Written by Kara Hunt
Sometimes all it takes is a little planning to have a great family outing. When routine exploits just aren’t cutting it anymore, shake things up by exploring new terrain, taking in an exhibition, or visiting a landmark and learning a little something about our local history. Here are awesome events to attend and places to visit around town before fall ends. Best part? All of them can be done on one tank of gas!
Why Go: Are you up for an adventure on the high seas? A band of scallywag pirates has stolen the ship’s booty, and it’s up to your kids to get it back. They’ll shoot water canons at the enemy to capture the key and unlock a treasure chest full of loot that’s passed out to all onboard. After the treasure is secured, your kids will enjoy limbo, face painting and dancing on board with the ship’s pirate crew.
Insider Tip: Make sure you reserve a spot in advance for you and your kids. The cruises book up fast, and there are no tickets sold onsite unless there’s a no-show. To make the adventure even more affordable, don’t miss the online deal.
Must Do: Wear your own pirate gear to this adventure! It will get your kids in the pirate spirit and make the trip even more memorable. Don’t forget to bring a camera!
The Fine Print: Tickets are $20 ($12 using the deal above), and each cruise typically lasts about an hour, depending on which one you choose. The cruise leaves from Washington Harbour in Georgetown, and is easily accessible. There are several parking garages near the dock (fees vary); most are two blocks from the waterfront. The boat will set sail on time, and will not return for anyone who is late. Pirate adventures will go on rain or shine, so wear appropriate clothing depending on the weather. Packed food is not permitted, but there are snacks available for purchase. Credit cards are accepted. There is no place on board to stow bags or purses, so only bring what you need for this adventure. There are bathrooms on the boat. Pirate cruises are ongoing throughout October, but be sure to book in advance for this popular adventure!
1015 Baugher Road
Westminster, MD 21158
Why Go? What better fall activity to enjoy than pumpkin picking and hayrides? Both are available at Baugher’s this month as part of the Fall Harvest Festival.
Insider Tip: Call ahead the morning of your trip to make sure the crops are ripe and available. The recording is changed daily, and you’ll want to make sure the trip is worth it!
Must Do: Go for a taste of the hand-dipped ice cream after a day of picking delicious fruit!
The Fine Print: The pick-your-own hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays in October. Entry into the farm is free. Currently, apples run for $1.49 per pound, but this is subject to change as the season progresses. There are wagons available to take you from the market area out to the ﬁelds, which cost $1 (Children 1 and under are free). Picnic areas are available for families who bring a packed lunch. There are mobile restrooms in the ﬁelds. The farm can be crowded during the weekends, so arriving early is best.
26469 Ticonderoga Road
Chantilly, VA 20152
Why Go? The farm frequently has special events loaded with activities for all ages. The changing season brings hayrides, pumpkins, slides, making s’mores by the bonfire and more. Ticonderoga Farms remains one of the "hidden gems" for farm visits in Northern Virginia. Located in Chantilly, the farm hosts special events throughout the year, including its fall festival, which began on Sept. 21.
Insider Tip: "The swinging bridge is the longest bridge in Virginia. The cow train is fun and s'mores roasting is a must. We love that the slides are accessible year-round!" said Lisa Zimmerman of Ashburn, who enjoys taking her family to Ticonderoga Farms. And, ingredients for roasting s'mores can be purchased on site. The cow train only runs on weekends.
Must Do! "Definitely check out the swinging bridge, slides and pet the goat," said Donna Taylor, manager of Ticonderoga.
The Fine Print: Ticonderoga Farms is located at 26469 Ticonderoga Rd, Chantilly. 703-327-4424. Admission includes hayrides, activities and access to the pick your own pumpkin field and a pie-size pumpkin to take home. Children under the age of 2 are free. The Fall Festival is mid-September to first week of November.Weekday $ 9.95 per person; Weekends Oct 26, 27 & Nov 2,3 $14.95 per person. Hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Ticonderoga Farms accepts Visa, Mastercard, check and cash for its market and admission.