Where to Find the Best Fall Festivals in the U.S.
Pumpkins and ciders and gourds: oh my!
It happens every year, right? As soon as the days start getting shorter and cooler, our minds go into autumn overdrive. Maybe it’s the gorgeous fall foliage; maybe it’s the smell of PSL in the air. But there’s no denying that we’re ready to spend our weekends at fall festivals!
Whether you’re there for the cider or just taking ‘gram-worthy pics in the pumpkin patch, we’ve got your guide to the best fall festivals across the country.
Apple Harvest Festival (Arendtsville, PA)
If you skip the pumpkin spice, well, everything, there’s one other flavor that dominates the fall scene: apples. Apple cider, caramel apples, apple fritters; you get the idea.
The Apple Harvest Festival has that traditional fall festival feel, with all the classic elements: hay rides, kettle corn, funnel cakes, and more. The entertainment includes antique car shows, live music, and more than 300 arts and crafts vendors.
But really, enjoy the food. Along with all the apple-y goodness, you’ll find barbecue pits, sweet potato fries, ribeye steak sandwiches, sausages… Is your mouth watering yet?
Pro Tip: Not sure where to fly into? The festival is located “just a gas tank away” from Baltimore, DC, Philly, or Pittsburgh.
Best Fall Festival If: you eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze (Hudson, NY)
No one does special events quite like NY does, and that includes fall festivals. Each autumn, the swanky Van Cortlandt Manor gets a fall upgrade with the addition of over 7,000 illuminated pumpkins. All expertly hand-carved by local artisans.
The can’t-miss here is the River of Light, where you can actually walk under and through a Jack O’Lantern tunnel. Oh, and to complete the over-the-top feel, the lighting effects are synchronized to the event’s original soundtrack.
Best Fall Festival If: you prefer the gourd-geous side of the season
Harvest on the Harbor (Portland, ME)
Do oysters and spirits go together? Portland sure thinks so!
Harvest on the Harbor kicks off with some of Maine’s finest distillers, all under one roof. Choose your favorite Maine-made spirit: gin, vodka, bourbon, rum, and more. And you’ll get food pairings to complement those drinks, too.
The festivities also include Maine OysterFest, with choice oysters from the Maine coast. More drinks are on the table, too — local breweries provide the drinks to go with those fresh oysters.
Best Fall Festival If: you’re into sipping (drinks) and slurping (oysters)
Helen Oktoberfest (Helen, GA)
No list of fall festivals could be complete without an Oktoberfest entry! And believe it or not, one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the U.S. actually takes place in… the South!
But Helen isn’t just a charming little mountain town. It’s a full-blown German enclave, complete with Bavarian-style buildings and Alpine-inspired restaurants.
Most of the festivities take place in the city’s Festhalle, with the classic Oktoberfest food and (ahem!) drinks. You’ll also get to enjoy some traditional music and dancing. Who’s up for a lively polka?
Best Fall Festival If: you’re craving goulash
Knott’s Spooky Farm (Buena Park, CA)
Fall festivals get a spook-tacular twist for the kiddos at the famous Knott’s Berry Farm. The not-so-scary fun is geared toward kiddos aged 3-11.
Their popular rides and attractions transform into a Halloween-themed adventure. Think trick-or-treating through Ghost Town and decorating cookies in the pumpkin patch. Our favorite, though, is The Great Pumpkin Palooza, a high-energy show featuring Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang.
Best Fall Festival If: you’re traveling with the littles
Maximize your fall festival time by shipping your luggage to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess. Go from the plane straight to the festival without having to wait at baggage claim or go out of your way to drop off bags.
Enjoy your fall fun!