Family-Friendly Leaf Peeping
September 26, 2012

While adults may think spending an afternoon looking for colorful foliage sounds great, the idea sounds like a snooze to many kids. If you choose your destination wisely, though, both parents and kids can enjoy the day. Think beyond just pretty trees. Pair your adventure with choosing a pumpkin, pressing apple cider, or going on a hay ride. The fall colors can be a backdrop for a great family outing!

Top Picks for Fall

Allandale Farm
Boston’s last working farm, located on the Boston/Brookline line near the Arnold Arboretum, offers hayrides through its property every weekend in October from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop in at the farm shop afterwards to pick up cider donut muffins, apple cider, or fresh vegetables. To add a hike to your afternoon, across the street, you can walk through Allandale Woods, one of Boston’s Urban Wilds spaces.

Webb State Park Fall Festival
The Department of Conservation and Recreation is celebrating the fall season with a festival on September 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Webb Memorial State Park in Weymouth. There will be a guided fall foliage hike, an apple press demonstration, bayberry candle making, music, and activities for kids.

Boston Hill Farm
Every weekend through October, Boston Hill Farm in North Andover holds its Fall Festival, with music, food, hayrides, and pick-your-own pumpkins and apples. Kids will love the petting zoo, which is home to chickens, geese, bunnies, goats, sheep, and calves. You can pick up some feed from the farm store before your walk to feed the sheep and goats by hand.

Hilltop Orchards
It’s hard to beat the fall foliage in the Berkshires. Head to Hilltop Orchards to pick apples, take a free hayride (on the weekends) and enjoy a hike up one of the farm’s backcountry trails. At the top of the hill, you'll be rewarded with 20-mile views of the southern Berkshire Mountains. Dogs are allowed on a leash. There is a $5 fee to access the trails, with a portion donated to land preservation.

Weir River Farm
This Trustees of Reservations property is always a family favorite, but a festival makes it even more fun to visit. On October 13, the farm celebrates the bounty of the season with live music, pumpkins, pony rides, local vendors, and more, at its annual fall festival.

Return of the Pumpkin People
The White Mountains in New Hampshire offer spectacular scenery, no matter the season, but in the fall take a trip to the charming town of Jackson and you can also enjoy a quirky event now in its 25th year. Businesses and homeowners display pumpkin creations throughout the village in a fun contest. You can take a self-guided tour; businesses offer maps. Pumpkins remain on display at least through October 21.

Patchet Brook Tree Farm
On weekends through October, this historic, family-owned farm in Tiverton, R.I., offers a 30-minute hayride and pumpkin hunt for $10. Look for scarecrows and other Halloween decorations (geared to younger kids) as you go through the woods and fields of the farm. At the end of the ride, you'll end up in a pumpkin patch, where you can pick a pumpkin.

Got questions about trip planning while keeping your kids happy when you get outside this fall? Ask away in this discussion thread and I’ll answer!

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