Free Family Friendly Fall Activities Abound Around Utah

Free Family Friendly Fall Activities Abound Around Utah

By Kathleen Clove
September 14, 2022

From scarecrows to strudel, this is going to be one fun, kid-friendly fall.

Colorful leaves, cooler temperatures, cozy sweaters. What’s not to like about fall? It’s time to get outside and make the most of the season before we usher in the big chill. We’ve compiled a list of  family friendly fall activities happening around the state. Bring your camera, an empty belly and a tote bag. You’ll be filling all three.

Salt Lake Area

Oktoberfest | 9385 S Snowbird Center Dr, Snowbird

The original Oktoberfest was held in the 19th century to celebrate a king’s fall wedding. Seems like a perfect reason for Utah to jump on board. Since it began in 1972, the Snowbird event has become one of the most popular fall activities in Utah. Bratwurst, apple strudel, spaetzle. Fifty kinds of beer. Oompah! Midafternoon, climb aboard the aerial tram and head up to the top of Hidden Peak to hear the dulcet sounds of alphorns. 

The festival begins in mid-August and continues through mid-October. The hills are alive from noon to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday (plus Labor Day). Parking is limited, so pack your family van to the brim. Although there is no entrance fee to the festival, there is a charge for parking in the Snowbird lots.

Witchfest | Gardner Village, 1100 W 7800 S, West Jordan

If you’re one of those folks who can’t wait to start wearing striped stockings and a pointy hat, you’ll appreciate that historic Gardner Village celebrates Halloween for a full 45 days. Starting in mid-September, Witchfest has activities, photo ops and sweet treats for tight-wearing enthusiasts, and anyone else who wants to get into the holiday spirit. Eye of newt? Got you covered. Bubbling brew? Well, a tea party, anyway. Join in the scavenger hunt, run a 5K, eat a caramel apple. There is no admission charge for Gardner Village or Witchfest. Parking is free Monday through Thursday, but there is a charge on weekends. Hours vary by day. 

Trick or Treat Street | Olympic Oval, 5662 Cougar Ln, Kearns

Get your kids’ candy coma started early with a stop on Trick or Treat Street at the Olympic Oval. Booths line the indoor track with treats for your little ones. There are bounce houses and crafts, as well. The ice skating is even free for kids under age 12. The annual event is held mid-October.

Surrounding Valleys

Swiss Days | Downtown Midway

The hamlet of Midway hosts its annual Swiss Days on the Friday and Saturday before Labor Day. There’s an epic outdoor craft fair, Swiss German food booths, a parade and the obligatory 10K race. Lederhosen not required (but should be). There is no nearby parking, but a regular shuttle leaves from 500 E Main Street and 800 N River Road. Bring cash (no credit cards) for the food vendors, because the scented streets will leave you ravishing. Strollers are not recommended (even if you’re tired).

Autumn Aloft | 2530 Kearns Blvd, Park City

The skies above Park City become especially billowy on the third weekend of September with the annual hot air balloon festival. The coordinated launch begins at 8 a.m. (weather permitting) Saturday and Sunday from the field behind Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City. More than 20 balloonists from around the world fill the sky with color — and a lot of hot air. Of all the family activities in Utah, this may be the most breathtaking. Bring the kids, but leave the dogs home for this one. Saturday evening, the pilots get together again to light up Main Street by flaring up their burners for the Evening Candlestick. It begins at 8 p.m. between 4th and 5th Streets.

Pumpkin Walk at Benson Grist Mill | 325 State Rd 138, Stansbury Park

The historic Benson Grist Mill plays host to a time-honored tradition: decorating with pumpkins. Each year, community members create elaborate scenes using the versatile gourds. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with free kid-friendly activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendor booths and food trucks will be there, as well. The weekend event is held in mid-October. Admission is free.

Northern Utah

Scarecrow Walk | 80 E 725 S, Kaysville

Know what’s even better than hunting for snipes? Hunting for scarecrows. And your kids won’t have any trust issues afterward. At the USU Botanical Center, walk along the three-quarter mile path amid the Varga Arboretum as you search for extravagant scarecrows made by community groups. You even get to vote for a winner by scanning a QR code. The walk is open from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. Hunting season is a brief 10 days in mid-September.

Witchstock | 348 25th St, Ogden

Calling all witches, zombies and monsters! Ogden City’s annual Witchstock Festival is ready to welcome you. Held in late October, the festivities include a Monster Bash, Zombie Crawl and Witches Tea. Try your luck at the carnival games while being entertained by quirky artists. All the activities are free except the tea party, which is a fundraiser for the Ogden Jr. League. Immerse yourself in the fun by dressing up, warts and all. Join your fellow mummies (and daddies) at the Ogden Amphitheater from 4 to 10 p.m. 

Peach Days | 705 W Forest St, Brigham City

Want a peach-er perfect day? Head to Brigham City for its annual Peach Days, held the weekend after Labor Day. On Friday and Saturday, craft and food booths are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Saturday, peach for the stars in the beard competition or a fun run. There’s also a peachy keen car show. So much fun, it’ll leave you peachless! Or maybe warm and fuzzy? Too much? 

Pumpkin Walk | 1150 E 2500 N, North Logan

Need a little inspiration for your jack-o’-lantern this year? Stroll through the North Logan Pumpkin Walk at Elk Ridge Park. There are carved pumpkins, painted pumpkins, creature pumpkins, people pumpkins, transportation pumpkins. There are pumpkins in action and pumpkins in movie scenes. Literally hundreds of pumpkins. The pumpkin-palooza is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the second weekend in October. You can park adjacent to the park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the evening, a free shuttle is available from Greenville Elementary (2450 N 400 E) and Cache Valley Hospital (2380 N 400 E). Admission is free. Bonus: Stop by the witch for a free treat.

Central Utah

Golden Onion Days | 300 S Main St, Payson

Payson City kicks off the harvest season with its annual Golden Onion Days. Held over Labor Day weekend, it’s a celebration of the city’s history as a top producer of the savory vegetable. The event typically includes a parade, carnival rides and booths, a car show, a baby contest and fireworks. You’ll probably hear some music from bagpipers and local talent, as well. The hodgepodge of activities happen from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Old Capitol Arts and Living Festival | 50 W Capitol St, Fillmore

While not exactly a fall-themed event, Fillmore hosts the Old Capitol Arts and Living Festival on the second weekend of September. There are plenty of nods to Utah history, including reenactments and horse-drawn wagon rides. You’ll also find heaps of music, children’s activities, dancing, rides and, of course, food.

Southern Utah

Grand Circle Trailfest | 566 N 100 E, Kanab

If colorful leaves and cornstalks just aren’t doing it for you this year, try a totally different family event: A three-day/four-night running festival. On each day of the Grand Circle Trailfest, held the last week of September, participants run a portion of trails in Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and Horseshoe Bend. Maybe your youngsters aren’t trail runners yet. But they will love camping out, cheering you on and enjoying various activities while you’re off pounding the dirt. There is a race fee, but all of the family events are free. 

Sheep Parade | Main St, Cedar City

Running of the bulls? So last year. Get a glimpse of the Old West during the Sheep Parade down Cedar City’s Main Street instead. On the last Saturday of October, hundreds of sheep meander, gallop and strut — OK, are herded — down the center of town as part of the Cedar Livestock and Heritage Festival. They’re followed by cowboys, stock dogs, antique tractors and (just because) bagpipers. Follow them to the Cross Hollows Event Center, where there are tractor pulls, a sheep-shearing demo and a vintage car display. Make it a weekend: Festivities begin Friday with a junior rodeo and antique machinery show. The official parade kicks off at 10 a.m. It’s certainly one of the most memorable Utah fall activities for the entire family.

Scarecrow Walk | 375 E Red Hills Pkwy, St. George 

Walk through a haunted canyon, take a photo with a scarecrow — just your typical Friday night. From mid-October until Halloween, the paths around Red Hills Desert Garden are lined with people made of straw, pumpkins and loads of creativity. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Whether looking for spectacular sights, delectable dishes or seasonal shopping, there are plenty of family friendly fall activities across Utah. Take along our handy guide to find something unique and fun to do every weekend.