It’s that time of year where the leaves start to change, the humidity is finally gone, the air is crisp and we all want to break out the plaid, cozy sweaters, boots and hats, walk through a pumpkin patch and then snuggle under blankets. It’s time for Fall Activities! We say “Happy Fall, Ya’ll!” And we mean it!

Like many of you, I believe it’s one of the absolute best times of the year. And since this has not been the easiest, far from normal and all around crazy-pants year, I think we should carve out time to take advantage of some of the wonderful Fall activities that are low-budget, fairly social-distance friendly, and create fond family memories.

There are tons of great things to do, so many ideas out there, but here I’ve chosen 15 budget-friendly fall activities that I try to fit in each year with my family.

1 | Go On A Nature Hike!
Virginia has plenty of these, no matter where you live. You can simply take a walk through the woods near your house and explore. There are so many parks with paved paths. This is definitely one of my family’s go-to outings. Add more fun by bringing a packed lunch (we always bring snacks!) and create a nature scavenger hunt or bingo card for the kids!

2 | Pick Pumpkins!
This one is an obvious choice for fall. We’ve already been to about 4 different places where my son has chosen a plethora of small, colorful pumpkins and gourds to decorate our front porch. You don’t have to go to a huge farm (although those are so much fun!) We’ve visited a few road-side small stands and local nurseries. They all have great options and are fun for all.

3 | Carve Jack-O-Lanterns!
You can let those pretty pumpkins sit on your porch, or make them spooky with a pumpkin carving party! My son isn’t ready for the carving tools yet, so we like to sit outside and paint our pumpkins!

fall activities carter mountain apple orchard

4 | Visit an Apple Orchard.
I just love this one, and we have so many great spots within hours of Richmond. Go breathe in some fresh mountain air, fill a bag with apples and prepare to bake some delicious treats! I must mention, if you have not been to Carter Mountain, their apple cider donuts are a MUST! (And I’m not even a huge donut person!)

5 | Make Apple Cobbler, Pie or Dessert!
Hands down, one of my all-time favorite things. Something about warm apples in desserts, you can’t go wrong. They are the best. Especially in a cobbler or crisp. And the smell that fills your home is worth it even if you don’t eat dessert!

fall activities smores

6 | Fire Pit!
If you have one of these in your yard, use it! I regret using ours for the first year and then letting it rust out. We need to look into building a new one… Roast some marshmallows, cozy up, tell stories, share laughs, invite over a few neighbors and enjoy the amazing weather we have right now.

7 | Make popcorn on the stove!
This might not be specific to fall, and we actually started doing it this spring once I realized how easy and fun it is! But there is something extra cozy about it in the fall. Especially if you pair it with some hot chocolate! Bonus if that’s homemade as well. My son loves watching those kernels pop in the pan.

8 | Go on a Drive.
I’ve tried to keep most of these activities social-distance friendly, but if you live in an area that is too crowded, this one is perfect. We all know fall in Virginia is beautiful and there are some spectacular streets lines with that fall foliage. I grew up in Williamsburg and there were a few places that we would always drive though, windows down if it wasn’t too chilly and admire those beautiful colors. If you’re looking to be more active, try a bike ride under those leaves!

9 | Camp Out in Your Backyard!
This can be so much fun and easy to do. And since you’re right near your backdoor, if it gets too chilly or the kids are ready to sleep in their own beds, it’s just a few steps away.

10 | Rent a Campsite!
Whether you choose tent camping, RV or glamping, this is perfect for some family memories and taking a mini break from it all. If you live near the mountains and can find a spot with a lake, you’ve got the perfect recipe for a relaxing and beautiful weekend.

fall activities leaves

11 | Play In The Leaves!
The raking part isn’t so much fun, but it is a great family activity. What definitely is fun is jumping in afterwards! We’ve occupied the kids for plenty of hours with this easy activity. Pile, throw, jump, repeat! And don’t forget to let the dog get in there, they love it too!

12 | Hot Drinks on the Porch.
This one is so simple and one of my favorite things to do when the weather starts to cool. In the morning, grab your sweater and a warm cup of coffee and watch the sunrise. In the evening, grab some hot chocolate or my favorite, hot apple cider, cozy up with a blanket and watch the sun set.

13 | Visit a corn maze!
This one is always a good way to get people moving. You can find a lot of these at local pumpkin patches and farms. See who can race to the finish first!

14 | Fall Planting!
Did you know that fall is one of the best times of the year to plant, garden and get ready for Spring? And a wonderful way to get the kids (or yourself) learning about the benefits of gardening. Check out this post from one of my favorite local garden centers.

15 | Family Photo Shoot!
Yes, I must end with this one… But that’s because this truly is the perfect time of year to finally get those photos you’ve been wanting with your loved ones. The colors outside are a bit muted, which makes your family stand out. The sun is lower in the sky, which gives the photos a warm, pretty glow. And choosing fall outfits is so much fun!
Of course, hiring a professional photographer is ideal, but if you can’t, don’t let that stop you from getting together and taking a few photos! So often, I grab my tripod or a friend and gather in our backyard. Time moves too fast, capture what you can while you are able, you’ll never regret it!

So, have you or are you planning any of these fun fall activities? Did I leave anything obvious off of the list?

I’d love to hear what you think and what you’ve done! Comment, email me, tag @TinaTakeMyPhoto in a photo of your #FallFun and enjoy some time outdoors, connect with your family and nature and take a few minutes to unwind. We all need it more than ever this year. And because of course, it is Fall Ya’ll!

Whatever activity you may try, don’t forget to snap photos along the way! I get complaints from my family that they’re sick of having to stay still for a photo, BUT – they always love looking at them afterwards! Even requests later on (or right away!) to see “those photos that you took.”

While it would be amazing to have celebrity status that allows us a professional photographer following us around wherever we go for the perfect snaps, I promise you, all that matters is that you take the shot. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but capturing these memories means so much to your family in the long run.

Now, if you would like to hire me during any of these activities to capture some amazing images of you and your family, count me in!

I’m currently open for family photography, family films, senior portraits and personal branding photography and headshots.

Send me an email if you’d like to chat about any of the above, I’d love to hear from you.

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tina thomas personal branding photographer richmond about me

Tina Thomas is an award-winning photographer & filmmaker in Chesterfield, VA. With a passion for capturing real, intimate and joyful moments, my experience allows me to take a laid-back approach where I can guide, observe and record genuine family connection.