Unlike their cold-weather cousins, hayrides don’t have any peppy songs written about them. But there’s no question that during harvest season, there’s nothing more quintessentially “fall” than hunkering down in a bed of hay and heading out to explore.
In the Chicago area, lots of farms offer hayrides through fields or to U-Pick locations. These spots prove you don’t have to go totally country to have a fun hay day.
With 500 acres brimming with plants, trees and other horticultural wonders, there’s no better place than Cantigny to check out the hues of the season. The Hayride Tour takes guests from the Visitors Center through the extensive grounds to spy all the reds, golds and browns you can handle. 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 4. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Free, $5 parking.
In Naperville, the Family Hayrides (for kids 3 and up) come with hot chocolate and hot cider around a campfire—and guests are welcome to bring s’mores fixings for an oh-so-sweet ride. Oct. 9-29. Knoch Knolls Nature Center, 336 Knoch Knolls Road and Seager Park, 1163 Plank Road.
Prepare your Halloween pumpkins at Lake Katherine Nature Center& Botanic Gardens. The fall hayride is followed by pumpkin painting, treats and songs around the campfire. 7-9:30 p.m. Oct. 21. Lake View Nature Center, 17W063 Hodges Road, Oakbrook Terrace. $10.