News flash: Fall is here! In celebration of the festive season full of pumpkins, apple cider, and cozy sweaters, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to take the little ones on a fun-loving, sweet-smelling, totally chill hay-filled adventure. Read on to learn about the best hayrides this side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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The classic ride: Homestead Farm
Fans of a more simple way to celebrate Fall should hop in the car and visit Homestead Farm. They offer hayrides straight to a pick your own pumpkin patch where little ones can toddle around trying to find the roundest pumpkin to take home and carve. Apple lovers will also rejoice as Homestead offers Enterprise, Suncrisp, Cameo, and Sun Fuji trees that kiddos can pick till their heart’s content. For a weekend school lesson, have the kids guess when the farm was started. Hint: George Washington wasn’t even President yet (1763)!

Cost: $3; produce by the pound
Open: Sat-Sun (October)
15600 Sugarland Rd. (Poolesville, Md)
Online: homestead-farm.net

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The “gourd-geous” ride: Pumpkin Village
Families who love the county fair, but don’t quite get to partake because of city living, can get their fix at Leesburg’s Pumpkin Village. Wagon rides, kid’s maze, ponies, moon bounces and a massive spider web crawl are just some of the activities to keep the little ones mesmerized all day long. We guarantee they’ll be so tuckered out from all the fall fun that you might just get to sneak some of their apple cider for yourself when they pass out in the hay!

Cost: $9.95-$14.95
Open: Daily, 9 am-5 pm (through Nov. 4)
19270 James Madison Hwy. (Leesburg, Va)
Online: pumpkinfestleesburg.com

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The fairytale ride: Butler’s Orchard
Mini farmers will love a trip to Butler’s Orchard’s Pumpkin Festival because they can traipse around the farm, check out the animals, and get their face painted all in preparation for a hayride out to the pumpkin patch. Once the kiddos have picked out the biggest, orangest, ripest pumpkin for their Halloween Jack-O-Lantern, the hayride will take them back to the festival where they can jump in the hayloft, ride in a pumpkin coach (hello Cinderella fans!), and even try their hands at the Magic Straw Maize. Bonus: On October 18 & 19, there will be a Pumpkin Cannon at the farm!

Cost: $11; Free/2 and under; produce by the pound
Open: Sat-Sun, 10 am-5 pm (October, plus Columbus Day)
22200 Davis Mill Rd. (Germantown, Md)
Online: butlersorchard.com

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The hay-heavy ride: Montpelier Farms
Pulled by a genuine John Deere tractor, Montpelier Farms’ hay rides showcase a working farm, including some amazing hand-made straw animals (not your typical livestock), picturesque round hay bales, and a “hay-n-play” area where little ones can run, jump, lounge and tag each other amongst a ton of hay.

Cost: $10; $8/kids 3-12; Free/under 2
Open: Fri, 5 pm-11 pm; Sat, 10 am-11 pm; Sun, 11 am-7 pm (through Nov. 2)
1720 Crain Hwy. (Upper Marlborough, Md)
Online: montpelierfarms.com

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The pre-campfire ride: Dick and Jane’s Farm
Kiddos who love to camp, but have parents who aren’t the outdoorsy type should run to Dick and Jane’s farm. Not only do they offer amazing hayrides that come complete with a pumpkin, and an apple, but you can schedule campfires! So Junior can roast marshmallows till his belly is full, while Mom and Dad still sleep in the comfort of their own bed. The hayride will drop you off to a fully prepped fire while you bring your supplies (read: food) to have the perfect outdoor family fun night. Win win!

Cost: $7 per child, $4 accompanying adult; campfires extra
Open: Mon-Sat, 9 am-6 pm; Sun. 10 am-4 pm
4362 Solomon’s Island Rd. (Harwood, Md)
Online: dickandjanesfarm.com

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Where else can we catch a cool hayride? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Hilary Riedemann

Photos courtesy of Butler’s Orchard via Facebook, Homestead Farm, Leesburg Animal Park via Facebook, Montpelier Farms, Dick and Jane’s Farm