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Fall is a beautiful time of year! It’s perfect weather for enjoying outside activities. We love getting out for a hike, eating some pumpkin spiced goodies (and lots of candy corn :), and watching the leaves change colors.

We are pretty blessed to live near the Great Smokey Mountains, so there are tons of free ways to enjoy the fall around here.

Having some frugal fall fun is easy to do with a little planning and creativity! Here’s our fall fun bucket list.

1. Host a pumpkin carving contest

Invite friends over and have a pumpkin carving contest! Get creative and have awards for each pumpkin. Our kids love carving pumpkins, and this is a cheap way to hang out with other families!

2. Have a baked pumpkin goods swap

December is the season for cookie swaps. And while I love cookies, December is too crowded with all kinds of parties! To do something earlier in the year, try hosting a Pumpkin Goods Swap to celebrate the pumpkin season! Invite your friends to each bring a pumpkin dessert or fall-ish dessert. Then everybody gets to take a sample home of each dessert, just like a cookie swap.

3. Head to a high school football game

Support your local high school. High school football game tickets aren’t too expensive and it gives you a great atmosphere for competition.

4. Tailgate

Live in a college town? Take the kids to tailgate and enjoy the festivities and traditions before the game. Most of the activities are free like watching the team walk in to the stadium and seeing the band perform outside the stadium before kick-off.

5. Take a hike

As the leaves change color a hike is a must for a fall fun bucket list! Choose a hike that has beautiful scenery and lots of leaves changing color. You can find a map here of when the peak season for leaves changing color in your area.

6. Plan a picnic

Plan a picnic with the family at a scenic park or along a hike. You can play a game of football, take a walk, play on a playground, ride bikes, or just sit and enjoy nature.

7. Ride a bike

Do some research in your area to find a great place to ride bikes. Take that picnic with you to enjoy along the way.

8. Go on a camping trip

Fall is a great time to go camping. The leaves are changing colors and the weather has cooled down from the heat of summer. Camping spots usually fill up really fast, so make sure to get your reservation soon.

9. Find a free fall festival

You can find free fall festivals in your area by checking with local churches and community centers. They typically have games, food, and activities for kids. Oktoberfest is always a good time!

10. Hit the road

Take a local road trip to towns or outdoor attractions that are 1 – 2 hours away. Explore a new town or area closeby. You can try local restaurants, hikes, farmers markets, and local shops. Getting away on a short drive can be really peaceful, especially with beautiful weather and scenery. Stop along your road trip and take pictures. You can turn your scenic road trip into a photography session as well.

11. Pick apples at an orchard

Find a local orchard and pick apples! Fresh apples are delicious. Then you can take them home and make a yummy apple pie or other baked goodies!

12. Build a bonfire

I  think bonfires are one of my favorite memories growing up! My family used to have an annual bonfire on my grandparents’ farm. My grandpa would take us on a hayride. We would eat a dinner of hot dogs and chili. There was always delicious apple cider, brownies, cookies, and of course s’mores. Every year towards the end of the night a huge marshmallow fight would break out! The marshmallow fight became EPIC. It grew every year…even my grandma breaking out her PVC pipe marshmallow gun. Ha! If you’re at a bonfire this fall you gotta start a marshmallow fight! You will make memories for sure!

Fall is such an awesome time to make memories with your friends and family. It’s so easy to enjoy the fall without spending a whole lot of money. Just step outside and do something fun!

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