Hello, sweet autumn. So nice to have you back. While it’s difficult saying goodbye to those carefree summer days and balmy nights, California in the fall is always a treat. Take it or leaf it, we rustled up some fun SoCal fall getaway suggestions, including family-friendly apple picking, Day of the Dead fest, a WeHo Halloween Carnival, Knott’s SCARY Farm, The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor and, of course… there’s still plenty of time to celebrate Octoberfest. PROST! – Trisha Clayton
Peak Apple Pickin’ Time!
If you’re longing for a piece of New England, right here in Southern California, then historic Oak Glen is the perfect place to visit. Located about two hours outside of Los Angeles, on the way to Palm Springs, Oak Glen is home to dozens of apple orchards which cover its cool, sloped hills with blossoms during the spring and fruit in the fall.
Everywhere you turn you’ll see a Riley’s: Riley’s Apple Farm, Riley’s Farm Fort Cross Orchard, Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho. This is because the Riley family homesteaded a farm back in 1978, and then expanded… and expanded again. All of them are wonderful seasonal businesses offering apple picking of many varieties, along with other fruits and flowers.
In the evening, throw your cowboy boots on for barn dances and gospel singers, cider pressings and all kinds of apple-y good fun for the whole family.
Like airplanes… AND apples? Then Brian Ranch Airport U-Pick Orchard is the place for you. Located in the tiny town of Llano, about two hours north of Los Angeles on the other side of the Angeles National Forest, this private airport is home to small crafts AND an orchard. During harvest time, you can pick ripe apples and pears, or take a flying lesson or excursion, or both! Only open on weekends.
Day of the Dead – Hollywood Style
One of my favorite places to go in Los Angeles, hands down, is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Beautifully landscaped and steeped in fantastic Hollywood lore, this gorgeous cemetery feels more like a lush secret garden than a creepy burial ground.
But every year, Hollywood Forever is transformed into the nation’s largest Dia de los Muertos celebration as they welcome, honor and celebrate the memories of all the beloved souls on the grounds.
The 15th Annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration on Saturday, November 1, will commemorate the spirits of the dead with processions, arts and crafts, music and dance exhibitions, spiritual shrines and even a costume contest for the best traditional Calaca (skeleton) costume. This year’s theme is Quinceañera!
Let’s face it. Halloween is fun anywhere but it’s especially fun at the Halloween Carnaval in West Hollywood. More than 500,000 revelers come from far and wide to participate in the world’s largest Halloween celebration. Taking place on Santa Monica Boulevard from 6 –11 pm on October 31, it is truly one of the most amazing spectacles you’ll see with every manner of crazy, eccentric, sexy, outrageous costume on display.
The big attraction of the evening is the Costume Contest and crowning of the Honorary “Queen of the Carnaval.” The night also includes exciting live entertainment, food vendors, pumpkin-carving contests and more.
You have to witness this once in your lifetime… take my word for it!
WeHo Hotel Tip: Check out this link for an exclusive LocalGetaways deal at Le Parc Suite – our preferred hotel in Hollywood!
All of Southern California’s amusement parks have great Halloween festivities, but Knott’s Scary Farm (a.k.a. Knott’s Berry Farm) is one of the oldest and most fun. For more than 40 years, this jam, jelly and preserve-themed park has been putting on the best Halloween show in town, now till November 1, 2014.
Haunted attractions, shows, “scare zones” and rides along with roaming monsters are enough to make you think twice about packing an extra set of undies along with that sweater. Bwwaaahhhh!!!
My personal fave: ELVIRA’S BIG TOP. Back by overwhelming demand for 2014 is Elvira – the legendary Mistress of the Dark. Elvira will headline her all new show Elvira’s Big Top in the 1,800 seat Charles M. Schultz Theatre twice nightly for the entire run of Knott’s Scary Farm.
The Queen Mary’s “Dark Harbor” is scaring guests now through November 2. As many already know, this ship is truly haunted so be prepared for some… ahem… authentic experiences! This year’s Dark Harbor unveils a slew of cool new attractions including two brand new mazes and the new Voodoo Village. Beloved veteran characters including The Ringmaster and all grotesque spirits of the Queen will make a chilling return for unforgettable nights of terror amidst freaks, food, and live entertainment.
Hotel Treat: No tricks here – book our hotel deal with The Queen Mary and start a new annual Halloween tradition!
WARNING: The Captain of the Grey Ghost has risen from the dark corners of The Queen Mary to reclaim Dark Harbor for the rightful spirits of the ship. The Captain is the spirit of the
During his mortal life, he was dedicated to The Queen Mary. He would stop at nothing to protect his troops aboard The Grey Ghost. Now in his life after death, he is a strong spirit who will protect the ship and all of the rightful spirits aboard the ship and in the harbor at ANY cost – even if it means collecting more souls to serve in his army of spirits. Beware his rage and fierce strength and warlike strategies…he may just choose you to serve along side his vicious spirits!
PROST – it’s Octoberfest!
In October, everyone’s German. The longest-running Oktoberfest in the LA area is at Alpine Village restaurant and market in Torrance. This beloved event features a German Oom Pah Pah band, chicken dancing, sing-alongs, and, of course, German food and beer.
Now in its 3rd year, Alpine Village’s Kraft Bierfest offers hard-to-find taps and limited editions for serious suds fans. This year, Bierfest falls on November 14 & 15 with over 40 breweries pouring more than 100 brews.
For more insider tips on fun things do, see, and explore in California, the place to go is LocalGetaways.com, where you’ll always find best California travel deals.
Need more inspiration for a Halloween-inspired fall getaway? Have a look and click to book!: