The leaves are changing, the air is cooling: It’s fall! Fall is a busy time of year in Ohio and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. And as we navigate the season post-pandemic, you may be wondering what options are available for family fun.
We’ll give you the lowdown on all the socially distant, family-friendly and fun fall activities happening in the area, so you can make the most of this wonderful season.
Check out our Cincinnati Fall Fun Bucket List:
There’s just something special about picking your own produce, and fall brings plenty of U-Pick opportunities at local apple orchards. Iron’s Fruit Farm in Lebanon is one of the finest in the area; their U-Pick season runs into October and features Paula Red, McIntosh and Gala varieties. Meanwhile, if you’re up for a bit of a trip, A&M Farm Orchard in Midland is well worth the drive.
Go for a hike
Take advantage of fall’s cooler temps by going on a family hike. The Great Parks of Hamilton County, Cincinnati Parks and Cincinnati Nature Center are wonderful options in Cincinnati, while John Bryan State Park is quite possibly the most scenic spot in the Dayton area. Need extra motivation? September 19-27 is Green Umbrella’s Great Outdoor Week, which features more than 100 FREE outdoor activities in Southwest Ohio.
Visit a pumpkin patch
Watching your kids trudge across an orange-speckled field of pumpkins is a parental rite of passage. Shaw Farms, Burwinkel Farms and Brown’s Family Farm all boast a beautiful selection of fall’s unofficial mascot. And of course, Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs has one of the most picturesque pumpkin patches in Ohio!
Do a fall festival
It just isn’t fall without festivals. Local favorites include Fall Fest at Neltner’s Farm, Gorman Farm’s acclaimed Sunflower Festival and the fall festivities at West Side gem Burger Farms. Sit down with your family calendar and plot out your fall festival fun! Be sure to check your favorites for their COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Conquer a corn maze
While you’re planning your fall festival circuit, be sure to include a couple of corn mazes. Loveland’s Blooms & Berries has two: a 7-acre labyrinth that takes about an hour to conquer and a smaller, more kid-friendly, 15-minute maze. And if you’re up for a drive, Shaw Farms in Milford boasts a 12-acre maze that’s not for the faint of heart.
Enjoy the local colors
Ohio is at its most beautiful in the fall. Red, orange, yellow and gold — you’ll see all the colors of the autumn rainbow! Pyramid Hill in Butler County is an outdoor museum comprised of over 60 monumental pieces of sculpture in an outdoor environment of meadows, forests and rolling hills, and is breathtaking in the fall. Meanwhile, Hueston Woods is a Southwest Ohio favorite that’s well worth the drive each autumn.
Take a hayride
Hayrides are a necessary part of fall, and the covered wagon rides at Bonnybrook Farms are about as charming as it gets. And if your kids prefer horseback rides to hayrides, Nation Road Horse Rental in Oxford takes guests on a picture-perfect trek through the beautiful backwoods of Butler County.
Decorate for fall
Pick up some autumn mums, find the most bizarrely shaped gourds or get a little fancy by making your own scarecrow. Station Road Farm in West Chester and Montgomery’s Pipkins Market each boast a bounty of fresh fall produce, blooms and décor. Meanwhile, Brown’s Family Farm Market in Hamilton is known for its impressive selection of fall produce and notions: corn stalks, gourds, mums, pumpkins — they have it all!
Carve a pumpkin
Embrace the mess and get your kids involved in digging out pumpkin guts and designing next-level ‘lanterns. Whether you prepare your masterpieces days before Halloween or the night of, be sure you “carve” out time for this fun fall tradition.
Go trick-or-treating before Halloween
Ohio kids have it pretty great — there are tons of opportunities to trick-or-treat before the big night. HallZOOween at the Cincinnati Zoo and Jack O’Lantern Junction at EnterTRAINment Junction are two fan favorites; meanwhile, history buffs definitely need to check out Heritage Village’s Haunted Village, which features trick-or-treating in a festive, just-spooky-enough setting.