20+ Tips for Fall Trips for Families


With fall schedules getting underway everywhere, it is easy to hang up the possibility of any sort of travels or vacations, at least for a while.  However, for most families the return to school comes as a bit of a shock.  Suddenly the chance to run free and wild, stay up late, and head out on spontaneous road trips comes to an abrupt halt.  Despite the welcome return to some sort of routine and schedule, the transition is rough in almost all cases.

While getting out and vacationing is much more difficult for most families once school starts, quick weekend (or even day) trips seem to be even more essential than they were throughout the summer.  A quick “stay” or “don’t-go-far-away” vacation on the weekends helps ease everyone back into school without completely snuffing out the adventure fire.

The best part is that getting away this time of the year is even more enjoyable because most people don’t do it.  The tourists have thinned, the weather has cooled to a more comfortable temperature and the bugs are gone until next summer (in most areas).  

Quick Tips for Fall Trips for Families:

  • Check out your local attractions that you usually overlook because they are so close to home.  
  • Go camping.  Go somewhere close or drive a couple hours.
  • Not into sleeping on the ground? The Forest Service has an excellent, affordable cabin rental program on their public lands. 
  • Toss that aside and book a cheap hotel room last minute.
  • Take a day away. Visit a museum, zoo, hiking trail or national monument.  
  • Pack a picnic and just eat dinner (or lunch) outside in a public park.
  • Rent a kayak, SUP or canoe or take a ferry ride.
  • Road trip to a new restaurant in the next town over.
  • Take a train ride.
  • Make your own local photo scavenger hunt (visit the fountain, take a photo with your favorite food at the grocery store, jump over a creek, etc.).
  • Catch one of the last Farmer’s Markets.
  • Check out your State Fair.
  • Go visit a friend (that one you hoped to visit all summer long, but never got around to).
  • Load everyone in the car and take an “auto tour” – just enjoy the sights.

Since those of us with kids know that road-tripping with kids isn’t always easy, we’ve put together some of our best tips for keeping everyone happy and comfortable.  These work for both short trips or longer ones (or that full-day “auto tour”):

  • First of all, make sure everyone is comfortable.  Often, we put kids in car seats without much thought to anything besides their safety.  This year, our kids are riding in the ProComfort Symphony™ DLX All-In-One Car Seat.  We love that it is the one car seat that they ALL can fit in (5-110 lbs).  See more about it below.
  • Pack snacks individually and keep them a surprise.  Pull them out as needed – everyone gets the same thing in their own container.  We love to use reusable snack bags.  Keep the sugar down for happier kids in the long run, and crumbs to a minimum for less mess after the fun.
  • Plan for some cheap, yet effective entertainment.  Pipe cleaners work like a charm.  Let them build, tell stories about what they built, and build again.
  • Resist the urge to check your smart phone.  Turn it off and put it away (except to snap a photo, of course!).  Your kids will thank you and you will feel more refreshed from the outing.  
  • Bring audiobooks.  Most libraries will let you check them out for a limited amount of time and pre-load them onto your player.
  • If all else fails, bust out a DVD or Tablet with videos.  But, reserve this as a last resort – it greatly limits interaction AND means kids are missing the views out their windows.


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Fall Trip Inspiration