Ever since I moved out of my home up in Wisconsin, my family has never missed visiting for my birthday. Moving even further south of Chicago still didn’t change that. Last weekend the whole clan was down here in Central Illinois, and we had a blast! If you have family visiting you soon, here are a few fall-themed, family and budget friendly ideas you can do with them!

Find an Apple Orchard or Pumpkin Patch

No matter where you are in the country, there is a good chance you are within driving distance of an apple orchard and/or pumpkin patch. I don’t believe the lie that these places are strictly for children. I still love apple picking and pumpkin carving, so that’s exactly why this is number one on the list for our family weekend!

Carve Pumpkins & Roast the seeds

If you didn’t see this next one coming, shame on you! It’s only right to carve the pumpkins after you pick them out. We bought carving tools at our local Walmart, and had a carving competition. Feel free to do this in teams or individually.

Once you’ve carved out the pumpkins, roasting the seeds for a snack later is a must! We followed this recipe from my fall Pinterest board. There are five easy seasonings you can try in the recipe link!

After your seeds cool, pick out a Halloween movie, and cozy up on the couch with your fall-themed snack…and maybe some Halloween candy!

Visit a Local Brewery/winery/restaurant

We are always on the hunt for tasty local brews! Often local breweries have just the fun ambiance you want for a casual family meal. This past weekend, we checked out a local place whose hefeweizen Andrew loves. Beer/wine tastings/tours can be a great way to spend time with your crew and try new things together!

Grill Out & Play Yard Games

Talk about a budget friendly meal! We gathered all the necessities for a cornhole/bags tournament, yummy grilling food, and all of the necessary sides. A friend of ours actually made our bean bags for cornhole, but you can just as easily buy your own set online. As for the holes, our apartment complex has a “common” outdoor area where there are grills and cornhole sets bolted to the cement open to anyone. It happens to be right outside our patio!

Since my family comes down from Northeastern Wisconsin, they always bring the Wisconsin brats…and Spotted Cow! Then all ya need are some chips, veggies and dip, pasta salad, and some drinks. Find the recipe links in this post, or visit my Pinterest board.

Find a local park or forest preserve

I have the outdoorsy family that grew up hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, hunting, and whatever else. One thing you can do during the fall is take a little walk around a local forest preserve to A) get your steps in and walk off all the apple cider donuts, and B) check out the beautiful fall colors.

Andrew gave my family a tour of campus instead of heading to the park. The trees were just as beautiful!

Wander through the local farmers market

After Andrew and I checked out the farmers market a few weeks ago, I knew I had to take the fam when they visited. Visiting your local farmers market is a great way to get to know the community. Especially if you’re a new resident or visitor! It’s also a good way to shop local and support the community of small business owners. From farms, to bakeries, to craftsmen, there are so many things to browse (or eat).


Unfortunately, our Saturday got rained out. Our solutions? Instead of the farmers market, we brought my family to a favorite coffee shop of ours to try the bourbon barrel lattes. Instead of a cookout and bags tournament, we grilled on our covered patio, and watched movies. Luckily, we saved our pumpkin carving for a rainy day!

Where we went (or would have gone) this weekend in the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois area:

Don’t forget to have fun with it. Post the self-timer fails, eat the unhealthy snack cravings, and take silly photos! Did I miss your favorite activity? Leave a comment below sharing what you love to do in the fall!

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