By Keilah Woodard

The leaves will soon be falling, school is back in, and it’s time to start enjoying some festive outings as a family. Each of these places and events are great for enjoying the changing of the seasons and starting some new traditions!

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Apple Hill
P.O. Box 494
Camino, CA
(530) 644-7692
Hours: Vary for each orchard – see website

A day trip to Apple hill is a tradition for many Sacramento families. The Apple Hill ranches are located north of Highway 50 between Placerville and Pollock Pines, about one hour east of Sacramento. They are open all year round but the best time to go is definitely in the fall. The changing colors of the leaves make it so beautiful, the weather is good, and the picking is best. Favorite orchards to take the kids to are Abel’s Apple Acres, El Dorado Orchards, High Hill, Kids Inc., Mill View, and Plubell’s Family Orchard. Kids will love picking apples, eating apple pie, petting animals, taking a train ride, and more!


Woodland Corn Maze
2200-2298 E. Main St.
Woodland, CA
Hours: Tues to Thurs – 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.;
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Woodland Corn Maze is the largest corn maze around! Located in Woodland, this seasonal attraction was the first corn maze ever in California. The maze pattern changes every year and you can see aerial photos of past designs on their website. It is perfect for families and friends who want to try their luck by day or brave the dark at night.

Photo Credit: Keilah Woodard

Freeport Bakery
2966 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA
(916) 442-4256
Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sat – 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
Sunday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Freeport Bakery in the charming Land Park area is an ideal spot for a festive treat. Although renowned throughout Sacramento for their amazing cakes, it is also a fun place to take the kids for an outing. Every season they offer the cutest cookies and cupcakes to choose from! You can sit at a cafe table inside or outside this cozy bakery for a memorable experience.

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Davis Ranch Harvest Festival
13211 Jackson Road
Sloughhouse, CA
(530) 503-9292
Hours: October 8th and 9th, 2011; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Held annually, the Davis Ranch Harvest Festival is fun for the whole family! Enjoy live music all weekend, great food, local arts and crafts vendors, and a pumpkin carving contest. Kids will love free tractor rides, a corn maze, pony rides, and a petting zoo. This is the kind of event that truly screams, “fall is here!”

Photo Credit: Keilah Woodard

GIANT Pumpkin Festival of Elk Grove
Elk Grove Regional Park
9950 Elk Grove-Florin Rd.
Elk Grove, CA
(916) 405-5600
Hours: October 1st and 2nd, 2011; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At the Giant Pumpkin Festival of Elk Grove, you will find the truly GIANT pumpkins! In addition to the annual Weigh-Off competition, Elk Grove’s largest family event is returning with a “Shiver Me Pumpkins!” theme that is supporting the construction of a new playground on Pirate’s Island at the park. Kids will love playing carnival games, navigating a hay maze, petting animals and watching the giant pumpkin regatta.

Photo Credit: Keilah Woodard

Dave’s Pumpkin Patch
3010 Burrows Ave.
West Sacramento, CA
(916) 849-9450
Hours: Sun to Thurs – 10 a.m. to dusk; Fri and Sat – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Dave’s Pumpkin Patch has the feel of an old family farm and enough attractions to keep your kids busy for hours. The farm sits right next to the river in West Sacramento, very close to Clarksburg. It is the perfect size pumpkin patch as it is packed with things to do but all in close proximity. Kids can run through the Hay Maze, jump on the Hay Bounce, climb up the Hay Stack and slide down the Super Slide. The whole family will enjoy the tractor-pulled Hay Ride and wandering through the Sunflower Trail. Pony rides and carnival game take this pumpkin patch’s fun over the top!

Keilah Woodard lives with her husband and three children in Sacramento. She writes regularly about the best places to go in the Sacramento area with kids on her website