Fall is here; pumpkin spice is in full swing, it’s sweater weather, and the leaves are nearing their peak season. It’s a great time to pack up and get away— not only are you (hopefully) beating the snow, but you are also beating the busy vacation season. Because of this, fall is generally a more affordable time to travel and find deals. Check out these five family-friendly getaways that are perfect if you’re on a budget!
The Catskills, New York
The Northern East Coast offers some of the best fall foliage in the nation, and New York is no exception. The Catskills feature picturesque scenery and low-cost stays, making this an affordable long weekend location. You’ll have your pick of orchards, historic sites, hiking, breweries, and more. Are you super into the great outdoors? There are plenty of camping locations to choose from near picnic areas, lakes, and beaches with many amenities and activities. The Catskills are also well-known for hosting Oktoberfest, a free German-American festival full of food, music, and family-friendly activities that spans multiple weekends in October.
Gettysburg is the place to go if you’re looking for history, haunts, and a view. Steeped in a darker past, Gettysburg offers facts and fun for families of all ages. Learn about the bloodiest Civil War battle during the day, then hop on a nightly tour to see who might still be lurking around— over 150 years later. If spooky things aren’t your jam, there’s still plenty to enjoy, from apple orchards to farmers’ markets, wineries, and more. Check out the National Apple Harvest Festival in October for delicious food, homemade crafts, and tons of family-friendly entertainment, like live music, pony rides, and orchard tours.
Colorado is known as the sunniest state, and Boulder offers plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family. Soak up some sun with walks around the many historic and beautiful neighborhoods, a scenic bike ride along Bobolink Trail, or a mural, farm, or food tour—a foodie’s dream. If you happen to catch some rainy weather, Boulder can recompense with indoor activities, like the Fiske Planetarium at the College of Arts and Sciences, the historical Museum of Boulder, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMOCA). Check out downtown Pearl Street for great shopping, dining, and the Boulder Fall Fest, a 3-day festival in September.
New Brunswick, Canada
Closer to home but far enough that you’ll need your passport, Canada offers many incredible autumn sights and things to do. New Brunswick hosts some great fall festivals, like La Grande Grouille Pumpkin Festival at the New Brunswick Botanical Gardens, scenic driving routes, farmers’ markets, and activities along the Miramichi River. Take your pick from boat tours to kayaking and check out the gorgeous views from the water. Then, take a step back in time and explore the Victorian-themed village of King’s Landing, which is not to be mistaken for the fictional Game of Thrones city. You can enjoy a 19th-century Thanksgiving, tour the village, see costumed characters from New Brunswick’s past, check out the farm animals or hop on a wagon ride. Don’t forget to browse the various artisan and souvenir shops as well.
If you’re looking to get out and travel abroad, Romania is an affordable Eastern European destination, especially in the fall. It offers low-cost eats and hotels, plus plenty of autumn scenery. Transylvania is great for Halloween lovers, with sites like the legendary Bran Castle—AKA Dracula’s Castle. You can visit historical locations related to Vlad the Impaler, crash an epic Halloween party, and even spend the night in the castle if you’re among the particularly brave. But, if horror isn’t for you, there’s still tons to do. Transylvania makes up about 1/3 of Romania; you’d need multiple days to experience it all. Among other medieval villages and architecture, you can explore the countryside, tour the underground salt mines, camp out at Retezat National Park, or hitch a ride on Mocanita Sovata, one of 10 narrow-gauge steam locomotives manufactured in Poland in 1949.
Planning a family vacation on a budget can be quite a task, but don’t lose hope. Reduced fall prices on airfare, hotels, and car rentals can open your options up tenfold. Plus, you’d be avoiding the summer crowds and experiencing great views if you go somewhere that boasts beautiful foliage. It’s also a great time to take your RV out once more before the cold weather really sets in, especially if you plan to stay in the country. Once you’re back, free up your driveway and park your RV at a convenient, local self storage facility. Regardless of how or where you plan to travel, fall offers many budget-friendly vacation options for families to take advantage of.