Autumn Adventures for the Whole Family
Spooky, sweet and scary fall activities abound across NCBy Emory Rakestraw
From ghost trains to corn mazes; pumpkin patches and fresh apple cider; does it get any better than fall in North Carolina?We’re blessed with gorgeous foliage, cool temperatures, and plentiful activities to make the most of this spectacular (and often fleeting) season.
Whether you’re looking for something spooky, sweet or scary, here are a wide assortment of activities the whole family can enjoy.
Check with each location to verify hours before making plans.
Ken's Korny Corn Maze
Friday-Sunday through Nov. 5, 2023
kenskornycornmaze.com | 919-779-4765
Ken’s Korny Corn Maze has been drawing adventurous crowds and families for more than two decades. The corn maze spans five acres with twists and turns totaling around 60 to 75 minutes from start to finish.
“Ken’s Korny Corn Maze is now in its 24th year. Ken Walker is a staple in the Garner area, known both for his produce center and as a farmer and fireman,” says Amy Woolard, manager of Ken’s Produce and Garden Center. “He cuts his own maze, and doing this year-after-year has let him fine-tune the design.”
A unique part about the corn maze is that it’s broken into three sections. Guests can choose to do all three or only one, making it much more suited for an easy adventure, Amy explains
Other draws include greenhouses full of pumpkins and gourds of various shapes and sizes, as well as a sunflower field open for family photos. After navigating the maze, families can enjoy various activities like hayrides, miniature golf and the corn tunnel.
Saturdays in October 2023 | Pumpkin Patch: Tuesday-Saturday
mikesfarmnc.com | 910-324-3422
Mike’s Farm has made a name for itself as an agritourist destination in eastern North Carolina. Started as a small tobacco farm in 1945 by Jess L. Lowe and his wife Lucille Bryan, it has since evolved from tobacco to various crops and Christmas trees, a gift shop, full-service bakery, on-site restaurant, educational programs, and seasonal events.
In October, Saturdays on the farm include hayrides, pumpkin picking, live music and more. After a hayride and visiting the wide variety of farm animals, check out the everchanging gift shop full of seasonal and regional offerings. Hungry? Don’t leave without grabbing a slice of their famous 10-layer chocolate cake from the bakery.
To make the most of a Saturday at Mike’s Farm, make reservations at their on-site restaurant. The Southern-inspired menu calls to the “barn day dinner” of fried chicken, ham, homemade biscuits, collards and sweet tea once prepared by Lucille for the farmhands.
Friday & Saturday nights through Oct. 28, 2023
tweetsie.com | 800-526-5740
Source: Tweetsie Railroad
Come October, the iconic Tweetsie Railroad gets a Halloween makeover and invites brave passengers to climb aboard the Ghost Train. Daytime guests can still enjoy all of Tweetsie’s Wild West adventures, but after the sun sets, Tweetsie Railroad is chock full of spooky fun, including a Freaky Forest path and Haunted House. “Younger children will love the dance parties, trick-or-treat stations, themed photo opportunities, and the Palace Spooktacular Show,” says Tweetsie Railroad Marketing Director Meghan Minton. “Braver kids and adults will appreciate the scary night-time journey on the Ghost Train, walking through the hallowed halls of the Haunted House and exploring the murky Freaky Forest. And everyone will love the park’s most popular amusement rides after dark in the Creepy Carnival.”
Asheboro Fall Festival
Oct 7, 2023, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
randolphartsguild.com | 336-629-0399
Since 1974, the Asheboro Fall Festival has showcased handmade arts and crafts from local artisans. Although it has grown throughout its nearly five-decade lineage, the message remains the same: Spotlighting and celebrating artists and makers in the Randolph County region.
“Visitors can expect to be wowed by the local talent — it’s certainly a feast for the eyes,” says Rose Longuillo, director of the Randolph Arts Guild, which sponsors and organizes the festival. “The festival is filled with unique, one-off items you won’t find elsewhere. It’s always amazing to see the talent and to take home such unique, handmade treasures.”
A broad range of craft vendors, including nearby Seagrove potters, alongside non-profit vendors, live music and kid-friendly activities makes this a must-attend event. Rose notes a popular component includes barbecue prepared by the Randolph County Livestock Association. For families, this year’s kid-friendly activities include face painting, llamas and a nearby cow costume contest.
Grandad's Apples N'Such
Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (events end at 5 p.m.)
grandadsapples.com | 828-685-1685
The first thing you’ll notice when arriving at Grandad’s Apples N’ Such is the stunning Blue Ridge view, then other senses kick in as the tantalizing aroma of hot apple cider and gooey donuts fills the air. A large open-air barn houses the country store and bakery, and their apple cider donut and apple cider slushie are a must-try! Although apples are indeed the main event, a wide assortment of you-pick pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns steals the show come October. Wind your way through the corn maze or let the little ones climb aboard the Cow Train. Feeling boisterous? An apple cannon lets you aim and launch apples for a little wild fun.
Spooky Bottom Haunted Trail
spookybottom.com | 336-879-0255
Spooky Bottom Haunted Trail
If you’re looking for fear and frights this Halloween (and have already reserved a babysitter for the evening), Spooky Bottom Haunted Trail plunges you into a backwoods adventure of terrifying encounters. Cabins, houses, mine shafts, swamps, villages and more make up the almost one-mile path. Designed to ‘test your limits,’ this haunted trail was previously awarded Victim’s Choice: Best Haunt in the Carolinas by Fear Carolina.