Vertuccio Farm's corn maze

The return of fall means cooler weather — both “cooler” and “fall” being highly subjective terms in Phoenix — pumpkin spice lattes and the start of the harvest festival season. In other words, corn mazes, pumpkins and hay rides abound across the Valley for your enjoyment.

Whether you want a family or group outing, or just need a fall-like place to frolic, we know just where you should go. We throw in some out-of-the-Valley options at the end as well in case you don’t mind a little travel.

Schnepf Farms – Pumpkin & Chili Party

Far down in remote Queen Creek lives one of the largest fall parties in the Valley. Every year, Schnepf Farms goes all out with hayrides, a roller coaster and other carnival rides, a petting zoo, a country road rally, miniature golf, two corn mazes, pig racing, a zip line, the Gypsy Time Travelers show, slides, a pumpkin launch, fireworks and other fun.

For a little extra you can also enjoy train rides, pony rides, TheOutbreak AZ zombie hayride with paintball guns, food — including the aforementioned chili — and so on. Before you buy your tickets, check the schedule to see when special events like the dog show or Stuntmasters BMX Show take place. Also, remember that fireworks are Friday and Saturday night only.

Location: 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, Oct. 1 to 30
Cost: $18 at the gate, $15 at Fry’s Food Stores. Children 2 and under are free.

Tolmachoff Farms – Pumpkin Days & Corn Maze

Situated in the West Valley, you might know Tolmachoff Farms better for its AZ Field of Screams haunted corn maze, but it features more family friendly fall fun as well. That includes a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin, a 6-acre family corn maze, a mini corn maze for littler kids, a petting zoo, a train ride, a hay pyramid, a pedal cart track and more exciting activities.

Location: 5726 N. 75th Ave., Glendale
Hours: 10 a.m. or noon to 8 or 11 p.m., depending on day. Tuesdays through Sundays, Oct. 1 to Nov. 6
Cost: $10 + $2 for train ride or tomato cannon. Children under 2 are free.

Mother Nature’s Farm – Halloween Pumpkin Patch

Hopping back to the East Valley, Mother Nature’s Farm focuses heavily on pumpkins. They boast that you can buy pumpkins from 1 ounce to 500 pounds. Every other farm activity gears toward kids, including an air bounce, a hayride, a straw bounce, animal feeding and Alexander’s Adventure Maze.

Even the tickets reflect that with $10 entry for kids and $3 for adults. However, the $10 includes a tiny pumpkin, a bag of stickers and pumpkin decorating.

Location: 1663 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: $10 kids, $3 parents

Vertuccio Farms – Corn Maze & Fall Festival

Vertuccio Farms offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, such as the 7-acre corn maze that pays homage to the Arizona Rattlers, a giant jump pad, a zip line, duck races, a barrel train ride, a tractor train ride, a petting zoo and more fun activities. While you’re there, you can also buy pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks.

There are also special days, such at Home School Day, Pumpkin Paint and Take, Adopt a Pet, and an 1800s variety show. Be sure to check the schedule to see when these are happening.

Location: 4011 S. Power Road, Mesa
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays, Oct. 1 to Nov. 6
Cost: $9 a day, $25 season pass. Children under 2 are free

Out of the Valley

If you don’t mind taking a day trip out of the Valley — or if you want to take a day trip out of the Valley — several more farms exist around the state that offer plenty of family fall fun.

Apple Annie’s 

Located three hours away in Willcox, Apple Annie’s boasts a 40-acre pumpkin patch, a massive 20-acre corn maze (with optional hay ride) and other fresh produce you can pick yourself.

Location: 6405 W. Williams Road, Willcox
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Oct. 1 to 31

Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival

Travel about an hour and a half on East I-10, and you can find a fall wonderland with a 50-acre pumpkin patch, two corn mazes (one references the Peanuts comic), and other fun like a petting zoo, pig races, jumping pillow, peddle car ride and more.

Location: 14901 N. Wentz Road, Marana
Hours: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Mortimer Farms – Pumpkin Festival

Head north on I-17 up near Prescott and enjoy a 15-acre pumpkin patch and an enormous 25-acre corn maze that references our upcoming election. In addition, you will find fun for the whole family, including Farm Animal Kingdom and farm slide, roping dummies, hay rides, slack lining, a haunted corn maze, an antique tractor show and tractor pull, barn dancing, and plenty more.

Location: 12907 E. State Route 169, Dewey
Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 to 30

Looking for excitement that skews toward the macabre? Check out these adrenaline-spiking haunted houses.

– Justin Ferris for