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Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Start your pumpkin-picking adventures here

Today marks the official start of fall. Since your to-do list is already full with back-to-school activities, switching cold-weather clothes out of storage and other change-of-season tasks, we thought we’d make it easy to plan an outing that can be a lot of fun for the whole family, no matter how old your kids are.

The Fredericksburg area is home to several great pick-your-own pumpkin patches that offer varying levels of “fall festival” activities to go along with the pumpkins. Location, cost, and available amenities are all things you’ll want to take into consideration when planning the right outing for your family.

Take a look at the options we’ve collected below (they’re in alphabetical order). If you think we’re missing a great pick-your-own pumpkin patch, send an e-mail to efreehling@freelancestar.com.

Happy pumpkin-hunting!

Belvedere Plantation belvedereplantation.com

Location: Off U.S. 17 in Spotsylvania County. See map here.

When it’s open: Weekends Oct. 1 – 30 and Nov. 4-5; Friday and Saturday evenings 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Columbus Day Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost of admission: $16 per person; ages 2 and under are free

Cost of pumpkins: 55 cents per pound, or “all you can carry” for $26.99

What to expect: This is probably the most “festival-like” of the area pumpkin patches. There’s a corn maze, pumpkin “mountain” slide, pig races, hay rides, lots of food and a gift shop. It can feel like a small carnival built around a pumpkin patch. No outside food is allowed unless you are with a group that has rented part of the facility. The patch is lit at night, so this might be a fun option for the older kids.

Clark’s Farm clarksfarmusa.com

Location: 721 Courthouse Rd. (Rte. 630), Stafford, VA. See map here.

When it’s open: Sept. 24 – Nov. 1, 7 days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost of admission: $5 per person on weekdays, $7.50 on weekends, children 2 and under free

Cost of pumpkins: A variety of pumpkins are for sale, ranging from 50 cents to $45.

What to expect: Brenna Bounds of Clark’s Farm said they view themselves as being set up primarily for the 8-and-under-crowd, though older kids have fun, too. Activities include  a maze, face painting, pumpkin painting, hay mountain, farm animals, pumpkin bowling, moon bounce, corn bin and penny pit. There are cut-outs for taking funny pictures and a shop selling mums, apples and other farm goods. There is a snack shack, but the farm does allow outside food to be brought in.

Miller Farms millerfarmsmarket.com

Location: 12101 Orange Plank Road Locust Grove, VA 22508 See map here.

When it’s open: Starting Sept. 24, Mon – Fri 3pm. – 5p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5p.m. Patch will close Oct. 31 at 5 p.m., but pumpkins will still be for sale in the market store.

Cost of admission: No charge for admission, parking or hayrides out to the pumpkin patch.

Cost of pumpkins: Several varieties are for sale, priced by the pound; prices vary.

What to expect: A working family farm with farm market. Kids can play on a large sand pile at the farm. Market sells everything from fall plants and produce to locally produced meats, dairy and specialty products.

Mt. Olympus Farm mtolympusfarm.com

Location: 30 minutes south of Fredericksburg, at 23298 Jefferson Davis Highway, Ruther Glen VA, 22546 See map here.

When it’s open: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, until Nov. 1.

Cost of admission: Free.

Cost of pumpkins: Carving size to giant: 50 cents a pound up to 30 pounds, and 40 cents a pound over 30 pounds. Other specialty pumpkins are separately priced.

What to expect: Free hayrides to the patch, where you can pick your own pumpkin, from small gourd size to giant, including specialty varieties. Bring a picnic and eat by the pond. Farm also features a farm stand with other locally grown products.

Snead’s Farm sneadsfarm.com

Location: 18294 Tidewater Trail Fredericksburg, VA 22408-9322. See map here.

When it’s open: 7 days a week, Oct. 1 – 30, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Cost of admission: Free on weekdays, $5 per car on weekends and Columbus Day.

Cost of pumpkins: $6 per pumpkin

What to expect: A working farm with fall amenities. Hayrides ($3 per person), llamas, calves, goats, chickens, rope swings, zip line, homemade barbecue, kettle corn, cupcakes and ice cream available for purchase, corn maze for ages 3 to 8. Farmer Emmett Snead says he sees the fall activities as being set up best for the pre-teenage crowd. Families can bring bread or buy feed to feed the chickens.

Westmoreland Berry Farm westmorelandberryfarm.com

Location: 1235 Berry Farm Ln, Oak Grove, VA 22443 See map here.

When it’s open: Opens Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wagon rides to the pumpkin patch are available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Cost of admission: No admission cost, but it’s $1 to ride the wagon to the pumpkin patch.

Cost of pumpkins: 60 cents a pound

What to expect: The berry farm’s “goat walk,” which goes over the farm road, is popular with kids. A café and shop at the farm sell meals, apple sundaes, fall mums, preserves and other goodies from the farm.

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