Pumpkin Patches, Beer and All Things "Fall" Near Fort Benning
Did you feel that? That slight breeze that caused the temps to dip below 95? OMG! Did that leaf just dance through the sky and land perfectly on those abandoned railroad tracks?! In this moment, you and your friend stop what you're doing, look at each other and simultaneously scream "It's FALL, Y'ALL!!!"
Fast forward 15 minutes and you and Basic Betty have both magically changed into leggings, felt hats and plaid scarves. You're poised and ready for some pumpkin spice latte binge drinking. But what do you do when the PSL keg runs dry? I think you'll find there's no lack of Fall activities near Fort Benning. You just have to know where to look. Here's our starter pack:
Down on the Farm
There are countless pumpkin patches and orchards in the greater Fort Benning area. And we know you want that perfect picture of your child dressed as a pumpkin sitting in a wheelbarrow full of actual pumpkins. It's a Fall tradition and the grandparents expect it, so here are a few places to check out:
Mark's Melon Patch is located about an hour south of Fort Benning in Dawson, Georgia, and is host to a 5-acre corn maze with more than 2.5 miles of trail, which is great for all ages. They run a night corn maze on certain dates in October that goes until 10 pm.
Paradise Pumpkin Patch in Eufala, Alabama comes highly recommended. It's a farm with all sorts of exotic and farm animals the kiddos can pet, plus there are hay rides and several other activities during the Farm Festival. You can really make a whole day of it!
Farmer in the Dell in Auburn, Alabama is a you-pick pumpkin patch and features several other activities including a crop maze and hay rides!
Jack O Lantern Lanein Lafayette, Alabama is open to the public from the end of September to the end of October. They've got wagon rides and pumpkin picking along with a petting zoo and other fun activities.
Backyard Orchardsis a fruit and vegetable farm near Eufala, Alabama. The pumpkin, cotton and sunflower patches are beautiful to walk through, and you can give the corn maze a go during the day or night.
The Rock Ranch sits about 70 miles northeast of Fort Benning in The Rock, Georgia. This 1,500-acre working cattle ranch owned by the Chick-fil-A family features more than 35 different rides and attractions. Their Fall festivities begin in October, and for those of you who can't wait for the pumpkins to disappear, consider attending their Pumpkin Destruction Day in November.
Lane Southern Orchardsoffers corn mazes throughout the month of October and they also host a Fall Festival. At about an hour and a half East of Fort Benning, you should definitely make this a whole day event!
Beer, Festivals and More Beer...
Fort Benning Oktoberfestis held annually at Uchee Creek at the end of October and is seriously one of the best Oktoberfests outside of Germany. It kicks off with a keg tapping and the following morning hosts a 10K cross-country run and several other races including the Dachshund Derby (for our furry friends). Enjoy lots of beer, great German food and activities for the whole family. Free transportation from the event to your home is provided for certain cities.
Helen Oktoberfest: Ladies and gentlemen, please proceed with caution. The Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia (about 3.5 hours from Fort Benning) is one of the most epic festivals in the United States and runs from the beginning of September to the end of October with specific weekends scheduled in between for major events. The Helen Oktoberfest is to Georgia as Mardi Gras is to Louisiana. Quite frankly you have to start reserving your lodging a year out. Helen is a beautiful German town that is amazing to visit year-round, so if you can't make it for Oktoberfest, fear not. You are guaranteed to have a blast anytime you go.
Uptown Beer & Wine Festivalis held annually in Columbus at the end of September. It features great music and more than 100 craft beers and 25 varieties of wine. This event gets packed and you get rather toasty (from drinking and the heat), so stay hydrated and come prepared with a plan to get home safely.
Sleepy Hollow Haunted Farmin Auburn, Alabama includes three attractions: a haunted corn maze, haunted house and a haunted hayride. It's open late for that extra dash of spookiness!
Pope's Haunted Farm in Salem, Alabama is a truly terrifying experience. For those of you who want to actually feel afraid this Fall, choose from one of the four attractions (Zombie Paintball Safari, Haunted Hayride, Haunted Barn or Haunted Forest) and prepare to be terrified. Bring an extra set of chonies.
Follow the Fort Benning Garrison Facebook pagefor an update on when on-post Halloween will be scheduled. In 2017, it was held on actual Halloween, but in previous years in has shifted to accommodate trick-or-treating on a weekend. During this time, extra precautions are taken to ensure kids can trick-or-treat safely. Dates may change annually in order to deconflict with local events.
As you can see, there's plenty of Fall activities near Fort Benning to choose from. So fill your stein and pick those pumpkins til you can't pick them no more. Prost!
about the author
Riley is an active duty US Army Captain and the Founder of Right and Up. She’s currently stationed in Washington, DC, with previous assignments at Fort Huachuca, Fort Bliss, Fort Riley and Fort Benning. You can typically find her eating embarrassingly large amounts of food in local restaurants, or exploring her military town with her husband, Sean and her dog, Gus. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!