Fall beckons the family outdoors to enjoy festivals, fairs and crisp weather. From Ellijay's Apple Festival in the mountains to Tybee Island's Pirate Fest on the coast, fall events await families around the state.
Historic High Country
2015 Wings Over North Georgia Airshow (Oct. 3-4, Rome) - Rated North Georgia's #1 family weekend event, this world-class air show festival features the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, GEICO Skytypers and USMC MV-22 Osprey demo teams.
Georgia Apple Festival (Oct. 10-18, Ellijay) - Over 300 vendors peddle handmade, hand-crafted items. Enjoy many on-site demonstrations of how selected types of crafts are made. This year promises many new crafts as well as favorites from past festivals.
Fall Family Fun Days at The Rock Ranch (Sept. 26-Nov. 7, The Rock) - Every Saturday in fall brings a series of special events to The Rock Ranch beginning Sept. 26 with Hats off to Heroes Day. Other special Saturdays include Georgia's Official Day of the Cowboy, a Hot Air Balloon Rally and a "Not So Spooky" Halloween Festival. The festivities come to a close on Nov. 7 with National Pumpkin Destruction Day.
Day Out with Thomas on the SAM Shortline (Oct. 16-18, 24 & 25, Cordele) - Thomas will visit the SAM Shortline Excursion Train at Georgia Veterans State Park in southwest Georgia. You can spend a whole day with the beloved storybook engine, Sir Topham Hatt and other friends.
CoastFest 2015 (Oct. 3, Brunswick) - The 20th annual CoastFest highlights Georgia's unique coastal environment in a family-friendly day of fun and education. Activities range from recycling to coastal weather ... native plants to sea turtles ... water conservation to archeology... herpetology to geology ... sharks to shrimp!
Tybee Pirate Fest (Oct. 8-11, Tybee Island) - There will be fun for pirates of all ages; the littlest pirates can enjoy an entire area devoted to quality family entertainment, while adults can grab a drink, partake in pirate-themed carnival games and shop for fun souvenirs.
Berrien County Harvest Festival (Sept. 26, Nashville) - The Berrien County Harvest Festival features arts, crafts, food and entertainment. Roll up your pant legs and give grape stomping a try - just one of the many family-friendly activities available. Admission to the downtown festival is free to the public.
Spooktacular at Chehaw (Oct. 31, Albany) - Spend your Halloween with Chehaw from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the Zoo plaza with Halloween themed fun for all ages! Come in costume for a chance to win prizes! Games, prizes, candy and animal encounters are all free with zoo admission.
Halloween Hayrides at Red Top Mountain State Park (Oct. 9-24, Acworth) - The hayride loops through the Iron Hill area of Red Top Mountain State Park, providing riders with a trip through the mythical town of Ravenwood. Plenty of treats and cider are available following the stories for you to enjoy prior to the short walk back to your car.
Play the Play with Cat the Cat at Theatre for the Very Young, Alliance Theatre (Oct. 21-Nov. 15, Atlanta) - Based on Mo Willems's beloved CAT the CAT series, this play explores the often terrifying experience of making a new friend. Using the rhyming and simple language of the books, this theatrical experience will invite our young audience to identify Cat the Cat's parade of animal friends, mimic their animal sounds, and even learn a new language!
Deep Roots Festival (Oct. 24, Milledgeville) - As the official host for the Georgia Barbecue Association State Championship, this festival features delicious BBQ, over 100 vendors with handmade arts & crafts, Old Capital Car Club's showcase of the best in all motorized transport and the KidZone - complete with the best collection of rides and inflatables.
Washington Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch (Sept. 26-Nov. 1, Athens) - Pick larger-than-life sunflowers, explore the corn maze and pick the perfect pumpkin. Other fall farm activities include a petting zoo, pig races and s'mores around the campfire.
Northeast Georgia Mountains
Georgia Mountain Fall Festival (Oct. 9-17, Hiawassee) - Each October, the 9-day event features exciting musical performances, arts & craft vendors, educational demonstrations, a flower show and the ever-popular Georgia's Official State Fiddlers' Convention.
Gold Rush Days Festival (Oct. 17-18, Dahlonega) - Over 300 art and craft exhibitors and food vendors gather around the Public Square and Historic District in support of this annual event. It is estimated that a crowd of over 200,000 visit over the weekend to join in the fun and excitement!
Family Fall Fest at Mistletoe State Park (Oct. 10, Appling) - Welcome fall with a pumpkin scavenger hunt, face painting, children's games, marshmallow roasting, hayrides, cake walk, a snake program, nocturnal animals program and more.
A Haunted Evening at A.H. Stephens (Oct. 31, Crawfordville) - Activities include a haunted hayride, treats, a movie on the lawn, Wii dance, campfire, costume contest and a campsite decorating contest for both RV and equestrian campers. Judging for the costume contest will be done by rangers, and the campsite contest will be judged by the public.
TroupCorn Maze & Halloween Fun (Oct. 3-24, Dublin) - With a huge corn maze and more than 20 additional attractions, TroupCorn Maze offers a fresh take on family fun and education in a rural farm setting. Certified Georgia Grown, TroupCorn Maze grows bushels of smiles for the whole family during October and November with acres of fun! Cheer on your team during College Football Saturdays with a huge outdoor movie screen, snacks from Mazey's Restaurant, and a fire crackling!
Dublin Fall Fair (Oct. 7-10, Dublin) - Stroll under the bright lights of the carnival midway with fun games and exciting rides like Viper, Wipe Out, Drop Tower, Fireball, and lots of kiddie rides. Sample carnival food favorites like funnel cakes, corn dogs, and fried candy bars! Put a smile on their face with an unlimited ride pass and unlimited fun!
Lesli is the Georgia's official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families.