Savor the fresh air, bright colors and festivals of fall. Here are five ideas to consider:
1. Door County, Wis.
Head to the scenic, 70-mile peninsula in northeast Wisconsin known as Door County for a cornucopia of fall bounty. Expect apple and cherry picking plus farmers markets offering locally grown and homemade items. Have you experienced a fish boil? Served by many restaurants in the area, the popular meal features locally caught Lake Michigan whitefish and potatoes cooked in a giant pot over a roaring, wood fire. With the fall colors as backdrop, hike local trails, stop by a lighthouse, check out art shows, festivals and fireworks. doorcounty.com.
2. Pick your own apples
Whether you fancy Granny Smiths, Fuji or Golden Delicious, the whole family will enjoy a day in a "pick your own" fruit orchard. Gather your crop, then return home to make your own apple juice, pie or cobbler. Stay close to the hearth or visit the state that harvests more than half of the country's apples. In Washington's Yakima Valley, the Johnson family has been sharing their fragrant bounty for more than 100 years. Stop by their popular bake shop for fresh pies. johnsonorchardsfruit.com; pickyourown.org; usapple.org.
3. Discover farm fresh
This is an ideal time to celebrate our nation's plenty by visiting farmers markets, joining in a barn dance or enjoying a county fair. Take a farm tour and learn how our food evolves from plow to porch. Visit a community garden and become inspired to join in or plan for your own. For a more immersive experience, spend the night or a weekend on a family farm. Leave the electronics and everyday expectations behind and get ready to pitch in for the morning chores. At farms across the country, kids can collect eggs, pet pigs, corral critters, tend a garden brimming with fresh produce or hang out in the shade of fruit trees. farmstayus.com.
4. Appreciate the fall foliage
Whether it is a jaw-dropping drive through the Colorado Rockies, a hike along a Smoky Mountain ridge top or mountain biking in New Hampshire's Waterville Valley, nature's dazzling autumn display is something to behold. Set in the White Mountain National Forest, just two hours north of Boston, the Waterville Valley Resort offers activities and programs of interest to every member of the family including golf, tennis, boating, a skate and bike park as well as a range of indoor cultural and wellness options. visitwatervillevalley.com; fs.fed.us/news/fallcolors.
5. Corn mazes and more
Play hide and seek in the corn maze, climb aboard the horse-drawn wagon for a hay ride and scout for the best pumpkins in the patch. Relax in the fresh fall air with a glass of crisp apple cider. Check out the Williamsburg Harvest Celebration for an authentic, seasonal journey that began more than 400 years ago. The gathering honors the land used to shape our nation and the modern-day culinary enthusiasm for farm-to-table goodness. pumpkinpatchesandmore.org; williamsburgharvestcelebration.com.
(Lynn O’Rourke Hayes is the editor of FamilyTravel.com