Fall is a season of pumpkins, scary stories around a fire, trees changing color, and getting to wear your favorite sweaters again. It is the perfect season to go out and take a trip.
California is a wonderful state to visit in fall, as the summer fogs have lifted and the weather is perfect for outdoor adventures. There are also tons of festivities and events worth checking out from Oktoberfests to Halloween-themed amusement parks. Here are ten fall California activities worth checking out.
10 Camp In The Angeles National Forest
The Angeles National Forest is in the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains stands as a great place to see some fall colors. If you are lucky, you may also get to see some cool animals that are known to live there such as black bear, gray foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and cougars.
There are over 50 trailheads, so there is plenty to explore.
9 Walk The Haunted Trail Of Balboa Park
Obviously fall is also a time for Halloween festivities. If you are feeling brave, you can go to the Haunted Trail of Balboa Park.
Balboa Park is already a famous San Diego landmark for its gardens, trails, museums, and recreational attractions. In October though, they create a mile long haunted trail for guests that are 10-years-old and over. A lot of the scenes they create are based off of popular horror films and series like It and Stranger Things. So this is a welcome place for horror film enthusiasts.
8 Party At Alpine Village’s Annual Oktoberfest
Alpine Village has the oldest known Oktoberfest in the Los Angeles area and has been voted among the 10 best Oktoberfests in the United States. The food is to die for. You can have a Bavarian Pretzel for breakfast, a Sausage Plate for lunch, along with an Alpine Wiener Dog for dinner with a German Chocolate Cake for dessert.
Obviously, there is a lot of beer and entertainment as well. No Oktoberfest is complete without some German beer for the older folks.
7 See The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival
The Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival will show you pumpkins like you have never seen before. The festival has a lot going on such as a Great Pumpkin Parade, harvest-inspired crafts, yummy food, entertainment, pumpkin flavored everything, contests, and shows from expert pumpkin carvers.
Some of the pumpkins you see at this event are known to be Volkswagen-sized, so this is a must-see!
6 Attend The Sandhill Crane Festival
Another factor of the fall season is the migration of various birds. This festival in particular celebrates the movement of sandhill cranes. It is located in Lodi and includes art shows, auctions, wildlife presentations, workshops, and bird watching.
Examples of activities from their 2018 festival include an introduction to sandhill cranes, a painting workshop, Taiko drumming, a puppet show, origami crane making, owl pellet dissecting, presentations on various raptors, a bird carving workshop, and much more.
5 Explore Mr. Bones' Pumpkin Patch in Culver City
What makes this activity unique from the others is that its family owned and operated. It has been operating since the 80s and is no ordinary pumpkin patch, as it is surrounded by houses completely made out of pumpkins. They sell pumpkins and more, including carving kits, apparel, and Halloween themed items. The only thing they do not sell is costumes. There are also entertainers that come on different dates if you just want to sit and listen to music.
They even have their own special events such as a pet costume contest and Treat or Treating. It is definitely a place you want to take your camera to, because you do not see houses made of pumpkins everyday!
4 Go To The Halloween And Mourning Tour In Montecito Heights
This particular activity is for the history buffs. At the Heritage Square Museum is an annual Halloween and Mourning Tour. You get a history lesson on what death and mourning etiquette was like during the Victorian era, including the details of dressing-up to show the loss of a loved one.
You can get your fortune told while learning about the Spiritualism movement and even go to a mock funeral in one of the museum's historic buildings. Besides all that, you can make crafts, listen to spooky ghost stories, and play games.
3 Visit Knott’s Scary Farm
If you are in the mood to get scared, then Knott's Scary Farm has you covered. Typically known as Knott's Berry Farm, the amusement park transforms on the month of October to be a scary location for Halloween enthusiasts.
They have mazes,shows, attractions, and scare zones full of people lurking about as creatures hiding around the park. According to their website, they are the largest Halloween activity in Southern California. It is definitely for the older kids and adults who do not mind having a scarecrow jump out at them in the dark.
2 Backpack In Mendocino National Forest
This place has 913,306 acres of land filled with hiking trails, fishing spots, biking trails, and more. All the recreational activities there make it a popular backpacking location, and fall is a time where the weather is the best and it just feels right to pitch a tent and eat your dinner by a campfire.
Definitely bring your camera, as there are beautiful views with lakes, rivers, and wild elk.
1 Enjoy California’s Great America Great Pumpkin Festival
This amusement park is located in Santa Clara and transforms into a Halloween spectacle over the month of October.
It is similar to Knott's Scary Farm in terms of having mazes, scare zones, rides, and entertainment. They do have more activities for younger kids though too such as a hay maze, mini-pumpkin decorating, Treat or Treating, and a musical Charlie Brown themed show. The more spooky stuff for older kids happens later when the sun sets.