Fun Fall Activities for the Whole Family

It's finally time for pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and apple picking.

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Now that the weather is cooling off, fall activities are looking a lot more attractive. There are quite a few places within reasonable driving distance to go for pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and apple picking. And while the activities all sound fun, one of the greatest attractions might be the variety of food vendors.

Wise Acres Pumpkin Patch

Wise Acres is a family-owned USDA Certified Organic farm. At Wise Acres, visitors can pick their own pumpkins, take a wagon ride, ride a barrel train, play on a zipline, meet the farm animals, and purchase seasonal and local goods like honey and jam. There is also a “party patch” for special events.

While there are plenty of activities to engage all ages, one of the biggest attractions at Wise Acres is the food. Wise Acres has several options for hungry guests. There are treats at the concession stand in the barn and meals from Wise Pie Wood Fired Oven Pizza. Visitors can find specialty caffeinated beverages paired with Your Mom’s Donuts at the Wise and Shine Coffee & Tea Camper.

There is no charge to visit the farm and participate in some of the activities, but the wagon ride, barrel train, and corn pit do have a fee. Their fall activities have become so popular that Wise Acres has to rent and insure an overflow parking lot for October. Because of the extra expense, on October 12th, 13th, 19th, and 20th, they will have to charge $5 for parking. Their website encourages, “Please feel free to visit earlier or later to avoid the $5 parking fee.”

Wise Acres is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Wise Pizza is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Wise Acres is located at 4701 Hartis Road, Indian Trail. Check Facebook, Instagram, or call 704-628-6232 for weather condition updates. Find more information at

Apple Hill Orchard

Apple Hill Orchard is about an hour and a half away, but this time of year it takes a little bit of a drive to get to pick-your-own apples. In early October, Red Rome and Stayman Winesap are in season. Fuji, Goldrush, and Granny Smith are ready to pick mid-October. Pink Lady and Limbertwig should be ready by late October.

The orchard also has a country store, cider mill, and bakery. The bakery is one of their most popular attractions. Homemade treats, such as cider donuts, whole cakes, apple pies, fried pies, breads, muffins, and tarts, are prepared with fruits from the orchard. The cider mill boasts award-winning cider. Its sweet taste was recognized by the North American Farmers Market Association.

The best way to plan a trip is to consult their website to check the harvest calendar and times of operation for the orchard and bakery. One variety of early-October apples is already closed for the season, so it’s important to check for the latest information. Apple Hill Orchard is located at 2075 Pleasant Hill Avenue, Morganton, NC. For more information visit, or call 828-437-1224.

Country Days and Aw Shucks Farm Corn Mazes

Both Country Days and Aw Shucks Farm offer corn maze adventures. Aw Shucks features one maze that is of moderate difficulty. It takes about 25 minutes for most visitors to make their way through, but even children do well. At Aw Shucks, the maze pattern is unique each year. Country Days offers two mazes. The Little Ears Maze is open during daylight hours for children 10 and under. The Big Ears Maze is advertised as seven acres of “cornfusion.” Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult.

As far as activities go, Aw Shucks offers an animal barn, 1950s soda shop, 1800s train car, kids play area, pumpkin market, general store, and picnic shelters. Three different concession areas offer a variety of food, including hot dogs, burgers, and corn. Country Days also has both paid and free farm activities, as well as food vendors and a general store.

Country Days Corn Maze is located at 416 Joe Lee Helms Rd, Indian Trail. Prices vary depending on age and group rates. Check for full information on pricing and hours of operation. Aw Shucks is located at 3718 Plyler Mill Rd., Monroe. Check out their website at For specific questions, call 704-709-7000 or email

At Country Days, the Little Ears Maze is open during daylight hours for children 10 and under.
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Annie Beth Donahue lives in Indian Trail, North Carolina with her husband Brad, and four children. She is a professional writer for both the web and print, and she can be found at

Annie Beth also has a bachelor's degree in music therapy from Queens University of Charlotte, and has either been working with or parenting children with special needs for the past 18 years. She is a children's book author and the founder and president of Signposts Ministries, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves families that have children with chronic health problems or disabilities. In her non-working time, she homeschools and oversees the children's care of their small menagerie made up of chickens, two donkeys, a dog, a cat, and a snake.