Autumn is a magical time in Pennsylvania. From the first day you step outside into the crisp fall air and realize it’s time for hoodie weather to walking into your local Wawa and breathing in the magical scent of their seasonal Pumpkin Spice coffee, everything seems to come alive after the sweltering, humid summer. Here are my absolute favorite activities to do in the fall near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
I personally think that everyone should flock to the Northeastern U.S. in the autumn. Now that my husband and I are living in Texas, I desperately miss the changing of the seasons and the bright oranges, yellows, and reds of the trees back home. As a kid, I used to lay in the front yard and stare up at them against the bright blue sky, enjoying the crisp cool air against my skin. Pure. Magic.
Fall in Pennsylvania brought about some of my favorite family activities, too. Check ’em out!
Pick-Your-Own Farms – get your pumpkins and apples!
Since I was a child, September meant pumpkin and apple picking at Conte Farms in Tabernacle, NJ.
You take a hayride pulled by a big tractor out to the pumpkin fields, hop off, and spend as much time as you want picking the perfect pumpkin or apples. On a beautiful day, we could spend hours walking through the pumpkin patch and apple orchards.
When we got home, we’d clean the pumpkins and then sit around the dining room table, painting them with whatever designs we wanted. They sat on the front step in a showcase of our designs until Halloween, when we gutted them and roasted the seeds!
Apples were turned into homemade apple sauce, apple pies, and any other delicious thing we felt like trying. I have so many really special memories of baking with my mother and my grandmother.
Visit here: 299 Flyatt Road, Tabernacle NJ, 08088
Take an autumn hike at some of my favorite parks!
Autumn is the PERFECT time to be out in the woods. It’s cool enough to work up a sweat on a hike and the fall leaves are truly a sight to behold. Some of my favorite Pennsylvania hikes:
Ricketts Glen State Park
Hiking the Falls Trail is one of my favorite things to do – any time of year! The trail loops a series of waterfalls, basically down one side and back up the other on a series of rock staircases. It’s challenging, but it is so beautiful.
Make sure you wear sneakers that have good grip on them. The drive to this park is about 2.5 hours from Philadelphia, but I’ve done it multiple times. So worth it.
Find the park here: 695 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814
This is another gorgeous and well-maintained park. Walk along a combination of trails and boardwalks through a series of eight waterfalls. It’s still a 2.5 hour (North instead of West this time) drive from Philadelphia, but is definitely a sight to see if you haven’t yet.
Unfortunately, admission to this park isn’t free. Get more info about their hours and ticket prices at visitbushkillfalls.com.
If you’re from Philly, I don’t think I have to fill you in on Pennypack Park. Growing up in the Northeast section of Philly, A LOT of my childhood was spent in these woods. The paved trails make for an easy walk through nature right in the center of the hustle and bustle of Philly.
If you’re not familiar, the park follows 9 miles through Philadelphia along Pennypack Creek. There are SEVERAL access points, my fave being here: BETWEEN 8598 VERREE ROAD (ST. STEPHEN’S ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL) AND 8600 VERREE ROAD (PENNYPACK ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER).
Rancocas State Park
If you don’t mind a short drive across the bridge into South Jersey, one of my favorite hikes is through the Rancocas Nature Center in Rancocas State Park. My husband and I love this park so much that we took our wedding photos here! The trails aren’t paved, but they’re not very challenging. This is a GORGEOUS hike in the fall.
Find it here: 794 Rancocas Mt Holly Rd, Westampton, NJ 08060
Take a drive to some historic battlefields.
Pennsylvania is FILLED with history and we could talk about it all day, but some of the best historic sites to visit in the fall are old battlefields. You’ll be able to spend more time outside than you could in the summer and the fall colors with make your tour a thing of beauty.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge is the site of the winter encampment of the Continental Army in the winter of 1777. There is so much ground to explore and history to learn here, it’s a great autumn destination for families.
Get more info here: https://www.nps.gov/vafo/index.htm
I have an entire post on why you need to visit Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the fall. Another historic battlefield and important turning point of the American Civil War, Gettysburg National Military Park hosts a kind of drive-through tour of the battlefield. It’s WAY more interesting than it sounds. Check out the post I linked above for the best tour through Gettysburg.
My #1 favorite fall activity near Philadelphia…
The Amazing Maize Maze at Cherry Crest Farm in Ronks, PA!
My family has been traveling to Cherry Crest farm to do their 5-acre corn maze almost every year since I was 11 years old (so about 20 years). This activity is SO special to us.
Each year, the corn field is carved out into a new puzzle all designed around a certain theme – like Under The Sea, The Wizard of Oz, and more. When you begin, you’re given a blank map. As you make your way through the maze, you’ll find numbered mailboxes that hold pieces of your map (as well as some tape to tape them on). Complete your map, finished the maze, and at the end they’ll take your photo and laminate your map for you!
Within the maze are all kinds of fun activities and photo ops, as well as educational stations based on the theme.
This activity is HOURS of fun. My family is large, so we would split into two teams and race to see who could finish first.
As an adult, I started doing their flashlight mazes. They really up the difficulty factor, but the view of the stars can’t be beat!
Find out more on Cherry Crest Farm’s website here: https://www.cherrycrestfarm.com/fall