10 Great fall activities to do in Tennessee

Fall is beautiful everywhere- especially in Tennessee. Its temperate climate and beautiful leaves make it the perfect place to engage in autumn activities. Here are ten of our favorite:

1.Go apple picking. This is a great fall activity for the whole family to get out in nature. Plus you can use the apples to make pies or to can for the winter. If you really want to ramp it up, checkout The Cleveland Apple Festival on October 15-16th. This annual festival offers an art and craft show, live music, food booths, pony and hay rides, entertainment, children’s activities and much more! You can also try the Unicoi County Apple Festival, October 7-8th. This has has been consistently named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 events in the southeast and is a three-year winner of the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association’s Pinnacle Award.

2.Make caramel apples. This is the perfect use for those apples you just picked! They’re fun and easy to make and delicious. Here’s a great caramel apple recipe  from The Food Network to get you started.

caramel-apple3.Go to an Oktoberfest. Little known fact- in Germany they now have Oktoberfest in September because the weather is better. But in Tennessee they’re still held the traditional time, in October. They’re always lots of fun with good food and beer and music. Here are a couple of our favorite. Crossville Oktoberfest, October 7-8th. Nashville Oktoberfest, October 7-9th.  Memphis Oktoberfest,  October 8th. Crossville Oktoberfest, October 8-9th. Chattanooga Oktoberfest, October 15-16th. Oktoberfest at Ober (Gatlinburg), Now through October 30th.


4.Go pumpkin picking. This is fun for the entire family. It’s a great way to see some fall foliage up close and usually involves a lovely drive to get to the pumpkin patch.

5.Go to a pumpkin festival. Our favorite is located in Middle Tennessee, in Franklin. It’s called Pumpkinfest 2016 and is Middle Tennessee’s largest family fall festival. This year will be its 33rd year! With over 65,000 people in attendance, the festival stretches along Main Street in downtown Franklin, and its avenues, and “offers tons of festive fun for families.”

6.Make a pumpkin pie. Nothing says fall like a pumpkin pie. And you can use the insides of the pumpkin you just picked to make a really good one. Here’s an amazing recipe from Paula Deen. Just chop into cubes, boil and mash your fresh pumpkin and use in place of the canned. You’ll be amazed how delicious it is.

pumpkin_pie-jpg-rend-sni12col-landscape7. Carve a Jack O’Lantern. Did you know that the tradition of carving a scary face into a vegetable was originally British? But they did it with turnips. When Irish immigrants came to the US and brought the tradition of Halloween with them, they switched to carving pumpkins into Jack-o-Lanterns because they were cheaper. Although pumpkins are typically orange, did you know the gourd can be found in many different colors? It’s not uncommon to see white, red, green, yellow and even blue pumpkins! If you’ve never carved a Jack O’Lantern before, here’s how.

8.Go on a haunted hayride.  Too old for Halloween? Don’t feel like making a costume? A great alternative is to go on a haunted hayride. Our favorite in Tennessee? The ones at the historic Bell Witch Cave. They’re held on weekend evenings in October.

9.Throw a Harvest Party. This is like a grown up Halloween Party. Build a fire, get out those candy apples and decorate with a lovely fall theme. Maybe start with a baked brie, serve a hearty beef stew and finish with pumpkin pie and candy apples. To drink? Sparkling cider or wine (remember- grapes are usually harvested in October!) Here’s a great link with Harvest Party Tips.

10. Go to a wine festival. Don’t like beer? Or German things? Then try a wine festival. Since fall is harvest season, there are a number of them in Tennessee. Here are two we like: Franklin Wine Festival, October 21st. Also in Franklin you can try Wine Down Main Street, November 5th.


  • Debbie

    October 4, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Send me Email on this please


    • riverclub

      October 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Hi! Would you like an email about the fall leaves in TN, or about The River Club?


  • Martha Garza

    October 31, 2022 at 3:26 am

    please let me know if leaves are still changing colors


    • riverclub

      October 31, 2022 at 2:36 pm

      Hi! There is still color in the middle and western part of the state. They are a little past peak in the Smoky Mountains, especially at elevation.


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