Top 5 Autumn Activities in the Capital Region

Discover all the Capital Region has to offer in autumn with these top five experiences. 

Throughout the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains and the valleys below, the landscape morphs into a kaleidoscope of colour in fall. The harvest begins at farms and vineyards across Maryland and Virginia, and is celebrated at festivals and events in Washingtin, DC and throughout the region, where visitors can experience authentic American culture.

Here are the top five top experiences you should have on your autumn holiday to America’s Capital Region.

1. Take a Scenic Drive

Rent a car and follow one of the region’s National Scenic Byways to view spectacular fall foliage. Skyline Drive, part of Shenandoah National Park, runs 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and features numerous overlooks where you can pull over, take in the view and capture stunning vacation photos. Once outside the park, the drive meets the Blue Ridge Parkway, which continues through the mountains of Virginia.

Known as “the road that built a nation,” Maryland’s Historic National Road passes through the mountains of western Maryland, travelling through small towns and historic sites along the way. Discover more scenic fall drives in Virginia and Maryland.

2. Taste the Harvest

Celebrate the harvest at farms and wineries throughout the region. Virginia Wine Month, celebrated in October, features wine festivals and special events at wineries, restaurants and retailers throughout the state.

Taste one of the region’s specialties in its peak season during the Urbanna Oyster Festival in Virginia or the U.S. Oyster Festival in St. Mary's, Maryland. Harvest celebrations include the Suffolk Peanut Festival in Virginia, and Washington, DC hosts several food festivals in the fall, including Capital Food Fight and Taste of DC.

3. Have Fun on the Farm

Enjoy the crisp autumn air while having some old-fashioned fun as farms throughout the region host fall festivals featuring corn mazes, pumpkin patches, apple picking, hayrides and more. In Maryland, look to Bowles Farm Corn Maze & Pumpkin Farm, Butler’s Orchard and Forrest Hall Farm for fall fun. In Virginia, check out Great Country Farms, the Pumpkin Patch at Greenbrier Farms Nursery and Liberty Mills Farm, among others.

4. Cheer on Favourite Sports Teams

Fall kicks off the season for many of America’s favourite sports – particularly football. Fans pack the stadiums and sports bars, cheering on their favourite teams. See the regional hometown teams in action at Fed Ex Field, home to the Washington Football Team, or M&T Bank Stadium, home to the Baltimore Ravens. Head to the Capitol One Arena in DC to catch a hockey game with the Washington Capitals or a basketball game with the Washington Wizards.

Steeplechase races are also prevalent throughout the fall. Check out the Montpelier Races or the International Gold Cup in Virginia, and Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs and the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day in Maryland.

5. Get Cultured

Enjoy the fall weather while experiencing the culture of the region at one of many outdoor festivals and events. Explore Washington, DC’s diverse neighbourhoods during the H Street Festival or WalkingTown DC, an event featuring more than 50 free guided walking tours throughout the city.

Hosted in the scenic waterfront town of Easton, Maryland, the Waterfowl Festival celebrates the variety of waterfowl species in the Chesapeake Bay region with fly-fishing demonstrations, miniature decoy paintings, calling contests and more. The Virginia State Fair features animals and agriculture exhibits, along with live music, shows, arts and crafts, a midway filled with games and rides, and lots of traditional fair foods.

To see more top things to do in every season in the Capital Region, check out this four-season roundup.

For the latest in spending a fall holiday in the Capital Region, view our latest Holiday Guide online, or sign up for our enewsletter!


Scenic Drives
Outdoors & Nature
Tours & Trails
Wine & Cuisine
History & Culture
Attractions & Family Fun


Guide Footer Popup