From haunted basements and safari rides to cotton festivals and the annual  Crabdaddy Olympics, we're rounded up a list of the best fall 2023 Carolina events you won't want to miss! Leash up your pets, buckle up your kids, and loosen up your belt for delicious food, games, and traditions unique to the Carolinas.

Eden Riverfest

Get your fall festival frenzy on at the Riverfest in Downtown Eden, NC.


September 15-16, 2023
Eden, NC

Let's get ready to party and celebrate Eden's incredible art, history, and river heritage! It's time for Riverfest, the event of the year that pays tribute to the vibrant Rockingham County community. This spectacular annual celebration unfolds in the Historic Leaksville area of Eden, a downtown gem with roots dating all the way back to 1797. Brace yourself for a non-stop extravaganza where the town bursts with music, art, and an unbeatable sense of community spirit. And guess what? The fun never stops! Get ready to unleash your inner lumberjack with axe throwing, witness mind-blowing chainsaw carving, discover hidden treasures with gem mining, create awe-inspiring sand art, and take on a mobile ninja warrior course! RiverFest is not just an event; it's a jubilant celebration of everything that makes the Rockingham County community special. So mark your calendars and get ready to join in the festivities!

The Crabdaddy Seafood & Wine Festival is one of the best fall 2023 Carolina events

Compete against other wannabe Crab-Daddies in the crab pot toss!

Crabdaddy Seafood & Wine Festival — One Of The Most Hilarious Fall 2023 Carolina Events!

October 7, 2023
Jarvisburg, NC

Every autumn, the notorious Crabdaddy scuttles from the muck of the Currituck Sound to throw the ultimate seafood and wine festival with all the essential Carolina trappings of unbridled gluttony: a bottomless buffet of fresh steamed crabs, fish fry platters brimming with sumptuous sides, and an award-winning curation of wines to gulp it all down.

If you’re feeling scrappy under that shell, sign up to compete in the vigorous Crabdaddy Olympics, where you’ll go head-to-head with the crustiest of the crustaceans in historic events like the crab pot shuffle, the CTuck grape stomp, and the crab crawl race. *Soft shells are also encouraged to participate!

If you’re in the mood to flaunt your Crabdaddy gold (or participation) medal for a few days, there are many fun fall 2023 Carolina events and activities in the Currituck area. Explore the Currituck Maritime Museum, scale the 220 steps to the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, or embark on a search for the wild horses of Corolla.

Candy apples at the Autumn Leaves Festival

Feast on delicious treats like these literal candy-covered apples at the Autumn Leaves Festival.

Autumn Leaves Festival

October 13-15, 2023
Downtown Mount Airy, NC (Corner of Rawley Ave. and N Main St. to N Main / Pine St. Intersection + side streets)

Come and join the fall leaf-peepers as they embrace the vibrant spirit of autumn in Mayberry! In October, Mount Airy, NC, comes alive with the enchanting Autumn Leaves Festival™. This nationally acclaimed event weaves together a beautiful tapestry of music, arts, crafts, and mouthwatering cuisine, creating an atmosphere filled with pure festivity. From October 13 to 15, 2023, the streets of Downtown Mount Airy burst with life as people from all over the country and our local community gather to celebrate. Take a leisurely stroll through charming streets, where you'll discover vendors offering handcrafted treasures and irresistible foods that are truly worth the wait. Don't forget to explore our must-see attractions and enjoy the melodious tunes of some of the finest musicians around. The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to extend a warm and heartfelt invitation to all Carolina travelers, their friends, and their family to join Mount Airy in continuing the cherished tradition that is the Autumn Leaves Festival™.

Scream Dreams basement view

Scream Dreams is one of many terrifying haunted immersive experiences in the Carolinas.

Scream Dreams

Fridays and Saturdays in October + October 31 (Halloween)
Thomasville, NC

Enter – if you dare – to the largest indoor haunted attraction in the Carolinas! Geared for horror-seekers ages 12 and up, this 45-minute journey through the basement of an abandoned furniture factory is one of the beset fall 2023 Carolina events — it's sure to have you shrieking, sweating, and calling out, “Mommy!”

Try not to get lost in the nightmarish maze of 50+ rooms and hallways, where torture and terror lurk at every turn. Delusional clowns, obsessed hunters, and vicious vampires will all be on your heels – you can even add on discounted digital picture packages to capture the hilariously horrific memories from your haunted adventure!

NC Boo at the Zoo

Bring your Lil' Boo to the NC Zoo!

Boo At The Zoo

October 21, 22, 28, 29, 2023
Asheboro, NC

Exotic animals like to go trick-or-treating, too! Visit the North Carolina Zoo on select weekends in October for fall 2023 Carolina events and family-friendly Halloween fun with your favorite animal friends. Participate in Halloween-themed games, animal storytelling circles, live children’s entertainment, and a youth costume contest! 

Now is a great time to enjoy the NC Zoo’s seasonal attractions until they close at the end of autumn. Embark on a Zoofari ride, wander through butterfly gardens, and take on the air hike ropes course – there’s something exhilarating for animal lovers of all ages!

NC Cotton Fest

Come check out the NC Cotton Fest! Polyester, nylon, and other materials begrudgingly permitted…

Cotton Festival

November 4, 2023
Dunn, NC

It’s North Carolina – of course, there’s a cotton festival! 2023 year marks the 23rd anniversary of the North Carolina Cotton Festival. Pull up a lawn chair or get your groove on as local performers entertain revelers on two concert stages. Peruse downtown Dunn's 150+ vendor booths featuring delicious treats, crafts and wares, and more.

The Dunn Shriner’s Car Show – a regular feature of the NC Cotton Festival – returns this year with over 125 cars competing for awards presented in the afternoon. No admission is required to participate in the NC Cotton Festival, arranged by the Dunn Area Tourism Authority. Join over 15,000 locals at one of the best fall 2023 Carolina events celebrating the North Carolina farmers and cotton farming heritage so integral to Dunn and the surrounding area. 

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