The leaves are changing. The air has a slight chill. You’ve already started to plan your Thanksgiving menu and practiced cooking a turkey. That means fall is definitely here. While many people opt for summer traveling for fun in the sun, fall is a criminally underrated travel season. While the weather may not be balmy enough for you to hit the beach, many cities around the country shine brightly during the autumn months. So make sure to start your adventure and culinary vacation planning today. From apple and pumpkin festivals to treetop adventures, here are some exciting places to spend your time this fall. Visit quiet camping spots with your sleeping bag, and wildlife watching tours. There’s a little bit of something for everyone out there.
Exploring Eastern Michigan
Michigan is one state that’s an unsung hero when it comes to fall. In fact, the Great Lakes State has such a love for the season that you’ll find a seemingly endless supply of autumn activities happening in any given week. Sure, pumpkin spice lattes are tasty, but have you ever been to a pumpkin festival? If you travel to Livonia, Michigan, that’s exactly what you’ll find. Their annual Wilson Barn Pumpkin Fest spans the entire month of October and makes for a perfect family getaway, complete with mugs of piping hot chocolate. If you’re a thrill-seeker, you can try a haunted barn stroll. Don’t worry, it won’t test your courage too much because it’s designed to be tame enough for the kids.
If pumpkins and ghosts aren’t your style, you may want to head to the Detroit metro area. While Detroit has gotten a bad reputation in the past, the city has truly begun to rebuild itself into a thriving urban area. Plus, if you enjoy craft beer, you’ll love what Detroit has to offer you. Detroit is a beer city through and through, and it truly shows in their lineup of fall events. From the Octobeerfest to the traditional Fall Beer Festival, you’ll find no shortage of brews to be sampled throughout the city. And if you need to work off a post-beer headache? What better way than to volunteer at Salvation Army for a few hours in support of their Eastern Michigan Division?
Staying Active in Illinois
Chicago is a city that explodes with fall spirit every year. It’s also home to some incredibly active residents as well. For the aspiring runners, the Windy City is a must-see destination in the fall, if only for the annual Chicago Marathon. This annual spectacle is one of the most well-organized races in the country and draws a global crowd. It’s a great fit for both the professional athletes as well as the hobbyists. Even spectators are sure to have a great time because runners frequently dress in costumes to get the Halloween spirit flowing. Until you’ve seen a grown man dressed as a vampire trying to keep pace with the crowd, you haven’t truly lived.
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in Chicago features family events, a tree-lighting parade, and fireworks. And the Lincoln Square AppleFest salutes all things apple.
Does the hustle and bustle of the downtown area sound a little too high-octane for you? Many of the suburbs offer plenty of fall fun. If you’re not busy admiring the sheer variety of noshes available in Naperville (try the seasonal selections at tapas favorite Mesón Sabika), you could visit a dance center in Naperville and Oakbrook Terrace, IL, to shake off all the carbs! What better way to prepare for a holiday dance party than by brushing up on your moves? Another great way to stay festive in the Naperville area is by exploring the nearly endless corn maze at Keller’s Farmstead. Whether you’re exploring their charming pumpkin patch or cozying up on a picturesque wagon ride, the fall enthusiast can track down plenty of excellent activities. Make sure you try the cider, too!
Nature Walks in Ohio
If your favorite part of the fall months is watching the change of the seasons, then this is the time for you to make a stop in Ohio. The Buckeye State is home to some fabulous nature preserves, arboretums, and hiking trails. From the Dawes Arboretum in Newark, filled with its countless varieties of trees and flora, to the Mill Stream Run Reservation in the Cleveland area to engage in some fishing, tobogganing, and exploration, you’ll find no better way to get a little more in touch with your inner earth child than by visiting Ohio. Just be sure to pack some extra layers and even an umbrella because the weather is often a touch unpredictable.
If you’re gearing up for the spookiest day of the year, you’ll want to stop and pick up some custom inflatables in Brunswick, OH, to add a few haunts to your yard. As part of the Cleveland Metropolitan Area, Brunswick is a stone’s throw from Lake Erie, which offers breathtaking views in the fall. In for a scare? Brunswick is an hour from Cedar Point, which offers haunted fright nights full of thrills and chills. The park is family-friendly during the day but as it gets dark, you may not want to bring the children. Cedar Point is also a great detour for the roller coaster enthusiast as their prime attraction, the Millennium Force, is frequently voted one of the top rides in the country. If the theme park’s performers don’t scare you half to death, the roller coasters might.
Adventuring in Oregon
Autumn is often at its best in the Pacific Northwest and Oregon is no exception. From some of America’s most scenic views to an endless supply of seasonal activities, you’ll be hard- pressed to find more autumnal joy than when you’re here. One of the most popular excursions is a drive through the Hood River Fruit Loop. If you’re starting on the east side of the Hood River, you’ll follow the Fruit Loop signs down Highway 35 and into the heart of the gorge. If you’d love to take a more hands-off approach and still enjoy some stunning scenery and fall flavors, consider their all-inclusive wine tour, which can be done by a van shuttle.
Seeking a bit more of an adrenaline rush? You can’t go wrong by visiting an adventure park in Gaston, OR. Gaston’s Tree to Tree Adventure Park is the perfect way to get your blood pumping and relish the changing leaves up close. If you’re looking to get really active, try out one of their aerial obstacle courses. For a more relaxed experience, their zip line tours are still thrilling and are an excellent way to get a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings. However, if you’re afraid of heights, you may want to sit this one out. But don’t worry, the Gaston area is full of enticing fall activities such as quaint winery and vineyard excursions.
Fall in Love with Fall
Whether you’re lazing about a pumpkin patch, sipping a spiked cider at an orchard, or testing your physical mettle in a marathon, the opportunity for excitement is endless in the fall. So pack a couple of extra sweaters, get your pumpkin spice latte to go, hop in your car, and see where the autumn breeze takes you. No matter where you journey, travel safely!