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Fun Activities to do this Fall in Ohio (2021)

If you ask me, fall is the best time of year to get out and explore Ohio. Warm days and cool nights are the perfect weather for exploring Ohio’s small towns and farms.

In the Midwest, it’s also harvest time, which means we celebrate with comfort foods like apple butter and pumpkin pie.

Whether you enjoy a scenic drive to check out covered bridges surrounded by fall foliage, or head to an apple orchard to pick your own apples, you are sure to find fun fall activities for the whole family in Ohio.

A field of sunflowers on a sunny day with a close-up of one sunflower with an ant crawling on it.

Things to do in the Fall in Ohio 

From apple picking to haunted houses, to scenic drives and fall festivals, we’re sharing plenty of ways for you to enjoy fall in the Buckeye State.

Apple Orchards

A path in an apple orchard lined with trees heavy with read apples on each side.
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Apple orchards are the best places to get into the fall spirit in Ohio and other Midwest states.

Not only can you spend the day apple picking and stock up on apples for the upcoming winter, but you can also have a fun family day outdoors, enjoying sweet apple-flavored treats. Many Ohio apple orchards open up to the public each fall and they are more popular than ever. You typically pay by the basket or the bag and can grab as many apples as you want.

Get ready to fill the house with the delicious aroma of baked apples, apple cider, applesauce, apple pie, caramel apples, and our absolute favorite- apple donuts!

Corn Mazes

A field of corn with a sign that says Corn Maze
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Like apple orchards, corn mazes are a fun part of fall in any Midwest state, including Ohio!

Each fall, corn farmers across the United States mow intricate patterns into their cornfields. From the ground level, it’s just a maze to find your way out of, but most farms will also provide an aerial view showing the design for that year.

They may even have bridges over some sections so you can see the pattern for yourself! If you’ve never been to a corn maze, they are super fun and can vary from easy and family-friendly to more challenging mazes.

Many Ohio corn mazes also have other activities like petting zoos or tractor rides that allow you to make a full day of the outing. Check out some of these corn mazes in Ohio:

Haunted Houses

Creepy image with a spider web, jack-o-lantern, fall leaves and the word "Haunted House" in neon green.
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For adventurers and thrill-seekers, nothing says Halloween like haunted houses. They spring up everywhere in the fall, from urban parking lots to remote farms and barns.

Some haunted houses are all guts and gore and scare tactics, while other Ohio destinations are actually haunted places, so you may not get the same thrill, and they require more patience if you’re waiting around on a ghost to find you. There are some great haunted houses in Ohio, ranging from family-friendly to super-duper scary.

No matter where you live in Ohio, one of these Haunted Houses is worth the drive!

Hayrides

A red sign with yellow lettering spells out the word hayrides. In the background you see a field and barn structure with a pink wooden cartoon looking pig.
Photo Credit: Canva

Hayrides or hayrack rides are a quintessential fall activity for many kids in Ohio.

What started as a practical farm activity for getting all the farmhands back to the house at the end of the day has now become a fun way for city kids to see a fun slice of farm life. For those not familiar, a hayride is simply a wagon or cart pulled by a tractor, often with bales of hay used as seating in the wagon.

Whether you head to your uncle’s farm or one of these public hayrack rides, be sure to squeeze one in before the season ends! Some of these Ohio hayrides are on the scarier side, so be sure to read the details before bringing little ones along!

Oktoberfest

Many Ohio towns have a strong German heritage, so it’s no surprise that you’ll be able to celebrate Oktoberfest from Northeast Ohio to Central Ohio and beyond!

Of course, Munich Germany is home to the original and largest Oktoberfest, which doesn’t even fall in October! This fall festival runs for 16-17 days leading up to the first Sunday in October, so it’s really more of a September-fest. Most people think of beer when they think of Oktoberfest. In the states, it’s also a chance to celebrate German heritage through live entertainment, authentic German food, and games.

The largest Oktoberfest in Ohio is in Cincinnati, but there are German fall festivals all over the state, many that offer free admission!

Pumpkin Patches

A pumpkin patch with large orange pumpkins ready to harvest.
Photo Credit: Canva

Pumpkins and fall go hand in hand. Starbucks releases their ever-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte in late August, which is the opening of the fall season for many.

Dozens of pumpkin spice treats start hitting the shelves soon after. But real pumpkins are still a major part of fall celebrations. While you can buy pumpkins just about anywhere, pumpkin patches are the best option for families looking for fall activities in Ohio. It’s a fun chance to pick your own pumpkins, and most likely indulge in some pumpkin-flavored treats as well.

Bring a wagon for the kids and hit one of these Ohio pumpkin farms this fall!

Sunflower Fields

Field of small sunflowers.
Photo Credit: Canva

Visiting a sunflower field in late summer/early fall is another great way to usher in a new season.

Sunflowers in Ohio typically bloom in late summer or early fall so it’s the perfect opportunity to get into that fall mindset before the pumpkin patches and apple orchards open in mid-to-late fall. Some very popular sunflower fields happen to be on private property, so always know where you’re going and make sure you are not trespassing.

For those farmers who do graciously open their fields for free, make sure to leave the fields as clean as you left them.

Fall Festivals

A sign that says Festival
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Want all of these fall activities in one place? Fall festivals are one of the best things about fall in Ohio, especially in farm country. It’s a time to celebrate the fall harvest and indulge in fall’s bounties before settling in for the long Midwest winter.

Towns all over the state welcome the harvest season and cooler weather with fun festivals featuring live music, great food, and fun activities for the entire family. They often include food trucks, hayrides, corn mazes, petting zoos, and more! Many towns host fall-themed parades and pageants for local kids to participate in.

Ohio has some really fun fall festivals; these are just a few of our favorites, not including Oktoberfest celebrations, which have their own category!

Farmers Markets

Fruits and vegetables at a roadside stand with people paying for a purchase.
Photo Credit: Canva

Pumpkins and apples aren’t the only things being harvested in the fall.

This is your last chance to pick up fruits and vegetables from your local farms before winter sets in. Not only can you stock up on produce, but you can also chat with the farmers and get recipes or tips for canning and preserves your fall bounty to get through the winter. You may also have the opportunity to buy Ohio-raised beef, pork, or poultry. That deep freeze in your garage is not just for ice cream!

Many farmer’s markets also host craft vendors, so this is not a bad time to start some early Christmas shopping. 

Football Games

A football laying on the 50 yard line
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What is fall without football? In most American homes, these two things go hand in hand.

Pre-season pro football games kick off at the end of summer, while high school and college teams hit the field before school starts. With the exception of pro teams, the end of fall brings the end of football season.

There are endless opportunities to take in a football game in Ohio, from your local high school to the NFL. Ohio has more Division I College football teams than any other state besides Pennsylvania.

Grab your fall sweaters, scarves, and mittens and hit one of these Ohio football fields, or find a local game close to home!

Petting Zoos

Petting sheep and feeding them at a Petting Zoo
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Petting zoos seem to be another fun activity for all ages each fall in Ohio.

As farmers wind down the harvest season, many open their farms to the public and offer petting zoos where you can meet, pet, and feed the farm animals. Of course, many of the fall activities already listed often include petting zoos.

Many corn mazes also feature a pumpkin patch and petting zoo, so you can easily spend a whole day enjoy fall festivities at these Ohio farms and zoos. 

Scenic Drives

A single multi-colored leaf in hues of yellow, orange and red laying on a windshield.
Photo Credit: Canva

One of the best things to do in Ohio in the fall is to take a drive!

When fall colors hit Ohio, it’s a beautiful reminder of the cycle of life for all beings, and one last taste of vibrant surroundings and warm weather. Ohio has many scenic drives, including 27 scenic byways of Ohio. So you can stay close to home, or string together several scenic roads for a multi-day trip throughout the state. Check the local fall color forecast and don’t forget your camera!

You just might find the perfect place for your family photoshoot!

Do you have a favorite fall event or attraction that you think should be on our list? Leave us a comment below and tell us about it.

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