The best thing to do in every state this fall

Cox Farms/FacebookThe Cox Farms Fall Festival in Centreville, Virginia.

Summer might be over, but fall brings fewer crowds, sweater weather, and colourful leaves.

From amazing hikes to spooky Halloween events and one-of-a-kind activities, here’s the best thing do in every state in the fall.

ALABAMA: Find your way out of a haunted corn maze at Magnolia Farms in Summerdale.

Magnolia Corn Maze/FacebookMagnolia Corn Maze.

Alabama isn’t short on fall corn mazes – but the one at Magnolia Farms in Summerdale takes the cake.

Magnolia turns it up a notch with hayrides and zombies, and they even equip visitors with a paintball gun to fend for themselves as they find their way out of the eight-acre labyrinth.

ALASKA: Gaze at the Northern Lights at a resort in Fairbanks.

Maddy M/ShutterstockThe Northern Lights (aurora borealis) in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The view of the Northern Lights – aka aurora borealis – is near perfect in Fairbanks, Alaska, especially between mid-September and late April. And even if you don’t catch a glimpse of the stunning light show, there are hot mineral springs and a year-round ice sculpture museum nearby.

ARIZONA: Take a tour of the beautiful Antelope Canyon and hike Horseshoe Bend in Page.

Shutterstock/Yongyut KumsriAntelope Canyon in Page, Arizona.

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 an that notorious Arizona summer heat.

Take a tour, led by a Navajo guide, and hike the scenic Horseshoe Bend, too.

ARKANSAS: Camp out and listen to bluegrass music at Hillberry: The Harvest Moon Festival in Eureka Springs.

Located in the woods of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the annual Harvest Moon Festival lasts for four days and features a large lineup of bluegrass/folk musicians. The best part? A gorgeous fall backdrop.

CALIFORNIA: Take a ride through Napa Valley on the “wine train.”

Drew Jacksich/FlickrThe Napa Valley 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. It offers stops at vineyards, three-course meals, and a visit to the Grgich Hills Estate.

COLORADO: Scream your head off at the Telluride Horror Show Film Festival in Telluride.

Telluride Horror Show/FacebookTelluride Horror Show Film Festival.

Colorado’s longest-running horror film festival returns for its 9th season this year – and it’s spookier than ever.

Between October 12 and 14, check out the latest and best genre films from around the world as you walk among horror fans from all over the country. Telluride also gives you a leg up, as many of these films premiere at the festival.

CONNECTICUT: Check out Mystic Pizza, the inspiration behind the classic Julia Roberts film, in Mystic.

James Lee/FlickrMystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut.

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.

Facebook/ Brandywine Creek State ParkBrandywine Valley National Scenic Byway.

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 and leaves.

FLORIDA: Get out of this world at the NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

Linda Moon/ShutterstockNASA Kennedy Space Center.

It first opened its doors in 1968, and since then, the NASA Kennedy Space Center 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.

Monet Waterlily Festival/FacebookThe Monet Bridge at Gibbs Gardens.

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 – especially since Gibbs Gardens provides French cuisine, wine, and live music to top off the experience.

HAWAII: Unwind at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oʻahu.

Lorcel/ShutterstockHanauma Bay, Hawaii.

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 southeast coast of O’ahu, and unwind by the bright blue water.

IDAHO: Visit a furry friend at the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch in Coeur d’Alene.

Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch/FacebookSeven Stars Alpaca Ranch.

Located in North Idaho, the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch is a rural safe-haven for alpacas and creature-lovers alike. Take a tour and interact with some of the beautiful animals on the ranch this fall – including llamas, horses, cattle, and goats.

ILLINOIS: Witness a potential world record being made at The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival in Highwood.

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival/FacebookThe Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival.

This year, The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival in Highwood, Illinois, is looking to make a Guinness World Record for the most pumpkins carved (30) and lit (851) at once.

See if they can do it while carving a pumpkin of your own in this quaint, charming town.

INDIANA: Make the Indianapolis Zoo’s “ZooBoo” your next haunt.

Facebook/Indianapolis ZooBasilica of the Sacred Heart.

Every year, the Indianapolis Zoo transforms into a “whimsical village” of pumpkins, animals, and corn mazes. There’s even “pumpkin bowling” – which, according to their website, is a fall favourite.

IOWA: Bike through the High Trestle Trail Ankeny.

Phil Roeder/FlickrHigh Trestle Trail Bridge.

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: Have a peek at some Jack-o-lanterns at GLOW: The Magic of Nature festival in Kansas City.

GLOW Jack-o-Lantern Festival/FacebookGLOW: The Magic of Nature festival.

Located in Kansas City’s botanical gardens, the GLOW festival goes from October 19 to 20. The coolest attraction is their conservatory – which, around Halloween time, becomes home to hundreds of intricately carved “jumbo” Jack-o-lanterns. If that isn’t enough, there’s music, cocktails, food trucks, and a mile-long Jack-o-latern-lined path to explore.

KENTUCKY: Live like a royal for a day at Conrad’s Castle in Louisville.

Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia CommonsConrad-Caldwell House Museum — aka ‘Conrad’s Castle.’

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.

LOUISIANA: Check out the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans.

Facebook/Voodoo Music + Arts ExperienceThe Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.

You can’t go wrong celebrating Halloween in New Orleans, which is the Voodoo capital of America, but the Voodoo Festival, on October 26 to 28, is an experience all its own. The city’s largest park transforms into a spooky carnival, filled with art installations, vendors, a faux graveyard, carnival rides, and iconic musical acts.

This year’s festival boasts Childish Gambino, Mumford and Sons, and the Arctic Monkeys, to name a few.

MAINE: Enjoy the rugged beauty of Mount Desert Island.

DougLemke/iStockMount 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.

Sagamore Spirit/FacebookSagamore Spirit whiskey.

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: Take a fall foliage sightseeing tour by way of Boston.

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesMassachusetts in the fall.

This tour is simple: cruise the gorgeous Massachusetts countryside by bus, making stops along the way to appreciate the lush foliage and forestry New England is so famous for. It’s perfect if you’re short on time but still hungry for a taste of autumn.

MICHIGAN: See a record amount of pumpkins get lit at the Stonewall Pumpkin Festival in Rochester Hills.

This year’s Pumpkin Festival will take place on October 13. The day’s activities include pumpkin bowling, Jack-o-Lantern carving, and an outdoor exhibit of scarecrows.

Every available pumpkin will be lit during the Lighting Ceremony (the record is currently at 1,011 pumpkins), which is so beautiful that it inspired a children’s book entitled “Night of 1,000 Pumpkins.”

MINNESOTA: Get up close and personal with bald eagles at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

The National Eagle Center 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.

Facebook/Walter Anderson Museum‘Horn Island’ by Walter Anderson, 1960.

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: Get cooking at Apple Butter Makin’ Days in Mt. Vernon.

Apple Butter Makin’ Days (Official)/FacebookApple Butter Makin’ Days festival.

Boasting over 400 booths of foods and crafts, the Apple Butter Makin’ Days festival drew over 90,000 people to Mt. Vernon last year. Check it out this fall, and devour some apple butter while you’re at it.

MONTANA: Take in the overwhelming beauty of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone.

flickr/Loren KernsYellowstone River.

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 freeflowing river in the lower 48 states.”

NEBRASKA: Have a swim — or a stroll — through the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln.

Babymestizo/Wikimedia CommonsSunken Gardens in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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: Send your lantern into the night sky at RiSE Festival in the Mojave Desert.

The stunning RiSE Mojave Festival returns this year on October 5 and 6. During the day, you can pass the time listening to live music and eating good food, but once night falls, it’s time to let the lanterns fly.

With over 1,000 people setting their lanterns free in unison, it makes for a stunning experience.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: If you’re eager, head to Santa’s Village in Jefferson.

Wikimedia CommonsSanta’s Village welcome sign.

Some people get the Christmas bug early. So even though it’s only fall, there are a dedicated few who have already started their holiday countdown. Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, is the place for them – right down to the Santa-themed rides and activities.

NEW JERSEY: Walk among hundreds of statues at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton Township.

Facebook/Grounds For SculptureGrounds For Sculpture.

Grounds For Sculpture is the perfect two-in-one activity should you find yourself in Jersey this season – walk among four acres of amazing sculptures all while enjoying the fall foliage around you.

NEW MEXICO: Drink beer at Red River Oktoberfest at Brandenberg Park.

Facebook/Historic DeadwoodRed River Oktoberfest.

This fall, enjoy Red River’s annual Oktoberfest – featuring countless microbreweries, food vendors, authentic German music and dancing, and a beard and mustache contest. You could even be crowned Mr. and Miss Oktoberfest.

NEW YORK: Strut your stuff at New York’s Village Halloween Parade — one of the biggest Halloween parades in the world.

Dan Goodman/Business InsiderWest Village Halloween Parade.

This year, the iconic West Village Halloween Parade celebrates its 45th year – so don your best costume (you’ll be among stiff competition) as you strut down 6th Avenue on October 31.

The parade claims to be the world’s largest Halloween parade with over 50,000 participants and millions of spectators.

NORTH CAROLINA: Mine for dazzling gem stones at the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine in Hendersonville.

Elijah Mountain Gem Mine/FacebookElijah Mountain Gem Mine.

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 your finds strung into custom jewellery on-site.

NORTH DAKOTA: Drive down the Enchanted Highway.

Larry Porges/ShutterstockEnchanted 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: Check out Ghoulardifest in Cleveland.

Ghoulardi was a fictional character created by radio host Ernie Anderson. He became iconic in the ’60s, hosting multiple TV shows that included “Shock Theatre” and “Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy.”

The festival takes place every year in honour of Ghoulardi, with appearances by local TV legends, live entertainment, games, and prizes.

If you’re feeling nostalgic this year, Ghoulardifest will be held from October 12 to 14.

OKLAHOMA: Explore Bricktown — a lively, hip neighbourhood in Oklahoma City.

Hussam Al-Mashhadani/ShutterstockBricktown.

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.

ShutterstockBar and tap handles at Basecamp Brewing Company, a popular craft brewery in Portland, Oregon.

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: Check out a festival dedicated to scarecrows in Peddler’s Village.

Peddler’s Village/FacebookTwo scarecrows on display this year at Peddler’s Village.

The Scarecrow Festival in Peddler’s Village happened earlier this month – but the thousands of scarecrows it produced will be on display through the end of October.

Take a stroll throughout the village and pick out your favourite one – you can cast a vote and select a straw-made winner.

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 to 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.

iStock/Sean PavoneHilton 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: Enjoy the Wild West version of Oktoberfest in Deadwood.

Deadwood websiteThe Weiner Dog Race at Deadwood’s Oktoberfest.

Deadwood puts a unique, Wild West spin on their Oktoberfest with quirky events such as weiner dog races and beer barrel games, to name a few.

TENNESSEE: Listen in at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough.

International Storytelling Center/FacebookA crowd of people gather at the International Storytelling Festival to listen to a ghost story.

Authors from around the country (and world) gather at the International Storytelling Festival (October 5 to 7) to read stories – even ghost stories.

TEXAS: Catch the last bit of warm weather at the River Walk in San Antonio.

CrackerClips / iStockThe River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.

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.

ShutterstockInspiration 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.

Patrick/FlickrDog Mountain in Vermont.

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: Have some good, old fashioned fall fun at the Cox Farms Fall Festival in Centreville.

Cox Farms/FacebookCox Farms Fall Festival.

Complete with giant slides, hayrides, pumpkin patches, and even a tractor museum, the Cox Farms Fall Festival is a safe haven for fall addicts – and the largest fall festival in the D.C. area. It runs all the way through November 6.

WASHINGTON: Get lost in the colours of Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle.

ShutterstockChihuly Garden and Glass.

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: Shop ’til you drop at the Oglebayfest in Wheeling.

Wikimedia CommonsThe Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum.

Oglebayfest is an arts festival that features artisans and crafters from all over the state – and country – from October 5 through 7.

Walk along the booths to find that perfect piece of art for your home, or enjoy some gourmet food.

WISCONSIN: See a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Whether you grew up a “Cheesehead” or not, it’s never too late to check out a Green Bay Packers football game this fall. They have a record of being a great team with even greater fans- their stadium is one of the best for tailgating in the country.

WYOMING: Check out the stunning Grand Teton National Park.

WikimediaGrand Teton National Park.

Any outdoorsy type’s dream, the Grand Teton National Park boasts rustic views and stunning mountains. Breathe in that crisp fall air.


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