Fall is such a great time in Central Oregon. The days remain long and sunny but the pace is calmer and less frenzied than summer. Kids are back in school but still itching for fun come the weekend. It’s a lovely transition time to explore the outdoors. Autumn weekends are made for leisurely family outings spent contemplating the changing season while experiencing the time of harvest. Here are a handful of ways to enjoy the beautiful outdoors during these mild days.
Pumpkin PatchesOctober just isn’t complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch. Central Oregon has several options for places to have some fun while picking that perfect pumpkin. Several of the best patches are in Terrebonne, where pumpkin picking happens under high blue skies with incredible views of Smith Rock State Park.
At the Smith Rock Ranch, the highlight is a massive corn maze. Get just lost enough to have a great time inside the endless sea of tall stalks (don’t forget to grab a map!). The Ranch also offers a pumpkin cannon, wagon rides, a zoo train and pony rides. There is food for sale, and of course, hundreds of pumpkins to choose from. Let each family member choose their own orange globe to carry home.
DD Ranch, also in Terrebonne, hosts its own pumpkin patch fun. The festivities on this working ranch are complete with hay rides, a play area with a rope swing and slide, and a petting zoo. Take home some grass-fed beef from this ranch, too. ddranch.net
Fall FestBend Fall Festival is so many things: music, food and wine, activities, community and more. A great place within the Fest for families is the Family Harvest Area, which is overflowing with Halloween and harvest-inspired activities. Family-focused businesses will be hosting a wide variety of exciting activities for kids.
The Harvest Market is another terrific place to visit. The market is teeming with produce and products grown and handcrafted in our region, including sweet corn, apples, pears, heirloom tomatoes, flower bouquets, gourmet salts, wine, ciders, knobby gourds and—of course—plenty of pumpkins. Local farmers will be sharing their goods on site—meet some of the folks who grow food in the arid high desert region and take home some of their homegrown products. bendfallfestival.com