Ready for fall family fun in Greenville? Between cooler weather and tons of choices, fall is the perfect time to get out and spend time as a family. Spending time together doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money. To help you out, our Kidding Around Greenville team has come up with some amazing fall outings that you can enjoy even on a tighter budget. These outings are all $25 or under in admission fees for a family of 4 and all of these suggestions are outings that are particularly great in the fall. Some of these ideas are even completely free!
For more ideas on outdoor activities see our Things to do Outside in Greenville page.
Cost for a family of 4: Free (with purchase of apples)
Taking your kids apple picking is not only affordable, but it’s also a wonderful way to teach them about local agriculture and fresh foods. Most of the apple orchards offer tasting stations where you can try different varieties of apples and also sell pre-picked apples (in case your kids aren’t able to pick as many apples as you would like to take home). The best part is this outing can be as inexpensive as a little gas in your car plus some of your grocery budget to cover the apples. Jeter Mountain and Justus Orchard in Hendersonville are two affordable options. You can find a complete list of local options though in our list of u-pick apple orchards near Greenville.
Hawk Watch at Caesar’s Head
Cost for a family of 4: free
Each September-November, thousands of hawks migrate through Caesar’s Head State Park in Cleveland, SC and it’s possible during the peak to even see as many as 300 hawks at a time. Fall colors should already be starting in the higher elevations by late September and the colors typically peak by early October. Please note that there is no fee for the overlook but the trails have a fee $3 per adult, kids aged 6-15 are $1 and kids 5 and under are free.
Cost for a family of 4: free (may need to pay for parking, depending on the time of day and place)
Fall’s cooler temps make it the ideal time of year to pull out the family bikes (or rent some) and check out Greenville’s famous bike trails. We have a list of great places to ride a bike with kids as well as a kid-friendly itinerary for biking on the Swamp Rabbit trail between Cleveland Park and Falls Park.
Visit Farms and Earn Prizes
Cost for a family of 4: Free to participate in the passport program. Individual farms may charge admission, depending on their programming.
With the South Carolina Agritourism Passport Program your family can earn prizes just for visiting participating farms across the state. There are several participating farms right in the Upstate.
Flowering Bridge at Lake Lure
Cost for a family of 4: Free
This beautiful bridge has thousands of flowers and gardens and it’s totally free. It’s whimsical and a lot of fun. Plus, you can walk around Chimney Rock or hike a nearby trail. It’s a perfect fall trip.
Cost for family of 4: free
Clemson University is only a forty-minute drive from Greenville, and there are so many free things to do there that we have an entire list of things to do with kids at Clemson. If you need to pick just one thing to do in Clemson this fall, we would recommend the South Carolina Botanical Gardens. Inside the botanical gardens, your kids will love the small children’s garden that is modeled after Peter Rabbit with a small playhouse and garden. Like Furman University though, be sure to check the football schedule before making your plans as traffic can back up significantly near Clemson on home game days.
Cost for a family of 4: $16/car
The NC Arboretum is a great place to visit in the fall. With no admission fee, it’s especially great for a family day trip on a budget. Bring a picnic and head out into the gorgeous gardens. Don’t miss the arboretum’s Rocky Cove Railroad Model Train exhibit, open on weekends from 12-4 pm. The conductor just may let you have a turn with the whistle controls.
Cost for a family of 4: free
On Wednesdays through Saturdays, you can tour the Hagood Mill in nearby Pickens for free between 10 am – 4 pm and there is no parking fee. This historic attraction includes a blacksmith shop and gristmill as well as historic cabins. Be sure to wear your hiking shoes as well as there are a couple of nature trails.
Carl Sandburg Home
Cost for a family of 4: free
Visit the goats at the barn or hike the beautiful trails around the property just an hour from Greenville in Flat Rock, NC. The only charge is for the tour of the house but you can have a lot of fun without doing that.
Afternoon Explorations at the Roper Mountain Science Center
Cost for a family of 4: $20 for non-members; free for members
RMSC is open Tuesday-Friday from 1:30-4:30 pm for Afternoon Explorations. They will have special events as well but this place is wonderful to walk through and explore in the fall, especially the Dinosaur Trail and natural playground. The colors on those paths are usually stunning!
Cost for a family of 4: often free
House-to-house trick-or-treating comes with a number of serious safety concerns, the greatest being that twice as many children are killed by traffic on Halloween as on any other day of the year. Greenville, fortunately, offers a wide variety of local Halloween and Fall Festivals where kids can wear their costumes, trick-or-treat, in a safe environment away from traffic. Many of these events are free and hosted by local churches and community groups. We have a complete list of trick-or-treating and Halloween events in Greenville that we update each fall.
Hiking in the Fall
Cost for a family of 4: Free or nominal park admission charges
After a hot summer, fall is looking like the perfect time to head into nature to enjoy cooler temperatures and the changing colors of fall foliage. See our Guide to Fall Colors for a list of the best places to see the changing fall leaves in Greenville. Also, we have a great list of good hikes for toddlers in Greenville, a list of waterfalls near Greenville, and reviews of popular hiking spots such as Jones Gap, Little Bradley Falls, and Dupont Forest. Within Greenville, you can find excellent hiking at both Paris Mountain (which has a modest admission fee) and Lake Conestee Nature Park.
Cost: free (or inexpensive depending on activities)
A trip up to Hendersonville, NC is worth the drive. It’s only under an hour from Greenville and the drive will naturally take you up moderately winding hills into the North Carolina mountains. Hendersonville’s quaint downtown is worth the drive alone with its small-town feel and excellent shopping and eateries. Also located in the general area are several free or inexpensive museums, a number of apple orchards, and Carl Sandburg’s home in neighboring Flat Rock. You can read more about the many options for affordable family fun on our list of 10 Family Day Trips that Cost Less than $25/Family.
WNC Nature Center
Cost: Free with Roper Mountain Science Center membership. Double-check the reciprocity agreement before you go. Many nature centers/zoos have changed agreements.
Located in nearby Asheville, NC, the Western North Carolina Nature Center features animals only from the geographic area. These local animals include hawks, otters, wolves, bobcats, and mountain lions. In the fall, you will definitely want to plan plenty of time because the nature center also includes access to a small nature trail and a spider web-themed play area. Children will also enjoy the hands-on petting zoo that allows kids to actually get in the pen with some of the smaller farm animals.
RELATED: Fall Guide to Greenville | 10 Budget-Friendly Day Trips for Families | Budget-Friendly Guide to Greenville
Do you have a tip on a low-cost activity for your family? Share it in the comments!