With kids back at school and cold weather approaching, now is a perfect time to get out and enjoy the fall season. Planning fun, family-friendly activities can be time-consuming and expensive, so we’ve compiled a list of 16 fun fall activities that are big on fun and light on your wallet.
While the high season for camping and hiking is summer, fall is still a great time to get out and enjoy local trails. Some of the benefits of hiking during this time of year are that you’re less likely to overheat and there are far fewer insects to worry about because of the temperature.
Get outside and enjoy the fresh air by taking your family apple picking. This is a great two-in-one activity; it’ll get you outside doing something active and provide you with healthy low-cost snacks.
Bake Apple Chips
Take those freshly picked apples and try this easy recipe for apple chips:
- Ingredients: apples, olive oil, cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Thinly slice and sprinkle apples with cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and bake at 225F for 45 minutes or until they’re crispy (make sure to flip your chips halfway through baking).
Homemade Apple Cider
Another way to use leftover apples is to make apple cider (this recipe serves 4):
- Ingredients: All you’ll need is 64oz (or 8 cups) of apple juice, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of brown sugar and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg.
- In a pot, pour in the apple juice and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and stir in your spices.
- Once dissolved, you’re ready to serve.
Camp in the Backyard
Before it gets too cold, make the most of fall by camping in the backyard. You and your family will still get the outdoor camping experience, but it’ll remove costs including transportation and the campsite rental fee.
Have a traditional American fun family time at a tailgate. Cheer on your favorite team and snack on inexpensive tailgating classics like hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled corn.
Nothing says fall like playing in a big pile of leaves. The best part is, besides the cost of the rake, this activity is free and it’ll get you outside and active in a fun, healthy way.
Art & Crafts
Go out and collect some beautiful fall foliage and turn it into art.
This is a low maintenance and inexpensive fall craft. Collect all different kinds of leaves while on a walk through the park or even in your backyard. To make a leaf collage just place a blank sheet of white paper on top of a leaf and shade over it with a colored crayon.
Collect and Paint Pinecones
Another fall craft is to collect pinecones and decorate them. Children can paint, bejewel and get creative. They can even get more advanced and try making a pinecone hedgehog.
As September turns into October, pumpkins start to come into season. Make it an annual family tradition to pick pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch.
Now that you have chosen your pumpkins, it’s time to make jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. Here are some creative jack-o’-lanterns to try this year.
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Making jack-o’-lanterns will leave you will a lot of ‘pumpkin guts’. Don’t let that go to waste! Instead, pick out the seeds and roast them to make a delicious and healthy fall snack.
First apples, then pumpkins, why not corn? Get the full farm-to-table experience and pick your own delicious sweet corn to roast or boil when you get home. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try popcorn on the cob.
Try a Corn Maze
In addition to selling corn, many farms will also set up a corn maze. This is a classic fall activity that should not be missed. The entrance cost usually is inexpensive (sometimes even free).
Visit a Haunted House
For a memorable family outing or date night look around for haunted houses in your area. If you’ve got Halloween spirit, you could even turn your house into one!
Scary Movie Marathon
When the weather starts to get colder, plan some fun indoor activities. Host a movie marathon with all the Halloween classics or a Halloween theme like a Harry Potter marathon.
Fall Markets, Fairs & Festivals
Fall is the season of harvest so there are plenty of farmers’ markets where you can get some tasty, local food. There are also county fairs; some of the larger fairs feature amusement rides, pie eating contests, and musical acts. In addition to fairs, there are often popular festivals like Oktoberfest during this time of year.
This year, make the most of fall by getting out (or staying in) and enjoying some of these low-cost family-friendly activities.
Note: A version of this blog was originally posted September 14, 2015, and has since been republished.