Everyone thinks of fall as apple picking season. And apple picking is great — don’t get me wrong. But when my family goes apple picking, we fight the crowds, someone always winds up with a tummy ache, and we pick more apples than we can eat. It’s a once-a-season trip for us. There are so many other awesome things for families to do in the fall! Here are my top seven fall activities for families in and near Boston:
Plant some bulbs
Every spring and summer I think about the garden I could have had if I’d gotten my act together earlier. Bulb flowers like tulips and daffodils are best planted in the fall, as are trees and shrubs. Get out there while the weather is still somewhat warm! For maximum success, plant about six weeks ahead of the first frost.
Find a festival
Many towns in Massachusetts have harvest festivals or Oktoberfests. In addition to local festivals you’ll find in your neighborhood, here are some great, family-friendly festivals to attend in and around Boston:
Harvest Festival at Powisset Farm in Dover (October 6): A hay maze, field day activities, animals, cider pressing, seasonal vendors, and so much more!
Honk! in Somerville (October 11–13): A celebration of music, community, and activism.
Boston Book Festival in Copley Square (October 19–20): A variety of events for the whole family that promote a culture of reading.
Take a hike
Fall is a great time to get outside. It’s no longer too hot and not yet too cold. Blue Hills and Middlesex Fells are great hiking spots close to the city. Or check out the best day hikes in Massachusetts for a new spot.
Play in some leaves
Get outside and rake the leaves with your kids! Make a huge pile — and have them jump in it. Make a few stacks and have a leaf fight. Collect some of the prettiest leaves and press them in a book. Or do one of these 10 autumn leaf crafts.
Salem is infamous for its witch trials and gets particularly ghostly in the fall around Halloween. All through October is “Haunted Happenings,” with a variety of family-friendly events. Visit on “Wicked Wednesdays” and “Wicked Weekends” for costumed characters, crafts, and face painting. With movies, parades, and various tours, there are many events daily at the end of September and during the month of October.
Visit a museum
Yes, you can do this any time of year, but there are two big advantages to doing it in the fall. Exhibits often change in the fall, so you’ll be the first to see something new. And museums tend to be less crowded in the fall for a few reasons: School is back in session, and the weather isn’t hot/cold enough to lead people to take refuge indoors.
Go to a game
Patriots and Red Sox games are great for families, if you can get tickets. But how about the Revolution (men’s soccer), the Cannons (men’s lacrosse), the Storm (women’s lacrosse), or the Renegades (women’s soccer)? It might be more fun for little ones to watch a college sports game or even a game at your local high school. Concessions are much cheaper at the local level, too, and proceeds often support the schools!