It’s the crisp air and kaleidoscope of red, yellow, and orange falling leaves that makes autumn truly spectacular. Enjoy piping apple cider, hayrides, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches this harvest season with your family on vacation to one of these top destinations!
Plan A Fall Break Family Vacation To These Places!
The kids will learn about this historic town at some point in school, so why not bring it to life for them this fall? It may be chilly, but stunning the fall foliage makes Williamsburg the most beautiful in autumn. Near Jamestown and Yorktown, this collection of living monuments to American colonial times are worth the admission tickets. You can save by buying them in a package deal, which includes entrance to the Busch Gardens amusement park. There’s even an Oktoberfest-themed village with beer gardens inside!
Thousands attend Farmer John’s Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay each fall for live music, a parade, haunted house, and more. You can also golf, shop, wine taste locally in the gorgeous seaside town on the cliffs. Visit the harbor for fresh oysters and clam chowder, or walk or bike along the Coastside Trail for fantastic views. Thousands of gray whales migrate this time of year, making it the perfect opportunity to take a whale watching tour along the coast.
Ever wanted to see more than 7,000 illuminated jack o’ lanterns individually hand-carved and put together to form elaborate walk-thru displays? For the month of October, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Hudson Valley makes it happen! The spectacle includes synchronized light shows, flying pumpkin ghosts, a Pumpkin Planetarium, and other unforgettable Halloween-themed sites to gawk at.
Bear Mountain Oktoberfest takes place just an hour north of NYC. Also for families with older kids, consider visiting the real Sleepy Hollow where the Washington Irving tale comes to life. Each October, Philipsburg Manor transforms into Horseman’s Hollow, an elaborate haunted house based on the classic story. Tickets for these events sell out quickly, so plan ahead!
Celebrate Yellowstone National Park’s centennial this fall with your loved ones! Pristine lakes, gushing waterfalls, and soaring peaks make Yellowstone National Park a true autumn treasure. You’ll skip the summer crowds but will definitely want to bundle up (snow is common during this time of year). Visit Old Faithful and the Mammoth Hot Springs, but also save time for lesser-known trails, like along the Lewis River Channel for wildlife site-seeing.
Named one of Parenting.com’s Top 10 Best Cities for Families, Nashville is home to country music, BBQ, plenty of country culture, and fall splendor. September and October has the most pleasant weather with lowest humidity levels of the year. Boo at the Zoo celebrates Halloween with hayrides and trick-or-treat stations. Stop by Cheekwood Harvest, where over 5,000 chrysanthemums bloom by autumn, and see the scarecrows and pumpkin patch. There are even Dia de los Muertos celebrations on October 24th.
Family vacations are all about making memories that last a lifetime, and it would be hard to forget the first time you see the nearly 300 mile expanse that is the Grand Canyon. Up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, the rust-colored magnificence won’t disappoint at any time of year. But fall can be especially pleasant for visiting, with temperature averages in the 60s September to October.
About 45 minutes south of Boston, you can visit historical Plymouth and commemorate the place where the first Thanksgiving was spent. The Plimoth Plantation and Wampanoag are both living museums where 17th century living is displayed year round. You can even visit a full-scale replica of the Mayflower harborside. Plymouth also holds an annual Thanksgiving celebration the weekend before the holiday, with concerts, waterfront activities, traditional New England dishes, and one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country.
They call it “leaf-peeping” in Vermont. However you like to say it, the spectacular foliage that appears in September to November in this state are simply breathtaking. There are plenty of family-friendly festivals, harvests, and corn mazes that truly make fall one of the best times to visit the Green Mountain State. The list includes the Jay Peak Trail Running Festival (with a kids’ trail race), Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival (as fun as it sounds), and a Sheep & Wool Festival with barn animals and fall shopping.
9. The New England Region
If you haven’t noticed by now, the vibrant fall colors that begin turning around mid-September and peak mid-Octboer in New England are reason enough to add the entire region to our list. But the list of family activities doesn’t hurt, either. Limitless town’s in the region will boast farmer’s markets, pumpkin stands, hay rides, apple orchards, hikes, and resorts full of fall family fun. Plus, the coastline often still feels summer warmth, without the summer crowds.
For an affordable family fall retreat in the Midwest, Traverse City is one of the best. Located at the northern edge of Lake Michigan, temperatures in September still average 70 F, and the weather continues to get crisper through October. Known for it’s rolling hills, lush forest of fall foliage, and stunning views of one of the Great Lakes, Traverse City is a masterpiece this time of year. Families can also take advantage of the city-wide Fab Fall promotions, with deals on dining wineries, spas, shopping, golf, and more.
The best time to visit the Emerald City is from September to October. It bypasses the summer high season and avoids the freezing temperatures that come with winter. You and your family will enjoy beautiful weather in the 60s and not too much rain. Stop at Remlinger Farms for harvest activities and pumpkin rides. You can take interactive tours at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery for a new fall experience, hike breathtaking Snoqualmie Falls, or watch the Oyster Slurp competition at Fisherman’s Fall Festival. The Woodland Park Zoo during October even hosts a Pumpkin Bash, and plenty of fun for the whole family.
This article was written by Lauren Riley.