The heat waves rolling across the country have us dreaming of the colorful leaves and crisp temperatures of autumn. In anticipation of the season, 10Best set out to find the best fall destinations, events, attractions and experiences, and we asked our readers to vote for their favorites.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners:
Best Apple Orchard: R&A Orchards in Ellijay, Ga.
Visitors to winning orchard can pick nine types of apples — Photo courtesy of iStock / Marcus Lindstrom
Situated in the scenic mountains of North Georgia’s apple country, R&A Orchards grows several varieties of apples, ready for picking every weekend in September. Orchard visitors also enjoy a farm tour during their picking experience.
Best Corn Maze: Exploration Acres in Lafayette, Ind.
Winning maze covers 18 acres with nine miles of trails — Photo courtesy of Henry Bazan
The 18-acre Exploration Acres corn maze commemorates Purdue University’s “150 Years of Giant Leaps” in 2019 with images of Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart. Visitors can navigate 9 miles of paths across four different mazes.
Best Destination for Fall Foliage: Door County, Wisconsin
Door County foliage is at its best in late September and early October — Photo courtesy of Door County Visitor Bureau/Jon Jarosh
Wisconsin’s best fall foliage can often be found in Door County. Leaves reach their peak of color between late September and mid-October, when visitors from around the country come to drive its tree-lined roads or hike its trails.
Best Escape Room: Enchambered in Sacramento
Escape enthusiasts can choose between three rooms at Enchambered — Photo courtesy of Enchambered
Sacramento-based Enchambered operates three different escape rooms. Containment Breach challenges players to solve the mystery of a locked laboratory where a teleportation experiment went terribly wrong. In The Whispering Halls, players enter a Victorian manor with a paranormal problem, while the Skull Witch traps visitors in a cabin deep in the swamp with only 60 minutes to escape.
Best Fall Festival: Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival in Stowe, Vt.
Festival goers compete to see which DIY catapult can chuck a pumpkin the farthest — Photo courtesy of iStock / mountaindweller
Each autumn, Stoweflake Mountain Resort hosts the annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival, where competitors gather with their DIY trebuchets and catapults to see who can chuck a pumpkin the farthest. The festivities also include live music, a chili cook-off and activities for kids.
Best Ghost Tour: NOLA Ghost Riders in New Orleans
Winning company offers nighttime cemetery tours — Photo courtesy of iStock / Page Light Studios
NOLA Ghost Riders offers New Orleans’s only nighttime cemetery tours, as well as daytime cemetery walking tours and ghost walking tours through the French Quarter. Those with an interest in scandal can opt for the Brothel & Bordello Tour to learn about the juicier side of New Orleans history.
Best Haunted Attraction: Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac, Mich.
Four floors of scares await at Erebus — Photo courtesy of Erebus
Erebus offers four floors of thrills and chills featuring Hollywood-quality special effects. Measuring more than half a mile, it’s one of the world’s largest haunted attractions.
Best Haunted Destination: Yuma Territorial Prison Museum & Park in Yuma, Ariz.
This Arizona attraction is known for numerous ghost sightings — Photo courtesy of iStock / Tashka
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park in Arizona has been a hub of paranormal activity. Reports include spirits of inmates on death row, a woman wandering the banks of the nearby Colorado River looking for her drowned daughter and a small child in a red dress who pinches passers-by.
Best Haunted Hotel: The Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nev.
Winning hotel was built in 1907 — Photo courtesy of Historic Hotels Worldwide
Built in 1907, the Mizpah Hotel in haunted Tonopah has many spirits supposedly roaming its halls, including Rose, a prostitute murdered by a jealous gambler. Guests report items that mysteriously move and an old elevator whose doors randomly open and close.
Best Theme Park Halloween Event: Great Pumpkin LumiNights at Dollywood
Winning event features thousands of carved jack o’lanterns — Photo courtesy of Dollywood
The fall Harvest Festival at Dollywood includes a spectacular evening event known as Great Pumpkin LumiNights. Thousands of carved jack o’lanterns illuminate the night in what is the largest addition to Dollywood’s fall festival in the park’s history. The family friendly event includes giant sculptures, pumpkin-themed food options and live entertainment.
Congratulations to all these fall and Halloween winners!