We can hardly believe it, but fall is finally here! We’ve already started to see explosions of orange and yellow popping up all throughout the area; and fun outdoor destinations like pumpkin patches, corn mazes and apple orchards are opening their doors for the exciting fall season.
To help maximize your autumn, we’re sharing several outdoor fall adventures worth embarking on in and around Omaha, from apple picking and hayriding to ziplining and scary movie watching. Happy fall!
One of our favorite fall activities every year is apple picking! A day in the orchards gathering a fresh harvest is the perfect way to ring in the new season—and there’s no denying that apples straight from the tree just taste better. Thankfully, the gorgeous Nebraska countryside is filled with orchards and farms filled to the brim with juicy, crisp apples ripe for picking. Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City is a fantastic choice, where you can enjoy picking your own apples and exploring their farm market all season long! To protect their staff and guests, during the 2020 fall season, they will be closed during select weekends to help enforce social distancing. You can find their seasonal itinerary here.
Located in Nebraska City, Arbor Day Farm is an autumn lover’s paradise. Settled on 260 acres of natural beauty and outdoor exploration, the farm boasts forested trails, a 50-foot-tall treehouse and plenty of seasonal activities for you to indulge in. Essential stops include the Tree Adventure, wine tasting at the vineyards, and a visit to the Apple House Market for apple pies and apple cider—all made on site. Click here for a full list of their current COVID-19 policies and to purchase your tickets.
Photo courtesy of Kirsten Vala Fong via Vala’s Pumpkin Patch
It just isn’t fall without taking a trip to a local farm to hunt for the perfect pumpkin to carve. A local favorite is Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in Gretna, which offers more than 50 attractions, including a massive pumpkin patch, a hayride, giant bouncing pillows, and even some live shows from time to time. While this season is bound to look different during the pandemic, Vala’s is committed to keeping you and your family safe! Click here for a full list of their current COVID-19 policies.
Hayrides are a quintessential fall activity. Not only are they good, wholesome family fun, but they allow you to see the entire area from a unique vantage point! Many local farms offer this special ride during the fall—including Bloom Where You’re Planted Farm in Avoca, Nebraska. They will still be doing hayrides even through the pandemic, but they ask that you keep several feet of space in between yourself and other parties, avoid crowded rides and to wear a mask. Click here for the full list of COVID-19 policies they will be following this year.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective pumpkin patch to get your seasonal squash this fall, don’t miss Markman Pumpkin Patch! This small, family-friendly farm offers a u-pick pumpkin patch, already cut pumpkins to choose from, corn stalks, hay bales and more that you can purchase at reasonable prices all season long. Just make sure to bring cash for your pumpkins and gourds ad Markman does not take credit cards.
Navigate a Corn Maze
Photo courtesy of the Skinny Bones Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze
We have an abundance of corn mazes in the greater Omaha area (we are in the Midwest, after all!). One of our favorites is Skinny Bones Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Blair. While they offer a wide range of fun fall activities—including a pool of corn—it’s their 10-acre corn maze that has made them famous. Social distancing and masks are encouraged throughout the farm and in the maze.
Situated halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, Platte River State Park is known for its magnificent waterfalls, scenic hiking and biking trails, and dual observation towers featuring incredible views of the Platte River Basin. While the park is a great place to spend a summer day, we love visiting in the fall when trees explode into color and enjoying a festive picnic.
Just a hop, skip and jump away in Bellevue, you’ll find Fontenelle Forest-—which is a colorful wonderland this time of year. The park includes 24 miles of trails for you to explore, surrounded by bright orange flora and fauna. In addition to being a great spot to see fall foliage, the forest is a perfect place to observe wildlife, such as wild geese and ducks on their annual migration. Want to see as much as possible in one go? Explore their Treerush Adventures Park, an aerial adventure park that offers opportunities for you to climb and zipline through the orange and red trees.
There’s just something about fall that makes us want to get out and enjoy nature. Maybe it’s the breathtaking leaves, the cooler weather, fewer crowds, or fewer bugs! But whatever it is, it doesn’t change the fact that fall in Nebraska is a fantastic time to go camping. Luckily we have plenty of gorgeous campsites less than two hours away. Read through our list of the best places to go camping near Omaha and start planning your trip before winter!
Paddleboarding, kayaking and swimming await at Standing Bear Lake. The day-use facility is located in the northwest side of Omaha and is a serene paradise all year long. Here, you’ll find 3.3 miles of hiking and cycling trails, a picnic area, shaded shelters, a playground and the lake, which is perfect for a quick splash!
Watch a Spooky Movie Outdoors at Riverwest Park
Riverwest Park, or “Camp Fear” as it’s known in the fall, is full of terrifying attractions to get your heart pounding this season. Each year, they feature a Nightmare Theater that offers horror movies that you watch in the dark on the giant outdoor movie screen. You can even rent a movie-front firepit with firewood for your movie night and are welcome to bring your own lawn chairs, blankets and coolers. This year, they are planning over 40 movies at the theater — including a few family-friendly flicks. You can find the full schedule here. Reservations are required and social distancing is encouraged.
What adventures are you planning for this season? Let us know all about them in the comments below!