50 Free Fall Activities to Do in All 50 States
Fall is officially here, and we’ve pretty much got a Pumpkin Spiced Latte permanently glued to our hand. With the change of seasons, why not leave a little extra change in your purse? We found free — yes, that’s right, free! — activities to do in every single state. These events give you the perfect excuse to show off that chunky scarf you just bought and revel in your versatile fashion sense.
1. Alabama: National Shrimp Festival, anyone? Now in its 44th year, this festival is filled with live music, over 300 vendors and, of course, lots of shrimp. Hold on to summer a tiny bit longer and get in on the action October 8-11. (Photo via National Shrimp Festival)
2. Alaska: This state is known for its breathtaking beauty. Fall is the perfect time to watch the Northern Lights. Head to Fairbanks for Instagram-worthy pics of this natural phenomenon. (Photo via @explorefairbanks)
3. Arizona: It’s just not fall without a little Oktoberfest action. Stop by Tempe’s party on Tempe Town Lake October 9-11 for food, live music, yoga and a beer garden.
4. Arkansas: When the leaves are changing, there isn’t a better spot than Thorncrown Chapel to witness the magic. Located just outside of Eureka Springs, this window wonder nestled in the woods is free to tour. (Photo via Randall Connaughton)
5. California: Seeing live music can be mighty pricey, but not at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco. This three-day music festival takes place October 2-4 and features over 100 acts on seven stages. It was founded by the late Warren Hellman, who has paid for the entire thing for the past 10 years (and counting). (Photo via Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Facebook Page)
6. Colorado: Zombie crawl? Say no more. The 17th Annual Denver Zombie Crawl is considered the largest in the world. You’ll surely die for this all-day event on October 17. The event is free, but they ask that participants bring one can of non-perishable food.
7. Connecticut: Chocolate is always in season, but driving the Connecticut Chocolate Trail (you heard that right) is best done during the gorgeous fall. Stop at the 13+ world-renowned chocolatiers for a sweet, sweet time.
8. Delaware: For all you beer lovers out there, this one’s for you. Stop by Dogfish Head Brewery for a tour complete with tastings. P.S.: Their Pumpkin Ale is totally in season. (Photo via Dogfish Head Brewery Facebook Page)
9. Florida: Halloween will be here before we know it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an early, creepy mystery in your life. Head to Spook Hill and watch your car roll up a hill when in neutral. Don’t ask, just drive.
10. Georgia: Outdoor art festivals are our spirit animals. Hit up the Atlanta Arts Festival October 24-25 in Piedmont Park for free fall fun for the entire family. Earth without art is just eh.
11. Hawaii: The Ironman World Championship on October 10 will have over 2,000 people competing over the course of 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. We’re tired just typing that. Maybe we’ll burn calories just by watching it? (Photo via Ironman)
12. Idaho: Idaho is filled with natural hot springs. Lucky for us, fall has the best weather to soak in all the fun they have to offer. Hop from one spring to the next — we promise you’ll never get sick of the view. (Photo via All Trails)
13. Illinois: Before you know it, you’ll be shopping for holiday gifts for friends and family. Well, the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago is your new shopping BFF. Stop by for awesome crafts, jewelry, posters and more. (Photo via Renegade Craft Fair)
14. Indiana: We like big books and we cannot lie. We also love us some Kurt Vonnegut. That’s why heading to VonnegutFest November 5-7 is a must. Pull out that worn copy of Slaughterhouse Five to prepare.
15. Iowa: Strike a pose in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, located in downtown Des Moines. This four-acre park features larger-than-life works by 22 artists and is open sunrise to midnight.
16. Kansas: Craving a little fall family fun? Head to the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead for free admission Monday through Thursday. With over 200 animals, pony rides, an old school house and more, you and the kiddos will have a blast.
17. Kentucky: Nothing beats a vintage flea market. Hit up Fleur de Flea, located near the gorgeous Ohio River in Louisville, on October 17 for one-of-a-kind treasures. One person’s trash could very much be your treasure.
18. Louisiana: Jazz is to New Orleans what color is to Brit + Co. Every Thursday from now until October 29, take advantage of the free Jazz in the Park located just outside the French Quarter in Louis Armstrong Park. Who’s super jazzed for next Thursday? (Photo via @visitneworleans)
19. Maine: Let’s face it: Fall makes us want to stay in bed on those chilly mornings. Why not watch people racing in their beds to feel at home? The Rolling Slumber Bed Races roll into downtown Brunswick on November 14.
20. Maryland: It’s definitely a free-for-fall in Baltimore. Visit Free Fall Baltimore for a list of over 300 free activities to do in October, like art exhibits and food festivals. Your agenda has never looked so full.
21. Massachusetts: Take it to the water… or at least watch others take it there. Witness the 51st Head of The Charles Regatta (aka the world’s largest regatta) in Boston on October 17-18. (Photo via Head of The Charles Regatta)
22. Michigan: Besides our trusty pumpkins, nothing says fall like apples. Hit up Fenner’s Apple Butter Festival October 10-11 to try your own hand at making this delicious spread.
23. Minnesota: A little fresh air is all you need for the best day ever. Hike to your heart’s desire on the Superior Hiking Trail just past Duluth. With over 300+ miles of trails, you’ll have breathtaking fall colors to distract you from your hearty workout. (Photo via Superior Hiking Trail)
24. Mississippi: Get in the Halloween mood by attending an outdoor screening of Night of the Living Dead on October 15. Costumes are totally encouraged at this event, dubbed Screen on the Green and organized by the Mississippi Museum of Art.
25. Missouri: Creativity is all around us, especially at Hallmark Kaleidoscope in Kansas City. This free center allows children to get their creative juices flowing by using recycled material from Hallmark’s manufacturing processes.
26. Montana: Come together and get arty at the Fall Art Walk in downtown Helena on November 6. Not only is the art walk itself free, but so is the food, beverages and live music.
28. Nevada: Every first Friday of every month is a special event in downtown Las Vegas called — wait for it — First Friday. Add October 2 to your calendar for a night of art and fun.
29. New Hampshire: Pumpkin Festival in downtown Laconia takes pumpkins seriously, and we can’t say we blame them. From races to pumpkin trains, orange you glad this is an all-day event on October 24?
30. New Jersey: Another state, another free pumpkin festival. The 12th Annual South Jersey Pumpkin Show features a giant pumpkin pyramid, a family costume contest, haunted hayrides and more during October 9-11.
31. New Mexico: Go up, up, up this fall and watch The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta October 3-11. While this event isn’t really *free*, you can totally watch from afar and see the hundreds of balloons in all their glory. (Photo via Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta)
32. New York: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is pretty much the best around. Think massive balloons and floats that can’t be beat, not to mention the yet-to-be-announced performances.
33. North Carolina: You haven’t lived if you haven’t had BBQ in North Carolina. Luckily for you, the 32nd Annual BBQ Festival on October 24 can mark that off your bucket list.
34. North Dakota: The Fargo Record Fair on October 24 will spin you right round, baby right round… and leave you with (hopefully) some awesome vinyl.
35. Ohio: Act like a grownup by attending the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art After Dark series. Get after-hours access to all galleries while sipping on wine (or beer, if that’s your thing). One night here will make an art lover out of anybody. (via @cincyartmuseum)
36. Oklahoma: Find your very own crystals with a visit to the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. Digging for crystals is permitted through October 15, sunrise to sunset. Get in on the action before the sparkle slips away.
37. Oregon: Before you hit pumpkin overload, give yourself a break from all that cinnamon spice and try flying a kite at the Fall Kit Festival. Bookmark October 10-11 and make sure to bring along the kiddos so they can make a free kite or two.
38. Pennsylvania: Crafts, yummy food and live music, all nestled among the fall colors — what more could you want? The Covered Bridge Festival gives you just that from October 8-11. Bust out that new tote: You’ve got a craft fair to attend! (Photo via Covered Bridge Festival)
39. Rhode Island: Waterfire is more than an event. It transforms Providence into a majestically gorgeous town thanks to events throughout the year. Check out the next lighting ceremonies on October 3 and November 7.
40. South Carolina: Taking place now until October 4, the MOJA Arts Festival is the ultimate celebration of African American and Caribbean arts. You’ll be wowed and amazed — we guarantee it. (Photo via Charleston Scene)
41. South Dakota: Not to sound corny, but we’re falling in love with the world’s only Corn Palace in Mitchell. Stop by for a free guided tour, or just stroll the ah-maize-ing palace by yourself. (Photo via Corn Palace)
42. Tennessee: We’ll drink to this free festival. Hit up Nashville’s Oktoberfest October 9-11 with 100,000 of your soon-to-be close friends. You can count on enjoying German food, music and beer.
43. Texas: Sandcastles don’t come to mind when we think of fall, but South Padre Islanders have Sand Castle Days to look forward to. We’re totally jealous that residents get to see these works of art in person. (Photo via Sand Castle Days)
44. Utah: Performance is an art. So naturally, we’re recommending Salt Lake City’s Performance Art Festival October 2-3. Grab the kiddos for inspiring pieces by talented people.
45. Vermont: It’s never too early for holiday shopping. Stop by the 42nd Annual Harvest Arts + Crafts Show October 10-11 for some gifting inspiration for everyone on your list. Don’t forget to treat yourself too!
46. Virginia: Free admission year-round? That makes this the best museum ever. Make the Virginia Museum of Arts your home away from home come fall… or winter, spring and summer.
47. Washington: Stop by Dia de Muertos October 31-November 1 at Seattle Center for a festival that is all about remembrance. Soak in the culture, food and rituals.
48. West Virginia: A day filled with watching base jumpers leap off into the New River Gorge (it’s 800 feet down, btw) sounds like a pretty epic day to us. Hit up Bridge Day October 17 for adrenaline-watching fun. (Photo via Bridge Day)
49. Wisconsin: Life’s short. Why not go on a brew tour at MillerCoors in Milwaukee? Cheers to that free idea.
50. Wyoming: Get your nature on in a naturally beautiful setting like the National Elk Refuge in Jackson. As the name would have it, you’ll see some wildlife and have an elk of a good time.
What free things do you like to do come fall? Tell us in the comments below.