Here we go. The mornings are cooler, and the afternoons feel like summer! Pumpkins, Thanksgiving and Halloween are front and center in every store (or at least here in Canada.) It’s fall.
Fall is my favourite season. Aside from the soggy weather, there are so many things to see and do. In Canada we kick it off right after Labour Day when the kids go back to school, then we roll into Thanksgiving’s on October 10th and then Halloween! Our holidays are pretty much around the corner. Fall is packed with tons of activities, but it’s hard to get it all in. Especially since fall is big for birthdays around here, our weekends fill up fast.
As a family of 5 we really consider where our money is best spent. Our kids love the outdoors. Parks are weekend must-dos, whether we’re at our favourite or we check out a new park to change things up once in a while. The great thing about the park is they’re free and in your neighbourhood which means, walkable. You can check out the local festivals, street fairs and fall events happening without going far. But if you’re looking for some fall fun that won’t break the bank. Check out my top fall activities.
The Apple Orchard
This is our family favourite. There’s nothing better than spending a beautiful fall day outdoors at the apple orchard. Picking your own apples, fresh baked goods to take home (especially for the long weekend!) and acres of land for the kids to let go and be kids. Our favourite place is Chudleigh’s Farms in Milton, ON. If you haven’t been or never even heard of it, google it right now! I can’t say enough about this place. From the Kids playground, to the nature trails, the marketplace and even the fresh roasted corn on the cob is worth the line!
This is no ordinary apple orchard though, it’s also an event space, they have cover bands weekends from the summer-fall, so it also holds a liquor license and has a fabulous bar for those maybe wanting to kick back.
The Pumpkin Patch & Farms
Is there anything better than picking your own pumpkin? If you’re fortunate enough to be able to find a way to the pumpkin patch, it’s worth it. My kids love it. They’re easy enough to find on Google and everywhere in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Places like Brooks Farms, Downey’s Farm, Chappell Farms offer an array of family fun activities such as: Wagon rides, Corn mazes, pumpkin carving, a Boo Barn, barnyard animals, jumping pillows, zip lines, trike track, racing, food trucks/ restaurants and even corn roasts not to mention the photo ops. There’s no better place to get those Instagram, Tik Tok video worth photos than a fabulous outdoor fall event. The great thing about this is it’s a whole day activity. Take advantage of all the things to do, get a little shopping at the market and have fun.
Who doesn’t love the light show? Drive-thru or walk-thru are both great options, there is one around the corner from me and I actually watched some of it being set up. The Spooktacular Light Show, has 2 locations (websites listed below). The fantastic thing about these events is there pop-up and local! This one is very affordable, at $24.95 for the carload! And if since they also do a similar event for Christmas you can buy the tickets for both events for only $34.95. They boast about 2 million lights in 2km route. This is geared for all ages and it’s relatively short in time so at the end of the day and the kids are wearing out this might just do the trick.
Check out https://spooktacularlightshow.ca/ They have 2 locations, one at Meadowvale Go station & the other at Richmond Hill Go station.
Pumpkins after dark is another great choice, slightly pricier but also hosts a huge array of pumpkins. It has thousands of lit up pumpkins, everywhere! It’s a massive walk through event that has over 80% new displays for this year. This is more than just displays, there’s carvings, snacks, and a host of activities.
Check it out at https://pumpkinsafterdark.com/milton
Sherway Gardens Halloween Nights of Lights is starting this weekend and runs until Oct 30th. It’s also the home of the Pumpkinville, which OMG looks amazing! 30,000 pumpkins on display, food trucks, activities, a midway, and the best part DOG FRIENDLY days! Pre-booking the tickets is a must, and you can either buy them separately or at one price that gives you access to the Night of Lights event also.
Check it out for more details at https://pumpkinville.ca
I know, movies can be done anytime, but since we’re in this hybrid weather period don’t discount the outdoors yet. The drive-in is still running into early October, it’s generally nice enough to be outside in the evening (layers are key here) so you don’t call it quits half-way through on account of being cold. A picnic basket, a nice cup of hot chocolate, and a few blankets should do the trick.
The drive-in is also a 2-for-1 deal, and on holidays they still do dusk-till-dawn. As a family of five, with 2 under three there’s no way we can have them sit still in a theatre for 1-2 hrs. So, the drive-in has become our go to. It’s also way more budget friendly and allows the kids to move around when they need to. We bring our camping chairs and sit under the stars for as long as we can (usually just the first movie).
The Zoo is family fun at any time of year, but the fall is almost magical. The cooler weather is not only better for us, but the animals seem to like it better. I find we actually get to see way more animals this time of year than in the hot hazy summer.
It doesn’t have to be The Toronto Zoo, but also consider local zoo’s like Elmvale zoo, Riverdale Park (free) or even a petting zoo like Lionels farm ($6 pp) which is great for kids under 5!
The Farmers Market
Fall is a great time to visit the local farmers market. The choices are infinite whether you want to stay local or make a day of it and check out somewhere new. Most of them have special events running for the fall. For example, St. Jacobs Market is hosting Storytime with Cinderella Oct 8th. Other local markets, include Evergreen Brick Works and the St. Lawrence Market.
The lovely thing about farmers markets is you’re supporting your community, local businesses and enjoying the fresh local produce. Often, they have art, housewares and even fabulous one-of–a kind décor. Almost every neighbourhood has one, so check flyer boards, and local listings for dates and times closest to you.
The Toronto Islands
Take a first or last trip over to the Toronto Islands before they close for the season. It’s budget friendly depending on what you choose to do, with the only must have expense is the ferry ride and at only $5-$9pp, it’s affordable. We brought a picnic and snacks with us, instead of buying food. There are places to eat along the paths, if you don’t want to lug food with you. It has a host of activities, parks, bike paths and bike rentals if you choose to explore more. Centre Island is home to Centreville, far away farm and many other attractions. There is something for everyone, whether you’re gathering as a group of family, friends or even a great place for a date. Nothing beats a picnic in the park and long walks.
We took the kids the last week of summer and their favourite parts of the trip were the ferry ride, the playground and the beach. We really made a day of it and walked from Wards Island over to Centre Island. We stopped along the way to check out the dunes, the lighthouse and the old dormitory.
The kids having fun…
So Let’s get back outside and into the great outdoors and take advantage of all the great things to do and if you have a favourite place or you’ve been to any of theses places, tell me what you think.
*None of this is paid advertisement. Any places suggested are based off my own experiences/research *