There’s nothing cozier than the feeling of fall approaching. The back-to-school scramble is over. The leaves are turning every shade of auburn. And being outside is no longer followed by an overwhelming want for A/C.
It’s the best time of year to plan a playdate with friends or a romantic night out—or in—for two. But what are your options? Here are 8 ways to plan a picture-perfect date for fall.
Hayrides & Pumpkin Patches
Autumn always marks a warm welcome to bales of hay and pumpkin everything. So pack a picnic basket filled with your favorite bottle of wine and a homemade cheese plate and hit the hay for a fun-filled ride. Or opt to wander the endless vines of a picturesque pumpkin patch before settling down to unpack your snacks. Either way, the spirit of fall will fill the air and you can enjoy some much-needed R&R before the bustling holiday season begins.
Pro tip: Add a thermos of hot cocoa for a snuggly sweet treat to top off the evening.
Orchard Picking & Picnicking
A quintessential autumn afternoon could be spent picking apples in a ripening orchard. Find a farm near you, pack a picnic basket and put on some comfy walking shoes. Beyond being beautiful way to spend the day, it’s an active one, too. And when you’re done, you’ll have the main ingredient for a home-baked pie or cobbler.
Pro tip: Call ahead to coordinate your date with an upcoming farm fall festival or event.
Camping and Hiking
There isn’t really a single season for getting into the great outdoors, but fall promises cooler weather and beautiful foliage. Check out which trails and campgrounds are within reach and hit the road. It’s a great way to showcase your teamwork abilities and a chance to unplug and get back to nature.
Pro tip: Pack s’more essentials and relax by the fire while roasting marshmallows.
Tailgating & Game Time
Football season is in full swing and the energy at game time can be truly electric. But even if you don’t have a ticket, tailgating is half the fun anyway. Grab your tent, pick up a six-pack and show your team spirit with some face paint. All that’s left is to fire up the grill for your favorite tailgating snacks and let the games begin! Can’t find a field near you? Take the party indoors and turn your living room into a tailgater’s paradise.
Pro tip: Freeze water bottles to double as ice packs and you’ll have extra drinking water when they melt.
Ghost Tours & Haunted Houses
Before the turkey is served and the sleigh bells start ringing, Halloween brings a slew of spooky ways to spend your evenings. You can find a haunted house or maze near you or see what real ghosts are said to lurk in your area by taking a ghost tour. Either way, a fright-filled night of fun on the town will surely keep your date clinging to your side.
Pro tip: Reserve your tour time in advance. Tour companies tend to book up fast this time of year.
Vineyards & Breweries
Sipping and sampling fruitful wine and tasty brews is a delicious way to spend the day. Vineyards and breweries usually offer facility tours before you hit the tasting room so you can see the science behind the imbibing. Even if you don’t live near an actual vineyard, tasting rooms can deliver the same vine-to-table appeal. Craft beer enthusiasts should have no trouble finding a brewery nearby in this day and age.
Pro tip: Schedule your brew tasting around an Oktoberfest event near you between late September and early October.
Candied Apples & Pumpkin Pie
Foods inspired by fall flavors are more than just delicious sweet treats to eat. Sometimes, half the fun is in making them yourself at home. Strike up a fire, stir in some cocoa and spend an afternoon in the kitchen whipping up your own candied apples or a creamy pumpkin pie. Whether you have an old family recipe or you’re starting a new tradition of your own, it can quickly become yummy fun for everyone to look forward to each year.
Pro tip: After you’ve carved your Halloween pumpkin, save its guts to make all kinds of pumpkin-flavored treats.
Fireplaces & Bonfires
Nothing speaks to romance quite like a cozy fire. Keep it low key and cuddle up to some kindling at the fireplace or get a crew together and gather around in the great outdoors. Add a good book, a scary movie, a good game of charades or whatever you’re in the mood for to complete your perfect night by the flames.
Pro tip: Take it back to your childhood and build a fort on the floor for an even cozier feel.
Of course, these autumn-inspired date ideas aren’t mutually exclusive. Mix and match your favorites to complete the perfect fall night and enjoy the weather before winter arrives.