Fall Festivals and celebrations are around the corner. The apple butter churning, the pumpkin flavor, and crisp leaves falling. My favorite part of fall is the fresh clean air and the colors. There is just something magical about fall. No matter where you are in the United States, there is a festival for you; here are my top fall festivals for families.

fall festivals

National Apple Museum in Biglerville, PA photo credit: Jennifer Greene Tween ‘n Teen Traveling Mom

We are by all means a fall family; well minus the obsession over pumpkin everything. The weather is simply beautiful with no humidity, crisp air, and gentle breezes as the sun shines down. Fall weekends are the perfect time for a family trip, as hotel rates are much lower than peak summer rates.

With so many festivals to choose from, you can always find one within driving distance. From Pennsylvania to New Mexico, everyone celebrates Fall in different ways. We love the traditional apple picking and harvest festivals, but that simply isn’t every families cup of apple cider.

Top 6 Fall Festivals

National Apple Harvest Festival -Biglerville, PA

As you might imagine, the name of this game is all about Apples! The National Apple Harvest Festival is in its 52nd year and runs the first 2 weekends of October 1-2  and 8-9. Located in the heart of Pennsylvania Apple country, near historic Gettysburg, the festival is within a two hour drive of Washington DC, Baltimore MD, and Harrisburg PA. This festival is MASSIVE. No onsite parking; you must take shuttles from specified points. I suggest spending a weekend in the area, taking your time to enjoy both days of the festival. We have visited this festival and it is really fun for the entire family.

Fall Foliage Festival – Bedford, PA

Living in the North East I take the fall colors for advantage. Over 70,000 visitors come to town to see the spectacular colors that are on full display, and it really is stunning.  There are lots of vendor booths to check out and purchase from. There is a magician, a children’s theater, arts and crafts and pony rides. The fall colors makes this a fantastic festival for photographers. Fall Foliage Festival takes place over 2 weekends, starting October 1-2 and 8-9, 2016. This is a really large festival; as I have heard from friends. It would be wise to spend the weekend to see everything included.

fall festivals

Fall Festivals from Apples to Balloons photo credit: Jennifer Greene

Kentucky Bourbon Festival- Bardstown, KY

Head to Bardstown on September 12-18, 2016 for the Bourbon Capital of the US and celebrate this spirit born in Kentucky. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival gives you 6 full days of smooth Bourbon, delicious food, and great entertainment, with a healthy dose of Kentucky hospitality thrown in for good measure. From black tie galas to historical tours, there is something for all ages and interests. It’s a wonderful six-day event full of activities for the whole family.

Oktoberfest -Columbus, OH

Rumored to be one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the country, this Columbus festival offers three 100 year old historic covered pavilions (100 thousand square feet) providing the perfect backdrop.  Including two stages and dance floors for lots of polka! There is even a Kinderplatz for kids. Held September 23-25, 2016, there is a free area with inflatables, juggling and an arts and crafts area. Raise your steins and sing along during this fun filled event.

Grapefest-Grapevine, TX

The Grapefest is the largest wine festival in the Southeast US and it is fun for the whole family. Four days of fun await with grape stomping, wine tasting, carnival games and more. held September 15-18 2016, make a weekend of it and enjoy the festival in full. If you are going to the festival for a getaway with friends stay at the Gaylord Texan; visiting with family stay at the Great Wolf Lodge. Both hotels are within five minutes of the festival site.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta- Albuquerque, NM

If pumpkins and apples aren’t your idea of fall fun, head the the largest Hot Air Balloon festival in the U.S. Held October 1-9, 2016, the balloons span a 78 acre field to launch from. That is the equivalent of 54 football fields full of hot air balloons.  Offering fireworks, rodeo (yes a hot air balloon rodeo), chainsaw carving and much more the fiesta requires more than one day to see it all.  The town of Albuquerque is a great town in the Southwest and worthy of exploration.

Will you take a fall road trip to any of these great festivals this year?