The Complete Guide to Fall Festivals in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia (updated for 2020)
Inside: Your passport to fall family fun in the Maryland area. It includes the best fall festivals in Maryland plus apples, fall foliage, pumpkins, and Halloween!
Did you see it? The leaves are starting to change. Apples are in season. The grocery store has brought back pumpkin spice.
Bring it on!
With the start of school and (hopefully) cooler weather, there are so many fantastic fall festivals and activities in the Baltimore-DC Area. Lucky for you, I have done a fair bit of research for you. Hopefully, this guide will act as your comprehensive resource for fall family fun in the greater Baltimore-DC area. I have focused this guide on families with young children (no haunted houses.. sorry). So, happy harvest! I hope you pick out the best pumpkin ever, drink the best apple cider slushie, and see the most vibrant fall colors.
Updated for 2020!
Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have removed fall events that are not being held this year. Don’t worry though, we will add them back in next year when they are back up and running!
Baugher’s Orchards and Farms:
Take a nice drive to Westminster, MD and pick some of the juiciest apples in the area. Baugher’s specializes in honey crisp apples but grows pretty much all varieties. Stop by their market for delicious apple cider donuts still warm and wash down their yummy goodness with an apple cider slushie. They also have a great little petting zoo farm.
Nestled out in Western Howard County, Woodbine, this fantastic pick your own farm will have apples ripe for picking in late September.
This fantastic farm and orchard is located in Germantown, MD.
Located in Elkton, MD, this orchard offers an ‘apple adventure’ pick your own experience.
Rock Hill Orchard:
Located in Mount Airy, MD, this pick your own orchard also boasts an on-site creamery (ice cream… yummy!)
This pick your own farm in Poolesville, MD is operated by a family who has been farming in Maryland since 1763!
Weber’s Cider Mill Farm:
Don’t let the fact that the pick your own farm is called, PeachBerry Farm. Weber’s Cider Mill Farm in Parkville, MD offers apple picking beginning in late September. Make sure you pick up some fresh apple cider and apple cider donuts as well!
Best Spots to View Fall Foliage
Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah National Park are the area’s fall foliage favorites. However, the are many fantastic places to take in the leaves. Here are just a few:
Autumn Glory Festival:
Even though this is technically a festival, not a leef peeping spot per se, no Maryland Fall Family Fun Guide would be complete with giving this annual festival a mention. This year’s festival runs from 10 to 14 October in Garrett County. Festival activities include craft shows, parades, live music, and of course.. fantastic views of the fall foliage. https://www.visitdeepcreek.com/53rd-annual-autumn-glory-festival
The C&O Canal National Historic Park:
184.5 miles of scenic trails that are great for biking and hiking. The fall colors next to the water are gorgeous. http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm
U.S. National Arboretum:
Peak bloom is in mid-to-late October, with many varieties of maple trees showing off their bright red splendor.
Patapsco Valley State Park:
Any of the regions of this park would be great for fall foliage viewing. However, areas that are more accessible for families with small kids include the Hollofield Area off of Baltimore National Pike (Route 40) and the Avalon Area in Elkridge. Read my review about exploring this great park with young kids!
Great Falls Park:
Both the Virginia and Maryland sides of the park offer great fall leaf viewing and easy hikes for kids.
Located in Dickerson, MD has a fantastic vantage point for leaf peeping. You can drive to the overlook, so it is great for kids.
Elk Neck State Park
Located in Cecil County. The leaves turn in late October/early November in this Chesapeake area park. Take the 1 mile hike to Turkey Point Lighthouse for spectacular views.
Cunningham Falls State Park
This great state park in the Catoctin Mountains is gorgeous anytime of the year. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see the falls with the backdrop of the fall leaves?
Oregon Ridge Park and Nature Center:
Not only will the leaves be gorgeous, but during the first weekend in October, the Nature Center will host a Honey Harvest Festival (exact dates TBD), complete with crafts, puppet shows, hayrides, and a campfire with smores! http://www.oregonridgenaturecenter.org/honeyhrvst.html
Gunpowder Falls State Park
This state park in Kingsville is a Maryland favorite. Lots of Aspen trees make the fall leaf season quite spectacular.
Swallow Falls State Park
If you are headed to Western Maryland you have to check out this park in Oakland, MD. Check out the hike to Muddy Creek Falls, a 53′ waterfall.
Fall Festivals/Pumpkin Festivals
Note: Many of the farms that have pick your own apple orchards, also offer pumpkin patches. Unless the farm offers a significant festival I did not list it in this section. However, if you want a more ‘authentic’ pumpkin patch, I would check out one of the farms in the apple picking section. Many of them do offer hayrides as well.
I can’t say enough great things about this pumpkin festival. It really does have it all. If you want lots of details about what to expect, check out this post I wrote about it last year!
Ok, so I didn’t know fall festivals had transformed from hayrides and pumpkin picking to a hay-themed amusement park until Sweet Pea and I visited Summer’s Farm Harvest Festival last year. Read this post to find out more about all the fun attractions at this festival, or visit their site at: http://summersfarm.com/. Additionally, check out their evening corn maze, campfire, and fireworks weekends. Totally cool!
Milburn Orchards is not just about apple picking. Nope, they open up their big Backyard every weekend in the fall season and host themed events like Apple Harvest or Pumpkin Harvest weekend, Autumn Colors, and Trick or Treat weekend. Admission includes access to all the fun activities in the backyard, a boo barn, corn maze, and a petting zoo. https://www.milburnorchards.com/fall-fun-parties/
Weber’s Cider Mill Farm:
In addition to pick your own apples and pumpkins, Weber’s opens up its barnyard fun area every fall. Activities include hillside slides, a boo barn, hay bale maze, hayrides, and the tire mountain. http://www.weberscidermillfarm.com/webers-farm-news-upcoming-events.php
Buppert’s Doran’s Chance Farm:
This cute farm in Carroll County is perfect for families with young kids. There is a super fun corn maze, a hayride out to the pumpkin fields where you will pick the pumpkins off the vine, and a few animals to feed as well. The pumpkin season runs weekends during October.
Gaver Farm Fall Fun Festival:
Located in Mount Airy, MD, this fall festival starts earlier than most– it opens September 6th and is open every day through November 3rd! The festival boasts over 45 attractions, including a huge corn maze (and a smaller kiddie maze), cow trains, jumping pillows, giant slides, and a petting farm. In the evening, they host campfires and a flashlight corn maze experience. Here is my review of the festival. http://www.gaverfarm.com/fall/fall-fun-festival/
MD Corn Maze
This great corn maze in Gambrills, MD is great fall fun for the family and they are really kicking it up in 2019 with a Harry Potter themed corn maze. How awesome is that? In addition to the corn maze there are tons of other Harry Potter and fall themed activities. We have never been but I think we will have to check this one out this fall! https://mdcornmaze.com/
Sharp’s at Waterford Farm
A great family friendly option in Brookville, MD will start their fall festivities on Saturday, September 28th. This farm, which is operational throughout the year, will offer hayrides, pumpkin picking, scarecrow making, a corn maze, and feeding farm animals. Read my review too! http://sharpfarm.com/
Clark’s Elioak Farm:
Clark’s Elioak Farm is great anytime of the year. However, it is really super fun in the fall. In addition to the petting farm, there is pick your own pumpkins and special fall festival weekends. Check out my review of the farm too. http://www.clarklandfarm.com/special_weekend_events.html
Homestead Gardens Fall Festival
Check out their location in Davidsonville, MD. They kick off the annual Fall Fest on September 21st with a barnyard, corn maze, and pumpkin patch. https://homesteadgardens.com/product-category/fall-festival-packages-2/
Montpelier Farms Family Farm Park
This farm park in Upper Marlboro, MD started the season early, by opening their fall festival in mid-September. Festivities include a corn maze, hayride, campfires, duck races, gem stone mining, giant slides, and more. http://montpelierfarms.com/227853/index.html
During weekends in October, this farm in Waldorf, MD opens it gates to the public for an authentic pumpkin patch experience. http://www.shlagelfarms.com/autumn-fun–pumpkins.html
https://winterbrookfarmsmd.com/Located in Thurmont, MD, this fall festival boasts the largest corn maze in Maryland. Other activities include pumpkin picking, a zipline, mountain slides and 20 other fun attractions.
Located on the Eastern Shore, the Lockbriar Farm Harvest Festival runs every weekend mid-September through the end of October. They offer loads of activities including a pumpkin patch, apple cider slushies, and more!
This sweet little farm in Talbot County first got on our radar due to their ice cream (yes please!). Well, they also offer a pumpkin patch and Field of Fun in the Fall!
They are open 7 days a week starting September 3rd through Halloween. Family activities include a jumping pillow, tractor ride, fun combine playground, and more! Check out the details here.
There are tons of great fall festivals in Virginia each year. Here are some of the favorites!
Leesburg Animal Park Pumpkin Village
This is such a fun animal park with great fall activities. The fall activities include a maze, hill slides, moon bounce, and spider web crawl. http://www.pumpkinfestleesburg.com/
Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Family Days:
In addition to just being a super nice place to visit and take in the fall foliage, Mount Vernon hosts a really fun 18th/19th style fall harvest festival. Festivities include farming demonstrations, a discounted river cruise tickets, live entertainment, and more. For more information on this event, you can check out our experience last year here. http://www.mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/calendar/events/fall-harvest-family-days/
Great Country Farms’ Fall Harvest Pumpkin Festival
This super fun fall festival kicks off on October 1st. This farm, located in Bluemont, VA includes a huge corn maze, pig races, jumping pillows, pedal carts, rope swings, and cider donuts. http://greatcountryfarms.com/festivals-events/fall-pumpkin-harvest-festival/
Wegmeyer Farms and Wayside Farm Fun:
Wegmeyer Farms, which grows 50 varieties of pumpkins, partners with the Wayside Farm in Berryville, VA to deliver some fantastic family fun. There are pig races, a corn maze, hayrides, and much more. Festivities start September 20th and 21st and runs weekends through the first weekend in November. For information see either of these websites:
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
This super fun farm in Lancaster, PA is basically a fall festival amusement park. There are so many attractions like the 5-acre corn maze, the Farm Experience, giant slides, build your own Lincoln Log Cabin, fling tennis balls with the giant slinger, and rubber duck races. http://www.cherrycrestfarm.com/
Maize Quest Corn Maze and Fun Park
Located in New Park, PA, this fun park seems similar to the Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. More than 30 attractions including a giant corn maze, pumpkin patch, straw bale maze, giant slides, barnyard board game, and a pumpkin patch. http://www.mazefunpark.com/
Halloween With Young Kids
There are quite a few Truck or Treat or Kid Friendly Trick or Treat events in Maryland. This list is likely not complete, but I have tried to link to as many as I could find, mostly in Maryland. Thanks!
Truck or Treat at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center in Glenwood:
October 24th 10AM-3PM (10-11AM is the sensory friendly hour). This annual trick or treating event is a huge hit as there are tons of trucks that kids can not only hit up for candy, but actually climb on board. There is a $2 entry fee. Click here for more information.
Halloween Tricks, Treats, and Trees at the Robinson Nature Center:
October 24th and 25th– two sessions starting at 9AM. Enjoy a friendly, self-guided trick-or-treating adventure through Robinson’s indoor exhibits and paved trail. Delight in Halloween-inspired music, crafts and tyke-friendly challenges along with live animals and healthy treats from our sponsors (MOM’s Organic Market and David’s Natural Market). All ages- $10, child; $5, adult; Free, siblings under 1 year old. Click here for more information.
Happy Haunted Hayride at Rockburn Branch Park:
October 18th and 25th at 2PM. This Halloween hayride is cute, friendly and not-so-scary for little ones. This event is for fun – not fright! For ages 2-7 years old. $5 cost– cash only. (here is the 2019 information… keep checking back for the 2020 ticket information) Click here for more information.
Trail of Jack O Lanterns at Green Meadows Petting Farm:
The 2020 Dates are October 16-17, 23-24, and 30-31. This is a relatively new festival and it looks totally awesome! Here is the information from the Green Meadows Farm website: The price of admission is $10.00 (cash or $10.50 credit) for everyone ages 2 to 92 and includes our expanded trail of lights, jack-o-lanterns of all shapes and sizes, fire pits, and our Animal Barn to see your furry friends. Available for purchase will be Halloween wagon rides; sweet treats; s’mores, Pumpkin flashlights, glow necklaces, face painting and more! The fun starts at 6:00 p.m. and last admission is at 7:30 p.m. The trail will open for walkers at 6:50 p.m. and wagon rides will begin at 7:00 p.m. Mark those calendars for this fun event you don’t want to miss! This fun fall festival ends at 10:00 p.m. https://greenmeadowsevents.com/events/trail-jack-o-lanterns
Boo at the Zoo at the National Zoo:
23-25 October 2020. Animal demonstrations, 40 treat stations, and live entertainment. https://nationalzoo.si.edu/events/boo-zoo
AnnMarie Sculpture Garden Halloween In the Garden:
October 24th, 10AM-4PM. $2/person. More than 70 community organizations and businesses will decorate booths, don costumes, and hand out candy and treats to all the children. Some free activities will be provided and devilishly delicious food vendors will be present. http://www.annmariegarden.org/annmarie2/content/halloween-garden
Town of North Beach Halloween BOO Bash:
October 31st, 3-5PM. Children’s Costume Contest, trick or treating, and a screening of The Addams Family (as a drive-in movie) at dusk. https://www.northbeachmd.org/special-events/pages/boo-bash
I hope you have a great fun fall season!
Thanks for checking out this guide!