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Free & Cheap Fall Activities

Fall is here! We’ve been able to enjoy some cooler weather and pumpkins seem to be everywhere! Fall offers so many free and cheap seasonal activities for the whole family. This frugal teacher wants you to get out into nature and experience all that fall has to offer! While this list isn’t all-inclusive, I did try to find a variety of affordable activities. I hope you try one, two, or all of them.

Trunk or Treat at Fort Fanning in Fanning Springs

October 21st, starting at 5 pm

Free trick-or-treating followed by a movie (bring your own chair or blanket).

Sparks & Spooks at the Cade Museum in Gainesville

October 28th, 10 am - 4 pm

Kids ages 0-17 will get free admission if they wear a costume!

Boo at the Zoo! Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo in Gainesville

October 31st, 3 pm - 7 pm

Admission is one canned good or non-perishable food item per person. There will be trick-or-treating so wear a costume!

The Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm in Alachua

Open Saturdays only, 11 am - 3 pm

Admission is free! Bring carrots, apple slices, and/or bananas to feed the retired horses. There are signs by each pasture letting you know what you can or cannot feed the horses. There is plenty of shade, mostly paved walking trails, and benches scattered here and there to stop and rest. No pets allowed.

Devil’s Millhopper in Gainesville

Open daily from 8 am to sundown

Admission is $4 per vehicle with up to 8 people. Fall is the perfect time to go see this natural sinkhole that is 120 feet deep! Be prepared to climb many stairs - there are 132 steps! Don’t worry, there are frequent benches for those who need to stop and rest. Pack a lunch to enjoy on the provided picnic tables. Leashed pets are welcome!

River Trail at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge in Chiefland

Open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 am - 4 pm

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday call or text first at 703-622-3896

Admission is free. This trail and boardwalk is only .6 miles roundtrip and offers stunning views of the Suwannee River. There’s even a bat house where you can see thousands of bats emerge at dusk - perfect for this time of year! You’ll want to bring some bug spray and your own water.

In addition to the fall activities listed above, our local churches and other organizations have free fall festivals and trick-or-treating in the coming weeks. There are dozens of pumpkin patches you can visit, many with free children's activities. However, if you’d rather do some fall activities at home, this is the perfect time of year to have a bonfire and roast marshmallows and hotdogs. If you’re feeling creative, carve a pumpkin or two but don’t throw out those seeds! Wash them and let them dry overnight on paper towels. Then they can be roasted on a sheet pan at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes so they brown evenly. Don’t forget to season them first with some olive oil and salt.

Fall is in the air, and this frugal teacher hopes you take advantage of the mild weather before sweater weather gets here. Look for articles coming soon on how to start saving, how to plan out your Black Friday shopping, and frugal gift-giving ideas.


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