Apples to Oktoberfest: Explore Autumn in Carolina

Autumn is a great time to take advantage of the natural beauty that surrounds you in the Carolinas, and we are happy to recommend some of our favorite ways to enjoy the changing of the season.

Go Apple Picking

With so many scenic orchards spread throughout the Carolinas, one of our favorite ways to welcome autumn is to go apple picking. It’s a great way to reconnect with family and friends and enjoy the outdoors. While apples are the star of the show, you’ll often find pumpkins, blackberries and other treats, too.

This seasonal fruit is prepared for purchase in a variety of delicious ways. The warm apple cider doughnuts are a crowd-pleaser, sold at many of the family farms and made fresh while you wait. Most orchards offer fun activities to round out your trip, like hayrides, corn mazes and animal encounters.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, because the hilltop views can’t be beat! Justus Orchard, Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard and Sky Top Orchard are all very popular choices. Make sure to check their online ripening schedules ahead of time to see when your favorites are ready for harvest!

Travel the Smoky Mountain Railroad

Photo from the website of Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The Great Smoky Mountains Railway offers several special ways to observe the fall foliage, from mindful routes winding through the Nantahala Gorge to special excursions designed to delight the kids. We love the PEANUTS™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express, a seasonal train trip that features Charles M. Schulz’s famous characters. Travelers listen to a narration of Schulz’s classic story “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” on their way to pick out pumpkins and meet Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang. The experience comes complete with crafts, bounce houses and campfire marshmallows!

Take a Hike

There are miles and miles of hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Smoky Mountains all throughout North Carolina, and South Carolina has a wealth of state parks and scenic roadways. Fall is a wonderful time to explore the state and national parks and watch the leaves change color from green to gold. Take an invigorating hike in the cool mountain air, camp out in a tent under the stars or make it a road trip!
South Carolina State Parks »
North Carolina State Parks »

Celebrate Oktoberfest

three people with beer wearing traditional German clothing

Photo from the Triangle Oktoberfest website

From hammerschlagen to jaegerschnitzel, the unique cultural bounty of Bavaria is the focus of this beloved folk festival!

You can find a variety of German-inspired pop-ups and events proliferating in the area, but don’t miss the crowning experiences in South and North Carolina: