Fall Fun in the Cape Fear Region
From corn mazes to haunted adventures, fall activities for the whole family aren’t far from you in Wilmington and Leland.
School has started, the summer heat is beginning to abate and the sky has turned from summer’s haze into a bright, cloud-dotted thing of beauty, and all that means autumn is on our doorstep. Fall in the greater Brunswick County region doesn’t bring the bright leaves that dot the hills around Asheville or the crisp mornings and mountain fog they get in the Yadkin Valley. Here, the marsh grass turns green, dozens of species of birds return home or pass through, and we know it’s fall all the same. This year, get a taste of fall classics and set the mood for holiday festivities at one (or more) of the great seasonal events that occur across the Cape Fear region.
Ed.Note: This article was originally published in 2012. Please check all links for updated hours and information and consider calling before going!
Get lost at Hubb’s Corn Maze in Clinton, N.C. Their maze, cut into a field of “earless corn” (actually a hybrid sorghum), will stay green from September into November, when they’ll close the maze. This year’s maze, in the shape of a train, is made up of four smaller mazes including one designed for toddlers.
“In our train maze, we have a 2-mile maze that makes up the smokestack, another 2-mile maze that’s the body of the train, a .4-mile maze in the shape of the Q 98 radio logo and a .3-mile toddler maze,” says Tammy Peterson, who owns Hubb’s Corn Maze with her husband, John. “And we have a straw bale maze for our littlest visitors.”
To go with the train maze, a 100-foot train carries visitors from one section of the farm to the other, where the Petersons’ have set up several activities for families.
The mazes open on September 15 and will remain open until November 4 or beyond (depending on weather). Through October, a Haunted Corn Trail opens on Friday and Saturday nights, with an extra less scary version opened the Thursday before Halloween. This year, Hubb’s Corn Maze introduces laser tag in the corn maze and expands its entertainment with live music, magicians and other acts on Saturdays and Sundays in October.
Children will enjoy the FSI — Farm Scene Investigation — game that has them finding clues around the farm to help them solve a mystery. For adults, a 12-point scavenger hunt spread throughout the maze presents a challenge in addition to navigating your way through the “corn” — finding all of the checkpoints puts you in the running for a prize drawing.
Visit Some Friends in the Country
At Mike’s Farm in Beulaville, N.C., you can visit with some new friends from the country. Mike and Theresa Lowe open their farm every fall and winter to visitors from all across the state. They come for the good country food and the Suppers with Santa, to pick a pumpkin, to get their Christmas tree, or to take in the sights at the Festival of Lights (a tradition nearing its 20th anniversary).
Starting in October, Mike’s Farm starts its fall activities. On Saturdays those include hayrides, fall- and farm-themed displays, and concessions. Tuesday through Friday, enjoy afternoon pumpkin-patch hayrides and pick up a pumpkin to carve.
In November, the tree farm has Christmas trees and live wreaths for sale. Pick out a tree that’s already been cut or select your own from the field and cut it there.
November also sees the Festival of Lights, a 1.5-mile hayride through colossal light displays and a live Nativity scene. The Festival of Lights is open for viewing from November 27 to December 30.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in December, the Ho Ho Christmas Show, which includes a country buffet dinner, musical entertainment and a Festival of Lights tour, gives families a chance to sit back and get in the holiday spirit with a big dinner and a fun evening.
In addition to the activities, Mike’s Farm also has a restaurant serving a family-style country buffet; a gift shop selling 28 kinds of fudge, baked goods, gifts and ornaments; and a farm animal petting zoo where Pedro the donkey and Peetie the cow wait to have their pictures taken.
Looking for a Scare?
Wilmington’s Panic Attack Haunted Attraction touts itself as “North Carolina’s Largest and Most Intense Haunted Attraction.” If the lines outside the door are any indication, they’re delivering scares and thrills that delight haunted-house lovers.
This 11,000-square-foot haunted house comes with a warning: “This event may be too intense for young children and is not recommended for children under the age of 13.” Panic Attack draws on Wilmington’s film industry veterans for Hollywood-style special effects, elaborate sets and professional actors to make for a frightening evening that keeps visitors coming back for more.
In Duplin County, Legacy Farms’s haunted corn maze and a haunted house run from September into the first weekend in November. Their family-friendly corn maze lets you explore the field and find your way out of a Halloween-decorated corn maze on Saturdays in September, the haunted house’s family-friendly chills run through October into November, and the mystery dinners (interactive murder-mystery dinner theatre) run the month of October. The corn maze and haunted house are open on Saturdays and the mystery dinners are held on Friday.
Close to Home
If you prefer to stay close to home, Brunswick and Columbus counties have you covered. Head south to Calabash’s Indigo Farms for their fall celebrations that include hayrides, farm tours, bonfires and a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch. In Columbus County, Strickland’s Corn Maze in Tabor City has a traditional and Halloween corn maze running from September through October.
No matter where you’re from — a place where the leaves let you know fall’s arrived or a place where September’s high, puffy clouds tell you autumn’s here — there’s a taste of fall in your back yard when you live in Brunswick County.
Want to go?
1600 Haw Branch Road
Beulaville, NC 28518
(888) 820-FARM (3276)
Open year round
Hours vary by season, check the website or call for availability
7494 N.C. Highway 41 West
Wallace, NC 28466
1542 Hickman Road NW
Calabash, NC 28467
Strickland’s Corn Maze
8289 Swamp Fox Highway
Tabor City, NC 28463