15 Ways To Enjoy The National Park System This Fall

There's more than just changing leaves happening in America’s national parks this fall. Here is a small sampling of some of the activities that are taking place during September, October, and November.

Pack up the car, grab your Passport To Your National Parks® book, and spend some time exploring the parks this autumn!

1. National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day, September 29, is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands-local, state, and federal. Over 170,000 people have signed up to volunteer! It's also a fee free day in all national parks, so even if you are not able to volunteer, you can still visit and enjoy the parks. Find a participating site.

2. Lantern and Candlelight Tours. Have you ever wondered what famous battlefields and buildings hold at night? Explore them at Kings Mountain National Military Park October 6 & 7, and Ninety-Six National Historic Site October 13. All events are fee-free.

3. It's Harvest Time! Head to Homestead National Monument of America on October 7 to explore the food, crafts, and activities that help us welcome the autumn season! These events are free.

4. Heritage Festivals. Spend the day at Prince William Forest Park for their 2012 Heritage Festival on October 13. Cost is $5 per vehicle.

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Take in glassblowing at Jamestown. NPS photo.

5. Virginia Archaeology Month. Learn about the Civil War through archaeology at Petersburg National Battlefield October 20. This event costs $5 per vehicle entrance fee. Or head to Jamestown Glasshouse on October 13 & 14 and see special demonstrations-including "You draw it, we make it" where you can see your idea for a glass piece come to life. There will also be a glass raffle and the glassblowers will get creative with their own designs. Cost is $10 per adult, children 15 and under are free.

6. Ghosts! Get in the mood for the creepiest time of year and explore the ghosts of the past at Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site on October 13 ($2 per person) or at Arkansas Post National Memorial on October 20 (free).

7. Cowpens National Battlefield. Enjoy a Backcountry Holiday on November 18 at the battlefield. This is a free event.

8. John F. Kennedy Birthplace National HIstoric Site. Join the park on November 25 in remembrance of President John F. Kennedy.

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If you're not into jamming, check out the "Rendez-vous des Cajuns" Saturdays at Jean Lafitte's Prairie Acadian Cultural Center. NPS photo.

9. Jam out with Jean Lafitte National Historical Park at their Cajun Music Jams, every Monday evening thru November 26. Discover the music of Louisiana's wetlands with free jam sessions featuring local musicians. Bring your instrument and learn some new tunes or just sit back and enjoy. This is a free event for people of all ages.

10. Take a Wagon Ride at Oxon Cove Park thru December 21. Relax and take a ride through the barnyard and natural areas of the park property, free to all.

11. Catch the train at Cuyahoga Valley National Park to view the best fall color! The scenic railway offers visitors the best opportunity to view the flora and fauna of Cuyahoga. Tickets are $15 adults and $10 children ages 3 - 12 and include the Voices of the Valley audio tour. Ongoing.

12. Apple Picking at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is a great way to spend an afternoon outdoors, and is tons of fun for the kids. Hopewell's orchard includes over 30 varieties of apples, many of which are historic types that may have been found at Hopewell when the furnace was active. The apples are allowed to grow and ripen without the use of applied herbicides or pesticides, allowing them a historic look and taste, and cost only $1 per pound! Through October 28.

13. Go ‘to the dogs’ with Wilbur and Orville Wright at Dayton Aviation National Historical Park on October 6, 7 and 13, where a ranger will share stories of how two dogs, Flyer and Scipio, brought a sense of normalcy into the lives of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Leashed dogs are welcome to join the fun! Free event.

14. Join Colonial National Historical Park in celebrating National American Indian Heritage Month on November 3 and 4, over the last fee-free weekend of 2012.

15. Don’t miss Campfire Chronicles at Congaree National Park, where rangers will guide visitors past scenes of costumed interpreters demonstrating life in the forest over the past 500 years. The tours are accessible. Reservations are not required. Free event.