For some people, autumn is the most wonderful time of year because this is the only time leaves turn beautiful bright hues of red, orange and yellow. That noticeable nip in the air allows us the chance to take out those cable knit sweaters waiting to be worn. There’s nothing like walking through crisp fall leaves on the ground, like we did when we were kids. Autumn in Ohio offers a distinct taste of classic Americana. But it isn’t just about the fabulous fall foliage here. The Buckeye State offers a plethora of autumnal events, not to mention the many family farms and corn mazes you can visit across this great state, for good-old fashioned family entertainment.
There are some great state parks, such as Scioto Trail, which is known for being in an area rich with reminders of the area’s prehistoric peoples and later the first settlers. There’s camping, boating, hiking, fishing as well as several other state parks in the area that are mini escapes from city life.
Another place to visit this autumn is Hocking Hills State Park, probably this state’s most popular state park, located in the southeastern part of Ohio, near Athens. Its hiking trails are perfect for this time of year and a new feature in the park is the zipline through the tree canopy.
30 Mile Meal
You know TMZ, which stands for Thirty Mile Zone. Well the city of Athens has its own 30 mile zone. It’s called 30 Mile Meal and it’s a collaborative brand that celebrates more than 140 local food producers, markets, eateries, products, farmers markets, restaurants and festivals all within the city of Athens. The project was created to capture the amazing innovation and creativity that is happening here, when it comes to local food. If you’re in the area visiting the state park and you want to find a place to eat afterwards, a good resource is the 30 Mile Meal map. The 30 Mile Meal works to proudly keep the dollars local, to support small businesses and to encourage everyone to enjoy local food. Where else can you book a hotel room, find a place for live music and locate a farm to buy fresh brown eggs or bacon? Awesome.
The Ohio Tourism Division in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources launched Autumn Adventures on its Discover Ohio website. The site provides travelers with plenty of autumn getaway planning information and ideas including fall festivals & events, farm markets, wineries/vineyards, sample itineraries and a “build-your-own” itinerary builder, weekly fall color updates and more.
The Fall Color Report on Autumn Adventures will be updated weekly (beginning the last week of September) by forestry experts for the most up-to-date information on when and where to find the most brilliant fall colors in Ohio. Video updates will be included on the website. Generally, leaves change earliest in northern Ohio and progress to the southern portions of the state later in October.
Three-Day Getaways & Itineraries
Discover Ohio also has a Three-Day Getaway section that is divided into the five regions to help travelers plan their mini vacations.You can choose themes such as the Great Outdoors, Ghost Hunting, the Underground Railroad, Ohio Wineries or a Lighthouse Hunt. You can also click on sample fantastic fall itineraries, or you can build your own itinerary.
Upcoming Fall Festivals and Events
Ohio Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek: Sept. 30 – Oct. 1
Sugarcreek is known as the “Little Switzerland of Ohio” because of its rich heritage with the Swiss, German and Amish cultures that settled in the area in the 19th century. Because of the area’s culture, Sugarcreek’s citizens helped establish several cheese factories throughout the area. Enjoy Swiss costumes, Alpine horn players, Swiss-inspired storefronts with hand-made goods and samples of nearly every cheese imaginable.
Ohio Renaissance Festival in Harveysburg: Now through Oct. 16
Visit 16th-century England and be immersed in the sights, sounds and tastes of the Renaissance in this authentic 30-acre English village .
Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival in Ashtabula: Oct. 8 – 9
Ashtabula County is home to the country’s longest covered bridge, the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, and 16 other covered bridges preserved in history. During the peak of the area’s majestic fall foliage season, Ashtabula welcomes thousands of visitors to experience self-guided driving tours of the area’s scenic covered bridges. The festival also offers a quilt show, entertainment and antique cars.
Fall on the Farm at Sauder Village in Archbold: Oct. 8
Guests will have the opportunity to step back in time and help prepare the farm for winter at historic Sauder Village. That includes making noodles, butter and cornhusk dolls to decorating pumpkins, pressing apples for cider, exploring a straw tunnel and harvesting sunflower seeds and vegetables from the garden. There are special activities for all ages.
Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville: Oct. 8 – 9
Every year, Waynesville honors their area’s German heritage with the Sauerkraut Festival and nearly 13,000 pounds of sauerkraut! Experience the savory flavors of the finest Reubens, ‘kraut dogs and cabbage rolls. Take it one step further and delight in sauerkraut-inspired creations like pizza, donuts, fudge and even sundaes. Sauerkraut is known for its beneficial qualities, protecting the balance of bacteria in the stomach, thereby boosting the immune system.
Annual Bob Evans Farm Festival in Rio Grande: Oct. 14 – 16
Appropriate for people of all ages, this festival offers a unique approach to the fall season with entertainment, country arts and crafts, farm contests, livestock and delicious home-style, home-cooked meals that warm the body and soul.
Circleville Pumpkin Show in Circleville: Oct. 19 – 22
Circleville, a community of about 12,000 people, opens its streets every year and welcomes more than 400,000 guests with all things pumpkin. Since 1907, the Circleville Pumpkin Show commemorates the American spirit with pumpkin foods, carnival rides, parades and the “King Pumpkin Contest” to find the largest pumpkin. Past “king pumpkins” have weighed in at more than 1,500 pounds.
Haunted Hocking Weekend in Logan: Oct. 28 – 30
For Halloween, enjoy ghost stories around the campfire before joining in a Halloween investigation of haunted lore at Hocking Hills State Park. Learn about the ghostly woman’s cry by Rose Lake, the train brakeman killed at Moonville Tunnel and much more.
Short North Arts District HighBall Halloween in Columbus: Oct. 28
A cross between a carnival and Mardi Gras with a pinch of Halloween from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., HighBall includes outrageous costume contests, a couture costume fashion showdown for fashion professionals, live bands and more.