Autumn is a perfect time to think about where to go in September. The best places to go, on holiday in October, for a fall family vacation are desinations that allow you to disconnectand enjoy family time.
Thanks to crisp air, vibrant foliage, and the tourists are finally gone home! Whether you want to admire natural wonders in the Smoky Mountains or see the Tide Pools in Victoria, BC these fall getaways offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy comfortable temperatures without all of the crowds.
October festivals, fall colors, and cooler weather is my favorite time of the year to pack up the car and go on weekend vacation to re energize and focus on what makes you happy.
If you are looking for more than a weekend getaway – Europe’s busy tourist season is slowing down to a more moderate pace, making it the perfect time for a trip to the Czech Republic.
There’s nothing quite so enchanting as discovering a new place in the autumn, when cooler temperatures make walking a pleasure and outdoor adventures are rewarded with piping hot drinks around cozy fireplaces.
From hikes along one of Europe’s most beautiful lakeside villages awash in fall colors to festivals celebrating the culinary bounty of the season, these seven spots offer a host of reasons to visit when sweater weather hits.
Where To Go In September
1. Autumn In The Ozarks
The Ozark Mountains, which cover much of the southern half of Missouri and northern Arkansas, are one of the Midwest’s most beautiful and overlooked gems.
Located in the northwest corner of Arkansas is a funky college town called Fayetteville. The city is home to the University of Arkansas and is the gateway to the picturesque Boston Mountains.
Autumn is the perfect time to plan a visit to NorthWest Arkansas, as the annual Ozark Mountain leaf change is vibrant and incredibly scenic.
The peak time for leaf change is generally late October to around Thanksgiving. When the leaves are their most colorful take a drive down nearby Scenic Highway 7 or the Pig Trail Scenic Byway.
Camp and float along the Buffalo National River or rent a charming 1930’s restored cabin at Devil’s Den State Park.
The historic Downtown Fayetteville Square is known for its beautiful gardens and award-winning Farmers Market that runs three days a week beginning in April to October.
Best Places To Go In October
2. Fall Vacation in Abingdon, Virginia
If you are in search of stunning fall colors you should consider making Abingdon, Virginia your fall vacation destination. The small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains has plenty of cozy accommodations and indie restaurants and shops.
Begin your day with a ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34-mile hiking, biking, and horseback riding trail. The fall season brings perfect temperatures and unbelievable scenery with an abundance of autumn colors.
Rent a bike and take the 17-mile ride through the Jefferson National Forest. Somewhere between Abingdon and Damascus, you will find the Abingdon Vineyard and Winery.
Recharge your battery with a wine tasting and lunch on the outdoor patio overlooking the South Holston River.
After exploring Abington all day unwind at The Martha Washington Inn & Spa, a historic 4-star inn originally constructed in 1832.
Enjoy a cocktail on the front porch overlooking Main Street or schedule a massage at Martha’s Spa to work out the kinks from the bike ride.
Autumn In Abington is beautiful so make the drive and view the fall foliage by traveling State Highway State US 58 toward Damascus.
Stop off and in Damascus and hike the Appalachian Trail, which runs right through downtown, or continue to Whitetop and Mount Rogers – The two highest mountain peaks in Virginia.
There will be great hiking, camping, picnicking and horse trails and just maybe you will get a chance to see wild ponies grazing which makes Abington top on my list for one of the best fall destinations.
Fall Family Vacation In October
3. Alpine Helen & White County Georgia
Alpine Helen is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in White County, Georgia. Fall finds Northern Georgia set amongst the glorious tapestry of the heavily forested Blue Ridge Mountains adorned with colors so vivid they could only be a work of Mother Nature.
Fall is also the perfect opportunity to visit the Unicoi Wine Trail. Explore White County’s eight wineries, tour the vineyards, and relish the delights discovered in the tasting rooms.
Through revitalization, Helen was designed to resemble a town in the Bavarian Alps complete with cobblestone pathways, cozy hotels, and authentic German food and drink.
Fall brings Oktoberfest, patterned after the traditional festival from the Bavarian town of Munich. Each year Oktoberfest has transformed the tranquil town of Helen into the ultimate party capital.
The Blue Ridge Mountains have long been acknowledged for their breathtaking magnificence and iconic representation of the eastern United States; Alpine Helen and White County may offer one of the few opportunities to enjoy a European getaway right in the states.
4. Fall in Olomouc, Czech Republic
Olomouc deserves a top spot on anyone’s bucket list for a multitude of reasons, and autumn in this unique city allows visitors the freedom to explore its wonders without the crowds of tourist.
A comfortable fall-like chill also makes October a favorite time to spend in the city and really take in all of its histories.
The amazing architecture of Old Town Square is the backdrop for numerous shops, restaurants, and pubs.
Warm soups and hearty stews will top the menus in the fall accompanied by what else but beer. The Czech Republic is also known for their street food which includes mulled wine, sausages, fried cheese sandwiches, and trdelnik, a fluffy, hot, sugar-sprinkled pastry. Click here for Must Try Foods In The Czech Republic.
If you are looking for the perfect place to stay in Olomouc try Long Story Short which is a Luxury Hostel that offers contemporary decor and food to die for.
5. Fall In the Smoky Mountains
Autumn in Gatlinburg is a special time of year. Set against the backdrop of mountains painted with brilliant fall colors, Gatlinburg is consistently recognized as one of the top places to see fall foliage in the United States.
Downtown Gatlinburg follows suit, as the whole city is adorned with lavish fall decorations to kickoff Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.
Combine beautiful surroundings with craft shows, special events, great food and plenty of fun things to do, and visitors are guaranteed a memorable trip to Gatlinburg this fall season.
Autumn in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a special time when a glorious leaf season of several weeks is enjoyed by visitors as fall colors travel down the mountainsides from the highest elevations to the foothills.
The fall color display usually reaches the peak at middle and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.
The Smokies is ultimate fall family vacation for me and I take my daughter annually to see the foliage.
Trick or Treat Kick Off Karnival
The fall foliage is not the only thing October is known for in Gatlinburg. Halloween is the perfect holiday let your inner ghost come out at the annual Trick or Treat Kick Off Karnival!
On October 31, families from all over will descend on Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza for a night of fun with costumed characters, candy, and contests.
Don’t forget to dress up in your favorite Halloween costume. The festivities will run from 1 – 5 p.m. It’s easy to see why the Trick or Treat Kick Off Karnival is one of the most popular things to do in Gatlinburg this fall.
Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg
Oktoberfest is truly an amazing experience in Gatlinburg. I recommend you and your hubby visit Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort for their annual Oktoberfest celebration.
Oktoberfest honors authentic German traditions and influence. You will find a variety of delicious foods, outdoor games, and festive music.
Where To Stay In Gatlinburg To See The Fall Foliage
Are you ready for the best vacation in the mountains you have ever had? Margaritaville Gatlinburg Resort can provide you with the best views to see the foliage in the Great Smokies. All of the rooms have excellent views of the Smokies, fireplaces in each room and it’s only quick drive to the National Park from the hotel.
Want something a little more upscale well head over to Blackberry Farm, nestled in the foothills, for a luxurious stay that’s not to be missed. For travelers looking for adventure, there’s hiking, fly-fishing, and horseback riding aplenty in these iconic mountains.
Good places to see fall colors in the Smoky Mountains include:
- Newfound Gap Road from Alum Cave Trailhead to Kephart Prong Trailhead
- The Blue Ridge Parkway, Foothills Parkway East & West
- Heintooga Ridge Road to Balsam Mountain Campground
- Rich Mountain Loop
- Chestnut Top Trail
- Smokemont Loop
- Kanati Fork
- Sutton Ridge Overlook (Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail)
6. Relaxing Fall Getaway In Victoria, BC
The Butchart Gardens
High Tea At The Empress
Botanical Tide Pools
Victoria, BC is home to incredibly beautiful beaches and good size lakes attracting numerous water lovers and beach enthusiasts from around the world. Some say they are the best beaches in the world!
Botanical Beach is at the west end of Juan de Fuca Park and is known for being one of the richest tidal areas on the West Coast.
Experience the vibrant shorelines that feature some of the greatest geological features. The unique shoreline is known for its abundance of intertidal life.
You can find hundreds of species of plants and animals.
While exploring, be careful of the massive tidal waves that hit the beach as they can pull an unsuspecting visitor, especially children, into the water. They are a spectacle to see though!
Sandcut Beach was one of my excursion on my day trip along Vancouver Island’s south-west coast. It is situated between French Beach Provincial Park and Jordan River. Access to the beach is easy to find just look for the gravel parking lot just off the highway.
The beach is about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot along a trail through the thick forest of giant cedar, spruce and douglas fir trees draped with moss and witch’s hair, also known as old man’s beard.
After a short walk to the beach, you’ll find a beautiful waterfall where you can either have a picnic or just walk along the beach in awe of Mother Nature from the thousands of rocks and seaweed that looks like sea monsters. It’s a perfect spot to take photos and bird watching.
Autumn will be gone before you know it so now is the time to plan a trip to take in some of the most amazing displays of fall colors, festivals, and a maybe just a little-uninterrupted quality time with your family.
7. Bruges, Belgium
A UNESCO World Heritage City, Bruges charms visitors year-round with Old World visuals and delicious food. In autumn there are fewer crowds along its cobblestoned streets so you will be able to enjoy the colors on the trees as they change to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.
The best way to take in the foliage is with a cruise along the winding canals, which take passengers past secret gardens and the city’s medieval buildings.
Or, for a bird’s eye view of town, climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfort, pausing for a breather with a on the way up in the old treasury, where the city’s important documents were kept during the Middle Ages.
Check in to Hotel De Tuilerieën, located in an updated 15th century patrician house right on the Dijver Canal, an easy walk from the city’s sights. Warm up with a cocktail by the lounge’s fireplace before a short stroll to Den Gouden Karpel for mussels, a Belgian staple, served in a broth of white wine, garlic, and cream.
8. Florence, Italy
In October the crowds start to die down as the summer temperatures dip. But with so many indoor activities—from the visiting the masterworks at the Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia to taking in architectural marvels like the Duomo—the cold and sometimes rainy autumn weather won’t dampen your visit. Fall is also the harvest season when celebrations abound in and around Florence.
Grape and wine festivals take place throughout Tuscany in September, chestnuts and mushrooms are feted in October, while white truffles and olive oil have dedicated fairs in November.
9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Few things are more peaceful than Amsterdam in the fall, when the summer crowds have gone home but it’s still warm enough to enjoy strolling along the quiet canals.
Visitors can also take advantage of the city’s bike-friendly infrastructure and explore Amsterdam on two wheels—pedal to Vondelpark to take in the fall colors, then museum hop around the nearby Museum Quarter, home to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.
Save time for a shopping the well-curated boutiques of De 9 Straatjes, then toast your finds at The Dylan, which offers “High Wine” between 3 and 6pm with four wines paired with amuse-style bites for about €40 per person.
For a peaceful sleep in the heart of the canal district, check in to the family-run Posthoorn, a renovated 17th century canal house, where a hot breakfast is delivered to your room each morning.
10. The Cotswolds, England
Cotswolds is a quaint little town about an hour-and-a-half drive from London. The beautiful rolling hills, stone villages, country inns and cozy pubs and make the Cotswolds an ideal fall getaway.
Make your base in Broadway at the Farncombe Estate, which offers several accommodation options across its 400 acres of woodland and fields.
If you want to take full advantage of the fall foliage I suggest staying in the newly completed treehouses, which include grownup amenities like heated floors and well-stocked minibars.
From here, it’s a short drive to many of the region’s most appealing villages like Bibury, where a stroll along the historic cottages on Arlington Row is best followed by a pint nestled in an armchair around the fire at The Swan, an 18th century hotel on the banks of the River Coln.
You can also take in the fall colors with a stroll down part of Cotswold Way, a 102-mile trail that takes walkers across farms, fields, and forests then warm up with afternoon tea at the stately Slaughters Manor House in Lower Slaughter.
11. Olomouc, Czechia
Olomouc is a mere two hours by train from Prague, so you can visit this city on a day trip from Prague but I suggest staying overnight at Long Story Short which is a luxury hostel so you can really get a feel for the town, culture, and food.
Olomouc has become one of my favorite destinations and if you are traveling to Prague this fall I suggest making time and fitting Olomouc into your travel itinerary.
The main square is among the country’s nicest, surrounded by historic buildings and blessed with a Unesco-protected trinity column.
The streets are lined with beautiful churches, authentic Czech Restaurants and cafes, along with stunning architecture.
Make sure you check out the ancient Olomouc Castle at the Archdiocesan Museum, then head for one of the many pubs or microbreweries.
Don’t forget to try the cheese, Olomoucký sýr or tvarůžky, reputedly the smelliest in the Czech Republic. If you want to know more about Olomouc check out my post on the best day trip from Prague.
While fall is typically the time when kids go back to school and grown-ups get back to work which means it the perfect time to find lower airline prices and fewer crowds, along with more comfortable temperatures at many popular vacation destinations.
Now that you have read my list of ideal travel spots for enjoying foliage and autumn activities go ahead book your flight today.
If your favorite fall destination didn’t make my list comment below so I can add it to next year’s list.
DO YOU NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE WHEN TRAVELING THIS FALL?
YES! Travel Insurance is important no matter where you are traveling to because accidents happen and you should always travel with insurance.
I got extremely sick in the Czech Republic and that was the one time I decided to forego travel insurance and I racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills and they wanted their money before I would even be seen by the ER Doctors.
PLEASE GET TRAVEL INSURANCE!
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