Please note: This post contains links to articles that were published in previous years. Please be sure to check each venue’s website for the most up-to-date information, especially about things like hours & pricing.
For the past couple years we’ve put together a massive Fall Bucket List comprised of 50+ outing ideas for the season. But for a “season” that really only lasts about a month and a half, 50 outings might be a bit of a stretch. (Hey, we don’t want to stress anyone out here!)
So this year, we thought we’d try something a little different. We’ve combed though 5 years of fall fun and selected our top 8 activities to do with our kids each fall. Then we’ve suggested some of our favorite places to experience each activity.
Now, we know there are MANY other examples of these activities out there. And since there are few things we love more than learning about NEW places to enjoy with our families, we hope you can help us grow this list by recommending YOUR favorites too.
Catch a Hayride
You haven’t been on a real hayride until you’ve taken a spin on that legendary wagon at Hurst Farm in Andover, CT! Jump in the hay loft, pick some turnips, feed the cows and pick out a pumpkin, all while enjoying some of the best scenery our state has to offer.
Burkridge Farm in Ellington, CT also offers a spectacular hayride experience. Bounce along through their fields, pick the perfect pumpkin and then enjoy a visit with the friendly animals at the petting zoo (and maybe one last scoop of ice cream before the cold weather sets in!). Don’t forget to feed the fish in the pond too!
Or, on select days during the season, Scott’s Orchard in Glastonbury, CT offers a real treat: a horse drawn wagon ride though their glorious orchards (then stay to play in their FREE kiddie hay maze).
Pick Your Own
The season would not be complete without a PYO trip for apples and/or pumpkins! Karabin Farm in Southington, CT offers both, plus you can visit with their farm animals, check out the goodies at their store and even purchase food and snacks from their snack bar on the weekends.
Easy Pickin’s Orchard in Enfield, CT offers convenient weekday fruit picking options plus wagon rides on the weekends. Or, for a PYO experience without too many bells & whistles (hey, sometimes we just want some quiet, quality time with the family, right?!) it’s all about the apples (20 varieties!) at historic Rogers Orchards in Southington, CT.
(Then check out some of our favorite Apple Recipes on Pinterest!)
Find Your Way Through a Corn Maze
We can’t mention CT corn mazes without giving a shout-out to the incredible Lyman Orchards corn maze (this one is serious!). But even if getting lost in this whopper of a maze isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy apple picking in their gorgeous orchards or a lovely lunch at their famous Apple Barrel Market (in Middlefield, CT).
Bishops Orchards in Guilford, CT offers two stops for family fun with a kiddie size hay maze at their Farm Store and a large corn maze at a nearby location.
For a corn maze experience that is perfect for the pint-sized, check out the maze at Garden’s Dream Farm in Enfield, CT. With a smaller footprint, cute “animals” to discover around every turn and the annual hunt for “Big Foot,” it’s family-friendly and budget-friendly.
Visit with Farm Animals
When the air is crisp and the days are cooler, a visit to a farm makes a wonderful and educational outing. Cuddle some chickens and sample the harvest in the Children’s Garden at the FREE Open Farm Day program at Common Ground in New Haven, CT. Or spend a day exploring all 118 acres of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford, CT
An early favorite on this blog, Flamig Farm in West Simsbury, CT is your quintessential petting zoo filled with friendly animals from donkeys to pigs to chickens. In the fall, they also offer daytime hayrides.
And to kick off this season of giving, pay a visit to Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, CT where all of the animals–from goats to alpacas to their famous equine resident, the Zedonk– have been lovingly rescued and rehabilitated. There’s no charge to visit and pony rides are available for a small donation on select days.
Sample Cider Donuts and Apple Fritters
Fall is such a sensory season! We see the beautiful leaves, we smell the crisp air, we touch the fruit as we pluck it– and we taste the sweet deliciousness of those legendary CT cider donuts and apple fritters! We can’t resist stopping by Belltown Hill Orchards or Robb’s Farm in Glastonbury, CT for these irresistible treats. Or, pick out your pumpkins at The Pickin Patch in Avon, CT where you can also sample these scrumptious seasonal goodies.
Check Out a Fall Fair or Festival
Fall is a time for festivals! And all across the region some of our favorite destinations are gearing up for another stellar season.
Located just over the border in West Springfield, MA, The BIG E is perhaps the most well-known New England fair and it kicks off the 2016 season starting Friday, September 16th and runs until October 2nd. Sample crazy culinary creations (cheeseburger on a glazed donut, anyone?), enjoy rides on the midway and learn about local agriculture at the many animal exhibitions. And of course, don’t forget a visit to the Connecticut Building. From local llama farmers to orchard fresh apples and even some CT BBQ, there will be more than 60 exhibits to showcase what makes this state so great!
Ongoing festivals offer family-fun for everyone throughout the season. Check out the corn pit playground, giant tire playscape and pedal cart racing at the Fair Weather Acres festival grounds in Cromwell, CT.
Roses Berry Farm in Glastonbury, CT has cart rides, pumpkin picking, a corn maze and more, and Meadow View Farm in Southwick, MA has tons of unique activities (like larger-than-life wooden farm vehicles to climb on and a corn “sand box”) not to mention some really reasonably priced mums for your front doorstep–hey, we all like to multi-task, right?!
Channel the Halloween Spirit
We love to visit with the Pumpkinheads in their village at Pumpkintown USA in East Hampton, CT or slip on our wings for a journey to the Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT.
A trolley ride to the pumpkin patch, followed by some family-friendly pumpkin decorating, gets us in the Halloween mood at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT.
Enjoy the Beautiful Foliage
Whether on rails or trails (or rails-to-trails), make sure to take some time out this fall to enjoy the most magnificent gift of the season– nature! You can walk, run or bike along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (we checked out the portion in Avon and Simsbury, CT) or perhaps take a scenic ride to the pumpkin patch on the Naugatuck Railroad in Thomaston, CT.
Fall is most definitely a time for family fun. And we hope this list inspires you to explore all the wonderful seasonal activities and destinations this area has to offer!
Shawna & Mandy
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