things to do on columbus day

Columbus Day is almost here. And, for a lot of people, that means looking forward to another three-day weekend. If you’re looking for some things to do on Columbus Day, you’ve come to the right place.


Top Things to Do on Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a federal holiday in the United States. In line with the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, this holiday falls on the second Monday of October every year. With a three-day weekend to anticipate, here are the best things to do on Columbus Day.


1. Take a Walk or Hike

As autumn starts to go full swing during the first half of October, it’s the perfect time to spend some time outdoors. A simple walk in the park is enough to make you appreciate the changing colors of nature.

But, if you want to take it a step further, consider going on a hike instead. The best part about hiking is that you get to choose your difficulty level. There are several trails you can choose from, and it gives you an opportunity to see nature in full beauty.

When you spend time outdoors, you get exercise and fresh air — two things the human body needs. After a walk or hike, you will certainly feel more refreshed and energized. Make sure to bring a buddy with you, though, for safety reasons. And, if you’re doing this with your family, always keep an eye on the little ones.


2. Go Camping

camping on columbus dayThere are plenty of camping sites to enjoy this Columbus Day. Camping is great because it allows you to feel one with nature while honing your survival skills at the same time. It’s also the perfect way to get away from the fast-paced city life, enjoy some relaxation, and disconnect from everything. While many people like to camp alone, it’s usually an activity best enjoyed with company.


3. Take a Short Trip

One of the most popular things to do on Columbus Day is to go on a short vacation. Wherever you are, there’s surely a nice place you can head to nearby. Most things are just a short car ride away and don’t require much travel time. The destination is up to you — whether you’re more of a mountain person or a beach person. It also doesn’t have to be nature-centric. You can have just as much fun booking a stay at a snazzy hotel or enjoying a couple of days at an amusement park.


4. Visit a Garden

Do you want to appreciate the beauty of nature without having to go hiking or camping? Visiting a botanical garden is the next best thing. There are several botanical gardens scattered across the United States. Some offer intricate designs and layouts, while others boast beauty in simplicity. In addition to spending time with nature, you also get to take a lot of gorgeous photos.


things to do on columbus day5. Pick Some Apples

Apple orchards are a hot destination this time of the year. Schedule an apple-picking day with friends or family and live out your farm fantasies. Apple orchards also typically come with corn mazes, hayrides, and a farmer’s market nearby. It’s an entire day’s worth of fun activities.


6. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

If you don’t like apples very much, why not visit a pumpkin patch instead? October is Halloween month, which means a lot of people are looking forward to carving pumpkins and making jack-o-lanterns. By visiting a pumpkin patch, you can pick your own pumpkins! Just remember to book your tickets ahead of time, as these places tend to welcome a lot of visitors this time of the year.


7. See Some Animals

Nature isn’t just about plants and flowers. You can enjoy Columbus Day by spending time with animals, too. Zoos are a great place to see animals and learn about their lifestyles. If you’re more into marine animals, there are many aquariums spread throughout the country as well. For closer interaction with animals, try a petting zoo.

These are particularly perfect destinations for families with kids, as they will enjoy the experience more. You can even include them in your itinerary for a quick trip away if you live a few hours from your nearest zoo or aquarium.


things to do on columbus day8. Go to a Drive-In Movie Theater

While you can certainly watch a movie at home, watching one at a drive-in movie theater is an entirely different experience. You get to enjoy a nice movie from the comfort of your car while still appreciating the cool breeze and beauty of the outdoors. Grab some popcorn and a few cans of soda, and you’re all set!


9. Indulge in a Meal Outside

Fall is an absolutely gorgeous time of the year, so you shouldn’t let it go to waste. If you have a patio or a backyard, consider enjoying a meal there with friends or family. Spacious balconies work great, too, especially if you have a stunning view outside.

If you don’t feel like staying at home, there are plenty of restaurants and cafés that offer outdoor seating. Indulging in a decadent brunch with friends or having a delicious dinner with family are just some of the best things to do on Columbus Day.


10. Go to a Local Winery

If you’re spending Columbus Day with friends or a significant other, spice things up by going to a local winery. Wineries and vineyards aren’t found everywhere, though, so you might need to do some traveling. Many wineries let you sample tasty dishes paired with an assortment of wines while enjoying the view outdoors.


11. Learn the History Behind the Holiday

indigenous peoples dayAlthough Columbus Day is a federal holiday, there are some states that don’t observe it anymore. This is due to the dark history behind the holiday.

Christopher Columbus may have “discovered” the Americas, but he brought death and devastation with him. Countless Indigenous peoples suffered at his hands, becoming slaves, having their land taken away from them, and losing their way of life.

Today, many states and cities celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of or in addition to Columbus Day. And it is important to learn the history behind this holiday to gain a deeper understanding of what it is all about.


12. Attend a Local Event

Many cities celebrate Columbus Day with parades, though it is widely known as the least observed federal holiday in the United States. In place of Columbus Day, there are places that hold events for Indigenous People’s Day. Some hold marches and organize markets, while others celebrate through the arts. Look up some events in your local area to know how you can attend.


13. Donate to an Indigenous Rights Organization

In keeping in line with Indigenous People’s Day, consider donating to a charity that supports indigenous people’s rights or is headed by indigenous people. If you don’t have time to volunteer your efforts, showing your support through cash donations will work just as well.


Pick Your Activity

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do on Columbus Day. With a three-day weekend, you will surely find time to squeeze in two or more of these activities. On the other hand, you can also just take the time to relax at home if that seems more appealing to you.