Fall Activities for Families in Northern Virginia
Fall is one of my favorite holidays, and I can’t get enough of the vibrant foliage colors, excessive amounts of pumpkins, and the crisp air. The summer days of entertaining our children are officially over, so it’s time to consider how to fill those fall weekends.
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Fall is one of my favorite holidays, and I can’t get enough of the vibrant foliage colors, excessive amounts of pumpkins, and the crisp air.
The summer days of entertaining our children are officially over, so it’s time to consider how to fill those fall weekends.
There are plenty of fall activities for families in Northern Virginia, and I’ve got you covered on all the fun that is taking place in our backyard this season. So, break out your planner and start taking notes.
Fall Festivals in Northern Virginia
Photo by Kelly O’Lone/Cox Farms Fall Festival
Cox Farms Fall Festival - Sept. 17-18, Sept 24-Nov. 8
Cox Farms is already on my list of activities for kids in Northern Virginia; however, it also has a fantastic Fall Festival. The festival has hayrides, tunnels, slides, a corn maze, farm animals, a tractor museum, tastings, and much more.
For the older kids, the Fields of Fear runs Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 23-Nov.5 and offers a frightfully good time. The special event features a scary corn maze, frightful hay rides, and plenty more scares. Fields of Fear isn’t recommended for children under 12, and all children under 14 must be with an adult.
Cost: Prices vary from $10-$25, depending on the day. As expected, you will pay more on weekends.
Notes: You must buy your tickets online ahead of time. Fields of Fear is a separate event and requires its own ticket.
15621 Braddock Rd., Centreville, VA 20120
Great Country Farms - October 1 - October 31
Photo by Great Country Farms via Instagram
Another favorite fall festival of our family is at Great Country Farms. The popular farm offers hayrides to pick pumpkins and apples and has a wide range of activities throughout the farm. Kids will enjoy the numerous playgrounds, two jump pillows, and various slides peppered throughout the farm.
In addition, you can purchase animal feed for the many goats throughout the farm or say hello to the pigs and chickens. There also is a corn maze, apple cider tasting, roasting marshmallows, and don’t forget to pick up your pack of freshly made apple cider donuts.
Cost: Weekday: $10/Child & $12/Adult. Weekend: $14/Child & $16/Adult
It’s highly recommended that you purchase your tickets online, as weekends can sell out.
18780 Foggy Bottom Rd., Bluemont, VA 20135
Pumpkin Village at Leesburg Animal Park - Sept. 17 - Nov. 6
Photo by Kelly O’Lone/Leesburg Animal Park
While the Leesburg Animal Park is open year-round, you can enjoy the Pumpkin Village throughout the fall. The festivities include several bounce houses, a petting zoo, zip line, hill rides, pillow bounce, wagon rides, a corn bin, and weekend entertainment.
In addition to the fall activities, you can also walk around the park and enjoy seeing zebras, goats, birds, deer, and other animals. If you plan on feeding the animals, buy a feed cup while purchasing your tickets. One cup was plenty for my three kids.
Cost: Prices vary depending on the date, but expect it to be around $17.95/Children & Seniors and $20.95/Adults. It’s best to buy your tickets online, as prices increase by $1 when bought on-site.
19246 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg, VA 20175
Nalls Produce Stand and Festival - October 2 - November 8
Photo by Nalls Produce via Instagram
While the Nalls Produce Stand and Festival isn’t huge, it’s great for little ones. The family-run stand features their Pumpkin Wall and Pumpkin Hill with plenty of pumpkins for the whole family. You can find the produce stand in the Alexandria/Kingstowne area, which is not very far from the Springfield Towne Center.
7310 Beulah St., Alexandria, VA 22315
Reston Farm Garden Market Fall Fest - Sept. 24 - Oct. 31 (weekends)
Photo by Reston Farm Garden Market via Instagram
The Reston Farm Garden Market Fall Fest offers train rides around the garden market, a petting zoo, a free pumpkin per child, a bounce house, games, and plenty more activities. There are 90-minute time slots beginning at 10 am, so remember that while planning your visit.
Cost: Children: Early Bird Special before Sept. 1 $22, after the price goes up to $28 per child. Adults are $7, and children under two are free with paid admission
Extra activities like face painting, animal feed, and balloons cost extra
10800 Baron Cameron Ave., Reston, VA 20190
Burke Nursery Fall Market & Pumpkin Playground - Oct. 1 - Oct. 31
Photo by Burke Nursery & Garden via Facebook
The Burke Nursery Fall Market & Pumpkin Playground has everything you need to help ring in the fall season. Visitors will enjoy the apple cider donuts, jellies & jams, Virginia peanuts, hot chocolate, mulling spices, pumpkins, apples, and much more.
The market has plenty of pumpkins for sale and Halloween backdrops, making great photos with the little ones. You can also stock up on fall flower favorites like mums and pansies.
Cost: Free admission
9401 Burke Rd., Burke, VA 22015
Special Fall Events
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
Several special fall events throughout Northern Virginia only run for one or two days, so it’s best to mark your calendar now, so you don’t miss them.
Falls Church Festival - September 17
The Falls Church Fall Festival returns for its 46th year and features The Taste of Falls Church, children’s entertainment, a beer garden, live music, and booths from local crafters, civic organizations, and businesses.
Cost: Free admission but there is a cost for amusement rides
City Hall and Community Center Grounds, 300 Park Avenue
Fall Fest at the Boro - September 25
The Fall Fest at the Boro in Tysons runs from 12 pm-4 pm and offers seasonal beverages, games, crafts, a scavenger hunt, doughnut decorating, and plenty more for families.
8350 Broad Street
Green Spring Gardens Fall Festival and Plant Sale - September 17
Starting at 9 am, the Green Spring Gardens Fall Festival offers classes for children and adults, a book sale, a bake sale, a silent auction, and vendors selling plants and various items.
4603 Green Springs Road, Alexandria, VA 22312
Vienna Oktoberfest - October 1
Photo by Vienna Oktoberfest
The Vienna Oktoberfest hits Church Street on October 1, 2022, and offers music, vendors, food, kids' activities, bounce houses, beer, and wine. Several entertainment shows include the US Army Band, the Vienna Singing Princesses stage show with a meet and greet, and the Sexton’s German Band.
Here are a few things to know before you go. First, the Oktoberfest is a massive event for the area, so be prepared for crowds. A shuttle runs from James Madison High School and the Vienna Metro North (Orange Line).
Cost: Free admission
131 Church St. NE, Vienna, VA 22180
City of Fairfax Fall Festival - October 8
The City of Fairfax Fall Festival celebrates its 46th annual festival on October 8th from 10 am-5 pm, with a late-night concert from 5:30-8:30 pm. The festival has over 400 vendors, including arts, crafts, food, and information. In addition, there are children’s activities and three stages of entertainment and music.
You can find a detailed schedule and list of vendors on their website, so you can appropriately plan your visit. For example, here’s a video from last year's festival to give you a sneak peek at what to expect.
Cost: Free admission but costs associated with children’s activities and rides
Downtown Fairfax, 3999 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Festival- October 22-23
Photo by George Washington Mount Vernon via Instagram
You can enjoy the Fall Harvest Festival at George Washington’s Mount Vernon this October 22-23 from 9 am-5 pm. The festival includes demonstrations of 18th-century cooking, surveying, and candle making. You can also explore the farm, enjoy watching 18th-century spinning demonstrations and learn about textile production.
In addition, the adults in the group can enjoy beer tastings from local breweries on the 12-acre field.
Cost: $15/Children (6-11), $28/Adults, 5 & Under/Free
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121
Weekend Activity Ideas in the Fall
As the air gets cooler and the scent of pumpkin spice is everywhere, you’ll likely want to fill your weekends with some fun fall activities. Here is a sampling of a few things I enjoy doing with my family.
Take a Scenic Drive
Shenandoah Valley/Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
You don’t have to attend a fall festival to enjoy the season. Northern Virginia is ideally located within numerous scenic driving spots that allow you to enjoy the peace nature offers.
Top spots for scenic drives:
● Shenandoah Valley via Skyline Drive
● Blue Ridge Parkway
● Crabtree Falls
● Mountain Lake
● Mabry Hill
● Smoky Mountains
● Prince William Forest Park
● George Washington and Jefferson National Park
The best time to see fall foliage in Virginia can vary, but the colors change sooner in higher elevations versus the city, so you don’t want to wait too long to take the trip. Usually, October is the peak month to see the most vibrant colors, but you can check out the Virginia Department of Forestry for more accurate peak dates.
Go Apple Picking
Photo by Bethany Ballantyne on Unsplash
If you don’t go apple picking in the fall, did you really experience the season? Well, yes, but it is an enjoyable activity with the whole family, especially since you can use the apples for various recipes when you get home. (Our favorite is crockpot applesauce!)
Here are a few spots to go apple picking in Northern Virginia:
● Great Country Farms (Bluemont, VA)
● Crooked Run Orchard (Purcellville, VA)
● Hollin Farms (Delaplane, VA)
● Hartland Orchard (Markham, VA)
● Stribling Orchard (Markham, VA)
● Valley View Farm (Delaplane, VA)
Apple picking season usually begins in August and runs until October. However, it’s always best to check the location to ensure their exact dates. Also, if you are looking for fresh apples but don’t want to do the work, most farms have ready-picked apples available for sale.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Photo by Marius Ciocirlan on Unsplash
You can’t celebrate fall without visiting a local pumpkin patch. Ok, so you can, but picking your own pumpkin makes the season more festive. Remember, most of the fall festivals on the list will have pumpkins for sale.
While there are plenty of pumpkin patches in the area, here’s a list to get you started.
● Yankey Farms (Nokesville, VA)
● Krop’s Crops (Great Falls, VA)
● Heather Hills Garden (Burke, VA)
● Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch (Woodbridge, VA)
● Meadows Farms (Multiple Locations in VA)
● Wayside Farm (Berryville, VA)
● Cox Farms (Centreville, VA)
● Great Country Farms (Bluemont, VA)
Keep an eye out for a more thorough look at the pumpkin patches in Northern Virginia coming soon on the blog!
Visit a Local Farmer’s Market
Photo by Aaron Cloward on Unsplash
While picking apples or pumpkins is a great way to spend a fall weekend, so is visiting a local farmer’s market. You can buy fresh produce and support farmers in the process. Here is a selection of the various farmer’s markets in Northern Virginia.
● Arlington Farmers Market - N. 14th St and N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington.
● Fairfax Farmers Market - Saturdays & Sundays until Oct. 29, 9 am - 1 pm; 10500 Page Avenue
● Burke Farmers Market - Saturdays until Dec.17, 8 am-12 pm; 5671 Roberts Parkway
● Falls Church Farmers Market - Saturdays 8 am-12 pm; 300 Park Avenue
● Reston Farmers Market - Saturdays until December 8 am - 12 pm; 1609 Washington Plaza North
● Leesburg Farmers Market - Saturdays 8 am -12 pm; 30 Catoctin Circle, SE
● Gilbert’s Corner - Saturdays & Sundays year round 10am - 3:30pm; Intersection of routes 50 & 15
● Haymarket Farmers Market - Sundays until November 9:30 am-1:30 pm; 15000 Washington Street, Suite 100
● Vienna Farmers Market - Saturdays until October 8 am-12 pm; Vienna Community Center, Park Ave & Cherry St.
There is no shortage of fall activities for families in Northern Virginia, so don’t forget to mark your calendars. This area is fantastic because there is so much to do within a short distance, and you can undoubtedly fill your weekends with family fun all season long.
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