Fall embodies change and shows us how beautiful it can be to let go. Regardless of how busy life gets, this season merits a moment’s pause to observe nature’s shifts and to take note of its lessons. Whether you are dreading the cold, praying for snow or both, we’ve compiled a few of our better ideas on how to best savor this brief season.
Go Leaf Peeping
Sorry. Had to. The tradition of enjoying fall colors has a lot going for it, namely being free, but it does need a better name. May we offer kanpūkai? This term is used in Hokkaidō, Japan (the region that also brought us the phrase “forest bathing”) to describe gathering together to enjoy the leaves changing color. We’ll vote on a new name later. Since it’s already fall, we need to focus.
Interested in improving your photography skills? Find an edu-camping trip like this one organized by Elevated Exposures and learn how to capture color from a seasoned professional. These guys won’t call it leaf peeping. Promise.
Peak season is usually early to mid October in the Northeast, but keep in mind, those guys don’t have the monopoly on fall colors. In fact, you’ll find less traffic and more vacancy signs if you go elsewhere. The aspens in Colorado put on an incredible, albeit brief, show and the Blue Ridge Parkway through Tennessee and North Carolina is worthy of a road trip or a well accessorized motorcycle adventure. The Upper Midwest offers incredible views, with colors amplified by the contrast of the Great Lakes.
The Pacific Northwest offers rich hues, decent late season camping, hot springs and mushroom foraging in areas surrounding Mt. Hood and Rainier. Or keep heading north through BC for a reverse migration. Denali anyone?
Do keep in mind that each region’s timeline varies from year to year and wherever you may venture, there’s a hotline for that. Seriously, even Hawaii has a fall foliage hotline. Find a full directory of state hotlines here. Know before you go.
Volunteer for Harvest
Make this the year you volunteer on a harvest crew at a vineyard or olive farm. You can usually jump in for a day, a week or even a month if your schedule allows it. Sounds lovely and romantic, right? In reality, it can be hard, hand-staining, satisfying work that inevitably leads to new friends and deliciously well-paired meals. Most of the best grape and olive growing destinations also offer ample hiking, climbing and camping options, which may be the more important pairing opportunity.
More info on volunteer opportunities –
In lesser known wine-growing regions, you’ll find it easier to volunteer and more access to incredible outdoor recreation.
Oregon and Washington have opportunities throughout AVAs (American Viticulture Areas) in both states. It’s recommended to pick your destination and reach out to wineries directly to get on a volunteer list.
Wilridge Winery in Yakima, WA is one such winery with volunteer roles throughout the season. Their vineyard trails are open to the public for hiking and biking year round and they boast the title of “Greenest Winery” in Washington being the first certified organic and biodynamic winery in the state.
If you’re thinking Europe, check this article by TripSavvy for regional volunteer resources.
Head Out to an Adventure Film Festival
Maine Outdoor Film Festival – On tour now, throughout Maine, until Oct. 12, 2019.
Portland Eco Film Festival – Sep. 26-29, 2019 at The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, OR.
Filmed by Bike Film Tour has dates in Oregon, Australia, Michigan and Ohio in late Sep. & Oct. 2019.
European Outdoor Film Tour kicks off Oct. 1, 2019. Check for tour dates near you.
Adventure Film Festival Oct. 6 & 7, 2019 in Boulder, CO.
Reel Rock 14 World Premiere Oct. 17 & 18, 2019 in Boulder, CO with tour dates to follow.
Fresh Coast Film Festival Oct. 17-20, 2019 in Michigan’s breathtaking Upper Peninsula. FCFF combines a colorful lakeside setting with over 120 outdoor films and several local excursions.
Banff Mountain Film Festival Oct. 26 – Nov. 3, 2019 in Banff, AB with world tour dates to follow.
Ogden Film Festival – Nov. 5-9, 2019 Ogden, UT.
Coast Film Festival – Nov. 7-9, 2019 Laguna Beach, CA.
Adventure Shorts Film Festival – Nov. 8-10, 2019 at The Roxy Theater in Missoula, MT. It was hard to find concrete info on this one, but luckily, there is always something great showing at The Roxy.
Conserve Sauk Film Festival – Nov. 9, 2019 in Baraboo, WI and admission for this one is FREE.
Port Fairy Adventure Film Festival Nov. 8-10, 2019 NSW, Australia – Inaugural Event!
Kendal Mountain Festival – Nov. 14-17, 2019 Kendal, UK.
Attend a Hot Air Balloon Festival
The Great Prosser Balloon Rally Sep. 27-29, 2019 in Prosser, WA
Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta is the granddaddy of them all. Happening October 5-13, 2019. Perhaps you can swing by for a day or two of stunning festivities on your Breaking Bad RV Tour and camp, because that’s a thing. And if you’re still up in the air about it, here are 20 reasons you should definitely go. To name just a few; live music, glamping, nighttime balloon glow events and breakfast burritos.
Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon FestOct. 18-19, 2019 in Kennesaw, GA.
Carolina Balloon FestOct. 18-20, 2019 in Statesville, NC.
Natchez Balloon Festival Oct. 18-20, 2019 in Natchez, MS includes The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.
Lakeside of the Smokies Oct. 26-27, 2019 in White Pine, TN. This year’s inaugural event will offer unique views of East Tennessee’s foliage.
Did we miss a film festival or another activity that should be on this list?
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