Heading out to a farm on a brisk afternoon is as much a part of the fall tradition as dressing up for Halloween is. Favorite fall activities include apple picking, corn mazes, haunted hayrides and pumpkin patches.
GOBankingRates has created the ultimate guide to budget-friendly festivities across the country for all things fall. Get ready for a fun — or even frightful — day on the farm as you plan your fall excursions.
1. Mercier Orchards — Blue Ridge, Ga.
- Admission: $4 per person; ages 3 and under free
- U-pick bag cost: $7 to $19
Located an hour north of Atlanta, Mercier is considered the state’s largest apple orchard with more than 50 varieties of apples. The apple U-pick is only available during fall.
The family-owned and -operated orchard has been open for over 70 years. It’s also known for its hardpressed beverages, bakery and deli. Once you’re home, you can try these fun twists on the traditional apple pie recipe.
2. Solebury Orchards — New Hope, Penn.
- U-pick cost: $1.50 per lb.
For an enjoyable stroll for the entire family, visit Solebury Orchards in Bucks County, Penn. The New Hope orchard has 80 acres of crops with a variety of apples that are ripe for picking throughout the fall months.
3. Aamodt’s Apple Farm — Stillwater, Minn.
- U-pick cost: $12 for a 10- to 12-lb. bag
The family-owned apple farm has been open since 1948, which certainly adds to its charm. While there, try a glass of Thor’s Hard Cider, named after the founder, Thor Aamodt.
4. Los Rios Rancho — Oak Glen, Calif.
- U-pick cost: Varies
Come pick in-season apples at Los Rios Rancho — Southern California’s largest apple farm, located in the foothills of San Bernardino. Established in 1906, the farm offers a nostalgic vibe.
There are 32 different varieties of apples produced on the farm and eight available to pick yourself. While there, check out the nature trails, get a fresh-baked pie from the bakery or even press your own cider.
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5. Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery — Ashfield, Mass.
- U-pick cost: $7 for a 3-lb. bag; $20 for a 10- to 12-lb. bag
Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery is an organic and sustainable farm situated in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Plan a picnic and enjoy your handpicked apples, hard ciders and doughnuts amid the stunning views.
6. Shelburne Orchards — Shelburne, Vt.
- U-pick cost: $1.50 to $2.50 per lb., depending on apple variety
Head to Shelburne Orchards, where you’ll find over 6,000 apple trees. Paula Red is one of the ripe varieties during the fall apple-picking months. Leave time to visit the country store for some ginger cider, cider doughnuts, apple brandy and more.
7. Mt. View Orchards — Mount Hood, Ore.
- U-pick cost: 50 cents per pound
This apple farm is called Mt. View for a reason. Mount Hood offers a scenic backdrop to apple picking. Bring your camera and a picnic basket and relax amid the apple farm’s 50 beautiful acres.
8. Mack’s Apples — Londonderry, N.H.
- U-pick cost: $12 for a 10- to 12-lb. bag
Mack’s Apples has 100 acres dedicated to apples, and has won the People’s Choice award twice in New Hampshire Magazine. At this family-run farm, you can pick your own apples and pumpkins.
For many U-pick stations at Mack’s, driving is recommended. The apple farm also offers picnic areas, observation decks and hiking trails.
9. Wightman Farms — Morristown, N.J.
- To pick your own, you must join the PYO Club. Membership costs $15 for a family up to 5.
Wightman Farms has been around for more than 90 years. To pick your own apples this fall, you’ll need to purchase a membership. The membership is valid from June to October, allowing you to pick strawberries, peaches and nectarines in addition to apples. There are many other fall delights on this farm, including corn mazes and more. You’ll also receive coupons with membership.
10. Stribling Orchard — Markham, Va.
- U-pick cost: $1.50 per lb., or $15 per 1-peck bag
Visit this historic family farm, and you’ll find 30 acres of apple trees with scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Make time for a picnic and a visit with the farm animals. The Stribling Orchard farm has been growing fruit for almost 200 years.
1. Cool Patch Pumpkins — Dixon, Calif.
- Admission: $15; ages 5 and under free
Enter Cool Patch Pumpkins’ 60-acre corn maze — if you dare. The world’s largest corn maze is known to have a few people calling 911 for help, although the farm asks people to refrain from doing so. Not because it’s a haunted corn maze (which it’s not), but because people get lost. This is the first year at a new location with two different path options — one intermediate and the other advanced.
2. The Great Vermont Maze — Danville, Vt.
- Admission: $10 to $15; ages 4 and under free
The 24-acre corn maze is the largest in New England. With its location on a hill, be ready for a workout. Picture over 10-foot high corn stocks blanketing three miles of trails. The corn maze’s creators say visitors should be able to walk for at least two hours to complete the maze — and be up for the challenge.
3. Sever’s Corn Maze — Shakopee, Minn.
- Admission: $15; ages 3 and under free
Sever’s Corn Maze is celebrating over 20 years of mazes. This year’s maze, “Sever Dundee,” will challenge guests to a little game. Visitors must look for image clues throughout the maze and use the maze challenge app to find the images and your own exact whereabouts.
The best part? Each correct entry is entered into a grand prize to be drawn at the end of the season.
4. Treinen Farm — Lodi, Wisc.
- Admission: $9; ages 5 and under free
If you like a challenge, give this corn maze a try. USA Today named Treinen Farm’s corn maze as one of the top 10 in the country. The Treinen family designs its corn-crop puzzle across 15 acres. Be ready for six miles of twisty turns and clues to complete the challenge. This year, they have a trilobite corn maze, which spans 480 feet.
5. Happy Day Farm — Manalapan, N.J.
- Admission: $14; ages 2 and under free
For a family-friendly fall adventure, visit Happy Day Farm. This year’s design is Curious George. The 10-acre maze is a lively game where families search for each square on the Maize-O-Poly game board. If you earn the most money, you become “Farmer of the Ear.”
6. Connors Farm — Danvers, Mass.
- Admission: $10/14 for weekdays/weekends; ages 2 and under free
Adventures await you and your family at Connors Farm this fall. Each year, the 7-acre corn maze is made into an original design. This year is a tribute to local race car legend, Bentley Warren. Try the corn maze during the day with family, or come at night for a more daring journey. Children will love the fall offerings, including an apple cannon and pumpkin blaster.
7. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm — Ronks, Penn.
- Admission: $17 for a farm pass; ages 2 and under free
The corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm will have families spending about an hour exploring over 2.5 miles of paths stretching across 5 acres of towering corn stocks as they collect clues to solve a puzzle. Maze Masters are always available to help guests get back on track. There’s also the option to pick your challenge level.
8. Queens County Farm Museum — Floral Park, N.Y.
- Admission: $10 for ages 12 and up; $5 for ages 4 to 11
The corn maze at Queens County Farm is only 3 acres, but it packs a lot of punch. Guests quickly realize the labyrinth isn’t so easy to navigate. Guests receive a “Stalk Talk” before starting the journey, which covers the challenge of finding clues, solving puzzles and, most importantly, completing the maze.
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9. Richardson Adventure Farm and Corn Maze — Spring Grove, Ill.
- Admission: $16 for ages 13 and up; $13 for ages 4 to 12
What’s better than one large corn maze? Four smaller mazes with in- and out-paths to get you lost if you’re up for the challenge. Remember that these mazes encompass 9 to 10 miles of winding trails through 28 acres of corn. But don’t fret — the maze is designed with checkpoints throughout so you can regroup. The 2017 corn maze is designed in honor of the Cubs’ World Series win.
10. Cornbelly’s Corn Maze — Lehi, Utah
- Admission: $12 and up; ages 2 and under free
Come see the original corn maze that sparked The MAiZE — the world’s largest cornfield maze company. The owners create corn mazes all over the world with more than 270 MAiZE locations — so you know the original in Utah must be good.
Cornbelly’s corn maze offers different options. There’s the Peanuts corn maze, the Grain Train maze, where you’ll ride through the corn, the Kiddie Maze and the Haunted Insanity Point Maze for those 12 and up.
1. The Great Pumpkin Farm — Clarence, N.Y.
- Admission: $7; ages 2 and under free
Celebrate fall and fuel your pumpkin addiction in western New York at the Great Pumpkin Farm. The pumpkin patch made the Guinness Book of World Records for the first 1,000-pound pumpkin. So come out for the pumpkin picking, but leave time for many fall activities, including new additions this year — such as the Witches Brew Bar and a new corn maze.
2. Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch — Dallas, Texas
- Admission: $10 to $15; ages 2 and under free
Tom Thumb Pumpkin patch is part of the seasonal pumpkin festival at the Dallas Arboretum. Other fall pleasures include a hay bale maze, the Pumpkin Village and a scavenger hunt.
3. Vala’s Pumpkin Patch — Gretna, Neb.
- Admission: $11.50 and up; ages 2 and under free
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch has plenty to occupy the family this fall with over 50 attractions, including: bouncing pillows, play areas, a corn maze, a storybook barn and a hayride to the pumpkin patch.
4. Pumpkin Hollow — Piggott, Ark.
- Admission: $10 for a standard ticket; ages 1 and under free
Pumpkin Hollow wouldn’t have its name if it weren’t for the pumpkin patch, but there’s much more to the fall festivities. The farm hosts pig scrambles, hayrides, farm animals, a huge corn maze, a play area and — for a fright — the “Horror in the Hollow.”
5. Craven Farm — Snohomish, Wash.
- No admission fee
Your perfect pumpkin is waiting for you at this 20-acre pumpkin patch with 50 different varieties of pumpkins. Plan to spend the day to visit the Alice in Pumpkin Land corn maze, barnyard animals and a new kid-friendly adventure maze.
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6. Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch — Middletown, Md.
- Admission and hayrides are free
Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch grows over 30 acres of pumpkins every year. The farm also features a 15-acre corn maze, hayrides, horse-drawn wagon rides, a petting zoo and playground.
7. Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express — Bryson City, N.C.
- Coach tickets: $56 for ages 13 and up; $32 for ages 2 to 12; ages 1 and under free
Some farms may include a hayride to the pumpkin patch — but not when you’re in the Smoky Mountains. As part of the Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express, you’ll hop aboard a train for a 30-minute ride to the pumpkin patch, where you’ll listen to a narration of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” When you arrive, you’ll have photo opportunities with your favorite Peanuts characters, and each child will get to pick out their own pumpkin.
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8. Papa’s Pumpkin Patch — Bismarck, N.D.
- Admission: $5 per person, $1 on Thursdays; ages 2 and under free
Whether you’re looking for a big, small, smooth or warty pumpkin, Papa’s Pumpkin Patch has more than a dozen varieties to choose from. Each year, more than 300,000 pounds of pumpkins are hauled into the yard to celebrate the pumpkin-carving season.
There’s much more here than just the pumpkin patch. You can also explore nature trails, the corn maze, the huge bale maze and other free activities.
9. Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm — Lockport, Ill.
- Admission: $12/15 for weekdays/weekends and Columbus Day; ages 2 and under free
This 40-acre farm offers a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where you can hand-pick your pumpkin right from the vine. General admission tickets include 30 attractions, such as the corn maze, pony rides, train rides, a haunted house, a petting zoo, paintball, a climbing wall and more.
10. Rock Creek Farm — Broomfield, Colo.
- U-pick field pumpkins: $8
Rock Creek Farm has a 120-acre pumpkin patch where you can choose your favorite pumpkin out in the field. While there, be sure to check out the corn maze, enjoy a hayride and visit the farm animals. If you’re hungry, try Rock Creek Farm’s caramel apples.
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1. Boone Hall Plantation — Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
- Daytime pumpkin patch admission: $10; ages 2 and under free
- Fright Night admission: $33 for scream pass (includes four attractions)
This isn’t a haunted hayride, even if it’s located on a historic plantation. Monster Alley at Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch is actually a friendly hayride with monsters smiling and waving rather than giving guests a scare — if you ride during the day, that is. For a haunted hayride, visit “Wicked Woods” during Fright Night hours.
2. Cox Farms — Centreville, Va.
- Admission: $6 to $20, depending on the day you go
According to Cox Farms, their fall hayride is famous. Step aboard the 20-minute ride as you’re pulled by an antique tractor. If you think you’ll just see endless cornstalks and pumpkin patches, you’re in for a treat. You might also see aliens, a jungle and an old Western town.
3. Sleepy Hollow Hayride — Newtown, Penn.
- Admission: $13 to $38
This hayride is great for people who love to visit haunted places. Sleepy Hollow Hayride is over a mile-long journey through thick woods and 230 acres of farmland. If you think your eyes are playing tricks on you, just know they probably aren’t. There are many scary creatures lurking about this ride.
4. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride — Glen Mills, Penn.
- Admission: Hayride only, $20 for adults; $15 for ages 3 to 12
For the ultimate haunted hayride, head to Arasapha Farm in Glen Mills, where organizers have been scaring guests for nearly 30 years. Hauntworld Magazine named Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride the No. 1 haunted attraction in America. With great actors, special effects, props and more, chances are you haven’t seen anything like it.
5. Headless Horseman Hayride — Ulster Park, N.Y.
- Admission: $42 online, $50 at the gate
The Headless Horseman Hayride and Haunted House have received numerous awards and recognition. The 250-year-old farm uses over 65 acres to scare guests. Each year the theme changes, and there are other attractions to fill your time and calm your nerves.
6. Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm — Wheatland, Calif.
- Admission: free
If you’re looking for a family outing, visit Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm, where you’ll get an enjoyable hayride to the pumpkin fields. Guests ride in a hay wagon pulled by a vintage John Deere tractor that’s been around since the early ’70s.
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7. Happy Hauntings at Kennywood Park — West Mifflin, Penn.
- Admission: $14 online or with coupon, $17 at the gate
Kennywood is a nostalgic amusement park near Pittsburgh, and every fall it hosts the popular Phantom Fright Nights (pictured here). New this year is Happy Hauntings, a fall festival for the entire family — but most importantly, it offers a hayride for kids. All Happy Hauntings festivities are geared toward kids 10 and younger, and happen weekend days in October.
8. Escobar’s Highland Farm — Portsmouth, R.I.
- Admission: $4
For a total fall festivity experience, head to Escobar’s Highland Farm, where the family can delight in a hayride and more. The hayride takes guests through the dairy farm, where they can feed apples to the cows. Hayrides are only available on the weekends, so plan accordingly.
9. A. Casola Farms — Holmdel, N.J.
- Admission: $25 for all three attractions
Take a haunted hayride tour deep into the backwoods of New Jersey — if you’re not too much of a chicken, that is. You can begin your journey at A. Casola Farms by entering the House of Horrors, which will lead you to the Corn Walk of Terror. So if you make it out alive, you can then catch a hayride — but plan to get even more spooked.
10. Mesilla Valley Maze — Las Cruces, N.M.
- Admission: $12 for adults, $10 for children under 12; ages 2 and under free
Plan to spend the day at Mesilla Valley Maze with all its many fall festivities. Take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch and admire the scenic views, including the Organ Mountains. Then, let the youngsters explore the giant slides, pedal carts and duck races.