8 Low-Cost Activities and Day Trips You Should Schedule This Fall

8 Low-Cost Activities and Day Trips You Should Schedule This Fall

The entrance of fall brings with it many things to celebrate. From spiced flavors and comfort foods (hello, Crockpot!) to getting cozy with blanket scarves and sweaters, the transition from long, hot days to shorter, chillier ones is a welcome one. Several activities simply encapsulate that fall feeling, whether it’s because of nature, entertainment, or fabulous fall flavors.

Fortunately, many quintessential fall pastimes involve being outdoors, which is essential to consider right now. If you’re looking for something to fill an afternoon or a Saturday, here are eight activities you can pack into a day trip or an afternoon.

Go apple picking at a local orchard.

Whether you want to eat apples plain, bake apple pies, or can applesauce for next season, heading to a local orchard provides a greater variety than you’ll find at your local supermarket. Plus, selecting apples and picking them off the trees is a memorable experience for all ages. However, many orchards only offer apples to choose from bins the later it gets in the season, so call ahead to see when the you-pick season ends.

Visit an arboretum or botanical garden. 

Spring and summer are often regarded as the best times to head to flower-centric destinations. However, most botanical gardens and arboretums decorate for the season and still have flowers in bloom during autumn. Another perk is that because the warmer months draw more visitors, you will encounter fewer guests if you schedule a trip in the fall.

Get a pumpkin from your local patch.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a neighborhood farm that grows pumpkins, make the time to head out and pick a favorite to take home. Even if you can’t find locally grown pumpkins, your area may have a patch where you can select pumpkins from bins or sections of their makeshift patch. Big bonus points go to farms that include a hayride to and from the patch, as the ride just adds to the experience of fall.

Spend time at a farmers’ market.

On Saturday morning — or whenever your local farmers’ market takes place — head to your neighborhood coffee shop to grab your favorite hot drink to take the chill off as you walk around. Visit with local vendors and learn about what is growing in your area as warm weather wanes. Find freshly picked veggies to turn into a hearty soup, or purchase locally, ethically sourced meat to cook for dinner. 

Test your skills at a corn maze.

Some farmers get creative with their past-peak cornfields by cutting paths so that folks can walk through and eventually find the exit; be warned, because field owners carve intricate patterns and shapes into their fields, and certain mazes might be more complicated than others. Some corn mazes stand independently, but others are often coupled with pumpkin patches for added fun. Gather the family, split up into teams, and try to find your way through a local maze.

Walk through an outdoor sculpture museum.

Going through a sculpture garden is something that many folks have yet to cross off their to-do list. Although finding one may seem complicated, these outdoor gardens are often connected to an art museum or centered in a park. Find out the history and meaning behind the pieces by downloading the museum’s app or reading the placard alongside the sculpture. You may discover a new favorite artist or gain an appreciation for a particular work as you roam.

Attend a harvest festival. 

Barring that there isn’t a pandemic spike in your area, head out to your local harvest festival. These celebrations often have streets lined with crafters, food vendors, and musicians waiting to sell to, feed, and entertain you. Sometimes these gatherings contain art shows and street performers to enhance the experience. Again, keep social distancing and mask mandates in mind, and only head out if it’s safe and you feel comfortable doing so.

Take a fall foliage ride.

One of the most beautiful parts of fall is the changing color of the leaves. As green gives way to yellow, orange, and rust tones, schedule an afternoon or weekend ride to see the vivid colors. Check to see when the peak is in your area, and drive to a local parkway or overlook to see the landscape in all its autumnal glory. Be sure to charge your smartphone so that you can snap a few images before the leaves fall if you’re in the passenger seat or find a good place to pull over and marvel at the sights.

7 Inflatable Hot Tubs That’ll Help Extend Outdoor Fun Well Into Fall

7 Inflatable Hot Tubs That’ll Help Extend Outdoor Fun Well Into Fall

Sarah M. Vazquez

Commerce Writer

Sarah writes about all things shopping for Apartment Therapy. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Elle Decor, and PureWow, among others. In her free time, you can find her strumming away at her guitar, on the perpetual hunt for the coziest duvet, and enjoying Sundays in the park with Marty—that’s her pup.

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This Innovative Blanket Promises to Protect You From Mosquitos All Year Long — Here’s How

This Innovative Blanket Promises to Protect You From Mosquitos All Year Long — Here’s How

Sarah M. Vazquez

Commerce Writer

Sarah writes about all things shopping for Apartment Therapy. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Elle Decor, and PureWow, among others. In her free time, you can find her strumming away at her guitar, on the perpetual hunt for the coziest duvet, and enjoying Sundays in the park with Marty—that’s her pup.

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This $15 Amazon Find Keeps Flying Pests Away from Your Food When Dining Outdoors

This $15 Amazon Find Keeps Flying Pests Away from Your Food When Dining Outdoors

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

One of the best things about summer is dining outside. Whether you chow down at a picnic table under a shady tree or dig in on your deck, food somehow tastes better in the great outdoors. But with all of the things we love about open-air meals — warm breezes! Starry skies! — comes a pesky problem: flies, mosquitos, and other bothersome fliers.

Enter: the Treva Bug Repellent Fan, a brilliant “didn’t-know-I-needed-it-until-I-got-it” $15 fan from Amazon. It’s surprisingly sleek (never thought I’d call a fan “pretty,” but this one is undeniably good looking), and unlike other repellers and traps, it won’t put a damper on your dinner.

How does this bug-repelling fan work? The “blades” are actually holographic ribbons designed with a pattern that refracts light and sends a “stay away!” signal to bugs and pests. There’s no need to worry about the fan ribbons near your face and fingers; they’re soft and harmless. One happy customer noted that he actually stuck his hands in the spinning blades to test their safety. All fingers in tact, he reported success. (Thank you, sir, for your brave work.)

The battery-powered Treva fan doesn’t require access to an electrical outlet, making it a great addition to your campsite. (We’ve also spied them at al fresco restaurant tables.) It runs on just two AA batteries, so there’s no need to stock up on specialty sizes. One reviewer positively noted that the fans ran for six hours straight without the need for a battery change. At about 10” tall, these must-haves are unobtrusive and easy to set up. Plus, they’ll last for years, making them an eco-friendly investment for this summer and beyond.

Unlike bug sprays and candles, this scent-free solution won’t interfere with the amazing smells coming from your plate. It’s safer than torches, virtually silent (unlike death-by-zap machines), and more sanitary than sticky bug-catching tape — not to mention, more humane to the insects. In other words, it might just be only repellent that doesn’t make you lose your appetite.

Buy: Treva FD15001 Bug Repellent Fan, $14.99

Rochelle Bilow

Contributor

Rochelle Bilow is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, the former social media manager at Bon Appétit Magazine and Cooking Light Magazine. She has also worked as a cook on a small farm in Central New York, and a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City. Connect with her @rochellebilow.

This Sturdy, Editor-Approved Grill Brush Is *THE ONE* Worth Buying — and It’s on Sale Now

This Sturdy, Editor-Approved Grill Brush Is *THE ONE* Worth Buying — and It’s on Sale Now

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

It’s summer, and you know what that means — it’s grilling season! But with all of the delicious barbecue, hot dogs, and grilled veggies comes the pesky task of cleaning your grill. It’s greasy work, but someone’s gotta do it, right? To make this chore easier, you need a good grill brush, and that’s why we’re excited that Amazon is holding a sale on the GrillArt Grill Brush and Scraper right now. Normally priced at $29.95, this editor-favorite find is currently retailing at just $19.97 and promises to help you clean your grill five times faster than the average brush.

Kitchn’s lifestyle director, Lisa, swears by this particular product. “I had tried so many different grill brushes before I finally found this one,” she says. “Others I’ve tried either didn’t seem to get the job done (which is not ideal!) or left bristles behind on my grates (which is dangerous!). This one has held up for a few summers now, never once leaving a stray bristle.” 

The GrillArt Grill Brush lets you get a faster and easier clean. In fact, the three-in-one brush head lets you cover more surface area in less time. The bristles are three times larger than traditional ones and have lateral flex that helps you reach tricky corners, making cleaning more efficient. You also don’t need to worry about getting burned, since the handle measures 18 inches long (aka definitely long enough to keep your hands safely away from the heat). 

This grill brush also comes with a stainless steel scraper, which allows you to eliminate even the most stubborn residue. “It is Sturdy with a capital S,” Lisa reports, “so it is capable of scraping off every last bit of burnt-on food.” The soft, durable handle makes it easy to maneuver even when scraping the toughest spots, and it comes with a stainless steel ring for convenient hanging storage. 

One major bonus about the GrillArt Grill Brush and Scraper is that it won’t scratch or mark your grates, keeping your grill looking clean and new. It’s also totally versatile: In addition to grills, you can use it on porcelain, ceramic, cast iron, and stainless steel appliances and surfaces. And guess what? The tool is totally rust resistant. Lisa tells us, “I have been known to run it through the dishwasher after super-tough jobs and haven’t had any issues!”

If you’ve been searching for a grill-cleaning solution that actually works, this editor-approved workhorse could be the answer you’ve been searching for. It’s already on sale, and you can apply a coupon (check a box) to get another 10 percent off, bringing your grand total down to $19.97. Talk about a steel steal!

Buy: GrillArt Grill Brush and Scraper, $19.97 (normally $29.95)

Phoebe Sklansky

Editorial Intern, Kitchn Commerce Team

Phoebe is the Editorial Intern for the Kitchn Commerce team. You can usually find her crafting a charcuterie board or making the most out of her tiny apartment kitchen. She is a student at Vanderbilt and is based out of Nashville and New York.