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Best fall activities for college students (112 fun ideas)

112 favorite things to do in the fall—the best autumn bucket list

Are you looking for the best fall activities to do in college? What are fun things to do in college with your roommate or friends?

If you’re making the most of the warm days of September, planning your October to-do list, or creating a November bucket list, you’ll love this list of the best fun (free or cheap) fall activities to do in college! 

Here, you’ll find ideas for things to do on fall break, autumn weekends, or just a weekday afternoon. Because fall is a beautiful season and college is the perfect place to enjoy autumn with friends!

This list has 112 of all the autumn activities for college students that you don’t want to miss.

Whether you want to stay on campus or take a break from university life, this list will help you find the perfect things to do this fall season. 

This list includes adventurous outdoor events, cozy indoor fall activities, and the best flavors of autumn. Because who doesn’t love watching the leaves change colors, wearing cozy sweaters, and eating apple and pumpkin pie!

These favorite activities for fall are perfect to do solo, in groups, or as a couple. It’s the ultimate list of fun fall activities to do in college!

112 fun activities for college students to do this autumn

1. Break out your fall wardrobe

Wear sweaters in autumn colors, layer on a cute jacket, or just add flannel.

2. Drink apple cider

See if you can find a local apple orchard with a cider mill. Some even let visitors help make the cider.

3. Host a funny Movie marathon

Plan a movie marathon with your friends, and watch your favorite funny fall- and Halloween-themed movies. Project the movies on a big blank wall and pop lots of popcorn!

4. Make a wreath to decorate your dorm room door

Wreaths have to be the easiest and most cheerful of all fall crafts! A quick trip to a craft store and some creativity is all you need.

5. Celebrate Pumpkin spice everything

Love it or hate it, Pumpkin Spice Latte is the flavor of the season. Have your PSL and enjoy every sip.

Don’t like coffee? Try this pumpkin spice tea!

6. Go to a fall carnival or county fair

Search out local fall festivals or fairs near your college campus. Boardwalk games, fun rides, and carnival food–what more could you want?

7. Eat Apple cider donuts

You can buy these at an apple orchard or make them. Either way, they’ll be delicious!

8. Visit a Haunted house

Seek out a local haunted house to go to with your friends. You can all scream together. Haunted houses are more fun with friends!

9. Visit a pumpkin patch

Visiting a local pumpkin patch is an essential fall activity. Pumpkin patches often have lots of things to do besides just pumpkin picking, so find the best one near your college and make a day of it.

10. Carve Jack-o-lanterns

After you get your pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, break out the carving tools and create a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern. Have a pumpkin carving contest and give prizes for creative categories.

11. Roast pumpkin seeds

It’s easier than you might think. I like this recipe.

12. Paint pumpkins

If carving pumpkins seems like too much work, you can always just paint them! (If paint and brushes are one of those things you never thought to take to college, you can buy these!)

Pumpkin Patches are always fun to visit!

13. Host a Halloween party

Brainstorm Halloween party theme ideas with your friends. Plan awesome costumes, then invite everyone you know!

14. Make caramel apples

This recipe could not be easier. Wash and dry apples, then jab them with a skewer. Unwrap caramels and melt them. Dip the apples in the caramel. If you want to get fancy, you can then dip the caramel-covered apples in nuts, sprinkles, or candy.

15. Host a scary Movie marathon

Plan to watch all the scariest Halloween movies–just be sure no one has to walk home alone at the end of the evening! Scary movies are the best with popcorn and cozy blankets!

16. Go on a fall picnic

Take advantage of the warmest part of the day, and plan your picnic for late afternoon. Pack a picnic basket with sandwiches or snacks, a thermos of something warm, and a few cozy blankets.

17. Read a good book 

Take a break from course assignments and read for pleasure. Find a great novel at the library or bookstore and settle into a comfy chair.

18. Decorate your dorm room for fall

Add some campy Halloween decorations or some classic wool blankets–whatever it takes to make your home feel like fall.

19. Collect leaves

As you walk around your university campus, notice leaves with unusual coloring, patterns or shapes. Save them in a notebook and bring them home with you. This is a great way to bring the season inside!

20. Go Apple picking

Find a nearby orchard or local farm and go pick apples. Apples just taste better when you pick them yourself!

21. Volunteer at a homeless shelter 

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, find out how you can help people who are more exposed to the elements. Your college should have a list of community organizations that need volunteers.

22. Play card games with friends

Get together with your friends to spend the evening playing cards.

23. Go to the farmer’s market

Enjoy the bounty of fall by visiting a farmers market and buying fall fruits and vegetables. You can also find decorative gourds and flowers for your dorm room. And if you’re lucky, there will be homemade baked goods for sale.

24. Drink Salted caramel lattes

I personally think salted caramel is awesome all year round, but it’s definitely earned a spot as top flavor of fall.

25. Make a fall playlist

Put your favorite autumn tunes in a playlist and share it with your friends.

26. Go Leaf Peeping

Take a scenic drive to check out the fall foliage. If you go to college where the leaves change color, fall is a perfect time to go explore nearby towns and markets!

Apple picking in the autumn!

27. Get lost in a Corn maze

Find out if a farm or orchard near your college has a corn maze. All corn mazes are different, so each one will be a new challenge!

28. Enjoy Outdoor concerts

Before the weather gets too cold, go listen to live music outdoors. You may get to hear bands on campus, or you may have to venture to an outdoor concert off campus. Either way, bring a jacket!

29. Go shopping for Halloween costumes

You can venture into a Halloween boutique to try on ready-made costumes.

Or you might set off on an adventure to create your own costume from thrift store finds. Have fun seeing what your friends find!

30. Go out for hot chocolate

Make a study session more fun or catch up with friends over a mug of hot chocolate.

31. Go to the homecoming game

Don’t miss your college’s homecoming game and other homecoming weekend festivities.

Even if you’re not a football fan, you want to show up for this, wearing your school colors, of course!!

32. Watch all the College sports

Take advantage of free or cheap tickets to your college’s football, basketball, volleyball, field hockey, and soccer games. Go cheer on your classmates as they compete and show off your school spirit.

33. Tailgate

For some, tailgating might be the best part of college football season. You can buy tickets to your university’s tailgate event or set up your own table with snacks and drinks. Tell all your friends to join you!

34. Sunday football games

If watching sports outdoors isn’t your thing, watch Sunday football games from the comfort of the couch. Wear your team’s jersey and get ready to cheer for your favorite team!

35. Go roller skating

If your college town has a roller rink, you should make rollerskating part of your back-to-college tradition.

36. Practice yoga outside

You on your yoga mat, with leaves falling all around you: it’s the perfect way to focus your mind and relax your body.

Do you need other ideas to manage stress in college?

37. Borrow a dog

Ask a friend or professor if you could take their dog for a long walk or play fetch for an afternoon.

If you’re missing your pet at home or just need a break from people, spending a day with someone else’s pup might be just what you need.

38. Go to an Oktoberfest

Celebrate fall with German sausages, carnival games, and polka dancing. A fall festival like Oktoberfest is guaranteed to be a good time!

39. Bake a pumpkin pie

To make a pumpkin pie, you don’t need to roast a pumpkin or make crust from scratch. Just use a store-bought crust and a can of pumpkin. It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe.

40. Make all the apple desserts

Why choose one? Apple pie, apple strudel, apple turnovers, apple crisps–they’re all delicious! This is a great roundup of apple recipes.

41. Go on a Hayride

It’s a fall classic!

42. Bundle up for the beach

If your college is near a beach, grab a warm jacket and head to the shore. Take a long walk along the beach or sit and watch the waves. You’ll probably have the beach all to yourself in the off-season.

43. Fly kites

All you need is a kite, an open area, and some wind. Bonus points if you actually you get the kite to fly!

44. Go bowling

Grab your new friends or someone special and head to the bowling alley.

45. Do something nice for someone else

Think of a random act of kindness you can do for a roommate, classmate, friend, or someone you barely know. A random act of kindness is a great opportunity to make someone else’s day better!

46. Find a fireplace

Warm up by a fireplace on campus, in a nearby cafe, or even at a local bookstore.

47. Play touch football

Enjoy the last sunny days of fall by getting a group together to play touch football on the quad.

48. Light Fall-scented candles

If your dorm allows candles, light a pumpkin spice, vanilla cinnamon, or apple cider candle.

49. Bake molasses cookies 

Molasses is an overlooked, under-appreciated fall flavor. These are very tasty.

50. Add some autumn polish

Give your nails some fall color with a dark, moody shade or a bright, happy orange

Autumn hikes

51. Go on a hike

Visit a nearby state park and spend the day traipsing through the woods. Hiking is one of the all-time best outdoor activities.

52. Take an overnight backpacking trip

If you’ve mastered the day hike, pack up some lightweight camping gear and plan an overnight backpacking trip.

53. Have a fall photo shoot

So easy and so fun. Find the spots on campus with the best fall foliage or spooky vibes for some quality time with your peeps.

54. Bake snickerdoodles

Need another idea for cookies? The cinnamon-y snickerdoodle is perfect for fall.

55. Play Ultimate Frisbee

A game of ultimate frisbee on the college green is a fall classic. All you need is a frisbee and some friends.

56. Face painting

Face painting is a staple of every fall carnival. Even though you’re an adult away at college now, face painting is still fun! Take turns painting your friends faces.

57. Have a Pumpkin toss contest  

See who among your friends can throw a pumpkin the farthest. 

58. Roast Marshmallows and make s’mores

Gather around a bonfire (or a s’mores maker) to roast marshmallows. Add graham crackers and chocolate, and you’ve got the perfect fall treat.

59. Visit a museum

When you’ve had enough outdoor fall activities, step into an art gallery, science center, or history museum for an afternoon.

60. Take a ghost tour

See if there’s a ghost tour near your university. Learn some local history and get spooked all at the same time.

61. Visit an old cemetery

Cemeteries are often hauntingly beautiful, especially when the leaves are falling. It’s the perfect time of year to take a stroll through a nearby cemetery and check out the dates and epitaphs on the tombstones.

Stroll through a graveyard in the fall.

62. Go birdwatching

There are birdwatching clubs all around the country, so there’s sure to be one near your college.

63. Volunteer at a trunk or treat for kids

Sad you won’t be trick-or-treating any more? The next best thing is making the magic happen for young kids. Look for an opportunity to volunteer at a local trunk-or-treat.

64. Ride bikes on a scenic trail

If you don’t have a bike, see if you can rent one from your college or a local bike store. Spend a day pedaling along a scenic trail among the falling leaves.

65. Go away for the weekend

Sometimes you really need a change of scenery. Take a weekend to go home or visit a friend on another campus. If you’re on a rural college campus, head to the city. And if your university is urban, spend some time in a small town.

66. Volunteer at an animal shelter

Animal shelters always need help. Spending some time playing with animals might be the perfect study break for you.

67. Run a 5K

Now that the weather’s cooler, enjoy running outside again. There are lots of fun fall-themed 5Ks, so register for a ghost chase or a turkey trot. Convince a group of friends to run with you!

68. Play board games

Pick your favorite board game, invite your friends, and enjoy an evening of fun.

69. Celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival

The Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated in China and by people of Chinese descent around the world. It usually occurs in September or October.

Find out if your college’s international center or a neighborhood in your city will host any Chinese Moon Festival events.

70. Go rock climbing

Join your school’s outdoor club or find a friend with climbing gear. Fall days are perfect for rock climbing.

71. Make fall-themed trail mix

Add candy corn, pumpkin seeds, Chex mix or Cheerios, raisins, chocolate chips, Reese’s Pieces or autumn-colored M&Ms, and nuts. Delicious!

72. Visit a historic home

Tour a historic home near your campus. Some historic houses even have fall-themed tours.

73. Eat soup and chili

Enjoy warm, hearty soups and chilis. Whether you’re getting meals at your dining hall or cooking for yourself, soup and chili are fall staples.

74. Learn the Thriller dance moves

All you need is YouTube to show you how–and then a party to show off your new skills.

75. Buy someone a coffee or tea

A small thoughtful gesture could really make someone’s day. If you’re grabbing a coffee or tea for yourself, get one for the person you’re going to meet–a tutor, a friend, or a co-worker.

76. Go to an on-campus theater production

Support your fellow college students by watching them perform in plays or dance performances.

77. Call your parents

If you haven’t actually talked to your parents in a while, call or FaceTime to catch up.

78. Host a friendsgiving

This is such a fun thing to do right before everyone heads home for Thanksgiving break. Make it a potluck or order the meal pre-cooked from a local grocery store. Invite all the new people you’ve just met at college–the more the merrier!

79. Visit a nearby small town

Go explore a town near campus. Check out the shops there, walk around the town, and have lunch in cute cafe. You don’t have to go far to have a new adventure.

80. Host a murder mystery party

Make up your own mystery or buy a murder mystery kit. Then set the stage for a scary evening with themed food, costumes, and decor.

81. Go to a drive-in movie theater

Drive-in move theaters are usually open well into autumn, until the weather is really cold.

82. Host an evening of scary tales

Invite your friends to tell their favorite ghost stories or read aloud from classic scary tales. Anything by Edgar Allan Poe should do the trick!

83. Go camping

Get your tent, sleeping pad, and a warm sleeping bag, and you’re ready to go. It’s easier to find camping spots in the fall than in the summer. Enjoy the beautiful fall days out in nature.

84. Visit botanical gardens

If there is a botanical garden or arboretum near you, go visit!

85. Visit a petting zoo

Spend an afternoon enjoying the absolute cuteness of baby farm animals.

86. Go to an escape room

Being locked in a room is pretty scary! See if you and your friends are smart enough to escape!

87. Go trail running

For a more strenuous hike, take on the trails at a nearby local or state park.

88. Listen to a guest lecture

Your university brings dozens of impressive guest lecturers to campus every year.

Whatever your interests, there is someone speaking on a topic that you want to know more about. Just make it a priority to go.

89. Go to an off-campus café

Getting tired of the dining hall at this point in the school year? Find a cafe or coffee shop off-campus for a treat.

Enjoy a coffee outdoors on a beautiful autumn day.

90. Celebrate Dia de los Muertos

Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday, generally celebrated on November 1 and 2 to honor deceased relatives. Ask at your school’s international center to see if there are any Dia de los Muertos campus events planned.

91. work a puzzle

Puzzles are great because you can leave them out and work on them as you have time. They’re a great diversion from studying. And it’s so satisfying when you finally put in that last piece!

92. Walk around campus at night

Go with a friend or group for safety’s sake. Enjoy a quiet walk around campus at night. Look for any particularly interesting shadows or spooky nooks. Keep your flashlight handy!

93. Find a great scarf and hat

Crisp fall weather means cool accessories. Find a new favorite hat and scarf combination to wear on campus in the fall.

94. Learn how to knit

Learn how to knit and you can make your own scarf and hat! Many college students find that knitting helps them focus.

95. Break out your boots

Keep your feet warm in cute and practical boots. You might need rain boots, snow boots, fleece boots, booties, or tall boots, depending on where you go to college. Don’t forget boot socks for extra warmth in cold weather!

96. Go mountain biking

Take your mountain bike on the trails to get out in nature and decompress from the stress of college. You may be able to rent mountain bikes from your college or a local bike shop.

97. Tour local Halloween decorations

Walk or drive around your college town to check out all the fun or scary Halloween decorations.

98. Celebrate Diwali

Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the major holidays celebrated in India and by people of Indian descent living in the United States. It occurs in October or November. Find out if there’s a celebration happening on or near your college campus.

99. Go stargazing

Grab some blankets and pack a thermos of hot chocolate and some cookies. Head out to an area with limited light pollution, and watch the night sky.  You could also see if your college has an observatory. 

100. Be thankful

Make a list of everything and everyone you’re thankful for. Especially if you’re feeling lonely or stressed, take a few minutes to reflect on what you’re thankful for.

101. Write letters of gratitude

Now’s a great time to send a note or email to your high school teachers who wrote letters of recommendation for you. They would love to know how you’re doing in college.

Or send a note to your grandparents telling them how much you miss them and appreciate them. You won’t regret taking time to tell people they matter to you. 

102. Rake leaves

If you’ve met someone who needs a hand, offer to rake leaves for them. It’s a fun fall activity and you’ll feel good about helping someone out.

103. Jump into a pile of leaves

After you do the raking, throw yourself into the pile of leaves. There’s a reason you loved doing this as a kid!

104. Take a long walk in the rain

Fall weather can mean rainy gray days. But you don’t have to hole up inside. Put on rain boots and a raincoat, grab your umbrella, and splash in puddles along the way!

105. Bring candy to class on Halloween

This idea is all treat, no trick.

106. Read your friends’ tarot cards 

Buy a deck of tarot cards and learn how to read them. (It’s okay if you don’t know all the meanings–you can look them up!)

107. Watch Thanksgiving movies

Hosting a movie night is a fun activity when colder weather keeps you indoors. Definitely a top November bucket list idea!

108. Go ice skating

Ice skating is the perfect opportunity to rock your cold weather gear. It’s a great autumn activity for college students on a date or going out with friends.

109. Go to antique fairs

In the fall, you can find lots of outdoor flea markets and antique fairs. It’s free or cheap to enter, and you never know what treasures you will find.

110. Host a sweater swap 

Fall is sweater weather! Want to refresh your winter wardrobe for free?

Invite your friends for a sweater swap. Everyone brings at least one sweater they no longer want and takes a “new” one home.

111. Go hear live music

There are so many outdoor music festivals in the fall. See if your college is hosting any live music or find a cozy venue off campus to go to.

112. Watch the sunset

Last but not least, make time to see a few beautiful autumn sunsets. Head to a local park, waterfront, mountaintop, or other great place where you’ll have a great view of the setting sun.

Final thoughts on cheap, fun fall activities for college students

This bucket list of ideas for college students to do in autumn is pretty epic!  September, October, and November are such exciting months for college students, and there’s no reason to be bored this fall. 

All of these fun fall ideas are free or inexpensive, and the perfect autumn ideas for friend groups, roommates, or couples. It’s the perfect list of things to do on fall break and activities for autumn weekends. 

These fall themed activities for college students will be fun, whether you’re out in the crisp air or in the comfort of your dorm’s living room!

These popular activities for college friends to do in the fall are the perfect ideas for any weather or mood this fall!

So go enjoy all these awesome ideas of fun activities college students love! Make this autumn bucket list your fall to-do list!

Thinking ahead to the holidays? Check out this list of the best holiday gift ideas for college girls!

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