17 family-friendly fall activities to enjoy the season

Dayton region offers many options for seasonal fun.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Short and squat, oblong or oddly shaped, bright orange or muted green. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to picking the perfect pumpkin.

And while busy days and hectic schedules are the norm, they are not an excuse for missing the cherished family tradition of selecting that just-right pumpkin for the Sutton family of Beavercreek.

“It’s the one fall activity we do regardless of everyone’s schedule,” mom Polly Sutton said. “It’s a fun tradition. There’s nothing serious about it, and it’s not date or place-specific, so we always find the time.”

The Sutton family has found a pumpkin patch in every city they’ve called home since their son Cooper, now 14, was a baby. Daughter Tatum, 9, joined the fun a few years later.

“It has gotten harder as the kids have gotten older, but the payoff is worth the effort,” Sutton said. “It’s always fun.”

Fall is all about family fun as pumpkin patches, corn mazes and hayrides are plentiful in the Miami Valley. In particular Ohio is a pumpkin hot spot. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau, there are more than 3,600 acres of the seasonal crop harvested annually. And the fun doesn’t have to end when families find their way out of the maze or leave the farm as there are pumpkins to carve and delicious baked goods and cider to enjoy at home.

Families who want to create their own seasonal memories don’t have to look very far to find the perfect spot for a weekend of “a-maze-ing” fall fun. Many local farms offer a full slate of activities and plenty of tasty seasonal treats to enjoy.

1. Brown’s Family Farm Market

Where: 11620 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Hamilton

Details: Fall Family Fun Weekends are packed with a variety of free and inexpensive activities at the farm that has been family owned-and-operated for more than three decades. Explore the tiny town play village, meander through the corn maze or straw maze or brave the slide tower. Take a hayride to the 5-acre pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin or watch the little ones enjoy a barrel train ride. Don’t miss the market stocked with cider, kettle corn and fall treats.

More info: Visit www.brownsfarmmarket.com or call 513-738-0404.

2. Brumbaugh Fruit and Fun Farm

Where: 6420 Arcanum-Hollansburg Road, Arcanum

Details: From the Storybook Forest to Billy Bee’s Flight O’Fun to the Kinda Kooky Korn Maze, fun is in full bloom at the farm. Jump onto the Pumpkin Express and let the search begin for a pumpkin to take home. The Farmer’s Daughter Bakery is stocked with fresh-from-the oven apple dumplings and fritters. The Adventure Market offers seasonal produce and treats.

More info: Visit www.brumbaughfruitfarm.com or call 937-692-8084.

3. Burwinkel Farms

Where: 4359 Hamilton Cleves Road, Ross

Details: For more than a century, the family-owned farm has been a mainstay for fresh produce and the Fall Festival adds family fun to the offerings. One price includes a hayride, a pumpkin and sunflower to take home as well as an afternoon of activities including two mazes, a picture-perfect sunflower field, farm animals to visit and a Halloween scavenger hunt.

More info: Visit www.burwinkelfarms.com or call 513-738-1145.

4. Fulton Farms

Where: 2393 OH-202, Troy

Details: Fall on the Farm means hayrides to the pumpkin patch as well as visits to the barnyard and Fulton’s Castle. Fresh produce — long the star of the show at the Troy farm — is still front and center along with seasonal items like apple cider slushies.

More info: Visit www.fultonfarms.com or call 937-335-6983.

5. Hidden Valley Orchards

Where: 5474 North State Route 48, Lebanon

Details: Pumpkin Donut Days (Oct. 14-15) are just one of the many family events at the orchard that also offers live music weekly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Take a hayride, pick a pumpkin, visit with a friendly goat or two or browse through the seasonal selection in the Market. Adults can enjoy a “Croptail” creation while the little ones slurp down an apple cider slushie.

More info: Visit www.hiddenvalleyorchards.com.

6. Irons Fruit Farm

Where: 1640 Stubbs Mill Road, Lebanon

Details: This fourth-generation farm is a favorite destination for you-pick produce but fall means it’s also time to tackle their 12-acre corn maze or take a hayride to the pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are priced per pound and the hayride is free. The market and bakery are stocked with fresh-pressed cider as well as the always-popular apple fritters and cinnamon-cider doughnuts.

More info: Visit www.ironsfruitfarm.com or call 513-932-2853.

7. Kleather’s Pumpkin Patch

Where: 90 W. Central Ave., Springboro

Details: There are pumpkins aplenty as well as a picture-perfect pumpkin carriage at the family business that has been a Springboro mainstay for close to 50 years. Pumpkins and gourds are just the beginning with a barn bursting with the sights and tastes of fall. Partnering with small businesses like the Anchored Baking Co. and Eric’s Pretzels keeps the offerings original and oh so tasty.

More info: Visit Kleather’s Pumpkin Patch on Facebook or call 937-241-9194.

8. Lucas Brothers Fall Festival

Where: 3269 Ferry Road, Bellbrook

Details: Wristband admission includes a full day of fun offering hayrides, pumpkins, corn mazes, barrel train rides, sunflower patch and more. Those who dare can enjoy extended hours on Friday the 13th for a moonlit hayride or a spooky trip through the 6-acre corn maze. The farm also hosts special events.

More info: Visit www.lucasbrosfarms.com or call 513-496-4769.

9. Majestic Nursery and Gardens

Where: 2100 Preble County Line Road, West Alexandria

Details: The Amazing Maze — complete with an optional treasure hunt — is fun for the entire family. Enjoy a hayride or spend some quality time with some cuddly farm animals. And when it comes to pumpkins, there are plenty to choose from with nearly 45 different types of pumpkins, squash and gourds available to purchase — not to mention mums in an array of vibrant colors.

Info: Visit https://majesticnurseryandgardens.com or call 937-833-5100.

10. Niederman Family Farm

Where: 5110 LeSourdsville West Chester Road, Liberty Township

Details: Making memories is the main event as visitors can do it all with a single admission price. From the 4-acre corn maze to the kids play area and wagon rides to the farmers’ training course, there is fun for all ages. Up for some competition? Try tug-o-war or human foosball. Or just relax by the community firepit. And don’t forget to snag some of the fan favorite sugar and cinnamon doughnuts.

More info: Visit https://niedermanfamilyfarm.com/ or call 513-779-3228.

11. Peifer Orchards

Where: 4590 US 68 N., Yellow Springs

Details: Hunt for the perfect pumpkin at the family-owned Yellow Springs farm seven days a week throughout the fall. Stop by the market for local honey, Ohio maple syrup or fresh-pressed cider.

More info: Crop reports, recipes and additional information at www.peiferorchards.com or call 937-767-2208.

12. Schappacher Farms; Pumpkins and Farm Market

Where: 3068 W. State Route 73, Wilmington

Details: There are pumpkins, squash and gourds of all shapes and sizes with six pumpkin patches at the family-owned Wilmington farm. Beyond the pumpkin patches, there are free hayrides and a corn maze to navigate every weekend through Halloween. After the fun, enjoy some fresh apple cider or a hand-dipped caramel apple.

More info: Visit https://schappacherfarm.com or call 513-515-5138.

13. Sizemore Farm

Where: 7603 Upper Miamisburg Road, Miamisburg

Details: Find the perfect pumpkin and take a hayride with the family. Mom and dad can enjoy a refreshing apple cider slushie while the little ones enjoy a dragon wagon ride. And everyone can find a treasure in Nana Pam’s Barn with sweet treats and seasonal décor.

More info: Visit Sizemore Farm on Facebook or call 937-847-2760.

14. Tom’s Maze

Where: 4881 Germantown-Liberty Road, Germantown

Details: Hailed as “one of the best” and a “must-see,” Tom’s Maze has been recognized statewide, regionally and nationally. The Germantown mainstay — in its 26th year — is more than a maze as there are 12 puzzle pieces located throughout the maze at roadside mailboxes. Enjoy a ride on Tom’s Pumpkin Train or rent a campfire site for family and friends.

More info: Visit https://tomsmaze.com or call 937-866-2777.

15. VanDemark Farm

Where: 2401 S. VanDemark Road, Sidney

Details: One price to do it all at the Sidney Farm: corn maze, petting zoo, mini golf, hayride, Play Zone and inflatables. Wrap up a full day of fun around a cozy bonfire. Don’t forget your flashlight if you’re going to brave the Lost Land Corn Maze after dark.

More info: Visit www.vandemarkfarm.com or call 937-492-2306.

16. Windmill Farm Market

Where: 1454 E. State Route 73, Springboro

Details: The Spooktacular Fall Festival is fun for the entire family with an all-inclusive ticket that includes the adventure hayride, pumpkin bounce pad, cornstalk tunnel, play areas and farm animals. Check out the farm market for seasonal snacks and mouth-watering baked goods.

More info: Visit www.windmillfarmmarket.com or call 937-885-3965.

17. Young’s Jersey Dairy

Where: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road, Yellow Springs

Details: Fall Farm Family Fun is in full swing at Young’s. Hop on a wagon to head out to the pumpkin patch, venture into Cowvin’s Corny Maze and playland, complete with human hamster wheels. Also savor some tasty treats like homemade pumpkin ice cream and cinnamon sugar pumpkin donut holes.

More info: Visit www.youngsdairy.com or call 937-325-0629.

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