24 Free Things to Do in the Fall

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24 Free Things to Do in the Fall

Fall/Autumn is my favorite season of all, and I am always looking for free things to do in the Fall. This year, I decided to make a list and share it. I figure if I’m looking for a list of free things to do in the Fall, others are searching too. 

These things to do in the fall are all free (or extremely cheap). Most of these activities you can do with your family or with friends. 

Free Things to Do in the Fall

#1 Host a Costume Party

This may seem like it would cost money, but if you make a rule that all of the costumes must be made only with things the person has at home. It can be an old costume from a previous year. However, everything for the costumes must come from the home and cannot be purchased. DIY costumes are usually very creative and interesting. 

Another thing you can do for this party is to ask each person to bring a snack to share. You can send out a Sign-Up Genius list and each person/family can sign up for what they will be bringing. This will eliminate some of the costs for you, the host. 

#2 Fall Yard Work

This is one of the best free things to do in the fall. You can work with your spouse and/or children. 

For the past 9 years, my family and I lived in a subdivision. We did not have a tree in our yard, so we did not have any fall chores outside. 

Now, we live in a house with a much larger yard. Our trees are already starting to lose some of their leaves. We will have plenty of those in the next couple of weeks. One thing you can do is rake the leaves. 

Another part of fall yard work is chopping fallen limbs. I thought that only the leaves fell, but I’m learning that sometimes the limbs/small branches fall as well. Chop these up and get them ready for the campfire/fire pit that we will talk about soon.

You can pull weeds and dead flowers as well. One thing that isn’t completely free, but will get your yard ready for the spring is to plant bulbs in your flower beds. 

#3 Visit Farmer’s Market

On Thursday evenings during the summer and fall, there is a farmer’s market set up in a parking lot near downtown where I live. 

There are a few other farmer’s markets set up and open on Saturdays as well. 

I know that going to a farmer’s market can make you want to purchase things, but, if you can resist the wonderful things at the market, you can walk through and see all the fresh produce, flowers, and other goodies for free. 

Enjoy spending time with the family walking around outside. Also, there may be other activities at the farmer’s market for you and/or the kids to do. 

#4 Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Here in NC, there are a few pumpkin patches. Some of them charge a small admission fee, but they allow you to pick your own pumpkin. 

Some pumpkin patches are one of the free things to do in the fall. They don’t charge an admission fee. You only pay if you want to get a pumpkin to take home, or you want to try some of the homemade goodies–like cookies, cakes, and ice creams. 

#5 DIY Fall Decor

Here again, this could become very expensive. However, the rule for doing this for free is that you can only use items you have at home. 

I know that you may have to get a few supplies (glue, paint, glitter), but with a budget of $20, you should be able to get everything you need from a dollar store (or thrift store). 

If you don’t have orange paper, you can use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to make the color you want. Then cut out the leaves and shapes you need. 

If you are like me, I’m sure you can find things around the house to use to make fall decor. (When you do, send me pictures in the comments or on IG so I can see them!) 

#6 Watch Halloween Movies or TV Shows

Most people now have a streaming service instead of cable. If you have this, you should be able to get videos on demand and watch almost any TV show or movie that you want. 

If you do not have a streaming service, you can get a free trial for Amazon Prime here and use their streaming service for this!

#7 Go Hiking

Hiking is great exercise, but it is also an amazing way to see nature. 

Take your camera and walk around a local park. Or, you can drive to a local hiking trail. Wear comfortable shoes and layers. Be sure to take water and snacks for the trail. Carry a lightweight backpack so that you can have your hands free for pictures. 

#8 Leaf Peeping (and Take Photos)

Leaf peeping is a cute way to say that you are going to travel to take pictures of the fall colors. Depending on where you live, this could be a few minutes from home or a couple of hours. Although this will cost the money for gas to get to the destination, the actual activity is free. 

For me, since I live in the middle of NC, I would drive about an hour and a half or two hours west to see the foliage. This is one of my favorite free things to do in the fall. I love driving with my family up the mountain and stopping at the overlooks to see the colors. The further into the mountains I can go, the better I like it. 

#9 Fall Photoshoot 

Before you start thinking, “That will be expensive,” hear me out. 

Most of us are carrying amazing cameras in our pockets right now. Our smartphone cameras often take better pictures than some full-size cameras. My phone takes amazing pictures. My friends with iPhones (not me!) tell me that their phones have great cameras. 

So, with that in mind, head to a park, pumpkin patch, or anywhere that has beautiful scenery for your pictures. You can set up the camera on a timer so everyone can be in the shots. Or, take a friend with you to take pictures. 

If your friend brings his/her family, you can take their pictures and they can take yours. It’s a great trade and a fun way to spend a day with friends and family. 

#10 Go to Antique Stores or Thrift Shops 

This can be one of those activities that can turn expensive in a hurry but set a rule ahead of time that you are not purchasing anything. 

Look around at all of the items. Imagine the things you could do with them in your home. Create stories about where the pieces are from and what has happened to them. Have fun being imaginative and inventive with your family.

#11 Research Town History and Do Self-guided Tour

Through a simple Google search or on the website for your town, you can find out a lot about the history of where you live. This activity is especially great if you have recently moved to a new area. It will help you get to know your new hometown. However, if you have lived in the same house your entire life, there is a chance you will learn something new about your town through this activity. 

#12 Curl Up with a Cozy Blanket and Good Book

This is one of my favorite year-round activities, but it’s one of the best free things to do in the fall. 

Grab a cozy blanket, hot chocolate in your favorite mug, and a good book. There is nothing better than dozing off reading while curled up in a comfy blanket on a fall afternoon.

#13 Watch a Thanksgiving Parade

I love the holidays. If you stick around long enough, you will learn that. My favorite thing (other than hanging out with the family) to do on Thanksgiving is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on television. Usually, it is over before we have our family dinner. I can watch it while we are getting everything ready to be with the family. I live in a smaller town, and we do not have our own Thanksgiving parade. However, Charlotte, NC, does have one, but I’ve never been to it in person. I like to watch all of the different parades on television, and my favorite is definitely Macy’s.

#14 Bird Watching

If you live in a warmer area, this is definitely easier than if you live somewhere cooler. Since birds fly south for the winter, we have the privilege to have birds all year round. Go to the park or a local lake or out into your backyard. You can watch the birds flying or nesting. Take pictures and try to identify the birds online when you get home. 

#15 Build a Campfire

This activity and the next two are great free things to do in the fall, and they can all be done together.

Go to your backyard and build a campfire. If you did your fall yard work (#2 on the list), you have leaves and yard debris that you can burn. You may need to get some more to keep the fire going, but you have some to start the fire with. 

#16 Backyard Camping 

If you have a tent or something you can make a tent with, you can camp in your backyard. In some places, it may be too cold to sleep all night outside, but you can do camping activities–fire, s’mores, stories, and hot chocolate–before going inside to sleep.

#17 Host a Campfire/Fire Pit

If you are going to have a campfire going in the backyard or are going to be using your fire pit, invite friends and family over. You can ask them to bring the ingredients for hot dogs or s’mores. Everyone can make their own dinner or dessert over the fire. 

So now you see how these three can go together? 

#18 Fly a Kite

In the fall, it’s cooler outside, and many times there is a breeze strong enough to fly a kite. You can buy inexpensive kites that you can use over and over. Or, you can make your own kites.

This can be fun for the entire family to do together. See who can fly the lowest without crashing or the highest without losing control. Try to be the first to get the kite to stay in the air or the last one still flying. All of these “contests” can be repeated several times throughout the day when you are flying kites. 

#19 Jump in a Pile of Leaves

If you did your yard work you probably have piles of leaves. You can jump in them, throw them in the air, or make “leaf angels” in them. 

Have fun! Make a mess. Rake them again. Repeat until it’s no longer fun (or until it’s too cool to be outside). 

#20 Go to a Fall Festival

Many of our local churches have fall festivals. Some local organizations host them as well. Only a few of the festivals charge admissions. That makes this a great free activity! 

#21 Attend Workshops at Lowe’s or Home Depot 

Usually one weekend a month, the Lowe’s and Home Depot offer maker workshops. These are great for kids, but I think sometimes adults can join in the fun as well. Call your local store to see if they are hosting any workshops for the fall or holidays.

#22 Attend Library Events

The local public library here often has games, story times, and small events for different seasons and holidays. Check online or call your local library to see what they have going on for the fall. 

#23 Complete a Puzzle

These last two could be combined and shared with others. 

If you are like my husband, you are a puzzle person. He likes working puzzles in all his “free” time, which means he doesn’t do it often. 

Recently, we got him a puzzle saver pad so when he starts a puzzle he can roll it up and save it. We haven’t used it yet. 

Grab a puzzle and work it with the family. Find a simple one that younger children can work on as well. 

#24 Host a Board Game Night

The final thing on the list of free things to do in the fall is hosting a board game night. This can be fun for all ages, so invite friends and family over. Have them bring their children. 

Get a few snacks and drinks (which will make this activity not free) or ask everyone to bring something to share (and lower your own cost). You can even have each family bring a game to share and play. 


Those are 24 free things you can do in the fall. I know you can probably give me a list of 50 more activities, so add those in the comments so we can build a longer and better list in the community.

What will you be doing this fall? Are you planning to do any of the things on this list?

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