best spooky movies on Amazon Prime or Netflix, and make plans to watch them together. These movies usually only come out for a short period in the fall, so you have to watch while you can. Plus, the weather is notoriously unpredictable this time of year, so it’s good to have some Friday night indoor activities in your pocket. Make some hot cocoa, pop some popcorn, or roast some pumpkin seeds, and enjoy a trip down memory lane with The Addams Family, James and the Giant Peach, Hocus Pocus, or Beetlejuice.
22. Take on a fall carnival.
Circuses and carnivals are fun for the whole family. They take you back to your childhood in an instant… the smells, the tastes, the rides. It’s nostalgia to the max!
Most areas still have a traditional county fair. It may be full of wild rides, carnival games, and concerts, or it may be much smaller and local. Either way, you’re sure to find activities that you only enjoy in the fall, so you should definitely take advantage!
23. Help a neighbor.
Autumn brings lots of falling leaves. While they are beautiful and fun to play in, they do eventually have to be cleaned up. For the elderly or disabled, this task often goes undone, to their distress. If you have strapping teenagers or helpful littles, send them over with a few rakes and yard bags. Your elderly neighbors will greatly appreciate the help and the beautiful clean yard!
24. Book a camping getaway.
Fall is the perfect time for camping. The morning and evening air is crisp and cool, so you can sleep on that air mattress and not wake up in a puddle of sweat. It’s the perfect time of year for stories around the campfire, and hopefully, there are fewer mosquitos too!
25. Host Friendsgiving!
For some of you, holidays with your family are a cause for dread, not celebration. Brighten up the holiday season by including a get-together with friends. After all, best friends are just the family that you get to choose, or so they say. Have everyone bring over their favorite Thanksgiving recipe, or throw tradition out the window and have a taco night! Plan a few fall-themed games, or set up a projector in the backyard for movie night. Whatever you decide to do, you won’t be subjected to any creepy uncles or gross fruit cake.
26. Create DIY fall candles.
Fall candles are expensive, but they are also some of the most pleasant smells of the year. Instead of stocking up on Bath and Body Works this year, gather the troops and spend an afternoon making candles. There are hundreds of simple tutorials online and on Youtube to help you with the process, and all the supplies are easily available at your local craft store.
27. Collect autumn decor.
Decorating for the holiday season can get expensive too. However, fall is one of the easiest times of year to decorate with freebies! If you live in a safe area, send the kiddos out on a neighborhood bike ride looking for pine cones, mushrooms, or acorns. Have them gather red berries, stalks of brown grass, and fallen leaves. Even a gnarly fallen limb and a few sticks can add that perfect spooky element to your flower arrangement or door wreath. Explore the attic and the garage looking for baskets and containers. Go through the stuffed animal collection for anything that could be considered a Halloween decoration.
28. Make a leaf book.
If you are a homeschool family or are just looking for fun things to do inside in the fall. Consider pasting collected leaves into an album, or pull out that old grade school trick where you lay a leaf under a piece of printer paper and shade over it with a crayon to make an impression. Whatever way you decide to decorate or preserve your leaves, include a little description of each type of leaf. It’s educational and fun!
29. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
Fall and its holidays are hard for the homeless and low-income families. Cold weather makes it harder to find season work, and all the warm outdoor places to spend a night disappear as the weather gets worse. Luckily, many organizations ramp up their serving opportunities during this time of the year to try and help. Take a Saturday and volunteer at a local soup kitchen handing out warm meals. A friendly smile and a warm meal may seem like small gestures, but they can make a very big difference to someone in need.
30. Create a thankfulness calendar.
The month of November is all about thankfulness. There are tons of printable calendars online. Find one that you like and print it off as your thankfulness calendar. Have each family member fill in a few days with something that they are thankful for. When you sit down for dinner, breakfast, or before bedtime, take a few seconds to talk about the day’s item and why you are thankful for it. Gratitude is one of the fastest ways to change the atmosphere of a home. If your crew could use a little attitude adjustment, this is a great autumn activity to refocus!
31. Make a birdhouse.
Another DIY project that is perfect for the fall is making a bird feeder or birdhouse. SunCatcher Studio has an easy-to-follow tutorial for crafting a birdhouse out of one 1 x 6 board. It doesn’t cost much, and it is a good opportunity to introduce some tool knowledge and craftsmanship to the littles.
32. Learn to knit.
If woodworking isn’t really up your alley, learn to knit instead! Grab a cheap knitting kit from Amazon or your local craft store, and either take an organized class or teach yourself from a Youtube tutorial. Not only will you learn a new skill, but you might even get good enough to save a few bucks on Christmas gifts. Spend the rest of the season sitting on the porch, knitting hats and scarves for the whole clan!
33. Host a face-painting party.
There is nothing cuter than an excited little girl with freshly-painted butterfly cheeks. Face painting is super easy to do, and it’s a fun activity for small children. If you really want to get them involved, let them paint each other’s faces, just remember to invest in a few smocks, or cut holes in some trash bags for clothing covers.
34. Get a little puzzled.
Hot chocolate (and Irish Coffee for mom and dad), a table by the fire, and a giant fall-themed puzzle… sounds like a good Sunday afternoon to us! Gather your crew around the dining table (might as well use it for something), and spend an afternoon putting together a puzzle. It gives you tons of time to talk about life and make holiday plans while keeping your hands and brains busy too!
35. Compete in ultimate frisbee!
Ultimate frisbee is a blast, especially if you have older kids. In the last decade, many public parks and community centers have installed courses, and it is easy and cheap to play. You can purchase a couple of disks at any sporting goods store. There are printable score cards online, and most community courses are free to play. It’s a great way to kill a few hours in the perfect fall weather!
36. Create a backyard obstacle course.
Got a few hay bales laying around? How about some firewood, hula hoops, or pool noodles? Get creative, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Whatever you have laying around that you can jump over, climb through, or shimmy under will work just fine. Set it up in the backyard and grab a stopwatch. Let the fun ensue!
37. Visit Your Nearest National Park
America is dotted with some of the most majestic landscapes in the world! Grab an America the Beautiful Pass and hit the road. Fill your fall weekends with glorious rivers, hikes through the mountains, and camping. The pass covers your whole family for a year of unlimited park fun!
38. Attend a fall festival.
Fall festivals tend to be local affairs and focus on culture. They may include folk dancing, local produce and baked goods, and live music from local bands. They often feature artists, from the area, selling their wares as well. Some churches and organizations also put on fall festivals in lieu of trick or treating.
39. Pack a picnic!
Cooler days call for outdoor dining! Pack up a cute basket with finger foods and your favorite warm beverage and pick a place in your local park for a dining al fresco. Take a few board games with you and just enjoy the awesome weather!
40. Visit a drive-in movie theater.
For our last entry, we’ve got another nostalgic idea—a night at the drive-in! There’s just something endearing about a double feature at a drive-in theater. Plus, you can bring snacks without having to sneak them in (in a jumbo purse). This time of year, there might even be a vampire movie or two!
Get to planning!
We hope at least one of these 40 fall activities has sparked your interest! Remember, crafts and adventures don’t need to take days of planning. They don’t have to cost a fortune, and they don’t need to be perfectly executed. Be creative. Use what you have. Be spontaneous. The important part is that you are spending quality time with your family, doing something together, instead of sitting in the same room staring at different screens!
The first activity is the hardest one. Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated! But, once you and your family get a taste of what’s out there, you will become addicted to your little adventures. So, start today! Begin with one of the smaller crafts, and don’t give up if it isn’t for you. It often takes a little trial and error to figure out which activities your family will love and which ones are “one and done.” There is no shame in a failed adventure!
Let us know what activities you are planning this fall. Drop them in the comments. We would love to hear all your brilliant ideas!
While you’re here, check out “The Secret to Getting Kids to Play Outside” for a little advice on getting your little ones out in the crisp fall air. Don’t let them stay cooped up inside this autumn. Make the most of the season by spending time outdoors!
Frequently Asked Questions
Autumn is the perfect time to get outside and explore. Popular fall activities for families include camping, corn mazes, and testing skills on carnival games.
Children enjoy fall activities like hayrides, scavenger hunts, or making crafts from colorful fall leaves. You can also make the most of the crisp, cool air with outdoor suggestions from a family scratch-off activity book!
Favorite fall activities include leaf-peeping road trips, Oktoberfest, farmers’ markets, and visiting a pumpkin patch.