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As the seasons change, you may find that fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. With the weather cooling down, scents of pumpkin spice, and foliage popping up everywhere, you won’t want to miss out on savoring this season. Enjoying the fall season doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are plenty of free fall activities you can do indoors and outdoors to make the most of this time with friends and loved ones.
Check out our list of favorite fun and practically free fall activities to add to your bucket list this year.
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50 Free Fall Activities
1. Attend a Free Fall Festival
Almost every town has a free fall festival each year. This is a great place to be intentional about embracing all the best parts of autumn. There are usually vendors, activities, rides, and more. Some elements of the fall fest might come with a fee.
However, look for festivals that have free entry and free activities for kids like coloring and crafts. You may even be able to find some free samples at the event and get a firsthand look at all the fall decorations and entertainment.
2. DIY Some Fall and Holiday Home Decor
Nothing beats a cozy home with hints of fall decor. Look through old decor items from previous years and see how you can put a new spin on some of your pieces or add autumnal elements.
Perhaps you can create a new wreath for your door with pine cones or imitation flowers.
3. Free Fall Activities Idea: Use Fall Foliage to Make Crafts
When leaves start hitting the ground, gather some for craft projects before you start raking them up. If you have kids, see if they’d like to trace the leaves, then cut them out and color them. You can also make garlands with the cutouts or make door decorations.
4. Attend Free Workshops at Home Depot and Lowe’s
Home improvement stores often offer free and creative workshops for children year-round, with different themes each month. Lowe’s recently finished up Build a Muscle Car with Your Mini-Mechanic, but you can check the schedule to see what’s being crafted next! The Home Depot offers free workshops the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon, and Lowe’s free workshops are every other Saturday morning.
5. Watch Hot-Air Balloons Take Flight
Who doesn’t stop to watch a big hot-air balloon in the sky? With near-perfect weather, autumn is an awesome time to check out HotAirBalloon.com. It lists hot-air balloon festivals all over the world!
6. Discover Nature at Outdoor Museums and Preserves
Fall brings all sorts of cool changes in nature that can be experienced at outdoor nature preserves and museums. Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in New York, for instance, offers a unique (and cheap) opportunity for the entire family to help catch and tag Monarch Butterflies before they begin their migration to Mexico.
Dawes Arboretum in Ohio, and other outdoor preserves, often offer free admission to their grounds for “strolling” and sometimes offer guided tours to showcase seasonal changes.
7. Have an Adventure at a Pick-Your-Own Apple Farm
Visit PickYourOwn.org to find a farm near you and grab a bushel of fresh apples that are prime (and cheap!) for the picking.
8. Free Fall Activities Alert: Go Corn Picking
If you’ve never picked corn before, it’s a really fun and relaxing experience. Some people actually get paid to pick corn, since farmers can grow so much of it. Unfortunately, if a farmer grows too much corn and has no one to pick it or distribute it to, the corn can go wasted.
To avoid this and create a fun family outing, call local farmers to see if they’d allow your family to pick a few ears of corn. You can add fresh corn to your dinner for the night and freeze the rest of your haul.
9. Make Corn Husk Dolls
Before you toss out your corn husks, try this fun and easy craft. All you need is some directions and a few rubber bands. You can get as creative as you’d like and even paint the dolls or add fabric for clothes.
10. Make a Fall-Themed Treat
One of the best parts of fall is the treats. Pumpkin pie, apple cider donuts, and apple fritters are all delicious fall treats that taste even better when they’re homemade. You may have the basic items to prepare some of these things already in your pantry. Generally, all you need is flour, sugar, cinnamon, butter, and some canned pumpkin to get started.
Invite the whole family to join in on making fall treats as you fill the house with a warm fall aroma.
11. Surprise Your Furry Friend(s) With Pumpkin-Flavored Dog Treats
Don’t forget your pets when whipping up tasty fall treats. Many dogs love pumpkin, and it’s safe for them to eat. This means you can easily create dog treats with just some flour, eggs, and fresh or canned pumpkin. If you have sweet potato and peanut butter lying around, these can be other ingredients to use for your dog treats.
Look for easy recipes that use fall ingredients, and you may be able to create a new tradition with your pets each year.
12. Attend a Free Event at the Library
If you’re looking to get out of the house for a while, see what events are occurring at your local library. Either check their website or stop in. There may be free craft activities for the kids, storytime, or other workshops, like creative writing or poetry for adults. Some of the events will be based on the current season, which is nice.
Libraries also tend to break up events based on age group, so there’s something for everyone to do, whether it’s movie afternoon with popcorn for teens or finger painting for young kids.
13. Take the Kids on a Fall Scavenger Hunt
Crisp autumn weather is great for exploring the trails. Pack some hike-friendly snacks, print off a great fall scavenger hunt list, and have a fun discovery day! If you’re up for it, take a look through National Geographic’s list of the 10 Best Family-Friendly Trails.
14. Tell Stories By the Fire Pit
Gather around the fire pit outside in the evenings and tell stories and catch up with loved ones. You can also roast pumpkin seeds, hot dogs, marshmallows, and watch the sun set.
15. Jump in a Pile of Leaves
When leaves start falling, don’t miss the opportunity to rake up a pile to jump in. This is also a great way to get the kids to help with raking on weekends because it won’t seem like a chore at all.
16. Embrace Nature and Hike Through a Beautiful State Park
Many national and state parks are free to visit and offer breathtaking views. From hiking trails and hills to bridges and waterfalls, there’s so much to see, so plan a trip to your nearest state or national park this fall. Some parks even offer free guided tours, along with maps and other resources, to help you make the most of your visit.
While some well-known parks do have an entrance fee, visit NPS.gov to find free entry days for specific state parks so you can save money.
17. Pick Up Leaves for a Neighbor
Giving back to others is fun, and you can make a difference in small ways by simply donating an afternoon of your time. Consider asking a friend or neighbor if you can pick up their leaves this fall, especially if it’s harder for them to get out.
18. Volunteer to Lead a Scouts Group
Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts are great organizations to be part of. Scouting helps kids gain valuable skills, make friends, and create memorable experiences. For adults, the experience can be just as rewarding. This can also be a fun way to bond with your kids and try new things.
Scouting groups tend to start up in the fall, and if you have the availability, you can volunteer to lead a troop or pack. See if your local school has scouting programs and inquire about how you can get involved.
19. Craft a Cozy No-Sew Blanket Together
This is a great, cheap, simple, and fun fall project to do with the kids! Let them pick their own fluffy patterned fleece, and after you cut the strips for them, let them help tie the ends. Perfect for snuggling during a cold movie night! Easy-to-follow directions are available on this YouTube video.
Looking for more crafts? Check out our list of farmhouse projects.
20. Fly a Kite on a Windy Fall Day
Fall weather brings a cool breeze that can be perfect for kite flying. Help your kids create a homemade kite using our easy instructions. Then let the kids decorate their kites with stickers and color them with markers. Find a place with plenty of unobstructed open sky, and let it fly!
21. Run a 5K Race
5K races are a great way to support an important cause while staying active and embracing your competitive side. Check local event sites to find upcoming 5K races in your area. You don’t have to be a professional runner, and even kids can join a 5K too.
Some races may have an admission fee, while others take a donation based on an amount you feel comfortable with. One way to join a 5K for free is to see if your employer will sponsor your entry fee. You can even wear a T-shirt with the company’s name on it to promote them during the race.
22. Visit a Pumpkin Patch With Corn Mazes and Free Hay Rides
Kids and adults alike love trying to find the biggest pumpkin in the patch. Pumpkin patches are free to enter and walk around in. Be sure to soak in all the sights, smells, and colors. Many farmers also offer free tractor-pulled hayrides and corn mazes this time of year.
Remember to grab some cornstalks and Indian corn while you’re there for fall decorating projects. Search for local pumpkin patches near you and see which freebies they offer.
23. Start a Sunday Football Tradition
Football Sunday is already a tradition in most households. If you haven’t already, start learning more about the game, make some snacks, and encourage everyone to root for their favorite team on game Sundays. You can even invite friends over and make it a potluck.
24. Go Tailgating With Friends
If you really enjoy watching football games or have a favorite college team, go tailgating at least once this fall season with friends to experience the action live and in person. You can all bring a food or snack item to contribute along with some lawn chairs and games to play before the game starts.
25. Play Corn Hole
Cornhole (or sometimes called “Bags” depending on where you live) is a fun outdoor game that doesn’t require any practice. All you need is a Cornhole set and a few bean bags to play. You can even create your own rules and divide into teams to beef up the competition.
26. Design a No-Cut “Mod Podge” Pumpkin With the Kids
Don’t let your kids sit on the sidelines while you carve pumpkins for them. Give them their own pumpkins to decorate with different colored leaves and some Mod Podge (sparkly version, please).
Let your kids dip their leaves in a small saucer full of glue and then smooth them out on the pumpkin’s surface. Add some festive foam stickers for flair. Then let them draw faces on their pumpkins with puffy paint bottles or paint markers.
27. Unplug and Go Camping
Depending on the fall day, the weather can be just right for camping. If you already have supplies, like a tent, sleeping bags, and a camping stove, you can find a free campground and enjoy a night away. Realize that you don’t have to go far to camp, even if it’s just to your backyard. Getting outdoors, slowing down, and enjoying nature will always be worth it.
28. Visit a Frisbee Park for a Free Fall Activity
Frisbee disc golf is a sport where players try to toss a disc into a basket or hit a target. The rules of the game are actually similar to golf and parks, and there are usually nine holes or more. Frisbee parks are located all over, and anyone can walk up and start playing.
Games typically last about 1.5 hours, so this could be a relaxing activity for a fall Saturday. Find your nearest park by doing a quick Google search.
29. Family Fall Photoshoot
Take advantage of the natural fall scenery and have a family photoshoot outside. Coordinate outfit colors with your family and grab a few props if you want. Then drive around to find the best spot with a great background view.
Or if you’ve set out some stellar fall decorations, simply take pictures right outside your house. Use your phone’s camera timer to create quality pictures that capture the moment.
30. Have a Pumpkin Carving Competition
This is a fun activity for a group or friend or if you have older kids. Grab a few pumpkins and have fun carving. Look up videos on YouTube for tips and tricks. And don’t forget to roast the pumpkin seeds after cleaning out your pumpkin!
Here are some ways to keep your carved pumpkin looking good.
31. Make Your Own Halloween Costume
Some Halloween costumes can be expensive. So why not make your own this year? If you’re up for the challenge, get creative and use what you already have at home to make a fun costume. If you need extra materials, visit FreeCycle.com to find giveaway items including clothing in your area.
32. Watch an Animated Halloween-themed Movie
Have a spooky Halloween movie night at home. There are tons of animated family-friendly movies to consider, like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Monster House, and Coraline, just to name a few. For more of our favorites, here’s a massive list of Halloween movies you can stream for free.
33. Go Trick-or-Treating
Trick-or-treating always presents itself for a fun night out, especially if you have kids. It’s nice to see all the different creative costumes and receive free treats.
34. Host or Attend a Local Trunk-or-Treat
Another way to make good use of your Halloween costumes is to attend a free trunk-or-treat event. Many churches and organizations host trunk-or-treats in a parking lot where each member opens their trunk and provides either some candy, a fun activity or game to play, or both.
35. Window Shop at an Antique Fair
Slow fall mornings call for coffee and antique shopping. Visit a local antique fair and browse through the items to get inspiration and new decoration ideas.
36. Host a Fall Soup Potluck
Do you have a favorite fall soup? Gather the ingredients in your home to make something tasty to share with your friends. Invite others over to share their favorite soup as well, whether it’s chili, broccoli and cheddar, or tomato and parmesan soup.
37. Savor Fall Flavors by Making Edible Play Dough
Edible playdough is fun to make with kids, and if they feel tempted to eat some, they can. This pumpkin edible play dough recipe only has three ingredients, and it’s a great sensory activity for your little ones.
38. Square Dance in Your Backyard
Swing your partner into fall with a square dancing party in your backyard. September is actually National Square Dancing Month, and it’s an easy group dance or dance routine. Or you can try line dancing if you have a smaller group. Check out YouTube for easy square dancing and line dancing routines. Then hook up your Bluetooth speaker and get moving.
39. Cozy Up and Read a Book
Nothing beats a warm cup of coffee or tea, a comfy throw blanket, and a good book. Grab a book from your collection to start this fall or rent one from the library. You can even have quiet reading time at your home for 30 minutes or so a few nights per week.
40. Host a Board Game Night
Playing board games or card games during the week will build memories and help you bond with your loved ones this season. Take turns picking out a board game to play, and bake cookies or make popcorn to snack on during the game.
41. Use Up Old Paints by Having an Abstract Art Night
Have old paint and brushes lying around? Use them up by doing an abstract art project. Abstract art paintings use shapes, colors, and textures to represent different things that may or may not be reality. In other words, you can paint whatever and however you want — and it’ll still turn out to be a nice piece of art. Painting this way can help relieve stress and may even become a new hobby to enjoy.
42. Play Flag Football
Gather some friends and play a flag football tournament on the weekends. The nice thing about flag football is that there’s no tackling, and it’s a great workout.
43. Make a Scarecrow
If you’re looking for a big craft project that the whole family can join in on, try making a scarecrow. Just as making a snowman is a popular winter tradition, this could be a fall tradition your family shares. Kids will have fun picking out clothes for the scarecrow. An adult will need to make the structure, and for this, you’ll need a few poles and lots of straw. Check out this video for full instructions.
44. Whip Up Some Delicious Caramel Apples
Caramel apples are a simple treat that signifies the fall season. Get rid of any extra apples you have in your fruit bowl with this simple recipe for homemade caramel sauce. All you need is heavy cream, brown sugar, light corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla extract. Add chopped nuts, sprinkles, or any other embellishments that you happen to have around the house.
45. Complete a Puzzle
Puzzles help you relax, clear your mind, and focus all at the same time. Set out to complete a puzzle over the next few weeks, and work on it whenever you and your family have spare time.
46. Take a Scenic Drive
Take advantage of the fall foliage with a scenic drive. Look up scenic roads and areas with parks and forestry and play “I Spy” during the drive.
47. Make a ‘Thankful Tree’
When preparing for Thanksgiving, make a thankful tree to serve as the table centerpiece, and encourage everyone to contribute to it. Use construction paper to cut out different shapes that resemble leaves. Then have each person write something they’re thankful for on each one. Tape or clip it to a small branch and add the branches to a vase with a few small fall flowers to resemble a tree.
48. Watch a Thanksgiving Parade
Whether it’s online or in your local town, consider watching a Thanksgiving parade this year for fun. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is featured live on television each year.
49. Make Homemade Thanksgiving Cards
Share your gratitude with loved ones by making homemade Thanksgiving cards this year. You can send them to relatives, friends, coworkers, teachers, or anyone who has made a positive impact. This is a great activity for kids to get creative and share what and who they’re thankful for.
50. Design a Scrapbook Featuring All Your Favorite Fall Memories
Don’t let the fall season fly by too fast. Design a scrapbook or picture album featuring all your favorite fall memories and outings so you can look back on those memories. If you have an instant camera or polaroid, like an Instax camera, you can print pictures out in real time without any added cost.