Fun Outdoor Fall Activities in C-U

Here in Central Illinois, Fall often greets us with a dazzling display of colors. It’s a great time of year to get out and enjoy the scenery, as well as discover some local activities that celebrate the season. We have no shortage of Autumn things to do in the Champaign-Urbana area. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite local outdoor activities for fall. What are your favorites?

Activities/Destinations 

Savor Apples and More
Curtis Orchard

It wouldn’t be fall in Champaign-Urbana without a trip to Curtis Orchard. Pick apples, pumpkins, and enjoy the atmosphere. Grab a cart and head out to the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect one. Don’t forget your dozen Apple Cider Donuts!

  

  

  

Pick a Pumpkin
The Great Pumpkin Patch

Just a short drive away, Arthur’s Great Pumpkin Patch has lots to offer. This giant pumpkin patch has unique pumpkin displays (think pumpkin towers!) and has a stage for live music. There’s lots to see here!

  

  

Get Lost
Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch

Time to get a little lost! Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch has a massive Corn Maze with a new theme every year. You can also try the “Moonlight Madness” and navigate the maze with only a flashlight and the moon to guide you!

  

  

  

Eat Seasonally
Farmer’s Markets

Our local Farmer’s Markets go strong through October! Check out the Land Connection Farmer’s Market in downtown Champaign on Tuesdays 3:30-6:30pm, and Urbana’s Market at the Square outside of Common Ground Co-op on Saturdays 7am - 12pm.

  

  

Flower Power
Clearview Farm Sunflower Walk

The fields at the century old Clearview Farm are planted with regenerative wildflower crops each fall. Specifically, acres of stunning Sunflowers. The farm and its Insta-ready, flowery pathways are open to the public a number of weeks each fall. 

 

 

Hiking/Camping

Take a Morning Walk
Allerton Park

Mornings are a great time for a hike! You can join us on one of our Rise & Shine Hikes weekly on Wednesdays, or create your own adventure. Might we suggest Allerton Park? The morning light is beautiful there.

  

  

  

Enjoy an Urban Autumn
Busey Woods

Busey Woods is a park right in the middle of Urbana, but you won’t remember that’s the case when you start walking. The wooden trail makes for great hiking even in bad weather, and the Autumn colors look amazing there.

  

  

  

Hunt for Leaves with Us
Fall Colors Hike & Brew

If seeing the fall colors are your thing, you can join us for a day full of it! Join our Flatlanders Club to come with us to Peoria Forest Park Nature Center on October 19 to find the best and brightest trees. Afterwards, we’ll head to the Bearded Owl Brewery for some local craft beers.

 

 

Go Camping
Kickapoo State Park

Get a true taste of Fall in the Flatlands and spend a weekend outdoors at Kickapoo State Park. You can hike, kayak, canoe, and enjoy the scenery. Bring a tent and some games to play by the fire. Don’t forget to roast some s’mores!

 

Autumn Events

Prairie Gardens
Fall Festival

Get ready for fall at Prairie Gardens during their Fall Festival. This is a family event with a petting zoo, face painting and kid games! You can get some of their great fall home decor while you’re there as well.

  

  

  

Grab a Beer
C-U Oktoberfest

Enjoy all that German beer has to offer at C-U Oktoberfest. Grab your lederhosen and head to downtown Champaign to have a good time! The event includes live music and lots to see and do. Local breweries are featured along with traditional German ones.

  

  

  

Get Your Plaid Ready
Flannel Fest

If you love flannel as much as we do, then you have to check out the Flannel Fest at Hessel Park. Timberworks Lumberjack Show performs demonstrations throughout the evening. You can don your very best plaid and pretend to be a true lumberjack for a day.​

 

 

 

Jam Out
C-U Folk and Roots Festival

Let the beautiful fall colors be your backdrop as you support local artists, musicians and folk arts organizations. The Folk & Roots Festival in Urbana each October is sure to be a weekend of fun. This event does require tickets.

 

 

 

Originally published October 11, 2019