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 this epic bucket list of 72 fall activities you can get into. 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.
2. Take a bike ride over the weekend
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.
3. Book a weekend getaway in the woods
4. Take a drive in 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.
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 Halloween door decorations.
6. Host a harvest dinner party
Get your family and friends to cozy up with picnic blankets and some bottles of vino. Bonus: It’s a foolproof way to test your Thanksgiving recipes. Just make sure everyone is vaccinated and feels comfortable being in close proximity.
7. Watch a quintessentially fall movie
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; you’re staying home, right? If you do decide to leave your house, here are 11 ways to make your flannel look less rural and more girl about town.
9. Break out your sweaters and scarves
It’s (debatably) the highlight of the whole damn season. Learn how to take care of those chunky knits here.
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.
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
One good thing to come out of the pandemic is the fact that 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
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 divvy up between family and friends 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.
15. Visit a pumpkin patch
If you don’t Instagram it, did it really happen? (Psst: Here are 15 pumpkin patches around the U.S. to check out.)
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.
17. Decorate your porch (or front door)
If you don't buy mums at the hardware store, do you even like fall? Here are 30 more autumnal porch ideas to tickle your fancy.
18. Make a fall centerpiece for the dining table
19. Collect leaves and pinecones
Nothing says “I heart fall” like foraging like a wood nymph then turning your found treasures into tchotchkes.
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?
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 a one with items already in your closet? There is a wide range of characters you can easily channel—from Regina George to Tinkerbell.
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 50 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.
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.
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
29. Visit a Petting Zoo
Great for families with kids or just animal lovers in general.
30. Play a game of football
So your favorite team isn’t doing too hot this season, why not take the game outside and burn out 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
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 a football game
33. Buy an autumn-scented candle
Oh please, like you don't love the smell of pumpkin spice, too. Not sold on store-bought? Here’s how to freshen your home the DIY way.
34. Drink dark, hoppy beer
35. Make a backyard bonfire
We’ll take any excuse to make (and eat) s’mores.
36. Go to an outdoor flea market
You'll need some funky mismatched china to go with your homemade centerpiece, no? Find a nearby market through this handy online directory.
37. Get a jump 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.
38. Run a marathon
Show off that running prowess that you’ve perfected all summer long. It’ll make the aforementioned run route that much more satisfying.
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
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.
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.
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?)
43. Make a big pot of chili
Spend Sunday afternoon perfecting this white turkey chili with avocado, then eat it all damn week. You can also test your culinary skills with this sweet potato chili with turkey and back beans or this cauliflower chili. (Yum!)
44. Clean the windows
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
48. Bake a pumpkin pie
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.
50. Eat soup for lunch
51. List the things you're thankful for
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.
54. Drink some warm cider
Fall can get a little brisk. Warm up with this delicious seasonal drink.
55. Compile a fall 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.
OUTDOOR FALL ACTIVITIES
56. Skip the gym in favor of daily runs in the brisk morning air
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.
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.
60. Watch the geese fly south
Go ahead, bliss out on nature doing its thang. It’s always a sight to behold.
62. Break out your leather booties
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.
64. Take a hike
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. Whether it’s in person or still online, back-to-school season is officially upon us.
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.
67. Plant a fall garden
68. Tour a haunted house
‘Tis the season to be spooked, after all. You can visit your local haunted house or check out these notoriously creepy homes around the country.
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 arial view of the gorgeous fall foliage.
70. Visit a fall festival
Not sure which one to choose? We’ve got you covered.
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.