America's Best Pumpkin Farms
Come prepared: Bring shoes and pants you can get dirty. And don't forget to layer your outfit — both for comfort and for all the options you'll have posing in front of these extremely picturesque and autumnal backdrops.
Whether you seek out an activity-filled farm, a striking nighttime display, a city-wide festival, or a thrilling pumpkin-themed contest, there's something here for everyone.
The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson, New York
While not technically a farm, this epic display brings together 7,000 individually hand-carved jack-o-lanterns. Walk along the Hudson on the grounds of the historic Van Cortlandt Manor, built in the early 18th century,and visit a tunnel, headless horseman, sea serpent, and even an entire spider web made of illuminated pumpkins. Within easy day-trip distance from New York City, buy tickets ahead of time—in 2015, every night sold out.
Roba Family Farm in Jermyn, Pennsylvania
This Pennsylvania family farm is primarily an orchard, but every fall they open their pumpkin patch to the general public. What better way to spend a fall weekend then by picking apples and selecting a primo-pumpkin? While you're there, you can visit a pleasingly puzzling corn maze, hand-feed the farm's goats, and sip on a cider slushy. Pretty ideal.
Jumbo's Pumpkin Patch in Middleton, Maryland
With a solid pick-your-own pumpkin patch along with a 15-acre corn maze and a truly enormous farm store, Jumbo's has a lot going for it. This seven-generation family farm also offers pony rides, hayrides, and horse-drawn wagon rides, along with lots of farm-fresh treats to eat. Clocking in at about an hour from Washington, D.C., it makes for a perfect fall day trip.
Another DC area pumpkin patch, this northern Virginia farm opened in 1972 when Herndon was more farmland than suburb. As the DC metro area has grown, so has this establishment. They celebrate fall every year with a grand Fall Festival and cap it off with an early November "Pumpkin Madness" finale, where leftover pumpkins are "hurled, smashed, dropped, spiked, bowled, and squished." Don't forget their interactive hayride or spooky nighttime "Fields of Fear" attraction.
In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains about an hour north of Atlanta, Yahoo Farm offers up a superlative combination of pumpkins, things to do, and treats to sample. A new bakery serves up fried apple pie and slices of pumpkin roll, which are a perfect snack during the farm's free Saturday evening campfires in October. They've also got a corn cannon, a carving contest, both a "cosmic" corn and a hay maze, and a haunted hay ride.
Kroll's Fall Harvest Farm in Waukegan, Illinois
In 2015, Kroll's Pumpkin Farm boasted a corn maze featuring a turkey and the text "HAPPY FALL Y'ALL." This year? You'll have to find out for yourself. In addition to a wide range of all sorts of gourds, Kroll's offers hay rides, a gift shop, and a collection of friendly farm animals that visitors are welcomed to engage with—all about an hour north of Chicago.
Uncle Bill's Farm
A pumpkin patch in the middle of one of Iowa's many corn fields, Uncle Bill's offers up a small tractor train, a corral full of kids (that is, baby goats), a flock of peafowl, a 10-acre maze, a pumpkin catapult, and snacks at the Feed Bag restaurant. Curious kids can even get a test run milking a cow with Maizie, a fiberglass replica.
Walters' Pumpkin Patch in Burns, Kansas
About 30 minutes north of Wichita, Walters is all you could want and more from a pumpkin patch: jumping pillows, a pumpkin-shooting "PumpGun Cannon," a human gerbil wheel, pond pedal boats, spooky minigolf, a zipline, a "Haunted Cannery," and—the pièce de résistance—Farm Scene Investigation, aka F.S.I., where visitor search for clues to solve the mystery of who "cornapped Farmer Joe."
Papa's Pumpkin Patch in Bismarck, North Dakota
A lovely farm on the banks of the Missouri River, Papa's offers elaborate activities for visitors seeking more than just your average pumpkin. Explore a straw bale maze constructed from over 500 bales, a landlocked log jam (perfect for testing your balance), a 15-minute hiking trail, an obstacle course, a pumpkin cannon and trebuchet that compete for accuracy daily, horse-drawn hayrides, pony rides, zip lines, and even a small train.
Punkin Days in Floydada, Texas
Floydada—known as Texas's "Pumpkin Capital"—grows about 15 million pounds of pumpkins per year. The area's most common varieties are jack-o-lantern, sugar, mini, and Big Mac (which can grow to well over 100 pounds). Based on this truly tremendous output, the Floydada Chamber of Commerce announced the very first "Punkin Day" in 1987. Now every second weekend in October, the town hosts a massive celebration for fall's favorite gourd, with costume contest, pie baking, pumpkin carving and decorating, pumpkin pie relays (too delicious to drop), "Cow Patty Bingo," pumpkin bowling and rolling, pumpkin guessing and weighing, and a seed spitting contest.
Roloff Farms in Helvetia, Oregon
Scoop up a fresh bag of kettle corn and enjoy all of Roloff Farms' fall activities: a spooky forest trail loop, an obstacle course, and small menagerie and petting zoo that includes a tiger cub. Just outside of Portland, the Oregon farm was once the setting for the TLC show, Little People, Big World.
Craven Farm in Snohomish, Washington
This three-generation family farm plants roughly 30 acres of 20-30 varieties of pumpkins each year. (Once they grew an Atlantic Giant that weighed approximately 400 pounds!) A 15-acre corn maze, a 3-D adventure, a scarecrow-making workshop, weekend hay rides and produce (mini pumpkins and apples) slingshots, and a weekend evening Night Owl Corn Maze accompany the gourd-fest.