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4 must-do fall activities in North Carolina

Polar bears, pumpkin patches, and apple cider donuts are just a few reasons why NC is worth a road trip this fall.

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Pumpkin carving at home might be fun, but how about experiencing fall in a fresh way with a road trip this fall?

Photos provided by Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau Staff, North Carolina Zoo, and Spooky Bottom

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Windows down, seat heater on, PSL in hand, and autumn leaves in view: It’s time to leave the pumpkins behind and hit the road.

Consider changing things up this season by planning a fall road trip to Randolph County, NC, where celebrations, harvest vibes, coziness, and — of course — some jumpscares await.

Check out our fall bucket list to see where to find pumpkin-tossing animals, fall food + drink favorites, spooky trails and haunted houses for the daredevils, and more.

🐻‍❄️ Boo at the Zoo and Pumpkin Palooza

Do polar bears celebrate Halloween, too? At North Carolina Zoo, they do. (So do elephants and seals.) This year, go trick or treating at the Zoo’s family-friendly fall tradition, Boo at the Zoo, or see Pumpkin Palooza, where animals promise a smashing good time. Bonus: You’ll find plenty of photo opps.

🪦 Spooky Bottom Haunted Trails

This Halloween, we challenge you to hike down a haunted trail. And not just any haunted trail, but the Fear Carolina’s 2020 Victims Choice Award winner for the best haunted attraction in North Carolina. Witness backwoods horror, plus new scenes for 2023 (think: a longer hike and more scares). Who will be your ride-or-die on this trail?

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Located along the scenic Pottery Highway, Seagrove is home to talented potters and artisans.

Photo provided by Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau Staff

🏺 Potters Pumpkin Patch

Think if you’ve seen one pumpkin patch you’ve seen them all? Think again.

Head to Seagrove, NC, for its annual Potters Pumpkin Patch, featuring ceramic pumpkins, gourds, autumn leaves, and woodland creatures made by its renowned potters’ community — plus scented candles, seasonal snacks, and more from the five participating shops. Grab your patch map at any shop and check all of them off the list.

🎃 Pumpkin-Picking Adventures

Looking to embrace the season of harvest? Check out the Fall U-Pick activities at Millstone Creek Orchards in Ramseur. Help (well, kind of) the orchard harvest the 20,000 pumpkin seeds they planted across three patches in spring.

Get the most out of your visit on Saturdays, ft. live music, weekend-only apple cider donuts, and special events like alpaca petting and axe throwing. Explore more fall activities.


Where did the term “Jack-O-Lantern” come from? Take a guess