Even before pumpkin spice took the world by storm in the early 2000’s, pumpkins were a symbol of all things fall: Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and pumpkin-baked goods, seeds and soups for all the time in between.
If you’re looking for ways to get your autumn fix without the caffeine of a Starbucks PSL, this list of fall festivals around the DMV a great place to start!
Great Country Farms Annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival
If you’re looking to pack a lot of activity into a single trip, Great Country Farms of Loudoun County, Virginia, is the place for you. Watch the kids conquer the Farm Ninja Obstacle Course while sipping on some hot cider, pick your own pumpkins, or play Cow Pie Putt Putt before roasting marshmallows over an open fire. Masks are required in buildings and restrooms around the farm, and maintaining a social distance from others is a must. Pets allowed. Ticket prices range from $10-16, depending on day of the week and age of the participant. Registration is required. Festival runs through the month of October.
Mount Vernon’s Fall Harvest Festival
Feeling the urge to unplug? Travel back in time to an 18th-century farm to learn about fisheries, enjoy cooking demonstrations and watch artisans spin yarn. Meet Mount Vernon’s animals, explore its gardens or stroll along its quarter-mile-long forest trail. Masks are required both indoors and outdoors. Oct. 24-25 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost included in price of admission. Non-member tickets: $23 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-11 and free for kids 5 and under. Advance purchase recommended.
Pumpkin Harvest Days at Butler’s Orchard
Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland, has all the classic fall amenities, from corn mazes to hayrides to giant slides. Drive over to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect squash for carving, and be sure to pick up a gooey caramel apple or a refreshing cider slush from the farm market on your way out! Masks must be worn for your entire visit. Open every day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Nov. 1. Weekday admission $10, weekend admission $15. Children 2 and under free.
Pumpkin Patch at Queen Anne Farm
When people think of Prince George’s County, farmland usually isn’t the first thing to come to mind. However, Queen Anne Farm in Mitchellville, Maryland, is a great place to ring in the new season. Ride in a tractor-pulled wagon, pose for photos and bring home some fresh local produce. Face coverings are required at all times. Online ticket purchase required. $15 per vehicle. Pumpkin picking runs through the month of October.
Cox Farms Fall Festival
While the folks at Cox Farms have deemed their usual fall activities COVID-unfriendly, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate autumn in Centreville, Virginia! Safely stock up on kettle corn and cinnamon almonds at the drive-through market, then enjoy a self-driven hayride through the farm. Market purchases must be placed online and can be picked up any day during the week. The hayride is open Friday and Monday from 2-6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Nov. 2. Tickets cost $20 per vehicle and must be purchased in advance.
Fall Fest at Reston Farm
The Fall Fest at Reston Farm in Fairfax County, Virginia, is about as family-oriented as an event can be. Kids can show off their colorful face paint while jumping in the pumpkin moon bounce, or take their balloon animal on a train ride around the farm. Parents can peruse the market for baked goods and jams, then grab a bite at the AMORE.ES.TACOS food truck. All guests will have their temperature checked prior to entry, and masks are required for children over 10. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 1. Advanced ticket purchase for 90-minute timed entry required. $20 per child, $5 per parent-guardian.
Pumpkin Village at Leesburg Animal Park
Do you have an animal lover at home? This event is a trip to the zoo and a fall festival in one! Hike the spooky trail, go for a camel ride or sing and dance with entertainers like The Page County Ramblers. Social distancing will be enforced, and hand sanitizer will be available at all activity stations. Open Monday and Wednesday-Friday from 9:30am-5:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am-6:00pm through Nov. 3. Tickets $13-18, depending on day of the week and age of the participant. Advanced purchase required.