Bay Area

What to Do With the Kids this October

Monday October 10, 2016

With all the nearby history, farms and countryside, the Bay Area is an awesome place to be in Autumn. (If you ignore the sometimes searing temperatures.)

I’ve rounded up our favorite family activities once the calendar hits October and we all start aching for colorful foliage, apple cider, and scarves.


Head to the country and go apple picking

The most proper way to celebrate fall is to head for an apple orchard, for warm cups of homemade apple cider and apple picking. Bring sandwiches for a pastoral, Autumn picnic.

Last year, we had a great time at Ratzlaff Ranch in Sonoma. Here are some other options:

Gabriel Farm, Sebastopol

Clearview Organic Orchards, Watsonville

Gizdich Ranch, Watsonville


Check out a local harvest festival 

Our 2016 Bay Area Fall & Winter festival guide has the complete list!


Hit up a local pumpkin patch

The good news is that we apparently live in the pumpkin patch capital of the world (unconfirmed). If you don’t want to leave San Francisco, the obvious choice is Clancy’s in the Inner Sunset.

Otherwise, you have your pick:

Farmer John’s Pumpkins, Half Moon Bay

Lemos Farm, Half Moon Bay

Arata’s Pumpkin Patch, Half Moon Bay

Stanly Lane Pumpkin Patch, Napa

Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch, Santa Rosa

Nicasio Valley Farms, Nicasio Valley

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma

Joan’s Farm, Livermore

Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch, San Jose

Smith Family Farm, Knightsen


Take on a corn maze

The Bay Area is home to some amazing corn mazes, including the world’s largest corn maze in Dixon, CA. Here are some others if you think you and your family are game.

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, Petaluma (4 acre corn maze)

Santa Rosa Pumpkins, Santa Rosa (7 acre corn maze)

G & M Farms, Livermore (6 acre corn maze)

Morgan Hill Pumpkins, San Martin (2 acre corn maze) (This looks the most preschooler friendly, and they also have an antique train and hayrides.)


Visit the San Francisco Zoo for ZOOtoberfest

Running every weekend in October, ZOOtoberfest has a hay maze, “Zoo Brew Haus”, live music, and games. It’s free with admission to the zoo.


Steel yourselves for one of the area’s haunted tours (for older kids)

These are easily the absolute, worst haunted tours I’ve ever heard of. Bay Area, what is wrong with you?

Apparently, ALCATRAZ has a haunted tour, as if it’s not creepy enough in broad daylight. My lord.

San Francisco’s Chinatown has its own haunted tour of its narrow alleyways and passageways, full of historic and supernatural folklore.

The San Francisco antique fire engine tours has an evening tour of the dark, fogged-in Presidio for haunted stories of the Presidio’s past and I assume a slow crawl through the pet cemetery.

Outside of San Francisco, if you really want to scare yourself senseless, you can visit the Winchester Mystery House Candlelight Tours, to see if all those ghost stories are indeed true.

Happy haunting, everyone!


Read more:

The perfect rain/no-rain boots

Not-too-scary Halloween books for kids

Spicy Pumpkin Pie (optionally vegan)


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