The DMV is chock full of fall harvests, festivals, Oktoberfest’s and yes, the good ol’, fun for the whole family pumpkin patch. Quicker than you can chuck a pumpkin we are itching’ to get outdoors, gorge on caramel apples and let the wild rumpus begin! This year we challenge you to adventure beyond the standard gourd-filled fields. Find farms filled with fall treasures—from corn teepees to haunted petting zoos—guaranteed to zap the most rambunctious toddler into happy submission. Here are a few awesome spots to start your exploration.

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Cox Farms
Fields of Fear mix with more traditional fare at this Centreville location. Cox Farm is well known for its wholesome side that caters to family fun.  Stock up on jams, jellies, home décor and all the pumpkins you can pick, but don’t stop there.  Step out of your comfort zone—bring along the grade school set—and into the terrifically spooky Zombie Zoo. Fed only locally grown and donated morgue-fresh humans, these zombies are lovingly kept captive for all to investigate on the Cox Farm Dark Side Hayride. If that is too much flesh-eating for your taste then scurry over to the Firegrounds and Fair Games, complete with a pumpkin slingshot, cow-tipping practice and dance party for a bit of nighttime fun.

15621 Braddock Rd. (Centreville, Va)
703-830-4121
Open daily at 10:00 am-6:00 pm
Online: coxfarms.com

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Montpelier Farms
Get lost in not just one but two corn mazes and one grass maze at this idyllic destination.  A small maze challenges the tiny tots and a 10-acre one sets the stage for hours of skulking, flashlight wielding, running and hiding. If you get lost, a friendly Corn Cop is just around the corner waiting to help out. Corn is king at Montpelier.  Families can cruise a corn krib, nosh on kettle corn and take papooses into the corn teepees for some further exploration. Don’t forget to pick up your purchased pumpkin at the pumpkin day care before you head home. Yes, really.  Montpelier has a cozy cradle nursery for tired gourds to nap while the new owners continue to play.  Wash down an apple cider donut with an ice cold apple cider slushie and call it a day.

1720 Crain Hwy. (Upper Marlboro, Md)
410-320-0464
Open Fri., 5:00 pm-11:00 pm; Sat., 10:00 am-11:00 pm; Sun., 11:00 am-7:00 pm
Online: montpelierfarms.com

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Ticonderoga Farms
Escape from the confines of the city and your local ‘hood and visit this lovely, less trafficked farm just off Gum Springs Rd. in Chantilly.  Filled with the prerequisite pumpkins, slides, hayrides and concessions the difference is wholesome and a bit off-beat. A willow maze to traverse? Check. Play a giant xylophone or sit for a spell in a log cabin? That’s here, too. A panda puzzle bamboo maze and Native American teepee village get the tykes talking and out of your hair long enough to ask for more sanity at the nearby wishing well.  Tasty treats come in all sizes from ooey-gooey s’mores roasted in the fire pits to individual pie-sized pumpkins and fresh figs from the grove.  Go home with bragging rights after traipsing across Virginia’s longest swinging bridge.

26175 Ticonderoga Rd. (Chantilly, Va)
703-327-4424
Open daily 9:00 am-6:00 pm
Online: ticonderoga.com

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Mount Vernon
Right outside the city is an agricultural wonder and true historic gem that sets the stage for hours of early-American fun that is totally yawn-free.  Mount Vernon is the real deal in farming and hands on exploration.  Ever seen a 16-sided barn before?  Now you can!  Featuring old-time demos like wheat treading or cracking corn, this is the place to get down and dirty colonial style.  Small tots can get in on the plant cropping fun too or just visit the animals.  Show the kids why George was such a cool dude and more than a cash money face when you visit this fall.

3200 Mt. Vernon Memorial Hwy. (Alexandria, Va)
703-780-2000
Open daily 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Online: mountvernon.org

Besides pumpkin picking, what is your families favorite fall tradition? Tell us in the Comments section below.

—Victoria Mason

Montpelier Farms via Facebook, Ticonderoga Farms via Yelp, Mount Vernon via Facebook, Cox Farms via Facebook