By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
1. Float Your
Ferries are a fun way to enjoy some time on the water without having a boat. Pick a sunny day and let the crisp air blow through your hair, and don’t forget the camera. If you live near a large body of water, you’re sure to find a ferry, and many of them are free, as is the Peel Ferry in north central Arkansas.
The Peel Ferry in Peel, Arkansas
Photographed by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
2. Take in a Fall Festival
At the Turkey Trot Festival in Yellville, you might win the Miss Drumsticks contest, or maybe the Wild Turkey Calling contest. You can find a fall festival for just about every hobby, every harvest food, and every kind of bridge. Choose a craft festival and get your holiday shopping done. Gobble, gobble!
Miss Drumsticks Contest
Courtesy of Carolyn Vigna at the Yellville Chamber of Commerce
3. Warm Up with a Java
After a brutally hot summer for most of the U.S., it might take some time to adjust to chilly autumn mornings. Warm up with a hot cuppa joe or tea from your locally owned coffee shop. Give yourself a special treat by trying a fall flavor. Ever had a pumpkin spice latte or spiced Chai tea? Go on. Try one.
Brewed Awakening in Mountain Home
Courtesy of Mike Lengenfelder
4. Light Up Your Life
You don’t have to be a kid to be mesmerized by thousands of twinkling lights. Many holiday lighting ceremonies kick off the season mid November, and many include historic home tours and parades. One of the largest in the Ozarks is at Silver Dollar City in Branson, lighting up lives nightly from Nov. 5 to Dec. 31.
Courtesy of Silver Dollar City, silverdollarcity.com
5. Scare Yourself
Ghost hunting is all the rage, and you can be a ghost hunter, too! Don’t be afraid of the dark—sign up for a ghost tour or stay in a haunted hotel. Eureka Springs is home to the 1886 Crescent Hotel, one of the “Most Haunted Hotels” in the U.S. and, according to “Ghost Hunters,” the third most-haunted building they’ve investigated. The 1905 Basin Park Hotel offers nightly ghost tours, too. Boo!
Courtesy of 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
6. Go All Medieval
You may think “Renaissance Festival” when you think “Fall,” but we’ve got the real thing in Arkansas—the Ozark Medieval Fortress in Lead Hill—a castle-in-the-making according to true medieval techniques discovered at Château Saint Fargeau in France. You can be a part of its progress until it’s finished in 2030. Put on that peasant skirt and come on over. Hazzah!
Courtesy of Jean Revault d’Allonnes, Ozark Medieval Fortress
7. Hit the Trail
No bugs. No snakes. Fall and winter are the best times to hit the trails. For outdoor adventurers, there’s no place more beautiful to enjoy the autumn scenery than on a trail like the Dogwood Trail in Lakeview. Find a trail on your own in one of the beautiful local, national or state parks in your area, or join a group tour such as the 50th Annual Fall Color Tour in Jasper on Oct. 28.
Courtesy of Diane Mikrut, Women Hiking the Ozarks
8. Zip It
If flying like a bird is on your bucket list, you’re in luck. What could be better than zipping for immersing yourself in the beauty of fall foliage? Zipline tours are for the young and the young at heart, from 6 to 80+. Fear not, many offer tandem rides until you’re comfortable. Adventure Ziplines in Branson, Mo., and Buffalo River Canopy Tours in Ponca, Ark., are two companies offering zipline adventures in the Ozarks.
Courtesy of Adventure Ziplines of Branson
9. Get Lost
In a corn maze, that is! A maize maze? Fall doesn’t officially begin for many until their annual trek to their local pumpkin patch and corn maze. Farmland Adventures in Springdale has a petting zoo and pumpkins already harvested. Jump on the hayride to the field and pick the perfect pumpkin for your family’s jack-o-lantern.
Courtesy of Farmland Adventures
10. Get Cultured
The Russians are coming! This November you can see the Moscow Ballet’s famed Nutcracker at The Sheid on the ASUMH campus in Mountain Home. If Broadway is more your style, catch West Side Story or Rock of Ages at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. Be a patron or season ticket holder at the performing arts center near you, wherever you are, and get some culture!
Courtesy of the Moscow Ballet