Here in the Midwest, there’s no shortage of ways for the whole family to celebrate the fall season. Whether you want to pick apples and pumpkins, enjoy hay rides and corn mazes or view spectacular displays of autumn leaves, our 2018 guide to fall fun in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin has something for you!
Apple Picking and Pumpkin Patches
All Seasons Orchard
Pick apples, pears and pumpkins, explore the corn maze and refuel with a sit-down meal or a tasty snack.
This is the orchard to visit if you are looking for a low-key experience without extra attractions. Choose from 23 apple varieties to pick and honey harvested from their beehives.
Goebberts Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard
Enjoy the added fun of getting a ride on a hay wagon out to the orchard and pumpkin patch. Children will love the many animal-related activities: a petting zoo, exotic animals, bunny town, goat mountain, pig races, pony rides and camel rides. Other attractions to include in your visit are the Pumpkin Express train ride, a corn maze and a haunted house.
Prairie Sky Orchard
Another great option if you want to focus on picking apples and pumpkins and skip the attractions. After picking, refuel with coffee and apple donuts available for purchase.
All things fall, seven days a week! In addition to apple, pear and pumpkin picking options, Apple Holler offers farm tours, hayrides, mazes, petting zoo, pony rides and a restaurant featuring apple-inspired menu items to sip and savor.
A longer drive from northern Chicago suburbs than our other recommended destinations, but well worth the drive to visit “the home of the best gourmet apple pie in America.” Apple picking is also available.
The Best of the Local Fall Festivals
Didier Farms Pumpkin Fest
Choose from many varieties of pre-picked pumpkins and gourds, and enjoy hay rides, pony rides, camel rides, pig races, kiddie rides, crafts area, and animal land.
Long Grove Apple Fest
September 21-23, 2018
Long Grove, IL
Now in its 27th year, Long Grove Apple Fest serves up much more than apples and apple treats. Enjoy live music on two stages, carnival rides, a pie-eating contest, a kid zone and shopping options.
Lake Geneva Oktoberfest
October 6-7, 2018
A family-friendly event featuring activities for all ages, including pony rides, bouncy houses, German music, children’s performances, brats, potato pancakes, and cider donuts, Scootoberfest games, the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-in, and Sprechtoberfest’s beer tent!
You won’t have to go far to see one of the area’s best displays of fall colors. At the Chicago Botanic Gardens , you’ll experience an enormous variety of trees and shrubs in all their autumn glory. Choose a long stroll through the gardens or a comfortable ride on a ticketed tram tour.
Cook County Forest Preserves and Lake County Forest Preserves also offer great options for enjoying fall colors, either on foot or by car at some locations. View their websites to choose a site near you.
Before you go…
Some orchards on our list are open on weekends only, so be sure to check days and hours on their websites. You’ll also find up-to-date information on which varieties of fruit are ready for picking and special events.