Nothing sets the mood for autumn quite like a visit to a farm. Whether the appeal is pick your-own apples and pumpkins, introducing the kids to farm animals, or enjoying fresh treats, these 15 farms across the country offer a satisfying way to spend a fall day outdoors. Farms are usually free for walking around, save for what you choose to buy, pick, or eat, and some may impose fees to pet animals or go on rides. But the general rule is that a day trip costs less per person than going to the movies, with add-ons upping the total, just like popcorn from the concessions stand adds to the price of seeing a film.
15 Farms to Visit for Classic Fall Fun
Locals say this farm features everything a family could want for a fun day outside. A hayride takes visitors apple picking and stops at a pumpkin patch that's one of the most popular in the area. One of the main attractions is an animal farm that includes llamas, buffaloes, and alpacas. There's also a playground and a farm store selling treats.
This farm near Chicago is packed with more than pumpkins. It hosts pretty much any fall activity you can think of -- and some you probably wouldn't. Kids can mine for gemstones or take a pony ride, and all ages can enjoy pig racing. Several onsite eateries sell sweets (including apple cider doughnuts made daily) and savories (including barbecue and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches).
The Great Pumpkin Farm is another kid-friendly find, with activities such as a zoo, hay maze, farm animals, treats to eat, and, of course, plenty of pumpkins to pick.
Mapleside calls itself America's most beautiful farm. There's no doubt this spot overlooking a valley is an attractive destination for enjoying fall weather. Activities include festivals, apple picking, a 7-acre corn maze, and a pumpkin patch.
This destination is not an actual working farm, but rather a seasonal "pop-up" farm experience with a record of visits from Hollywood stars such as Jessica Alba and Hilary Duff. In addition to the pumpkin patch (and celebrity spotting), attractions include pony rides and a petting zoo.
USA Today named Tougas one of the top 10 pick-your-own apple orchards in the nation a few years back, and for good reason. On top of the apple picking, there's a barnyard, a playground, and a kitchen with homemade treats. Children can easily reach the apple trees without a ladder.
With more than 100 years of history, Johnson Orchards is the place to go for fall fruit picking in the Northwest. Apples, cherries, pears, and more are available to take home. This farm also sells home-baked pies and other fresh goods.
Applewood Orchards features a country store, gardens, wagon rides, and live music. Chickens and sheep wander around while visitors enjoy glasses of wine from the Hudson Valley (the land is also home to Applewood Winery).
This is a popular wedding destination and overnight lodge in addition to a welcoming place to pick apples. Kids can run around on the playground, meet the orchard's Nigerian dwarf goats, and take a hike through the grounds.
Outhouse Orchards, founded in the late 1800s, offers New England farm classics: hayrides, a corn maze, and apple picking. The farm also produces leafy greens and sells local honey and maple syrup.
This family farm celebrates its 35th anniversary this fall. It features a full menu of activities, as well as barbecue and other treats. A "Plumpkin Playland," barnyard with toy duck races, and train rides keep kids busy.
This urban pumpkin patch sources its pumpkins from local farms. Alongside typical attractions such as a petting zoo, it offers such things as slides, zip lines, and bounce houses.
There's a lot to experience at this farm/orchard/entertainment center. Apple Holler serves up hearty breakfasts and country-fried egg and bacon burgers for lunch, a farm park with pedal carts, animals to pet, a corn maze, and 30 varieties of apples grown to be picked without a ladder. Visitors can end the day with a dinner theater show in the red barn.
This working farm about an hour outside Atlanta is home to animal residents such as cows, goats, and a sheep that lets the farm's chickens ride on its back. Apples and pumpkins top a long list of pick-your-own fruit and vegetable options. The farm offers Halloween fun, too, with a corn maze, haunted barn attraction, and bonfire hayride.
Applecrest Farm Orchards is known as the oldest continuously operated apple orchard in America. It features more than 40 varieties of apples, peaches, berries, and other produce. The farm's market sells locally produced dairy, pasta, meat, and seafood, and a bakery and ice creamery complete the treat options. A number of festivals run through the fall on weekends.