Cheap Feel-Good Fun in Fall

The last leaves of summer now mimic the reds and oranges of many of this season’s crops. Fall is in full swing. Unfortunately, so is your credit card. If you’re cutting back, entertainment is usually the first thing to go. But skimping doesn’t have to translate to skipping. Give your inner outdoorswoman a test drive this fall. These activities make it easy to use Mother Nature as your personal jester, and even easier to save cash.

Small town girls
Many small towns have annual festivals every few months, and there are a lot of festivals that celebrate fall. After all, the in-season fruit and veg alone give us a lot to smile about (apples, corn, squash, anyone?), but changing leaves and temperatures merit celebration too. At most festivals you’ll be treated to a variety of sales at local businesses, as well as live music and signature recipes made with local food (my own small town makes the best apple dumplings for our apple festival).

Also check out the town’s pick-your-own fruit and vegetables farm if it has one. You’re guaranteed fresh, in-season crops, and you’re supporting the local businesses.

Fallin’ (in) leaves
If there is a person who loves raking leaves more than I do, it’s probably because they enjoy jumping into piles of leaves more than I do. Is there any other reason to jump at the chance to rake leaves than to ruin “ or reward, in my opinion “ all of your hard work by jumping into your carefully-constructed pile?

Actually, yes. Another great reason to rake leaves is to use them as scarecrow fodder. Growing up, I made annual scarecrows stuffed with leaves once enough had gathered in my backyard. Decorate them with old clothes and Sharpie-enhanced faces.

Bonus: If you enjoy decorating your pad for fall, you’ll save money on a store bought scarecrow, and you get to be more creative. Can you find an Obama doppelganger scarecrow in a store? I think not.

Crisp camping
For some, the idea of camping in any season is cringe-worthy. But anti-campers who have only ever been in the summer should try camping in fall before they add it to their write-offs. There are a lot of irritating factors about summer camping that disappear in fall, like bugs, blistering heat and often, alcohol bans. But make sure to bring a sleeping bag that’ll keep you warm enough, or your blue lips will be cursing Jack Frost every evening.

If you can’t make it to a campground, having a bonfire in your backyard is hardly settling. For some, it’s even preferable: you get all the fun of camping outdoors, but you get to sleep in a cozy bed with nice pillows.

Take a hike
No, really. The colours this time of year are stunning. If you’re lucky enough to track down a good trail, the flame-like leaves are a well-deserved treat. Plus, the crisp air cools you down and helps you sweat less.

A few places across the country famous for their hiking:

Banff National Park, Alberta

Wild Pacific Trail, British Columbia

Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba

Fundy Trail Parkway, New Brunswick

East Coast Trail, Newfoundland

Canol Heritage Trail, Northwest Territories

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, Nova Scotia

Ellesmere Island Traverse, Nunavut

Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Reeds and Rushes Trail, Prince Edward Island

Mont Tremblant National Park, Quebec

Nut Point Trail, Saskatchewan

Chilkoot Trail, Yukon

What’s your favourite spot? Share your go-to haunts and activities for fall fun below.

Tags: camping, celebration, cheap, cutting back, festival, fun, happiness, Health, hiking, in-season, leaves, money, raking, Sarah Robinson, savings, Wellness

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