Looking for fall fun in Portland? My Portland fall bucket list has you covered with all kinds of activities the whole family will love! With three kids ranging in age from 6-15, our fall is not just filled with pumpkin patches and animal farms anymore. We try to throw in some fall fun for the big kids and adults too! Make sure to scroll all the way through for a free printable of all of these ideas plus an additional 5 more! The list is great to refer to on days you are trying to figure out something fun to do!
Portland Fall Bucket List
Visit an apple orchard
One of our favorite apple orchards is Oregon Heritage Farms. Just a short drive from Portland, Oregon Heritage Farms has apple trees, a pumpkin patch, farm animals, a picnic area and a cute little farm store that sells apple cider donuts, apple cider slushies, and other treats and gift items.
Other area favorite apple orchards in the Portland area include:
Bella Orchard– Bella Orchards has shorter apple trees so even kids can pick!
We have been lucky to hold a zoo pass for many years so popping in and out of the zoo several times a year has allowed us to experience the Oregon Zoo in all seasons. Fall is a great time to visit the zoo! The summer crowds have thinned out during the week and you still can enjoy our great fall weather.
Wander Into a Pumpkin Patch
The Portland area is home to so many great pumpkin patches, and visiting one is the perfect Portland fall activity young or old! Here are a few of our favorites:
Plumper is a fantastic pumpkin patch for younger children. My youngest loves this one because in addition to a wide variety of pumpkins, they also have a small corn maze, hay pyramid, farm animals, wagon rides, pumpkin cannons, a playground and slides, a farm store and more. The Farm Kitchen whips up caramel apples, donuts, kettle corn, fresh cider and corn on the cob.
All three of my kids enjoy going to The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. The corn maze is bigger, there are more food vendors, and there is a farm store, and gift shop on the property. The Pumpkin Patch also has a huge barn with farm animals, as well as a wagon that takes you out into the pumpkin patch. Also onsite is a cafe and coffee cart, a cow train, and hay pyramid. Lots of fun for the whole family! However, keep in mind that this pumpkin patch gets pretty crowded on the weekends and no school days. It is usually best to get there early.
Bella Organic is right next to the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. Both are great to visit, but if you have older kids, Bella Organic Farm has a haunted corn maze on Friday and Saturday nights! (See more on age restrictions under corn mazes below). During the day the maze is great for all ages, and has over 2.5 miles of pathways. The farm also has a pumpkin patch with free hayrides in October, a cow train, duck races, hay maze, and farm animals.
Other additional activities depending on the day include:
- Bella’s Courtyard with freshly prepared yummy food
- face painting (Sat/Sun only)
- wine, hard cider, and Hopworks beer available on tap
- organic food market
- kettle corn
- fully stocked farm store
- photo opportunities
A few other options in the area that we have visited over the years:
Take a Fall Hike
There is nothing quite like setting off on a hike in the crisp fall air, the trees around you bursting with fall color, and your kids skipping happily along ahead of you. Not only is hiking a great way to get exercise, but studies have shown that in addition, being in nature can boost your mood and improve mental health. In Portland we are lucky to have so many trails close by to explore, but these top my Portland fall bucket list:
Forest Park has so many options for hikes year round. We have trekked on shorter and easier hikes with the kids to longer less traveled trails at the quieter end of the park. There is truly a hike for everyone!
Silver Falls State Park – My husband and I hiked the full loop this summer and it tops my list of one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. While the full hike is over 7 miles long, there are shorter kid friendly trails where you can still see some of the amazing waterfalls.
Hoyt Arboretum has over 2,000 unique species of shrubs and trees and 12 miles of hiking trails and is just minutes from downtown. It is especially beautiful in the fall!
Sauvie Island is known for its farm stores, pumpkin patches, and beaches, but did you know you can hike on the island too? The last time we hiked on the island we were some of the only people on the trail. It was so peaceful!
Wahclella Falls – There are SO many great hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, but this is one of our favorites.
While Banks-Vernonia State Trail is great for walking, it is even better for biking! With multiple starting and ending points for the trail segments you can choose the one that works best for your family.
The views at Cooper Mountain Nature Park are just amazing! With 3.5 miles of trails you can find something for little and big legs to hike.
Every spring I admire all of the tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocus flowers that burst up through the soil. And every spring I swear I am going to plant those bulbs in the fall. I’ll let you in on a little secret. It never happens. Maybe this fall??
Planting bulbs would be a relaxing and fun activity to do out in the fall sunshine while your kids are at school, or with them if you have little ones at home during the day.
Find your way through a corn maze
Wandering through a corn maze is at the top of my family’s Portland fall bucket list. One of my favorite things about the Maize at The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island is that you can pick up different themed scavenger hunts to help you navigate the maze. Last time we grabbed a Disney themed hunt for my youngest, while the older kids chose different themes. So fun!
On our visit last year masks were required when you could not social distance. Be sure to check the website for requirements this year.
Bella Organic also has a haunted corn maze on Friday and Saturday nights in October starting right at dark. Children under 5 are not permitted into the haunted maze and it is not recommended for young kids.
Drive the Hood River Fruit Loop
This one has been on my bucket list for a while! At the base of Mt. Hood, the Hood River Fruit Loop is a 35 mile scenic drive that will take you through the area’s farms, orchards, wineries, businesses and local communities. You will find a variety of fruit, vegetables, wines, flowers, and food along your journey. The fall is definitely the best time of year to go if you like pears and apples. Be sure to check the website for the latest information regarding which stands are open.
Fall at Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden in Washington Park transforms with the seasons and is stunning in the fall. Their website and social media channels post updates on the seasonal transformations and fall colors in the garden. While the garden is generally peaceful and quiet, please note that the maintenance crew does have to run the leaf blowers more often in the fall. Most of the Portland Japanese Garden can be accessible with a stroller, with the exception of the Natural Garden and the Sand and Stone Garden. These garden spaces have narrow pathways and stairs, but the gardens do have a location to park strollers.
I am 100% NOT a haunted house girl, with the exception of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. That one I can do! But if haunted houses are your thing, here are a few to check out in the local area:
Explore a Halloween Trail
If Haunted Houses aren’t your thing either, or you have younger children you many want to check out these semi-spooky trails:
Visit Powell’s Books
Browse Powell’s flagship downtown location with over one million books, and stock up on books for all of those rainy and cozy fall days that you know are in our near future.
Family Friendly Wine Tastings
Beautiful days in the Willamette Valley are some of the best days to go explore the abundance of wineries in the area. Many not only offer top notch wines, but also have stunning views of the valley. Luckily several of them are child friendly. One family favorite is Stoller Family Estate. Stoller Family Estate welcomes children with adult supervision. Expansive lawns provide plenty of space to get out the wiggles. Parents can keep a watchful eye while sipping wine on the outdoor patio.
Spirit of Halloweentown
The Spirit of Halloweentown in St. Helens has also been on my Portland fall bucket list for a while. Many of our friends have gone, but we haven’t made it there just yet. The event is a celebration of what makes Halloween such an exciting time of year! You can purchase general admission tickets as well as individual tickets for various activities, so please read the website carefully before purchasing.
Some events and activites may be weekend only but include:
- a haunted house
- a self-guided walking tour that highlights Halloweentown and Twilight movie locations as well as the haunted history of the area
- a gift shop and dark market
- photo ops
- museum of peculiarities and oddities
- stage performances by jugglers, dogs, circus type performers, and more
- Whispers in the Woods (a scavenger hunt to find the tree whisperers along a trail)
- costume contests
- vendor village with shopping, eating, photo ops and more
The Original Goat Yoga in Oregon City is definitely an experience to remember. This summer I went with a friend and carload of teenage girls. Adults and teens loved it! No yoga experience is necessary, and it is a great stress reliever. You can even just sit and snuggle the goats if you don’t want to do the yoga. Afterwards is a Goat Happy Hour, and while there is no alcohol involved, you can take goat selfies, snuggle goats, learn more about the goats, and tour the farm.
The location near Oregon City has plenty of parking, a beautiful outdoor yoga space nestled among the trees, an indoor space in case of inclement weather, and other farm animals to enjoy watching. A few things to be aware of…Children must be 8 years or older to participate. Also, I am giving you fair warning that the goats may jump on your back AND do their business on your yoga mat. My advice is to rent a mat there for a small fee versus bringing your own. 😉
Stomp in Puddles
I added this last one in for my six year old daughter because she is ALWAYS asking to splash in puddles. Most often when she is not wearing the proper shoe attire. Well this year I am going to say YES to her more often. Stomp away little one. It brings her so much joy! I need to find that same joy when I venture out into the rain! 😉
Looking for more fall inspiration? These slow cooker apple cider chicken sandwiches are a family favorite with the meat eaters in my house. Last night for dinner we had my healthier version of tomato soup with grilled cheese. And we will be making these whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip muffins on repeat this fall!
What are your Portland fall bucket list activities or fall favorites where you live?