7 Unforgettable Fall Festivals 2023

by | Oct 1, 2023 | Family Adventures

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Summer is quickly fading and before we know it, the air will be filled with the sweet smells of pumpkin spice and apple cider donuts. Main streets will quickly transform into autumn scenes full of scarecrows and giant pumpkins, and our little ones will be busy taking part in pumpkin carving and apple picking. From tasty food truck festivals to lively Oktoberfest celebrations to traditional country fairs, there is endless fall fun across the US this year! Here are six great fall festivals taking place in 2023 around the country.



US fall festivals for famillies


The Great Jack-O’Lantern BlazeCroton-on Hudson and Long Island, NY

The Great Jack-O’Lantern Blaze is not to be missed! During this fantastic annual event, local artisans take pumpkin carving to the max and create a sensational experience that is sure to be the highlight of the fall season. Visitors will enjoy over 7000 carved pumpkins lighting up and animating the spooky grounds at both the 17th-century Van Cortlandt Manor in Hudson Valley and the Old Bethpage Village Restoration (Long Island) locations. Many exhibits are set to synchronized music with original soundtracks making them extra enchanting. Highlights from recent years have included a cool pumpkin planetarium and a breathtaking pumpkin carousel. The blaze will be held on select nights from September to November.


Where to Stay near Croton-on Hudson

The Hudson Valley is a wonderful place for a cozy autumn getaway with the family. At the Sleepy Hollow Hotel and Conference Center kids stay free and guests can enjoy an indoor pool, on-site restaurant, and views of the beautiful fall foliage that spread across the hotel’s lush grounds. While visiting, be sure to check out all the additional fall holiday fun taking place in the town of Sleepy Hollow.   


Even the pumpkins will be smiling at The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze! Photo courtesy Fredrik Solli Wandem on Unsplash


National Apple Harvest Festival – Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

The National Apple Harvest Festival is one of the best fall harvest festivals across the United States. Whether you are an apple aficionado or just a fall fanatic, there is something for the whole family to enjoy at this annual fall celebration. From Cortlands to Red Delicious, apples can be found at every turn. Yummy treats include apple pizza, apple butter, apple cotton candy, and delicious apple pie. Families can enjoy wagon rides, live entertainment, pony rides, classic cars, and a fun kid’s corner. The festival fairgrounds are just a short drive from historic Gettysburg, making this location a perfect vacation destination. The festival fun takes place during the first two weekends in October. 


Where to Stay near Arendtsville

Gettysburg is a fabulous travel destination for families, and The Hilton Garden Inn Gettysburg makes a terrific lodging option. Parents will appreciate the convenient on-site restaurant, indoor pool, and connecting room options. Best of all, the hotel is just a short drive to many popular historical attractions. While visiting PA, don’t forget to check out the area’s apple-picking, wine tastings, and other fall activities. 


Apples for everyone! Photo courtesy Marina Abrosimova on Pexels




Albuquerque International Balloon Festival – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Fall is a great time of year to visit New Mexico, and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a truly unforgettable fall must-see.  Hot air balloons of beautiful colors will brighten the skies from dawn to dusk during the largest annual international event of its kind. The fiesta is taking place from October 1st-9th in 2022 and showcases balloon competitions, chainsaw carving demonstrations, a classic car show, fireworks displays, and live music. Feeling adventurous or just want a great view of the action? The festival also has hot air balloon rides for the whole family to enjoy.


Where to stay in Albuquerque

A stay at the Nativo Lodge is the perfect way to experience comfort and convenience while visiting the fairgrounds. The lodge has a unique Native American atmosphere and features numerous original artwork and decor displayed throughout the property. Onsite are two pools, a variety of room options, and a pub with a nice selection of wine and local craft beer.     


Taos Mountain Balloon Rally – Taos, New Mexico

Can’t get it together fast enough for the Albuquerque rally? The Taos Mountain Balloon Rally takes off the last weekend of October. Families may find this more to their liking since the rally is open to balloonists by invitation only. So, the event is held on a much smaller scale. Families can cozy up to the operators during the early dawn hours to ask questions and, of course, go for a ride! Watch the trees light up in fall dessert colors and participate in the parade during this three-day rally.


Where To Stay In Taos

The El Pueblo Lodge has all the makings of a family-friendly headquarters. With an outdoor swimming pool, kids can jump in to cool off. The hotel is pet-friendly, so bring along all the kids. They provide free breakfast, so that’s one less thing to think about. Plus it’s a short walk from Taos Plaza and area museums.


Beautiful balloons will blanket the skies of Albuquerque this fall. Photo courtesy Kyle Hinkson on Unsplash



Fall Harvest on the Farm at Underwood Family Farm – Moorhead, CA

For a classic fall celebration with the kids close to Los Angeles, take a visit to the Underwood Family Farm Fall Harvest Festival. This special autumn treat runs throughout the entire month of October and includes traditional fall fair activities such as pig races, sheepdog trials, a corn maze, a gigantic pumpkin patch, wagon rides, and special themed weekends. While you are there, don’t miss the farm animals, pumpkin picking, and yummy farmstand treats like pumpkin pie and kettle corn.


Where to stay in Moorhead 

The Fairfield Inn and Suites Moorpark Ventura County hotel is conveniently located close to the fairgrounds and many other popular area attractions such as Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood. The hotel features a pool and fitness center. 


This little piggy can’t wait to see you at the fair! Photo courtesy Stefanie Poepken on Unsplash


Schmidt’s Columbus Oktoberfest – Columbus, Ohio

For those wanting to celebrate an outstanding, family-friendly Oktoberfest in the USA, the festivities in Columbus, Ohio do not disappoint. The Schmidt’s Columbus Oktoberfest taking place at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, is a three-day celebration comprised of competitive games, a wide variety of food and German specialty items, musical acts, and a huge assortment of craft beers. For the littles, there is a special kid’s corner called Kinderplatz featuring a range of exciting activities and events such as a foam run, costume contest, pancake breakfast, face painting, and giant inflatables. This year’s 48th annual event takes place from September 9-11th. General ticket admission is free, but there is a parking fee.  


Where to stay in Columbus 

To make the most of your trip to Columbus, book at least one night’s stay at The Hotel Comfort Inn Splash Harbor in Bellville. The hotel is a short drive from the city and features a 6000 sq. foot indoor water park which will provide hours of fun for the whole family. 


Oktoberfest Rocks!! Photo courtesy Brett Soyles on Unsplash




The State Fair of Virginia –  Doswell, Virginia

The State Fair of Virginia packs in so much seasonal fun into ten autumn days! Family activities include musical performances, a petting zoo, a chainsaw competition, and an outstanding trapeze show. Big kids will love the thrilling giant slides, haunted house, and other carnival rides.  There are also less-scary ride options for the younger crowd. While you are visiting, don’t forget to sample the local food and traditional festival treats. For an additional fee, adults can also enjoy the fair’s craft beer garden. This year this annual event takes place from September 23-October 2nd. 

Where to stay near Doswell, Virginia

The fairgrounds are located between the cities of Richmond and Fredericksburg, and there are many fall activities to be enjoyed in the area. A great option for lodging near the fairgrounds is The Hampton Inn by Hilton Richmond/North Ashland. Family-friendly amenities include an outdoor pool, free hot breakfast, and connecting rooms. If you mention that you are attending the fair, the staff may also grant you a discounted rate. 


Nothing tastes better than fair food! Photo courtesy Yarden on Unsplash




Kimberly Falchek is a freelance writer and child development specialist based out of Salem, Massachusetts. She has contributed to several parenting and travel publications. When not working, Kimberly enjoys hiking, photography, and traveling with family.