20 Affordable Outdoor Activities to Do This Fall Beyond the Pumpkin Patch

20 Affordable Outdoor Activities to Do This Fall Beyond the Pumpkin Patch
Image: Pexels/Pixabay

Autumn Path

When fall is on its way, so many of us dread the thought of the coming colder weather. The first cold breeze sends a shudder down the spine of summer lovers, and they immediately start stocking up on blankets and movies for hibernation until spring, only to come out for the family visit to the pumpkin patch. I'll admit, I enjoy cuddling up on my couch just as much as the next person (as much as my toddler permits). But there are so many activities we can do outdoors during autumn, before winter weather becomes unbearable, and we're forced indoors. And is the fall really that cold anyway? 

In the area where I live, even though it's not as scorching hot in during the autumn months (September to November) as it is in the summer (June to August), the days are still pretty warm. Especially in the month of September. Obviously, as we get closer to December, a jacket becomes an everyday item. But the occasional, uncharacteristically warm day still pops up at least until late November. Our city is famous for its Indian summers (which we are definitely repaid for during February and March). That being the case, we can definitely get a lot of use out of those days. Even on a cold day, if it's not snowing, the family can throw on coats, hats and boots, and get plenty of enjoyment from activities that are especially fun during this time of year. Let's refresh our memory on some of those activities, that I'm sure everyone's experienced at least once in their childhood. Who knows, fall might become one of our favorite times of the year!

  • Hay Ride


    During this time of year, farms are harvesting and bringing all their fruits and veggies in for the winter. Hayrides are especially fun to do at this busy time on the farm, when all the food has reached is maturity. 

  • Attend a Pig Race


    This looks so entertaining. Little pigs running all over the place for our enjoyment, without knocking us over. 

  • Outdoor Movies


    Outdoor movie screenings usually start at the beginning of summer. But what many may not know, is that a lot of locations don't stop showing films until November. That's most of autumn, that can be spent watching a good movie with the family and breathing fresh air, in locations like this (which is in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia). 

  • Get Lost in a Corn Maze


    A corn maze could be an exciting  (also a little frightening if you get lost) activity for the family to do together. The family can put their heads together and strategize on how to find the way out. 

  • Pick Apples at an Orchard


    Harvest time includes the orchards! Even someone whose not partial to apples would enjoy this activity. 

  • Take a Hike

    a fall pathway for hiking
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    Hiking is an activity one can do year-round. Fall hikes in the mountains reward with some of the best views of the trees changing color.

  • Biking 

    biking in the woods during autumn
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    Biking is a great form of exercise in general, but biking through the fall landscape can do wonders for one's mood. Even if it's windy or chilly out, after a few minutes the exertion will warm everyone up. 

  • Fishing

    fishing in a river

    The water tends to be cooler in the fall, so a jacket is important for this activity. Although fishing is more of a summer activity, the autumn scenery is beautiful and could provide a freshness to the experience. 

  • Camping

    camping in the woods

    Yes, that's right, I said camping. We already know that its going to be chilly. In addition to the scenery, camping in fall gives us a chance to do some of the other activities on this list all in one weekend. During fall, it's possible to enjoy nights outdoors because the mosquitoes are gone for the season. Here are eight other reasons why camping in fall is a good idea.

  • Bird-Watching

    Birds flying south for winter

    Bird-watching in the fall is a really special experience. In the spring and summer, we see the baby birds hatching and learning to fly. In summer, we see the birds living their best lives, fluttering around and getting food. But in fall, we have the chance to see flocks of birds fly towards the equator for warmth. It's really beautiful to witness.

  • Leaf Collecting

    Colorful Autumn Leaves

    It's safe to say that everyone loves the leaves in autumn. In school, children make leaf projects that we hang up on our fridge. But wouldn't it be fun to collect a bunch of leaves as a family and see how many colors can be found?

  • Pine Cone & Acorn Art

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    Leaves aren't the only things falling off of trees at this time of the year. Pretty much everything falls off trees, including pine cones and acorns. Make a fall-themed arts and crafts project after collecting some of each. 

  • Have a Bonfire

    A cracking bonfire
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    Whether camping in the great outdoors, or just hanging in the backyard, a bonfire is the answer to all our chill-related woes about fall. Enjoy the open sky while staying toasty by the fire, and roasting hot dogs or marshmallows. A great alternative to a fireplace.

  • Make S'mores

    supplies to prepare a smores sandwich
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    It's true that s'mores can be made indoors. But there's nothing like roasting the marshmallow over the fire, and nothing like placing the whole s'mores sandwich on a stick for a melted, toasty, sticky good time

  • Visit a Farmers Market

    farmers market, with colorful gourds and squashes
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    Farmers markets are great in the fall. Remember the harvest we talked about? Children will love to see and sample all the freshly picked fall fruits and vegetables, in all their colors and shapes. 

  • Have a Fall-Themed Picnic

    picnic table full of food during the fall season
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    Picnics in summer are great, but there's something about having one in fall that is underestimated. Gather up some yummy seasonal treats, like apple cider, hot chocolate, jams, pumpkin pie, trail mix, and ham, to take to the park and enjoy. 

  • Pet Some Farm Animals

    Children petting a horse
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    Before the animals go in their stables for winter, let the children have one last visit. For the brave ones, they can feed a horse a freshly picked apple. 

  • Stargazing 

    people looking looking up at the stars
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    An autumn sky is especially beautiful. Although its chilly, there are some constellations that we can only see at this time of year. 

  • Take a Boat Ride

    boat in a river during autmumn
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    Boat rides can be so relaxing. From any boat, one can peacefully bird-watch, revel in the scenery, or read a book!

  • Take a Harvest Tour


    During harvest, most wineries and vineyards open to the public for special tours. Children will love to eat fresh grapes, and see how they're mashed to make wine. And parents will enjoy tasting the final product.

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