Fall in Orange County offers the perfect blend of warm days and crisp evenings, making it the perfect time to get outside and explore. And the best part? You don’t need to break the bank to experience some of the area’s most enjoyable destinations. Here are five family-friendly, budget-conscious outings to help you soak up the vibrant autumnal vibes of the O.C.

# 1 – Costa Mesa’s Scarecrow Festival – October 14th

Revived from a historic 1930s event, the Scarecrow Festival in Costa Mesa celebrates the fall spirit with community-made scarecrows, live music, pumpkin decorating, and art and craft booths. Make sure the kids dress up – they won’t want to miss out on being part of the costume parade.

Cost: Free admission; fees for certain activities

# 2 – Irvine Park Railroad’s Autumn Festival

Irvine Park is transformed into a fall wonderland every year with its Autumn Festival. Families can enjoy hayrides, and a hay maze, and indulge in delicious fall-themed treats. The festival also has picture stands and games that are tailor-made for the kiddos. And don’t forget to take a leisurely train ride around the park for a relaxing view.

Cost: $3/car entry; pumpkin patch is free; activities have fees

# 3 – Anaheim’s Fall Festival & Halloween Parade – October 28th

A tradition since 1924, the Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade features themed food booths and trucks, entertainment, a haunted house, and, of course, the much-anticipated parade. A fantastic outing for families, it perfectly captures the essence of fall and Halloween festivities.

Cost: Free admission

# 4 – Huntington Beach Bonfires

As the evenings get chillier, what could be more enchanting than gathering around a roaring bonfire on the beach? Huntington Beach is famed for its fire rings – available on a first-come, first-served basis. Pack some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers for s’mores, and snuggle up with your loved ones as you listen to the waves crash and watch the sunset paint the sky.

Cost: Parking fee beginning at $15

# 5 – Fullerton Arboretum Nature Walks

Nestled on 26 acres, the Fullerton Arboretum is a botanical garden offering serene walking trails lined by native plants and beautiful ponds. The nature walks are an educational experience, with informative plaques providing details about the various plants and animals you might encounter. Kids will love the Children’s Garden.

Cost: Free or by donation


The fall breeze and O.C. vibes are calling! Whether it’s a cozy bonfire or a lively parade, your perfect autumn day awaits you. Enjoy!