72 Fun Fall Activities to Get You Through the Season
With its clear, cool, humidity-free days, gorgeous golden palette and emphasis on eating all the baked goods, fall (or autumn if we’re being fancy) is unequivocally, indisputably the greatest season ever. (Sorry, summer lovers.) The unbearable hot days are behind us and there is plenty to look forward to—from Halloween candy to Thanksgiving turkey. (Basically, as soon as those leaves start turning, our palates are primed for all the fun to follow).
Fall also comes with a slew of its own seasonally appropriate activities to partake in. And with so many to choose from, it can be hard to figure out where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 72 fall activities you can get into, whether you’re seeking a bucket list-worthy experience or just trying to while away the hours at home whilst channeling the spirit of the season. From classics like jack-o-lantern carving, to adrenaline pumping ziplining and even family-friendly trips to the pumpkin patch, we’ve got you covered. So grab your flannel and get excited, folks.
Fall Activities for Couples
1. Pack a Fall Picnic
Fill your picnic basket with the essentials: wine, grapes, a baguette and enough cheese for 15 people—despite being only two. Then, admire the surrounding foliage and feel the romance.
2. Take a Weekend Bike Ride
Channel your inner Gilmore Girl and tour a beautiful town, with your personal person. You’re sure to get a deeper appreciation for those changing autumn colors.
4. Drive Through the Countryside
Lazy leaf-peeping is the best kind of leaf-peeping. (Check the fall foliage map then plan your day trip.) And if you have a particularly fussy tiny human, that slow drive will surely put them to sleep.
Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images
5. Add Cozy Decor to Your Home
Give us all the faux-fur pillow covers and cable-knit throws. Throw in some plush rugs and let the cozy vibes take over. For more inspiration, take a peek at some of our favorite autumnal finds.
Emily Suzanne McDonald/Getty Images
6. Host a Harvest Dinner Party
Hit the farmer’s market to score some of the freshest, seasonal produce, and then get your family and friends to cozy up on picnic blankets with a spread of fall salads and perhaps a bottle of vino or two. Bonus: It’s a foolproof way to test your Thanksgiving recipes.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
7. Watch a Quintessentially Fall Movie
Yes, we’ve watched Love Story 50 times, and no, we’re not sorry about it. We’ll also be adding these classics to our rotation and absolutely bingeing the fall TV line up.
8. Break Out Your Plaids and Flannels
Fall: The one time of year it's totally chill to dress like a farmer. Go ahead and wear them all at once. If you’re staying home, feel free to rock out to Nirvana in your living room; and if you’re venturing out, here are 12 ways to make your flannel look less rural and more girl about town.
9. Knit a Sweater or Scarf
It’s (debatably) the highlight of the whole damn season, so why not learn how to make a chunky knit yourself? Once the job is complete, you can find out how to take care of your wearable craft project here.
Jarmo Piironen/EyeEm/Getty Images
10. Head Outside to Stargaze
In our humble opinion, it’s an activity best enjoyed beneath a pile of blankets, with a cup of pumpkin spice latte and a loved one to cuddle with. (Bonus points if you bring a telescope for an even more awe-inspiring view.)
11. Binge the New Fall Lineup (or an Old Favorite)
Consider this your permission slip for an entire afternoon of Cheers, The Office or Friends reruns. Add some suspense in there with shows like Breaking Bad, Criminal Minds and Law and Order.
12. Head to a Drive-in Movie Theater
Retro venues are having a major renaissance right now and we’re so here for it. If you can find one that’s screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show, even better.
13. Host a Cozy Wine and Cheese Night
Charcuterie and jarcuterie boards FTW. Oh, and don’t forget to make one for your pup too!
Fall Activities for Kids
14. Go Apple Picking
First, find an orchard in your neck of the woods. Then bring home the mother lode to divide between family and friends, CSA style, and bake an apple pie to share (or keep to yourself). Plus, since it is the season of giving and all, you can always make these mini mason jar apple pies to give as gifts.
16. Carve a Jack-o’-lantern
Because nothing screams fall quite like an elaborately carved out pumpkin. Not one to get your hands all slimy and gooey? Skip the carving and just decorate one instead.
17. Decorate Your Porch (or Front Door)
If you don't buy mums at the hardware store, do you even like fall? Here are more autumnal home decor ideas to tickle your fancy.
19. Collect Leaves and Pinecones
Nothing says “I heart fall” like foraging like a wood nymph then turning your found treasures into tchotchkes. (Psst: If you’ve got kids, definitely use a nature scavenger hunt to enlist their help.)
20. Eat All the Halloween Candy
And feign innocence when your kids accuse you of doing so. After all, you did go trick-o-treating with them. Where do your favorite sweets fall in our ranking?
Wayne Eastep/Getty Images
21. Make Halloween Costumes
Sure, you can go to your local Party City and snag a costume from there. But why not save some dough and just make one with items already in your closet? There is a wide range of characters you can easily channel—from Regina George to Tinkerbell.
Verdina Anna/Getty Images
22. Bake Cookies
Bonus points for kitschy-and-proud-of-it leaf-shaped cookie cutters. And while the oven’s hot, why not make one of these 62 fall dessert recipes, too? Bring on the cinnamon rolls, crème brûlée and spiced palmiers!
23. Go on a Hayride
For those of us who are slightly directionally challenged and get all wound up in a corn maze, you can take it easy with a relaxing hayride instead. Either way, ‘tis the season for some fun on the farm.
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images
24. Pitch a Tent in Your Backyard
You don’t have to travel far to have your own camping adventure. (Scary stories seem a lot more appealing when you can dash indoors for cover.)
25. Get Lost In a Corn Maze
Nothing beats this classic outdoors fall activity that you can bring your entire family for. Let the kiddos run around while you stroll closely behind.
Mitch Diamond/Getty Images
26. Make a Scarecrow
Even if you’re not a farmer, this classic decoration just gives your front porch those unbeatable fall vibes. This super helpful tutorial will teach you how to go about it.
27. Host a Halloween Fright Night
It can take place around the previously mentioned bonfire or you can keep it indoors. Create forts with the kids, turn off the lights, break out those flashlights and swap scary stories.
28. Make Candy Apples
Need another sugar hit post-Halloween? Indulge that sweet tooth with some homemade candy or caramel apples.
picture alliance / Contributor
29. Visit a Petting Zoo
Not to belabor the point, but a farm visit is in order come fall. Find one with a petting zoo that will keep the kids entertained while the rest of the party watches with some hard cider in hand.
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images
30. Play Flag Football
So your favorite team isn’t doing too hot this season, why not take the game outside and burn off some of that frustration? You can get the whole fam involved with this one—the losing team is in charge of Thanksgiving clean-up.
Fall Activities to Do with Friends
Natalia Solovii/EyeEm/Getty Images
31. Buy Gourds at the Farmers Market
And resist the temptation to stick googly eyes on them—or don’t. (We kind of love cutesy Halloween decorations.) Since pumpkins can be a bit pricey this time of year, mix things up by adding some squash, luffas, melons and even cucumbers to the batch. They may not all make great decorations, but they are all very, very delicious.
32. Tailgate at a Football Game
We can all agree that the best part about football games is the food, right? Make your own oven-baked buffalo wings, and check out these 45 sides to serve them with.
34. Drink Dark, Hoppy Beer
Call it a placebo, but rich beer literally tastes better to us in the fall. And if beer’s not your thing, swap it for hot buttered rum or any one one of these fancy beer cocktails.
35. Make a Backyard Bonfire
When the air is fresh and brisk, nothing beats having a bonfire to cozy up around. Plus, we’ll take any excuse to make (and eat) s’mores.
Steven Puetzer/Getty Images
36. Go to an Outdoor Flea Market
You'll need some funky mismatched china to go with your homemade centerpiece and the weather is finally right for browsing outdoors, no? Find a nearby market through this handy online directory.
37. Get a Headstart on Holiday Gifting
It’s truly never too early and you can probably score some great pre-holiday steals. May no woman be left panic-shopping on Christmas Eve Day.
Sengchoy Inthachack/EyeEm/Getty Images
38. Run a Marathon
Show off that running prowess that you’ve perfected all summer long. And if you’re not quite there yet, just walk one instead.
Frank Gärtner/EyeEm/Getty Images
39. Celebrate Oktoberfest
Your local bar is most likely bringing Munich to your city, so why not break out the pretzels and chug some beers in celebration? Prost!
Indoor Fall Activities
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell
40. Eat a Cider Doughnut
Or half a dozen of them (no judgments). Even better, make your own with our recipe for apple cider doughnut holes.
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell
41. Make a Batch of Mulled Wine
So what if our house smells like a Yankee Candle IRL…we secretly love those. Wanna DIY it? We’ll be sipping on this mulled wine sangria all season long.
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell
42. Cook with Brussels Sprouts
Make any of these unique Brussels sprouts recipes for your brood and soothe those September tomato-season withdrawals. Got a picky eater on your hands? Here are some tips and tricks to combat the dinnertime tantrums. If all goes well, you may even get your kid to eat vegetables for breakfast. (We can fantasize, can’t we?)
44. Clean the Windows
Let there be golden-amber light. And while you’re at it, you might as well clean the walls, the dishwasher, the oven that’s been making all those delicious meals and scrub down your bathtub.
Rebecca Fenning photo/Getty Images
45. Then Open the Windows
Let that fall breeze run through your house. It’s better than an air freshener. Trust.
46. Toast Pumpkin Seeds
If you’re not afraid of pumpkin guts, they’re easy to roast and even easier to eat. Toss ’em in a salad, mix them into homemade trail mix or just snack by the handful. Oh, and FYI, they’re also a great source of protein.
47. Bake an Apple Galette
49. Dust Your Coffee in Pumpkin Spice
Say it loud, say it proud: You love pumpkin spice. Why not make this the season to embrace it? Heck, the rest of the world has. You can even make a Starbucks latte in the comfort of your own home.
51. List the Things You're Thankful For
Research shows that gratitude leads to greater satisfaction in life. Even if what you’re grateful for is having that afternoon to binge Cheers, so be it.
Frank Van Delft/Getty Images
52. Host a Halloween Movie Night
From Freddy vs. Jason to Child’s Play and the aptly-named Halloween films, there are plenty of scary movie selections that’ll have you clinging to your blankets. If you’re not down for all that horror and gore, take a look at our comprehensive list of the best Halloween movies. Not all of them will give you nightmares, we promise.
53. Curl Up With a Great Book
Take it to the park, your local café or just stay home. Whatever suits your fancy. We have plenty of suggestions for you to pick from.
Victoria Pearson/Getty Images
54. Drink Some Warm Cider
Fall can get a little brisk. Warm up with this delicious seasonal drink and thank us later.
55. Make a To-do List
With so many activities to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. Make life easier for yourself by listing all the activities you actually want to partake in and start there. (Bonus: Word on the street is that you’ll briefly feel more in control of your life after.)
Outdoor Fall Activities
Marija Jovovic/Getty Images
56. Start a Daily Running Routine
The brisk morning air will wake you right up and have you ready to take on the day. Not really a runner? It’s not too late to begin. Here’s how to get started. (P.S. Power walks are also great day-starters.)
57. Take a Chilly Beach Stroll
Fact: The beach is kinda prettiest in the off-season. You can easily catch a beautiful sunrise or mesmerizing sunset. (Just pack a few blankets in case it gets breezy.)
58. Rake a Giant Pile of Leaves
And promptly belly-flop into it, just like you did as a kid. (C’mon, that’s basically what leaf-raking was designed for.) You know who else will absolutely love rolling around in all the crunchiness? Your dog.
Yusuke Nishizawa/Getty Images
59. Or Bask in the Sunday Quietude
While the rest of the world is worrying about, you know, football, you can tune it all out and just reset for the upcoming week. (Psst: This one calls for a carefully curated playlist to aid your relaxation and/or accompany your deep thoughts.)
Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd/Getty Images
60. Watch the Geese Fly South
Go ahead, bliss out on nature doing its thang. It’s always a sight to behold...…and if you’re really feeling it, avian life might even inspire you to find your next best place or something.
Lenka Zahradnikova/EyeEm/Getty Images
62. Break Out Your Leather Booties
These boots were made for walkin' on crunchy leaves. And so were UGGs.
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
63. Treat Yourself to a Chic New Coat
Mid-weight coats are the best weight coats, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. They’re not quite as light as summer denim nor are they as heavy as winter coats, but they’re the perfect pick to make you feel like a boss a la Miranda Priestly. Learn how to style one here.
65. Buy a Cute New Planner
Pair it with a stack of freshly sharpened pencils or if you’re bold, get a stack of pens instead. Back-to-school season is officially upon us, but you don’t need to be a student to answer the call to get organized.
Jasmin Rex/EyeEm/Getty Images
66. Watch the Sunset
Call us a buncha’ saps, but watching the sun sink over an orange tree line makes us all kinds of warm and fuzzy. Bring your pup along or make it a romantic excursion with your person.
69. Try Ziplining
Just because the weather is cooling doesn’t mean you quit all sense of adventure. Ziplining will give you that oft needed adrenaline rush, plus you get an aerial view of the gorgeous fall foliage.
70. Visit a Fall Festival
Not sure which one to choose? We’ve got you covered.
sukanya sitthikongsak/Getty Images
71. Take a Scenic Train Ride
Whether you’re riding solo or with the whole crew, there’s no better way to scope out some beautiful fall foliage than doing so from a relaxing train ride. Cue the nostalgia.
Michael DeYoung/Getty Images