- Fall is arguably the best season to spend some time outside and watch the leaves change colour.
- Every state offers different activities perfect for fall fun, ranging from pumpkin festivals and leaf-peeping to stays in haunted hotels.
- We checked which activities are still happening – with added precautions in light of the coronavirus – this year.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Summer might be almost over, but fall brings fewer crowds, sweater weather, and colourful leaves.
While the coronavirus pandemic may have caused some autumn events to be postponed or cancelled, many are still happening with added precautions.
ALABAMA: Find your way out of a haunted corn maze at Magnolia Farms in Summerdale.
Alabama isn’t short on fall corn mazes, but the one at Magnolia Farms in Summerdale takes the cake. Starting October 12, the Magnolia Corn Maze will be reopening for the fall season.
ALASKA: Gaze at the Northern Lights at a resort in Fairbanks.
The view of the Northern Lights – aka the aurora borealis – is near perfect in Fairbanks, Alaska, especially between mid-September and late April.
ARIZONA: Take a tour of the beautiful Antelope Canyon and hike Horseshoe Bend in Page.
When people think of Arizona, they tend to think of the Grand Canyon. But the stunning Antelope Canyon in Page is just as gorgeous, and off-season begins in October, so you’ll avoid the worst of the crowds and that notorious Arizona summer heat.
Take a tour, led by a Navajo guide, and hike the scenic Horseshoe Bend, too.
ARKANSAS: Take in the scenery at Mount Magazine State Park.
Home to the state’s highest mountain, Mount Magazine State Park is part of the picturesque Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. The park features 18 campsites, 13 fully-equipped cabins, and socially distanced activities like rock climbing, hang-gliding, and horseback riding, making it a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast.
CALIFORNIA: Take a ride through Napa Valley on the “wine train.”
No need to worry about a designated driver – the Napa Valley Wine Train runs throughout the countryside, and is even more gorgeous in the fall. Starting October 1, the train will resume offering stops at vineyards and three-course meals on board.
COLORADO: Book a room at the haunted Stanley Hotel for a night.
While Colorado is home to many haunted spots, one of the most popular is the 100-year-old Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Famed for inspiring Stephen King to write “The Shining” during his stay, the more than 100-year-old hotel is no stranger to paranormal activity. Laughter is often reportedly heard in the hallways and visitors’ bags are mysteriously unpacked.
The hotel offers a night tour, where visitors can learn more about the establishment’s history and maybe experience a ghost sighting or two – while wearing a mask, of course.
CONNECTICUT: Check out Mystic Pizza, the inspiration behind the classic Julia Roberts film, in Mystic.
There’s nothing better than a warm slice of pizza on a cool fall day.
And how can you pass through Connecticut without checking out Mystic Pizza, the site of the classic 1989 film? Yes, it’s a real pizza place, and yes, it’s actually good. And the film takes place in the fall, so you’ll feel like you’re really in it.
DELAWARE: Cruise the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway and take in the lush views.
Stretching just over 12 miles, the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway route is one of the most popular in the state – and it’s especially beautiful in autumn.
You can make stops along the way at the countless wineries (it’s also harvest season!), mills, and historic sites. Or just take in the colourful meadows, mansions, and leaves.
FLORIDA: Get out of this world at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.
It first opened its doors in 1968, and since then, the NASA Kennedy Space Centre has been eager to share its astronautical progress with the world. Stop by while you’re in Florida this fall – you could even see a live rocket launch into space.
GEORGIA: Smell the flowers — the water lilies, to be exact — at the Monet Waterlily Festival in Ball Ground.
The Monet Waterlily Festival takes place annually from September through October at Gibbs Gardens.
Over 140 varieties of water lilies can be seen throughout the grounds. You’ll feel like it’s autumn in Paris walking over the Monet Bridge.
HAWAII: Unwind at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on O’ahu.
Hawaii is an evergreen vacation option, especially if you’re looking to get away from the dropping fall temperature. Check out the Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve, located on the southeast coast of O’ahu, and unwind by the bright blue water – granted you pass Hawaii’s quarantine requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic.
IDAHO: Visit a furry friend at the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch in Coeur d’Alene.
Located in North Idaho, the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch is a rural safe-haven for alpacas and creature-lovers alike. Make an appointment for a tour and interact with some of the beautiful animals on the ranch this fall, including llamas, horses, cattle, and goats.
ILLINOIS: Go pumpkin picking at Bengtson Farm.
Bengtson’s is a family-owned farm that has served the Homer Glen area for over 40 years. Pick a pumpkin and take part in the farm’s annual Pumpkin Fest featuring delicious doughnuts, barbecue, and more starting September 18 through November 1.
INDIANA: Make the Indianapolis Zoo’s “ZooBoo” your next haunt.
Every year, the Indianapolis Zoo transforms into a “whimsical village” of pumpkins, animals, and a haybale maze. There’s even a “Spooktacular Train Ride,” which, according to their website, is a fall favourite.
IOWA: Bike through the High Trestle Trail Bridge in Ankeny.
Replete with amazing, geometrical architecture, the High Trest Trail Bridge in Ankeny, Iowa, is the perfect activity for strollers or bikers on a sunny fall day.
KANSAS: Hike the haunted forest of Bonner Springs at Exiled: Trail of Terrors.
The Exiled: Trail of Terrors haunted attraction claims it’s “not for the faint of heart.” This haunted hike brings visitors through the dark forest of Bonner Springs, Kansas, at night – and you never know who or what is going to jump out of the brush.
KENTUCKY: Live like a royal for a day at Conrad’s Castle in Louisville.
The Conrad-Caldwell House Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, offers visitors a glimpse into the Victorian era. Ogle at the Richardsonian Romanesque revival architecture, and learn about what life was like during this simpler time in history. It’s the perfect, opulent indoor activity, in case it gets a little too chilly outside. Masks and reservations are required.
LOUISIANA: The NOLA Horror Film Fest will be held virtually this year.
You can’t go wrong celebrating Halloween in New Orleans, but this year things are looking a little different. The annual NOLA Horror Film Fest is selling virtual passes for people to enjoy their lineup of scream-worthy flicks September 25 through September 27.
MAINE: Enjoy the rugged beauty of Mount Desert Island.
Sweeping cliffs and coastal views make Mount Desert Island the perfect place to hike, bike, or just sit and ponder. TripAdvisor says it’s especially beautiful in the fall, so be sure to make a stop if you’re thinking about a trip to Maine.
MARYLAND: Have a glass of whiskey at the Sagamore Spirit Distillery in Baltimore.
Take a tour of the Sagamore Spirit Distillery in Baltimore and taste their eight-time award-winning drinks for yourself. And if you get cold, that glass of whiskey will definitely warm you up.
MASSACHUSETTS: Plan a perfect fall day at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Cider Hill Farm may not be offering its famous hayrides this year, but there are a ton of other festive fall activities the whole family will enjoy, from a hot cider and doughnut bar to feeding chickens, visiting the farm store, and picking your own apples.
MICHIGAN: Sip on some cider at Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills.
Yates Cider Mill has been offering up all-natural cider from its mills since 1863. Book a tour to taste test cider made with six varieties of apples or snack on some scrumptious apple cider doughnuts.
MINNESOTA: Get up close and personal with bald eagles at the National Eagle Centre in Wabasha.
The National Eagle Centre is located on the Mississippi River in Minnesota – while there, visitors get to see rescued bald (and golden) eagles and even interact with them. It’s the perfect fall activity for any bird-lover.
MISSISSIPPI: Expand your mind at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs.
Found in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, this museum showcases the artwork of Walter Inglis Anderson, one of the most lauded American painters of the 20th century. Study his gorgeous depictions of animals, plants, and the Gulf Coast, and take in the fall scenery that inspired his work.
MISSOURI: Grab a bite at the Missouri Food Truck Fest.
From vegan options to barbecue, tacos, ice cream, and more, the MO Food Truck Fest has something for everyone. Held at Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield, Missouri, the festival is happening on Saturday, September 19, and offers free admission and parking.
MONTANA: Take in the overwhelming beauty of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone.
With the summer crowds gone, fall is the perfect time to visit Yellowstone – you can truly admire the paintbrush-like trees that line the “last free-flowing river in the lower 48 states.”
NEBRASKA: Go for a stroll through the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln.
When people think of Nebraska, they tend to think of harsh winters. But if you visit the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln before the snow starts to fall, you’ll hit the perfect sweet spot between seasons. Bring along a book and sit for hours.
NEVADA: Take a tour of Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert.
Go for a drive or book one of the many tours offered by the Southern Nevada Conservancy in Nevada’s scenic Mojave Desert.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Taking a scenic drive is the perfect way to enjoy New Hampshire’s famous fall foliage.
Taking a drive through New Hampshire’s Great North Woods is the perfect way to spend a fall day and catch some gorgeous foliage. The famous Moose Path Trail starts in Gorham and travels north on Route 16 towards Errol, New Hampshire. Route 26 will take you over the Dixville Notch mountain pass, allowing you to take in beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves.
NEW JERSEY: Walk among hundreds of statues at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton Township.
Grounds For Sculpture is the perfect two-in-one activity should you find yourself in Jersey this season – walk among 4 acres of amazing sculptures all while enjoying the fall foliage around you.
NEW MEXICO: Visit the Balzano Family Vineyard in Carlsbad, New Mexico, for a romantic dinner for two.
This fall, enjoy a romantic night out at the Balzano Family Farm, Vineyard, and Pumpkin Patch. While some of the farm’s usual fall activities are pending approval by the state, the farm is offering steak dinner date nights, lasagna nights for the whole family, a Saturday farmers market, and Sunday family day on the farm complete with yard games, pizza, and wine.
NEW YORK: Watch the leaves turn in Central Park.
Leaf peepers across the world come to Central Park every fall and take in the beautiful foliage, and this year should be no different.
NORTH CAROLINA: Mine for dazzling gemstones at the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine in Hendersonville.
This fun and interactive mining experience is indoor/outdoor, so no need to worry about fall rain while you’re digging for gold.Rubys, sapphires, and emeralds are found regularly, and you can even get pet the mine’s family of goats.
NORTH DAKOTA: Drive down the Enchanted Highway.
Is it really enchanted? Decide for yourself as you view 32 miles of expansive fall highway featuring the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures.
OHIO: Walk through the corn maze at Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland.
The maze has been made doubly wide this year to comply with social distancing, and mask-wearing is enforced.
OKLAHOMA: Explore Bricktown, a lively, hip neighbourhood in Oklahoma City.
With an industrial-chic aesthetic, Bricktown – a hip neighbourhood in Oklahoma City – is known for its lively entertainment scene, repurposed warehouse restaurants and wineries, and an eclectic mix of specialty shops. It’s a great way to spend a day in Oklahoma City.
OREGON: Hit the North Coast Craft Beer Trail in Portland.
Portland is a beer-lovers paradise, known as “Beervana.” Home to over 60 breweries – more than any other city in the world – visitors should check out the North Coast Craft Beer Trail, which is 30 miles long and includes some of the area’s best breweries, like Rogue Ales and the Astoria Brewing Co.
PENNSYLVANIA: Peddler’s Village puts on a number of fall-themed events.
Scarecrow Season in Peddler’s Village kicks off in September, but the scarecrows it produces will be on display through the end of October.
Peddler’s Village is also offering murder mystery walking tours, an outdoor movie night, scarecrow-making workshops, pumpkin painting, outdoor comedy shows, and more.
RHODE ISLAND: Stop by the Vanderbilt’s “cottage” in Newport.
They’re the closest America has gotten to royalty – and the Vanderbilts built one of their many lavish homes in Newport, Rhode Island. This one is called the Marble House, and it boasts breathtaking interiors and grounds alike. Adjusted for inflation, it cost around $US300 million to build.
The best part? The 50-room Marble House was their summer cottage.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Walk down the pier at Hilton Head Island.
If piers aren’t your thing, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is also known for its bike trails – on which you can ride, relax, and enjoy the calm surroundings.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Visit the Crazy Horse Memorial in the heart of the Black Hills.
At 6,532 feet, the Crazy Horse Memorial is one of South Dakota’s highest peaks. Take a photo of the iconic carving and learn about Native American culture and traditions.
TENNESSEE: Take a ghost tour through Nashville’s haunted taverns and downtown area.
The newly reopened Nashville Ghost Tours allow visitors to take a tour through Nashville’s most paranormal historical sites and taverns with a guide dressed in historical garb. Hear the stories of famous murders, Civil War soldiers, and all things that go bump in the night.
TEXAS: Catch the last bit of warm weather at the River Walk in San Antonio.
It’s impossible to go to San Antonio and not check out the fabulous River Walk. Whether it’s sipping wine or shopping for a pair of cowboy boots, you’ll want to soak up the last bit of good weather as fast as you can.
UTAH: Get inspired at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park houses Inspiration Point, a dizzying rock formation that will take your breath away.
VERMONT: Bring your favourite pup to Dog Mountain in Saint Johnsbury.
Dog Mountain in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, is essentially a giant outdoor gallery that happens to be dog-themed. Visitors are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to the 150-acre park that boasts dog sculptures, a Dog Chapel, and tons of trails for you and your furry friend.
VIRGINIA: Enjoy some fresh seafood at the annual Fall Oyster Crawl held by Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail.
The oyster-filled event on November 14 and 15 features food and beverages from eight different wineries. From oysters on the half shell to fried oysters, crab cakes, chowder, oyster stew, and a selection of wines to complement the seafood, oyster and wine-lovers won’t be disappointed.
WASHINGTON: Get lost in the colours of Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle.
Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass pays tribute to glass master and artist Dale Chihuly. Get the best of both worlds this fall and stroll through indoor galleries and outdoor garden spaces to see glass art unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
WEST VIRGINIA: Take a paranormal tour at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
Located in Historic Weston, West Virginia, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (also known as the Weston State Hospital) served as an institution for the mentally ill in the mid-1800s.
Take a tour of the 160-year-old historic landmark and learn about its fascinating and haunting history.
WISCONSIN: Take a hayride or pick out a free pumpkin at Mulberry Lane Farm’s pumpkin harvest celebration.
Kids and parents can take part in Mulberry Lane Farm’s pumpkin harvest celebration from mid-September to October 31. Activities include petting farm animals, hayrides, and pumpkin picking.
Guests can also grab a bite at the farm’s food trailer – offerings include everything from caramel apples, mini doughnuts, and hot apple cider to hot dogs and chilli.
WYOMING: Check out the stunning Grand Teton National Park.
Any outdoorsy type’s dream, the Grand Teton National Park boasts rustic views and stunning mountains so you can breathe in that crisp fall air.
- Read more:
- Regional fall foods in the US that everyone should try in their lifetime
- 17 of the best places in the US to visit in the fall
- The best vacation rentals for fall foliage in the US
- The best hotels for enjoying the fall foliage in the Northeast
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