17 Outdoor Fall Activities
What can you do outdoors in autumn?
Depending on where you live or how far you are willing to travel, autumn is one of only two times when it is still warm enough to hang out on the beach in some states and snow ski in others! In many states, fall is the perfect time to get outdoors! Camping, hiking, boating, exploring, road trips, even barbecues and fire pits in the backyard—September, October and November are perfect for outdoor outings—the cooler weather, the changing leaves and lack of bugs make this particular time in America a favorite.
Pick a pumpkin at the local pumpkin patch.
How to Pick out a Pumpkin
First, begin by scanning the pumpkin patch for the dark orange pumpkins with dark green stems. The darker the pumpkin, the better. Next, inspect the pumpkin for cuts, scratches, holes and bruises. Then, thump the pumpkin with your knuckles. It should sound hollow. The deeper and louder the sound, the better the pumpkin. The skin should be hard. To test it, press your nail in. If it punctures, that pumpkin is already rotting. Cut it from the vine with a sharp knife, leaving 3 to 4 inches of stem. After cutting, let it cure for a week in the sun before carving or cutting.
Admire the changing colors while hiking.
If you don’t live in the Eastern United States, it’s not every day you get to see the vibrant leaves change on oak, ash, maple and hickory trees, but you aren’t completely out of luck. Here are the best places to see the leaves change this fall—the Ozark Mountains in Missouri and Arkansas; Columbia River Gorge, Oregon; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; and the Great Smoky Mountains, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Fall camping has plenty of attractive benefits:
- Less bugs
- Cooler temperatures
- Fewer crowds
- Off-season pricing
- Cozy campfires
Enjoy an old-fashioned hayride.
Hayrides originated from when farmhands and working children would hitch a ride back to the farmhouse from the fields on the hay wagon. We now relate them to fall and Halloween traditions.
Lose yourself in a corn maze.
The world’s largest corn maze is in Dixon, California at Cool Patch Pumpkins. It spans 63 acres and has made it into the Guinness World Records as the Earth’s biggest corn maze more than once.
Rent a private cabin with an outdoor hot tub.
Some of the best cabin locations in the U.S.A. are Broken Bow, Oklahoma; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Blue Ridge Mountain, North Carolina; Ruidoso, New Mexico; the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas; Hocking Hills, Ohio; Blackwater State Falls Davis, West Virginia; Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado; Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Lake Tahoe, California; the Great Smokey Mountain National Park; and Mount Rainier, Washington.
Practice your fire-starting skills.
Building a campfire or bonfire or even just a small fire in the backyard fire pit is good practice and one of the most important survival skills—use a variety of methods for building your fire—bow drills, flint and steel, magnifier lens, batteries and steel wool.
You’re never too old to enjoy jumping in a pile of freshly raked leaves.
Buy in-season vegetables at your local farmers market.
Many of our favorite vegetables are harvested in the fall. This is the perfect time to get the very best in-season pumpkins, squash, cabbage, beets, peppers, apples, artichokes, celery, green beans, okra, onion, potatoes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots and a ton more!
Gather pine cones and create pine cone art.
You can paint, glitter, bleach, or frost them, you can even paint with them. Use them to make mini Christmas trees, a wreath, ornaments and home décor. The possibilities are endless!
Visit a national park.
There are 58 national parks and 10,234 state parks in the U.S. Plan an overnight stay or just the day. Exploring a state or national park in the fall means fewer crowds, cooler weather and beautiful scenery.
Become a paddler.
This is one of the most popular seasons for kayaking and canoeing, but the weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared and check the forecast before heading out, dress in layers and take all precautions to stay dry. Water can drop to dangerously low temperatures this time of year.
Hunt a Thanksgiving turkey.
Turkey is a challenging bird to hunt. If you’re a beginner, first find out when turkey season is in your state, then get your hunting license and go with someone with experienced to show you the ropes.
Try fall fly fishing.
Fall isn’t ideal for fly fishing, but don’t hang up your hooks just yet. Besides being outdoors in the beautiful, crisp autumn air, the trout will bite if you use these fall fly fishing tips:
- Use ant patterns, streamers and quick moving bait
- Wear muted colors and stay low to the ground
- Skip the sunrise and fish during the warmest part of the day
- Maintain a good distance away
- Avoid casting shadows
Take a country bike ride.
Here is a list of seven best bike trails in the United States:
- Continental Divide at Logan Pass, Montana
- Columbia River Highway State Trail, Oregon
- Duke Mountain Bike trail Kebler Pass Crested Butte, Colorado
- Blue Ridge Parkway, South Carolina
- Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
- Boise River Greenbelt, Idaho
- Cape Cod Rail Trail, Massachusetts
Try trail running.
Trail running is when runners and joggers challenge themselves on hiking trails. The terrain is rougher and there are unexpected twists and turn, as well as beautiful scenery. You might even spy wildlife!
Organize a nature walk scavenger hunt.
This is a fun activity for the entire family! Divide into groups and give everyone a list of items to find. Make them fall-specific to make it more festive.
The start of football season, favorite holidays Thanksgiving and Halloween, all things pumpkin spice…there is a lot to love about fall! We can’t think of a better way to celebrate autumn than to get outdoors!
How are you spending your fall weekends? Tell us in the comment section.
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