With a variety of fall activities going on around the state, it’s easy to spend the season celebrating local traditions while creating new memories with your family. Our list of autumn adventures will give you and your family hours of fall fun.
1. Jester Park Equestrian Center
Take a trail ride through beautiful fall scenery at Jester Park Equestrian Center just outside of Des Moines. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride through the blazing colors of the fall foliage and enjoy the park views that have been a favorite outdoor playground since 1958. Advance reservations are required.
2. Lewis & Clark State Park
With more than 30 acres of picnic ground and a variety of hiking trails, this state park is a great place to spend an autumn day. Enjoy the colorful trees and shrubs, discover Iowa's wildlife and learn about Lewis and Clark's journey across America at the keelboat display.
3. Walnut Antique Fall Festival
Known as Iowa's "Antique City," Walnut lives up to this nickname every fall with their annual event held mid-late September. Enjoy perusing the treasures brought to town by a diverse group of dealers, exploring the main street's shops and restaurants and completing a self-guided tour of the murals scattered throughout the community.
4. Scenic Drive Festival
While the Historic Hills Scenic Byway offers a beautiful drive year-round, this new annual event in mid-October joins the hills' great views with great fall fun. Spend a weekend following the scenic route to discover some of Iowa's historical barns, flea markets, arts & crafts shows, car shows, demonstrations and more..
5. Villisca Ax Murder House
Known as the "scariest place in Iowa," the Villisca Ax Murder House is the perfect place to embrace the Halloween season. Play it safe by stopping by in the middle of the day for group and individual tours, held Tuesday through Sunday. Or embrace your inner ghost-hunter with an overnight tour. The tours take you through the house and the backyard cemetery.
To celebrate the community's strong German heritage, the Amana Colonies honors their homeland every fall with this authentic event. Since 1965, Oktoberfest has attracted thousands of visitors every year with its special events, parade, games, food and music all with a German flair. Spend your weekend experiencing the Bavarian-style fun and exploring the unique Amana Colonies.
7. Pikes Peak State Park
As one of the most photographed spots in Iowa, Pikes Peak State Park offers even more beautiful views during the fall. The 11.5 miles of trail offer stunning view as well as sheer limestone walls, fossil remains, waterfalls and sweeping views of the Mississippi River.
8. Deal's Orchard
This family-run apple orchard is home to 45 acres of apple trees and over 25 varieties of apples. Spend a cool autumn day picking your own apples or pumpkins, shopping for fresh produce, riding the hayrack and enjoying the family fun zone. If you're up for a challenge, try navigating the five-acre corn maze and, if you're feeling especially brave, attend an after-dark maze party.
9. Scream Acres Scream Park
Can you make it through creepers, zombies, clowns and four different haunted attractions? Scream Acres Scream Park at Bloomsbury Farm in Atkins will have your bones quaking in fear. Enter if you dare.
10. Reiman Gardens Fall Color Walk
Spend an autumn day learning about the garden's living museum with a guided Plant Walk: Fall Color tour throughout its vibrant plants and flowers. But be warned, the walk occurs rain or shine! After your tour, explore the rest of the gardens, check out the gift shop or sign up for one of the garden's many classes. For a spooky fall event, stop by the gardens in October for Spirits in the Gardens, which features over 1,000 intricately carved Jack-O-Lanterns.