Laurel Highlands in fall is an outdoor lover’s dream. And when the leaves are turning vibrant shades of crimson, orange, and gold, it’s even more beautiful when you head outdoors. So, what are the best things to do in Laurel Highlands in fall? From spooky haunts to fall festivals, here are my must-see top picks.
When I’m looking for things to do this weekend in Southwestern PA no matter what time of year, if getting outside is on my radar, I’m heading to Laurel Highlands. Not only is it gorgeously picturesque, especially when the fall foliage is peaking, there’s a little something for everyone.
I take that back, there’s a lot of something for everyone. I love getting all bundled up (yay, sweater weather!) and exploring all the area has to offer. Here’s what you can expect when you visit (and what should make the top of your list in) Laurel Highlands in autumn.
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the folks at Laurel Highlands Visitor’s Bureau and Seven Springs Resort. All opinions are my own!
1. Seven Springs Autumnfest
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Seven Springs during ski season and enjoyed it a ton. But this year, I happily packed up the car and got ready for some autumn fun.
If I had to name the one of the top fall festivals in Western PA, Autumnfest is it. During the month of October, each weekend has a different theme, but it’s there are several keystones that we really enjoyed:
The day I checked in, I saw the Alpine Slide from my patio and was all for it. The next morning, after a leisurely ride up the ski lift, and seeing just how long it is ( XX feet!), I wasn’t sure what I was in for. But the truth? I loved every ride down the mountain!
The ride is smooth and can be paced according to your own personal style (there’s a hand brake to increase/decrease speed) and the view on the way down is stunning. It’s not an extreme ride, in my opinion, but you definitely can pick up some speed.
The weekend we visited, there was an issue with the ride so we didn’t have a chance to go, but it is super popular. My suggestion is to sign up for a time slot when you arrive to be sure you get a chance to try it.
Okay, this one isn’t every weekend, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. The concept is simple: put folks that love doing yoga and small goats in the same fenced-off area. Then, watch the fun. Attendees are given crackers to entice the goats to visit them, but goats do what goats do – and that includes standing on people’s backs.
Oh, man. Can you decorate your house for autumn with a one-stop shop at Autumnfest. You’ll have your pick of homemade goods from both outdoor and indoor vendors and the prices are affordable.
I know, I narrowed it down to four, but there’s plenty more to check out. Scenic chairlift rides, a petting zoo, local craft brew tasting, and even themed buffets.
2. Things to Do in Laurel Highlands in Fall: Ohiopyle State Park
This year, I was honored to be invited to KDKA’s morning show, Pittsburgh Today Live, to talk about winter day trips from Pittsburgh. Of course, I included Ohiopyle State Park. According to the folks that live in the area, the second largest state park in PA is filled with outdoor activities -and they’re what keep visitors coming back.
If you really want a gorgeous view, check the Laurel Highlands fall foliage forecast before you lock down a date to visit to be sure to get some vibrant photos. My suggestion is to head to Cucumber Falls and the gorgeous overlook.
3. Huston Haunted Hollow
I love me a good haunted house, there’s no doubt. And, if I were to really delve into my adoration, fall is my favorite time of the year. And that’s not only for the weather and foliage, it’s for the haunts.
So, let’s talk about Huston Haunted Hollow for a sec. It offers both indoor and outdoor haunted houses and walkthroughs, with a couple of wagon rides to get to the next one seamlessly. With all five, and the rides in between, it’s a major scare area, making it super popular.
I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of weeks ago and it really is spectacular. The scareactors are very good and the theming and decor very well done. While you’re waiting to start the tour, make sure to get a few photos with the creepies that walk around to entertain guests.
4. Laurel Highlands Pour Tour
New this year, the Laurel Highlands Pour Tour is making everybody talk about the area’s craft brew scene. Once you grab a passport, start making your way along the Tour. Once you hit Tour milestones, you can turn in your passport for prizes.
You’ll have plenty of brew, spirits, and wine to choose from – and that includes fall varieties.
Of course, it goes without saying to drink responsibly.
5. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
The last time I visited Fallingwater was in late summer and the leaves were nowhere near their prime color. This year, I had the chance to tour it as the leaves were just turning.
If you don’t know the house’s backstory, it was the getaway-from-the-city home for the Kaufmann family, prominent business folk in Pittsburgh.
But, no matter what time of year you go, Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous architectural design will have you gaping at the mouth over its beauty. There are a few tours to choose from depending on budget and need, but you’ll get to see the major house areas on each.
6. Things to Do in Laurel Highlands in Fall: Check Out Laurel Hill State Park
Taking a cue from the locals, Laurel Hill State Park is a hidden gem in the area. With plenty of outdoor activities including fishing, birding, hiking, walking, and boating, you’ll be hard pressed to not find something outdoorsy to do when you visit.