One of the best seasons to take your family on vacation is soon upon us; I am talking about fall, of course! Fall is the perfect time of year to explore new destinations or revisit some of your favorite family trips in the US and experience them in the fall. With cooler weather and fewer crowds than during peak seasons like summer and spring break, families can enjoy plenty of fall fun without breaking the bank.
Best of all, we’ve included some fabulous fall getaways a little off the beaten path, some that are excellent educational opportunities for homeschoolers, and a few that won’t be included in every online post or article you read!
Best Fall Getaways In Us For Families
In this post, we will be looking at some of the best fall vacation destinations in the US. A couple of “mainstream” options should be mentioned before we dive into the monthly breakdown. While they might strike you as a common idea, they are definitely worth considering for a fall family trip in the US!
Whether you want a small-town feel or an exciting theme park experience, we hope these suggestions will inspire your next adventure.
Best Fall Trip to A Pumpkin Patch!
It’s hard to think of the fall season and not think of pumpkins and the autumn harvest. Why not turn a traditional family outing to a local pumpkin patch into an adventure getaway for the whole family?
One of the best fall getaways in the US for the whole family would be a road trip to a pumpkin patch or a festival at a new destination.
Pumpkin Patch and More is a directory that covers the US by state and region. You can find locations that include hayrides, corn mazes, and even safe trick-or-treating.
Best Time For Theme Park Fall Trips in the US.
One of the slowest weeks of the year for theme parks like Disney is typically following Labor Day. If you want to have cooler weather, way less crowds, and lower overall costs, this is a good time of year to look into discount packages for theme parks.
Keep in mind, with the onset of Halloween celebrations, make sure you check for parks closing earlier for specially ticketed nighttime spooky events. With the massive success of Halloween Horror Nights for Universal over the years, they’ve increased the number of days significantly, starting on September 3rd in Orlando this year.
Even the Big WDW (the “Mouse House”) has jumped on that bandwagon by offering an After Hours Boo-Bash on August 10th and select nights through October 31st. This can seriously cut into your park time if you tend to be “non-morning motivated.”
If you think your littles are too small to visit Disney World, besides being free for 3 year-olds and under, read this!
Best Fall Trips In The US (Sep, Oct & Nov Months!)
Balmy beaches or cool and crisp? What is your family up for this year? Countless fabulous spots are perfect for families with children of all ages and interests.
Does your family prefer more of a hidden gem experience away from crowds this year? Don’t worry if you feel that the best fall vacation in the US this year is to avoid the touristy spots; that’s been taken into account too.
Best Places To Visit In September In The USA.
There are plenty of cities to visit that will be bustling with people but won’t be as crowded and hot as in summer. And there is something for everyone – from museums to outdoor adventures to family-friendly festivals.
Mount Airy, North Carolina
Mount Airy is a classic TV buff and a homeschooling family’s dream, the 1960’s fictional town of Mayberry from The Andy Griffith’s Show, along with a turn of the 19th century home Gertrude Smith House museum.
The town proudly thrives on everything Mayberry, from the annual Mayberry Days party in September to businesses on Main Street dedicated to the fictitious town with names inspired by the show.
There are weekly Beer and Banjo sessions at the White Elephant Brewery and other musical events at Earle’s Theater. Earle’s also offers music lovers the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall and a movie theater.
The Yadkin Valley offers over 30 wineries if wine tasting is on your list of loves. How about an opportunity to learn the history of distilling at the first legal distillery after prohibition in North Carolina? No surprise, it’s called “Mayberry Spirits,” of course.
Speaking of history, the Museum of Regional History exhibits the lifestyles of Saura Indians who inhabited the area in the 1600s and 18th-century immigrants of “The Hollows” who made their home there.
Round out the learning curriculum with a fascinating biology lesson on the Bunker twins. At the Andy Griffith Playhouse, there is an exhibit dedicated to the lives of Eng and Chang; the brothers are the genesis of the term “Siamese Twins. They had 22 children between them and have over 1500 descendants.
This area has many attractions, including great outdoor activities like biking, horseback riding, hiking, boating, kayaking, and golfing. It was hard to narrow it all down, so Mount Airy definitely ranks as one of the best fall getaways to visit in September in the US!
Crater Lake, Oregon
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors and hiking, then Crater Lake is a must-see location this time of year.
After a cataclysmic volcanic eruption caused the collapse of Mount Mazama some 7,700 years ago, Crater Lake was formed. It’s the deepest and most pure lake in America, with a depth of about 1,900 feet at its deepest spot.
Crater Lake is one of the best places to visit in September in the USA because you can drive Oregon’s 33-mile Rim Drive. Which, nine out of 12 months, Oregon’s highest paved road is usually closed. It is actually part of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway and a worthwhile 500-mile road trip!
Any trip to Crater Lake must include the 30 min boat trip to Wizard Island (ranger included) for the chance to stand in the volcanic crater.
Are you lucky to get enough of the great outdoors already? Are you looking for a family experience and entertainment that isn’t only an amusement park? You need to check out Branson, Missouri!
Sometimes referred to as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World,” there are plenty of places to go and things to do in Branson, Missouri. Kids will love Silver Dollar City and having dinner at the Dolly Parton Stampede show. In addition to top-quality live performances, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the attractions that adults will even look forward to doing!
There’s something for everyone and every age with options like the Aquarium at the Boardwalk, the BigFoot Fun Park Discovery Expedition, and the Titanic museum. Don’t miss family favorite, recently voted USA Today’s Best Aerial Adventure Park in America, Shepherd of the Hills.
September is considered a shoulder month at this well-favored destination. The temperatures are cooler, the crowds lighter, and all the events are still up and running! Branson typically offers well-priced, reasonable hotel accommodations and show packages for the whole family.
September is one of the best months to vacation in Branson to also enjoy the Autumn Daze Festival, and Silver Dollar City hosts the National Harvest and Cowboy Festival.
Best Places To Visit In October In USA
October is a great month to take a fall family trip in the US. Each region offers different climates to enjoy. October brings amazing weather, fewer crowds with children back in school, and all things pumpkin spice flavored are available. A plethora of fall festivals and celebrations occur in October.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
The natural beauty of this 42-mile long rocky coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is recognized as the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It’s located on the shores of Lake Superior in Munising, Michigan.
A trip to this unique area provides breathtaking views of the Lake Superior shoreline, with sandstone cliffs, caves, and waterfalls, and is a gorgeous place to visit in October. There’s plenty for children to explore: hiking trails, beaches, lighthouses, and the lore of the indigenous woodland Obijwe Indian people.
Hiking or biking along the beachfront will provide stunning views for sightseers and smartphone pics, with beautiful beaches, sandstone arches, wildlife, glacial ponds, and spectacular waterfalls.
If your family is on the truly adventurous side, camping is also available in and around the park. Instead of dragging gear, there are many available camping accommodations via Hipcamp-I even saw a completely renovated, tiny-living school bus. Wow!
It’s said that the best getaway in October in the US on the upper peninsula is only complete when you experience Pictured Rocks on the water. You can book one of the three Pictured Rock Cruises, offered through mid-October, or take on the beauty more privately by kayak or canoe.
Not many will argue that seeing the coast via the water is the way to truly enjoy the sea caves of the lakeshore, where you can reach out to touch the mammoth cliffs.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs, Arkansas, is an overwhelmingly attractive Fall destination with great activities for all families. When I say overwhelmingly, I mean just plain overwhelming. Trying to sum up all the activities, events, concerts, shows, parks, shopping, camping, museums, fishing, festivals… it’s not an exaggeration that this paragraph (actually four) has been rewritten and deleted many, many times. It might be easier to list what is NOT available at this fantastic place to visit in mid-October!
The best part, it doesn’t feel like a glitzy/touristy, “all flash, no class,” type place. Hot Springs is celebrating its National Park Centennial this year. There are a few National Parks on this list because they are genuinely some of the best fall vacations in the US; however, Hot Springs goes so beyond just a National Park and its destination town.
Hot Springs, Arkansas, on its own, is a beautiful combination of outdoor activities and indoor entertainment. The first weekend in October is the Hot Springs Arts & Crafts Fair, which lasts three days. The Valley Of The Vapors Independent Music Festival includes family camping for the whole festival weekend, and kids under 12 are free.
There are other musical events offered throughout the month, such as a Big Band Concert Series, The Blues Brothers On A Mission From God, A Fleetwood Mac tribute, and even a Barbara Streisand tribute, plus a variety of comedy nights too.
Film Buff? The 30th Annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival featuring over 100 films is scheduled for October 8-16, 2021. Ok, just a few more because these aren’t your run-of-the-mill activities…
Better not forget to mention the springs themselves! There are spas and baths, plus hot springs to sit and soak your cares away.
Have a brewed adult beverage crafted with thermal spring waters at Superior Bathhouse Brewery for a quirky twist. Originally built in 1916 as a bathhouse on Bathhouse Row, it reopened in 2011 as a brewery!
Skypark, Lake Arrowhead, CA
Beginning in 1955 and spanning a couple of decades, Santa’s Village was a truly unique and magical alpine experience in Lake Arrowhead, California. Collaboratively created with local artisans and craftsmen, this charming village was a childhood favorite for a generation.
Now Santa’s Village has been totally renovated and restored to its magical glory. This 230-acre property has been turned into an outdoor enthusiast dream!
There is nothing like the fresh alpine air for mountain biking, fishing, trekking, ziplining, skating, rock climbing walls, and even balance bike training for the littles. There are several grades of bike and hiking trails to explore. Try your hand at archery, ax throwing, or sharpshooting at the gallery.
There are so many pursuits, everyone in your family will be well entertained and engaged with all the available activities. Visit Santa’s House, the workshop, or Santa’s post office to send your wish list. There’s the Northwest Express Train Ride and Santa’s Mining Village, where you can pan for minerals, arrowheads and even help Santa find his good luck gold coin.
Really to make a go of it and stay at the Skypark Camp & RV Resort? The campground is across the street from Skypark, with breathtaking scenic views from “Rim of The World Highway” in Skyforest, California. Panoramic views of the Southern California basin and Catalina Island off the Pacific Coast make this one of the best places to visit in October in the USA.
Best Places To Visit In November In USA
The fall season in November is one of the most beautiful times to visit several locations throughout the United States. The leaves in the northern United States are almost entirely faded, and snow may have begun to fall. Maybe you’d prefer not to need woolen socks?
Luckily, the intensely hot summer days in the southern United States have been replaced with temperate weather, and outdoor water play or adventures aren’t out of the question.
Some may like it hot, while others may like it cold; either way, it is low season in many places, so flight and hotel reservations and deals are there for the taking!
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my family and I have explored a LOT of Las Vegas and Nevada! I’d have to recommend Vegas as one of the best November vacations in the US!
Aside from Thanksgiving week, flights and accommodations in Vegas are less expensive than usual because it’s a slower time of year. While the weather is cooler, you should have clear skies for most, if not all, of your November visit.
If you’re wondering how “Sin City” could possibly be one of the best fall vacations in the US, check out my Ultimate List of Things To Do In Vegas With Kids. It won’t disappoint!
San Francisco, California
Every child should have the chance to experience trolley cars and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This California city is lovely to visit in any season. Still, November is one of the warmer months, with temperatures ranging from 51° – 65° F, which is the same or slightly lower than July’s temperatures on average.
Visiting in November has its own appeal. Not only will it be warm and sunny, but you will also avoid the mobs and tourists that plague the city during July, August, and September.
One of the top things to do in San Francisco is renting a bike and cycling across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Enjoy a stroll and a nice lunch, then ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the views along the way are simply spectacular.
If your party’s of varying fitness levels, there are electric bikes that can be rented for someone who might typically sit out of an extended bike ride. Or, opt for a segway tour around the city!
Several day tour options like the San Francisco: Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, & Sausalito Tour start in an airconditioned bus. Visiting the National Park, seeing the sequoias, spending time in Sausalito, then taking the ferry or choosing to bike back.
After all that fresh air and exercise, you’re sure to be ravenous, and the food will not disappoint! San Francisco is well known for its unique and regional foods. A wide variety of fresh and exquisitely prepared seafood is available in San Francisco: abalone, Dungeness crab, Cioppino, sand dabs, bay shrimp, and local oysters, to name a few.
Make sure to stop at Pier 39 and get some famous SF sourdough bread to take home or enjoy some with a meal at Fisherman’s Wharf.
San Francisco is also well known for its Victorian houses; an estimated 40,000 Victorian homes were built between 1850 and 1900. And for you “Full or Fuller House” fans, you can see the famed Tanner Home in the area of the Painted Ladies.
Don’t forget to visit the “Crookedest Street in the World,” the famous Lombard Street. Stoll beautiful piers, visit the farmers market on Saturdays and ride the famous streetcars or cable cars. Did you know San Francisco’s cable cars are a mobile National Historic Landmark?
Best November Beach Vacation in the USA: Southern Florida!
Fall; for Florida, the best temperatures of the year are here, and they’re about to get even better. The mornings may be cooler, but afternoons in November will be perfect: low humidity, average highs hovering between 79°F to 82°F, seawater in the high 70s to low 80’s… It’s the ideal month to spend a weekend or week away with the family and have fun in the sun.
Florida’s beaches are ideal for visiting in November and offer a plethora of locations. Whether you’re looking for lively nightlife to pair with your sun and fun, or a cozy small-town vibe, you can find it in Florida. With three different bodies of water to choose from: The Gulf of Mexico, The Atlantic Ocean, and The Florida Straits, you’re sure to find the perfect location for your best family beach vacation in November!
On the east coast is the Atlantic Ocean, the locale of my family’s favorite beach closest to home. Hollywood Beach is about four miles north of Miami and 15 miles from party central for a more G-rated beach day! Rent a surrey bike, or stroll along the boardwalk with plenty of eateries and a playground and splash pad area. After enjoying beach time, you’ll run out of vaca time before you run out of Things To Do In Miami With Kids.
You can’t go wrong with a November vacation in Fort Myers & Sanibel Island if you’ve chosen the Gulf waters. There are many water activities to enjoy in calmer waters and flat sandy beaches: paddle boarding, jet skiing, parasailing, or treating your kids to a dolphin sightseeing boat tour. With so many family-oriented activities available, you won’t have to wrack your brain figuring out Things To Do in Fort Myers & Sanibel Island With Kids!
At the southernmost destinations of Florida are the legendary Keys. (We get “key” from the Spanish word “cayo,” meaning small island). November is the beginning of the dry season with clear skies, little rainfall, and mild winds. With average temps of 75°F and lows of 60°F at this time of year, it’s only a small part of the reason I consider Key West one of The Best Family Vacation Spots in Florida!
In Key West, you can make your claim to fame by visiting the “Southernmost Point in the Continental USA.” No trip to the Keys is complete without watching a phenomenal Florida Sunset, or sunrise for that matter!
There are many thrilling Things To Do in Key West With Kids, so don’t let any lingering worries about the “adult” centered activities keep you from visiting. You will easily tell your friends that Key West is the best November family vacation in the US!
Our family has visited many of Florida’s glorious beaches, and I’ve written loads of articles about Florida in particular. There are plenty of exciting things for families to experience together.
If you’re looking for the best November beach vacation in the USA, South Florida covers all the bases: swaying palms, gentle breezes, warm waters, and inviting beaches; they can’t be beaten!
Where Will You Be Taking Your Fall Vacation?
We hope this list of the best fall vacations in the US (September, October, & November months) will inspire you to pack up the kids and head out for an amazing, fun-filled adventure.
Any one of these destinations will easily become one of your family’s best fall trips in the US.