Fall Vacations for Family: 4 Budget-Friendly Options for a Weekend Getaway
by Sherry Diaz
For many families, work priorities, financial worries, and other obligations take precedence over a summer vacation.
Fortunately, a quick fall getaway doesn’t have to be expensive. With careful budgeting, a family can sneak away for the weekend for
less than $400. Don’t make excuses any longer. Take advantage of gorgeous autumn weather to take that family vacation you hoped for.
Photo by Somone35 via Wikimedia Commons
As the air gets crisper, leaves slowly turn from green to vibrant scarlet, rich gold, and striking orange in New England. If you
time your vacation right, you’ll hit peak fall colors for a scenic drive. Vermont, famous for its brilliant colors, puts on a beautiful
show from late September through mid-October each year. Check
Yankee Foliage, a website that tracks fall color throughout
the region. To take full advantage, book a themed cabin at the Casablanca Motel (from $130/night) or the mountain style Palmer House ($150/night)
in Manchester, VT. On your drive, plan plenty of breaks to take pictures or grab a special treat (think caramel apples or a slice of pie). Check
out Hildene, the mansion owned by the only son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln ($16 for adults, $5 for youth), or hike to Lye Brook Falls to
catch the fall colors up close.
Photo by Counselman Collection via Flickr
Summer is prime time for most theme parks, which attract thousands of visitors per day. Come autumn, water parks in the northern
latitudes are winding down for the season. Chicago residents can head up to the Wisconsin Dells for a great getaway at the largest indoor
waterpark in the country: the Kalahari Resort ($219/night). For a less expensive hotel, look for
Wisconsin Dells packages that include admission to an indoor waterpark such as
the Kalahari or Great Wolf Lodge. Then, catch a magic show or mine for gemstones at the Dells Mining Company ($15/mining bucket).
Photo by Dougtone via Flickr
Lovely Charleston makes a great getaway for Atlanta residents looking for great food and antebellum charm. Stay in the suburbs for
less expensive lodging options; the Hampton Inn in West Ashley ($159/night) or the Hawthorne Suites ($118/night) are good options. If you’re
in the mood for sightseeing, go for a stroll through the Charleston Waterfront Park before touring the beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
Or, simply head to the beach and watch as your kids play in the sand. Be sure to stop at Andolini’s for pizza — it’s a local
From Los Angeles…
Photo by Jarek Tuszynski via Wikipedia Commons
This fall, enjoy the beautiful weather to make an excursion to Joshua Tree National Park. Located just a couple of hours outside L.A.,
Joshua Tree is paradise for a family weekend. Entrance costs just $15, giving you miles of
trails to explore. Outdoorsy families can take advantage of several campgrounds ($10-15/night). If you prefer traditional lodging, head to Spin and
Margie’s Desert Hideaway ($135/night). The national park is known for its bizarre, otherworldly Joshua trees as well as spectacular night
skies. The thinner desert atmosphere and lack of L.A. smog result in unparalleled viewing of the Milky Way. Check the peak viewing for the
Orionids meteor shower (typically the third week in October) or Leonids meteor shower (mid-November) for the best opportunities to see shooting
Sherry Diaz Sherry is a freelance writer who enjoys mountain biking.