*This guide was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2016.
by Marina H
It’s been a scorcher of a summer, and if you’re anything like me, you are ready for that crisp fall weather! And with it brings all of our favorite fall fun. Here in Southwest Michigan, we are lucky to have so many different options when it comes to family fun. Check out some of these ideas if you have an hour or even a whole weekend to spend out and about!
8544 Gull Rd, Richland | 269-629-4214
Gull Meadow Farms opened for the season for Fall Family Fun on September 3rd with the petting farm, apple orchard, pumpkin patch, wagon ride, and family activities in pumpkin lane and the back forty. New this year they have added a Corn Crib and Pig Races to enhance all of the family fun on the farm! Their donuts are made fresh daily and are some of the best in SW Michigan. Don’t forget to grab a gallon of cider after a trip back from the apple orchard or pumpkin patch. They offer activity wristband for their Fall Fun activities for $8.00 on weekdays (Monday – Thursdays from 4-7pm) and $9.50 on weekends (Friday 4-8pm and Saturday/Sunday 10am-close). Some fun events to watch out for in October are:
- October 14-16 – Alaskan Lumberjack Show (This event will be shared soon. Watch their FB page for more info.) There will be ax throwing, tree carving, tree climbing, log-rolling and much more.
- October 29 – Giant Pumpkin Drop-Watch a giant pumpkin be dropped from an 80-foot crane.
Here’s a list of other fun ideas to do at the farm if you don’t want to purchase an activity wristband or are looking for a less expensive option but still have some fun fall traditions:
- Purchase a wagon ride for $1/person during activity hours as well as a UPick peck bag (the smallest size $8.99) and go pick apples together.
- Purchase donuts, cider, and a wagon ride and go around the farm in the evening or on a weekend.
- Apple Cannons do not require a wristband. $2 for 3 shots or $5 for 10 shots (Apple Cannons are open during activity hours)
- Purchase a wagon ride for $1/person during activity hours and head to the UPick Pumpkin Patch and pick out a pumpkin (.39cents/lb)
- Take advantage of their new weekday hours and discounted price. Monday through Friday from 10:00am – 4:00pm you can visit and enjoy the petting farm, slide, pumpkin lane mazes, duck races, photo board opportunities and giant rocking chair photo spot! Admission is $4/person (children under 36″ are free)
(photo courtesy of Tara Fletcher Photograhy)
13988 Co Rd 215, Grand Junction | 269- 427-7777
Located in Grand Junction, just 12 minutes from South Haven, Stokes Homestead Farm Market is another place to enjoy fall family fun. Their wagon rides travel through working fields of strawberries, asparagus, apples, pumpkins and blueberries while the tractor driver tells you what it takes to keep a farm running. They also have a ton of activities from mining for gems and fossils, tractor-pulled airplane rides, a pedal kart track and a fun playground complete with a tire climb. The gem mining attraction is separately priced, but the other activities are $5.00 for children during the week and $7.00 on the weekend. Children under two are free.
Don’t forget to stop by Hazel’s Bakery and Café for their fresh “Farm to Table” meals. They have both breakfast and lunch and donuts that are fried every morning, and pies made from the blueberries grown on the farm. U-pick apples happen in the fall and you can choose from many different varieties. Tuesday thru Friday the hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
They also have a ton of activities from mining for gems and fossils, tractor-pulled airplane rides, a pedal kart track and a fun playground complete with a tire climb. The gem mining attraction is separately priced, but the other activities are $5.00 for children during the week and $7.00 on the weekend. Children under two are free.
18725 M-40, Gobles | 269-628-5401
Harvest Moon Acres Corn Maze & Fun Park opens on September 17 for the season and will be open until October 30. They have a variety of fun things to do with the family including a petting zoo, a pumpkin slingshot, ziplines, and a 40-foot super slide complete with a secret tunnel. They also have a 5-acre corn maze and this year’s theme is “Deep Sea Adventure” which comes with a hayride. Don’t forget to pick up a pumpkin while you are there! They are open only on weekends.
This year check out one of newest additions, the Big Red Barn! This multipurpose space will serve as a ticket booth, concession stand (think fresh donuts, apple cider, you name it!), outdoor seating area, and more. Check it out and tell us what you think!
8619 West ML Ave.Kalamazoo | 269-375-0153
A popular tradition for many families is a visit to VerHages Fruit Farm and Cider Mill. Activities include a zip line, hayrides, pumpkin jumpin’, apple train, pony rides, and more! There is also a cider mill, donut shop, country store and a snack shack. Rides and activities are only available on the weekend. Their donut shop opened on September 12. Some special events to look forward to are:
- Apple Fest 2016 is on Saturday, September 24.
- The Pumpkin Patch Party (similar to Apple Fest) is set for Saturday, October 8.
- Trunk or Treat is scheduled for Saturday, October 29.
(photo courtesy of Crane Orchards)
6054 124th Avenue (M-89) Fennville | 269-561-8651
Crane Orchards has a 20-acre corn maze, this year with new and different challenges than ever before! The corn maze is open on weekends from 12:00-6:00 pm and on weekdays from 10:00 am-6:00 pm and cost $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-10 and 5 and under are free. They also have an adorable cow train for kids ($2.00) and a tractor-driven hayride through the orchards ($3.00). Don’t forget to pick some apples while you’re there, with over 17 types, you can try something new!
24976 M-86, Sturgis | 269-467-7719
This year marks the 29th year that Nottawa Fruit Farm offers its “Fall Family Fun” which happens for five weekends, beginning the last weekend in September and continuing through October. Hours are 11:30 am-4:00 pm and starts with a hayride as part of the “Weekend Hayride Package” for $10.95 and includes picking a large pumpkin from the field, walking through the Sorghum Path, riding the John Deere pedal tractors, catching a balloon in Strawberry Typhoon, crawling through the straw tunnels, digging for a dinosaur egg, playing Musical Characters, fishing in the ‘Ole’ Fishing Hole, painting a mini-pumpkin and visiting the farm animal family.
This year there is also a Thursday and Friday afternoon package, which is only $6.95 and includes the hayride, sorghum path, musical characters, painting a mini pumpkin and choosing a large pumpkin from the field. They are located in Sturgis, near the Indiana line.
1850 Friday Rd, Coloma | 269-468-3075
The Jollay Orchards Farm has a fall harvest festival that includes many activities such as an animal farm, Ferris wheel, caterpillar crawl, corn maze, a haunted house and hayrides. They offer u-pick apples from well maintained and manicured orchards making it easy to pick with your family. When you’ve picked your apples, they will be transported up to the Farm Market for your convenience.
They also offer a ten-acre pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkins from, and a hay wagon to take you there, which is your mode of transportation through the farm stopping at all of the sights and attractions. The farm is open during the week but their Harvest Festival is weekends only from 10:30 am-6:30 pm and is $8.75 for children and adults, two and under is free. Don’t forget to stop by the farm market to pick up one of their homemade jams or jellies made from fruit from the orchard.
29 W Park Ave, Coldwater | 574-215-0751
Enjoy the beautiful fall colors of Michigan on this train ride starting in Coldwater and get a pumpkin fresh off the farm trailer in Quincy too! Sundays in October at 11:00 am and 2:00pm. Advance tickets needed. Schedule and pricing can be found online.
311 Danforth St, Coopersville | 616-997-7000
This is a fall tradition not to be missed! Local actress Eva Swietec and her cast of wacky characters love to sing and dance for you. Each paid child’s ticket includes a free, locally grown pumpkin that kids can pick from the pumpkin patch. Children under 2 are free and also get a small pumpkin. The train runs Saturday and Sundays and there are 200 seats on each train.
22637 M 43 Highway West, Kalamazoo | 269-668-2952
If you’ve never visited Gene, you’re missing out on a Kalamazoo area legend. For 58 years, Gene the Pumpkin Man has stood out on West Main/M-43 with orange barns, orange tractors, and an orange car. He offers pumpkins, squash, honey, and pumpkin butter and opens mid-September. Pumpkins arrive in early October, so don’t delay your visit to this local gem!