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The Complete Guide to Fall Festivals in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia (updated for 2021)

The Complete Guide to Fall Festivals in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia (updated for 2021)

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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 2021!

 

fall family fun activity bundle

fall festivals in maryland

Apple Picking

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.
http://www.baughers.com/baughers_pick_your_own.php

Larriland Farm:

Nestled out in Western Howard County, Woodbine, this fantastic pick your own farm will have apples ripe for picking in late September.
http://www.pickyourown.com/todays-harvest/

Butlers Orchard:

This fantastic farm and orchard is located in Germantown, MD.
http://www.butlersorchard.com/pick-your-own/

Milburn Orchards:

Located in Elkton, MD, this orchard offers an ‘apple adventure’ pick your own experience.
https://www.milburnorchards.com/apples/

Rock Hill Orchard:

Located in Mount Airy, MD, this pick your own orchard also boasts an on-site creamery (ice cream… yummy!)
http://www.rockhillorchard.com/

Homestead Farms:

This pick your own farm in Poolesville, MD is operated by a family who has been farming in Maryland since 1763!
http://www.homestead-farm.net/

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!
http://www.weberscidermillfarm.com/

fall family fun baltimore

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/54th-annual-autumn-glory-festival

fall family fun activity bundle

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.
https://wamu.org/story/18/10/09/see-best-fall-foliage-near-washington/

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.
http://www.nps.gov/grfa/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm

Sugarloaf Mountain:

Located in Dickerson, MD has a fantastic vantage point for leaf peeping. You can drive to the overlook, so it is great for kids.
http://www.sugarloafmd.com/index.html

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.
http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/elkneck.aspx

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?
http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/western/cunningham.aspx

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.
http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/gunpowder.aspx

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.
http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/swallowfalls.aspx

Annapolis

Maybe not quite known as a fall leafing destination, but it may be the best time to visit Annapolis. Home to the US Naval Academy, a walking tour in the crisp air and changing leaves create a memorable experience.
 

Seneca Creek State Park

Stretching along 14 miles of Seneca Creek, Seneca Creek State Park and in particular, Clopper Lake, is the perfect place to see breathtaking fall colors. The view of the trees reflecting in the water of Clopper Lake is unforgettable.
 

Loch Raven Reservoir

Loch Raven Reservoir is incredibly beautiful and offers quite a few easy hikes for kids. You can go for a short 1 hour hike, bring a picnic and hang out by the water, or even rent a kayak! The colors in the fall are absolutely stunning!
 

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.

fall family fun baltimore

Maryland

Butler’s Orchard:

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!

Summer’s Farm:

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: 

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/

fall family fun activity bundle

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

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch

This pumpkin patch in Middletown, MD has been rated as one of the top 10 pumpkin patches in America. Of course, you have to check it out, right? Festivities include a corn maze, crafts vendors each weekend, the pumpkin patch and hayrides (of course), petting zoo, horse drawn wagon rides and more!
 
 

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.
http://www.bupperts.com/pumpkin-patch-hayrides-carroll-county-md.php

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

Schlagel Farms:

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

Winterbrook Farms:

 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. 

Lockbriar Farms

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!

Click here for more details. 

Councell FArms

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.

Rock Hill Orchard

This is a really nice orchard in Mount Airy, MD and (hint hint) it is collocated with one of the stops on the MD Ice Cream Trail! In the fall, you can take a hayride out to pick pumpkins and apples, try out the pumpkin cannon, get lost in a corn maze, watch cows get milked, and even bottle feed the calves yourself (every day at 4pm). 
 
 

Knightongale Farms

Located in Harwood, MD (Anne Arundel County), this delightful farm offers pumpkin picking, a corn maze, hayrides, and a number of other seasonal fun activities for kids. Free activities include pedal carts, a straw bale playground, and a petting farm. 
 

Emily’s Produce

This fantastic family run farm in Cambridge, MD has a lot to offer from pick your own fruit and flowers to grass fed beef. In the late summer/early fall they also have pick your own sunflower fields and (I think) a small sunflower maze. And after that they host a great pumpkin patch and corn maze!
 

Legacy Farm Lawnscapes

A great family farm in Southern Maryland, Legacy Farm offers pumpkin picking, a corn maze, pumpkin launching, tractor rides, animals, and more!

 

fall family fun baltimore

Virginia/DC

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 Festival:

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.

https://www.mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/calendar/events/fall-harvest-festival/

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/

fall family fun activity bundle

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:
https://wegmeyerfarmsshop.com/pick-your-own-pumpkins/
http://www.waysidefarmfun.com/

Cox Farms

Back for 2021! This Fall Festival is AMAZING and if you are in Northern Virginia.. it’s a MUST do. Their fall festival offers pumpkin picking, slides, swings, loads of great eats and entertainment.. and the coolest ‘not so spooky’ spooky hayride we have ever been on!

coxfarms.com

fall family fun baltimore

Pennsylvania

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!

Family Halloween Party – Monrovia

Adventure Park USA in Monrovia is home to the Not-so-Scary Family Halloween Party 6-9 p.m. Oct. 30th in 2021. Children are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costume for an evening of fun, games and trick-or-treating.
 
Party admission prices include a light meal, games and attractions such as laser tag, rock wall climbing, a rope course and bumper cars. Trick-or-treaters can also meet superhero and cartoon characters during the evening. Adults attending with children can also purchase discounted admission tickets, as well as enjoy a light meal. 
 

Green Meadows Petting Farm — Trail Of Jack-O-Lanterns

This super fun petting farm in Urbana, MD hold a super kid friendly Jack-O-Lantern trail on select weekend days in October. The 2021 dates areOctober 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30, from 6-10PM. The cost is $14/person- credit card only. Green Meadows will offer a 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. 
 

Garden Glow at Ladew Topiary Garden

Now in it’s 4th year, this is a unique and unforgettable Halloween experience! From their website: ‘ Be dazzled by our showcase of hundreds of creative jack o’ lanterns carved by artists,….plus illuminated sculptures and installations, live music and strolling performers, family-friendly educational activities for children, and delicious eats from local food vendors, beer, wine & spirits.’
Garden Glow runs 5-9pm October 21-23, 2021.
 

Truck or Treat at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center in Glenwood:  

This is such a fun event… it’s a trunk or treat AND a truck touching event! Your kids will love it! $5 per child ages 2+ (under 2, free) Register for a one-hour & 15 min time slot.  Date: October 30th from 10am-3pm.
 

Happy Haunted Hayride at Rockburn Branch Park:  

Happy Haunted Hayride: It’s cute, it’s friendly and not so scary. This hayride is for fun – not fright! 2-7 yrs + Rockburn Branch Pk (Montgomery Rd) $5 per person at gate (cash only) Oct 17, 24, 31 2-4pm

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/recreation-parks/happy-haunted-hayride-2-7-yrs

Annmarie Sculpture Garden- Halloween in the Garden

From the website: ” Join us for a family-friendly Halloween festival at our beautiful 30 acre park.  With timed-entry tickets and activities spread out across the park, there will be lots of room for eveyrone.  More than 50 local businesses and organizations will be here handing out treats for the kids, plus there will be fun and games, a DJ dance party, food trucks, and more!   Dress up the whole family and come enjoy a spooktakular day at Annmarie!”
 
Date and Time(s): Oct 23 2021– 10:00am- 4:00pm; rain or shine; no pets; no smoking/vaping
Admission:  Reserve your timed entry tickets online; $5/person; age 2 & under free;
 

Halloween Spook Out in Ocean City

From the website: “Northside Park Ballfield is the place to be for our annual Halloween “Spook Out” Party this Fall! We can assure FUN FOR ALL! Participants of all ages, including parents, enjoy carnival games, arts and crafts, hayrides, and snacks! The Costume contest will be the highlight of the day! Photo spots available throughout the event.”
 
Date: October 24, 2021 1-3PM
Location: Northside Park
Price: One full bag of individually wrapped candy per child

Activities Printable Bundle

I hope you have a great fun fall season!

Thanks for checking out this guide!

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Ashley

Tuesday 4th of September 2018

Also excited for an worsted 2018 list! I look forward to these lists EVERY YEAR!!! THank you for such great ideas!

Erin Buhr

Thursday 15th of October 2015

This is so great Sara! What an amazing resource for families that live in the area!!

sara

Thursday 15th of October 2015

Thank you so much Erin. I know you have a great eye for fun things to do with kids... so, I really really appreciate your kind words. :-)

Fun Things to Do With Kids in Maryland: Gaver Farm Fall Fun Festival- Sunshine Whispers

Tuesday 29th of September 2015

[…] and I had every opportunity we could grab. However, the first time I took Sweet Pea to one of this area’s fall festivals, I experienced pangs of loss. The fall season has always been fun… but when did it get […]

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