Welcome to Missouri in the fall! As the leaves change color and temperatures begin to drop, the Show-Me State offers an abundance of family-friendly activities for you to enjoy this autumn. Whether you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, experience a fall festival, or immerse yourself in the history and culture of the state, Missouri has something for every family.
From scenic state parks that showcase stunning fall foliage to exciting fall festivals of all kinds, those seeking adventure are bound to find it in this list of the best family-friendly things to do in Missouri this fall.
Plan your perfect autumn getaway in Missouri and create lasting memories with your family.
1. Spend a day at Beggs Family Farm
Beggs Family Farm is a family-owned farm featuring acres of family fun activities! It’s also a yearly tradition for our family!
When I say “spend a day” at Beggs, I mean you really need the whole day! There’s so much to do!
Take a hayride to the pumpkin patch to pick out your pumpkin, watch the hillbilly pig races, and find your way through the giant corn maze. Visit the petting zoo, jump on the bounce pillow, ride a pony or a camel, slide down giant slides, and so much more! I’m not kidding, I couldn’t even begin to list all the things to do!
They also offer concession stands and gift shops!
2319 State Highway U
Sikeston, MO 63801
2. See the wild horses in the Missouri Ozarks
You knew you could see wild horses in places like Wyoming, or Chincoteague in Virginia, but did you know there are wild horses in Missouri?
There are 4 different protected and managed herds that exist today, roaming the Ozark Scenic Riverways.
Some places to see them include the Round Spring Campground near Eminence, MO, Echo Bluff State Park, and the Shawnee Creek Campground (said to be the easiest place to spot them.)
Remember, the horses are wild! Do not attempt to get close, feed, or pet the horses!
3. Kayak one of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Bring your kayak, or rent from Akers Ferry Canoe Rental and paddle down the Current River – part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Put in at Akers Ferry and float to Pulltite Campground. This is a 10-mile float, taking 5-6 hours to complete. What is special about this float is that you can paddle into a cave!
Cave Spring will be on your left, and you can paddle into the entrance, although it doesn’t go back very far.
The water is clear and cold, being spring-fed. You can usually see to the bottom.
Keep an eye out for wildlife, including whitetail deer, many species of birds, otter, beaver, mink, turkey, and more. If you love fishing, bring your pole and cast for smallmouth bass.
4. See Silver Dollar City dressed up for fall
One of the best family-friendly things to do in Missouri this fall is to visit Silver Dollar City in Branson.
Fall is the perfect season to visit Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Mid-September through the end of October, the theme park hosts the Harvest Festival and Pumpkins in the City.
Watch craftsmen from all around the nation demonstrate woodworking, chuck wagon cooking, chainsaw carving, and various other heritage arts & crafts. Visit the Garden of Giants to see massive homegrown pumpkins. Then stay after dark to see thousands of glowing pumpkins and ride some of the rides into the night!
And don’t forget to fill up on all the fall-themed treats and meals!
5. Marvel at the castle ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Ha Ha Tonka is the home to the ruins of a European-style, stone castle from 1905.
There are over 15 miles of hiking trails and incredible views of the fall foliage of the Missouri Ozarks from the bluffs.
Come for the hiking, fishing, and exploring of caves, sinkholes, and a natural bridge, as well as the castle ruins.
This is a Missouri State Park that should not be missed, and only gets more beautiful during the fall season!
6. Camp under the fall foliage at one of Missouri’s State Parks
Fall camping in Missouri is one of our favorite family-friendly things to do in the fall. Missouri is full of amazing state parks with great camping facilities.
One of our favorites is Sam A. Baker State Park. Camp under the tall trees, let the kids ride bikes around the campground, go for a hike or 2, and hang out next to the river.
Other amazing Missouri State Parks to camp at include Echo Bluff State Park, Table Rock State Park, Johnson Shut-ins State Park, Roaring River State Park, and so many more!
7. Celebrate Halloween with exotic animals at Boo at the Zoo
From October 13th to the 29th of 2023, the St. Louis Zoo puts on Boo at the Zoo from 5pm to 8:30pm.
Enjoy a not-so-scary Halloween experience with tons of fall and Halloween decorations around the zoo and special fall menus.
Family-friendly (non-scary) Halloween costumes are encouraged. No full-face covering masks on anyone over age 13.
Boo at the Zoo also offers a sensory-friendly night, which is awesome!
Also, read about our expert tips for a memorable visit to the St. Louis Zoo!
1 Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
8. Shop local at a farmer’s market
Many of the towns around Missouri have farmer’s markets where you can shop for local produce, products, and handmade crafts.
Many even feature live music and food trucks as well. Check out your surrounding towns and city’s websites and Facebook pages to find one near you!
9. Kiss a rescue donkey at Donktoberfest
The 2nd annual Donktoberfest is held in Lincoln, Missouri at Peaceful Pastures Donkey Rescue. The festival takes place Friday, October 27th and Saturday, October 28th 2023.
From 10am to 4pm on Saturday, you can learn about the rescue donkeys and enjoy crafts, a bounce house, halter-making, grooming, and a kissing booth where you can kiss a donkey!
Come from 7pm to 10pm on Friday or Saturday, when the rescue turns into a haunted forest. Hop aboard a wagon for a haunted forest hayride.
All the event proceeds go towards the care of the rescue donkeys.
24507 Kelly Lane
10. Pick your own apples at Knowlan Family Farm
Knowlan Family Farm is located just outside Jackson, Missouri. They offer several varieties of apples that you can pick on your own in their labeled orchards.
Stay for family fun activities including a barrel-cart train ride, zipline, playground, pedal karts, and bounce pillow.
Feed the animals in the petting area and grab an ice cream from the farm store. It’s one of our favorite orchards in Southeast Missouri. If you’re in the area, you can read about some other fun things to do in Southeast Missouri for families!
3243 State Highway 34
Burfordville, MO 63739
11. Have a unique stay in a treehouse
Looking for a unique weekend stay in Missouri this fall? There are several treehouse vacation rental properties!
Imagine staying in a tiny house in the trees surrounded by the fall foliage. Sounds perfect.
Here are just a few of the treehouse properties I found in Missouri:
Branson Treehouse Adventures just outside of Branson has several treehouses to choose from. I think the African Treehouse Lodge looks amazing, with its swinging bridges!
159 Acorn Acres Ln
Branson West, MO 65737
The Moonlight Treehouse in Hermann, Missouri. This one is on the pricier side, but what makes this one special is that it is wheelchair accessible! Their website states “When we saw the way this part of the property gradually sloped off a cliff, we realized we could make a wheelchair-friendly treehouse! There are no stairs or ladders in the Moonlight, and you access it straight from the road with a walking bridge.”
1185 Hwy H
Treehouse on the Magic Land. If you have a larger family, this treehouse in Grubville, Missouri (less than an hour from St. Louis) sleeps 9 guests. Enjoy the “Old Time Tin Hot Tub”, indoor and outdoor hammocks, and the indoor gas fireplace.
Book this stay on bookatreehouse.com
12. Bike the Katy Trail
If you’re a biking family, one of the best things to do in Missouri this fall is to bike The Katy Trail.
The Katy Trail stretches 237 miles across most of Missouri, much of it following Lewis and Clark’s path up the Missouri River. The trail was built on former railroad tracks (Missouri’s longest Rails to Trails) and is for the most part, flat.
The trail runs from western Missouri, in Clinton to eastern Missouri, in Machens (near St. Charles.)
13. Listen to tunes at the Hannibal Folklife Festival
Hannibal Missouri’s Folklife Festival is a celebration of Hannibal’s rich history. The festival features artisans, craftsmen, and music performers on Hannibal’s historic North Main Street.
The festival takes place October 21st from 10am to 5pm and October 22nd from 10am to 4pm. There will be 100+ vendors, including food stands with locally-made cider and root beer.
Fall is the perfect time to visit Hannibal!
14. Celebrate Mark Twain’s Birthday
Also in Hannibal, on November 25th, the Mark Twain Museum will be celebrating Mark Twain’s birthday. The Mark Twain Annual Birthday Bash with feature craft-making, including party hats, and old-fashioned games from 1pm to 2pm.
Kids up to age 10 are free.
415 N Main St
Hannibal, MO 63401
15. Walk amongst giant billion-year-old boulders at Elephant Rocks
Elephant Rocks State Park is one of the most unique and amazing Missouri state parks. Walk the path among the massive granite boulders and be amazed.
You can squeeze through tiny passages and climb over these giant rocks like a playground. A trail also leads back to the ruins of an old engine house.
Elephant Rocks State Park also offers several picnic tables and a playground for kids. Bring a picnic and stay for the day! This is a favorite place for us that we visit at least once a year. Read more about Elephant Rocks State Park here.
16. Speed down a mountain on the Copperhead Mountain Coaster
If you’ve never experienced an alpine coaster before, you are missing out! The Copperhead Mountain Coaster is in the Shepard of the Hills Adventure Park.
Speed through the Ozark Mountains on this 3350-foot-long coaster winds around turns, loops, and drops. It’s the longest downhill ride in Branson.
Visit the Shepard of the Hills website for tickets and to see the many other fun family activities there!
5586 W 76 Country Boulevard
Branson, MO 65616
17. Take a hike and visit the wildlife at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is an outdoor “Ozark Paradise” of 10,000 acres.
At Dogwood, you are free to hike, bike, ride horses, fish, and take a wildlife tour! There’s so much to do!
On the 2-hour wildlife tram tour, you can get a scenic view of the park, including waterfalls, bluffs, bison, and elk!
Explore a treehouse built by the Treehouse Masters, as well as a working gristmill and conservation center.
2038 West State Hwy 86
Lampe, Missouri 65681
18. Get a thrill at Six Flags Kids Boo Fest
From September 16 to October 29, visit Six Flags St. Louis for Boo Fest. Kids can dress up in costumes and trick-or-treat around the park. There are plenty of family-friendly rides and Halloween treats. Also, enjoy a hay maze and pumpkin painting.
Just make sure you leave the park with your younger kids before Fright Fest begins in the evening. Fright Fest features scare zones, where zombies, creepy clowns, and other scary creatures roam around amongst the guests.
There are several haunted houses including Slaughter House and Creatures of the Corn to give adults and brave teens a serious scare!
4900 Six Flags Rd.
Eureka, MO 63025
19. Ride a Ferris Wheel at Kansas City’s Cornucopia
Cornucopia is Kansas City’s 3-day fall festival. It takes place October 13th – 15th. There are lots of family-friendly activities including face painting, pumpkin painting, carnival rides, live music, food vendors, and more.
Admission is free for everyone.
13 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106
Kansas City, MO 64106
20. Relax on a family horseback ride in Lee’s Summit
Sunset Trails Stables in Lee’s Summit, Missouri (just outside of Kansas City) offers 2-hour trail rides that begin with an introduction to horse safety and basic horsemanship.
When the trail guide feels like you’re all ready, you will use your new skills to ride through woodlands and native prairie grasses while learning about the history of the area.
All riders must be 8 years old and up.
2100 Southeast Ranson Rd.
Lee’s Summit, MO, 64082
21. Visit Walt Disney’s Hometown
Did you know that Walt Disney grew up in Missouri? He was born in Chicago but spent most of his childhood in Marceline, Missouri.
Main Street USA was based off of Marceline’s downtown – it’s worth a visit to see how it compares to Disney!
Visit the Walt Disney Hometown Museum to see a collection of Disney-related memorabilia, including photos and letters between family members.
Don’t miss the property where Walt Disney grew up! Go inside the barn and sit under “The Dreaming Tree” where Walt and Ruth played and daydreamed.
True Disney fans can’t miss this!
Missouri has so much to offer in the autumn season! I tried to include something for everyone and in every area of the Show-Me State! Put some of these family-friendly things to do this fall on your Missouri bucket list!
What to read next:
- Things to do Around Cape Girardeau this Fall
- Discover the Best Missouri State Parks
- Elephant Rocks State Park in Missouri
- Things to do in Southeast Missouri for Families
- Tour the St. Louis Gateway Arch National Park
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