Feeling blue that summer is over? Now’s the time to take advantage of deals at popular fall travel destinations!
This fall travel destinations post was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Fall is the perfect time to get out of town and explore new places.
But with school starting up again, it can be hard to find a destination that’s both affordable and family-friendly.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 10 fall travel destinations for families on a budget!
These are all perfect for October vacations in the US or Canada, so you’ll have plenty of time to plan your trip before winter sets in.
Whether you’re looking for an urban adventure or some outdoor fun, these destinations will keep everyone entertained while still sticking within your budget.
You don’t have to spend your whole paycheck on a vacation. Check out these amazing places that won’t break your budget. These are perfect for families who want an affordable October vacation with plenty of activities for kids and adults alike.
These are perfect for fall break from school. And these fall vacations should be on everyone’s bucket list.
I’ve done a ton of research (and asked friends) and here are 10 of the cheapest places to travel during the fall!
10 Fall Travel Destinations That Won’t Break the Bank
So which areas in the U.S. can you spend a fall vacation in, where you would not have to spend a lot of money? Take a look at this top 10 Fall travel destinations list:
Many people count Alaska out, but Anchorage is an excellent place to visit during the fall season.
You can book a cruise without having to pay premium rates. If you are into the landscape, you definitely could take the Railroad Trail, where you can also have a pretty good view of Mount McKinley.
The fall is a great time to catch the Northern Lights and, if you’re lucky, you just might stumble upon some local wildlife like a Dall sheep or a spot moose.
Budget-Friendly Alaska Hotels
Super 8 by Wyndham Juneau
This little gem is in the best location in Juneau. The Super 8 is far enough away from the hustle and bustle at the port, but it’s close enough that you can go see things there. Check latest rates and more information.
Westmark Fairbanks Hotel
Save Money with Points
Here are the best credit card offers for families who travel and want to use points to pay for airfare and hotels.
Chicago has tons of things to do, both free and very inexpensive, and the best part? The Windy City is known for its fresh air and picturesque grounds. Plus there are tons of Chicago tours for families!
You can also attend the World Music Festival which kicks off in September. That’s one reason why it might be the best fall vacation in the US.
If you do not want to drive around the city, feel free to take the public transportation system so you can easily go from point A to point B without any hassles.
A trip to Chicago would not be complete without a visit to one of the most amazing boardwalks in the US which is Navy Pier in Lake Michigan.
You cannot leave the area either without grabbing a bite of deep-dish pizza. I mean, that is what Chicago is known for after all! You can eat it while you bask in the wonderful fall colors.
Find out the top 10 kid-friendly Chicago activities.
Budget-Friendly Chicago Hotels
Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago
Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace Hotel
Located in the vibrant Lakeview East neighborhood of Chicago, the Hawthorne Terrace is near Chicago’s lakeshore, with one-of-a-kind boutique shops, and fun restaurants. Check latest rates and more information.
Hyatt Place Chicago Midway Airport
Located on the popular Midway Hotel Center Campus, the Hyatt Place Chicago Midway Airport hotel is two blocks from Midway Airport and 8 miles from downtown Chicago. Plus, they offer 24-hr free airport shuttle service. Check latest rates and more information.
Arizona is so hot during the summertime and because of that, it might not be your number one choice for a fall destination trip, BUT it is the absolute best time of the year to visit.
The colors are so inviting during this time and you won’t have an enormous crowd of people like you does during the summertime. And, the rates for flights and accommodations are not too high.
Hotels can be booked for much less during the fall than what a room would have cost in January.
You can take a beautiful venture out towards the Grand Canyon which will allow you to see nature in all its glorious autumn colors. And there are tons of things to do in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Sedona.
Budget-Friendly Arizona Hotels
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Phoenix Scottsdale
Holiday Inn North Phoenix
The Holiday Inn Phoenix North is the newest in contemporary styling and the most modern hotel in the North Phoenix area and it’s conveniently located just a short drive from downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria. Check latest rates and more information.
Best Western Legacy Inn & Suites
Located in Mesa, the Best Western Legacy Inn & Suites has a free deluxe buffet breakfast and a beer and wine bar. Plus, it’s just one mile away from the Big League Dreams Sports Park. Check rates and more information.
I was chatting with some Louisiana locals a few months ago and they told us that September was the best time of year to visit New Orleans!
Visiting Louisiana, especially New Orleans during the fall will give you a two-fold dose of the area.
You get to see the beautiful fall foliage and be able to enjoy the area without having to deal with a ton of people and lots of crowds.
The best time to visit (probably without kids in tow) is during the New Orleans Burlesque Festival which is held in September.
They have music festivals, and the elusive Oak Street Po Boy Festival and so many off-the-wall things to do during a visit here.
You cannot leave the area without tasting and trying all the Creole cuisine your heart desires. This is one of the top fall vacation ideas.
Budget-Friendly Louisiana Hotels
The Whitney Hotel
Best Western Plus St. Christopher Hotel
I visited Portland, Maine a few years ago during the spring and it’s stunning! I can just imagine how beautiful it would be in the fall.
In Portland Maine, you can bike, hike or walk your way through all of the gorgeous fall foliage. The scenery along makes it one of the best fall vacation spots.
Maine also has some of the world’s most photographed lighthouses, including Portland Head Light and the adorable Bug Light!
During their bustling seasons, it can be pretty expensive to visit here and sight-see all the things, but during the fall (which is their off-season) you can save a ton of money on attractions (including lobster fishing at its finest and more!)
Plus, it’s a great time to eat your way through the city with a Maine Foodie Tour!
Budget-Friendly Maine Hotels
Quality Inn & Suites
Acadia Ocean View Motel
Acadia Ocean View Motel‘s secluded location is ideally situated on the brow of Ireson Hill, the highest elevation on the east side of Mount Desert Island just minutes from Acadia National Park and charming downtown Bar Harbor. Check latest rates and more information.
The 8th Maine Regiment Lodge and Museum
6. NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA
Visiting Canada will make you feel like you’ve turned back the clock as you visit a local fishing village that’s straight from the eighteenth century.
You can whale watch in Nova Scotia, and tour some of the preserved wood-framed houses on the streets. It is really like looking in a museum.
Fall is an excellent time to visit Canada because you can save money buying tickets to attractions like the Fisheries Museum, the local pubs, and accommodations.
The rates for these are lower during the autumn season as compared to summer when tourists from the U.S. abound. That’s one of the reasons it’s one of the cheaper fall vacation destinations.
Budget-Friendly Nova Scotia Hotels
Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake
Halifax’s newest hotel, the Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake, has a free hot breakfast, free high-speed wireless internet, a heated pool, and a full-service restaurant. Check latest rates and more information.
Delta Hotels by Marriott Dartmouth
Coastal Inn Antigonish
If you’re looking for a quaint inn, head to the Coastal Inn Antigonish for a free breakfast. It’s a great resting spot between Halifax and Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail. Check latest rates and more information.
Savannah in Georgia is one of the most beautiful cities you will see in the fall. During the summer, it is completely overrun by tourists. And fares to visit it can skyrocket into the hundreds of dollars.
But, if you visit during the fall, not only will you find the fall leaves in full bloom, but you will be able to enjoy and take in the area without the issues of too many tourists.
Don’t forget about all the amazing festivals they have too, like the Savannah Bacon Festival, which is held every September. It’s one of the more popular fall break destinations.
Budget-Friendly Savannah Hotels
Holiday Inn Savannah Historic District
Head to Savannah’s premier downtown hotel, the Holiday Inn Savannah Historic District, located one block from Savannah’s iconic River Street, the City Market, and adjacent to the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. Check latest rates and more information.
The Thunderbird Inn
The Thunderbird Inn is a quirky motel where refined Savannah’s so-historic location and so-hip eccentricities hook up. Hotel rates include Moon Pies and Krispy Kreme donuts! Check latest rates and more information.
Staybridge Suites Savannah Historic District
The Staybridge Suites Hotel Savannah Historic District is located just steps from famous River Street, Factor’s Walk, Old Savannah Tours, and the shops and restaurants of City Market River Street. Check latest rates and more information.
Denver is the city to be in Colorado, especially if your fall vacation falls in mid-October.
They have beautiful and dazzling foliage while you are biking at Cherry Creek.
In Denver, you will find that they have their very own Oktoberfest with the Great American Beer Festival where more than 400 breweries are featured.
That’s one of the reasons it’s one of the best October vacation destinations.
Budget-Friendly Colorado Hotels
Ramada by Wyndham Denver International Airport
Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver Tech Center North
Located minutes from downtown Denver, the Embassy Suites Denver Southeast offers complimentary cooked-to-order breakfasts every morning and nightly evening receptions featuring complimentary snacks and cocktails. Check latest rates and more information.
Clarion Hotel Denver Central
If you want to enjoy the Kentucky fall, take a trip to Louisville, which is known for its delicious bourbon, racing horses, and lots of green pastures.
The backdrop of the green against the colors of fall makes for an amazing place to take a budget-friendly vacation.
If you’re not necessarily a fan of alcohol, you can simply stroll along Iroquois Park where thousands of carved pumpkins along with the local fall foliage make for an amazing sight.
Budget-Friendly Kentucky Hotels
Red Roof Inn Louisville Fair And Expo
Red Roof Inn Louisville Fair and Expo is one of the best 100% smoke-free budget hotels in Louisville near the Lousiville Slugger Museum, the Louisville Science Museum, the Kentucky Derby Museum, and Louisville Mega Cavern. Check latest rates and more information.
Tru by Hilton Louisville East
Tru by Hilton Louisville East hotel has a ‘Build your Own’ breakfast toppings bar featuring 30 sweet and savory toppings for cereal, bagels, yogurt, and more. Plus a four-zone lobby. Check latest rates and more information.
Hampton Inn Louisville East/Hurstbourne
Get free breakfast at the Hampton Inn Louisville East/Hurstbourne, located just 13 miles from downtown, the University of Louisville, and Louisville International Airport. Check latest rates and more information.
10. NEW YORK
Visiting the Big Apple is the perfect backdrop for your fall vacation. Yes, you can visit New York on a budget. All you have to do is plan before doing your research!
You can check out when attractions like the American Museum of Natural History can be visited for free or at a discounted rate.
You can also take advantage of the free Big Apple Greeters program, where greeters will go on a private, narrated walk and talk about their neighborhoods.
If you cannot find any attractions that are within your budget, no worries!
If all else fails, you can simply bask in the foliage of the trees at Central Park while eating a delicious pretzel or feed the squirrels some hot nuts from the vendors!
Plus, you can get free tickets to see Late Night with Seth Meyers!
While NYC is awesome any time of year, we think it’s one of the best vacation destinations in October.
Read my ultimate 4 Day NYC Itinerary!
Budget-Friendly NYC Hotels
Manhattan Bowery Lodge
International Student Center
Located in Manhattan, in a beautiful and safe neighborhood of the Upper West Side the International Student Center is a hostel 1/2 block from Central Park and the subway. They serve young travelers passing through New York City. Check latest rates and more information.
An affordable place to stay in New York City, the Morningside Inn is in the heart of New York City’s vibrant Upper Westside – Morningside Heights. The hotel is housed in a 6-story, elevator pre-war building with the old world charm of that era. Check latest rates and more information.
Budget Family Travel FAQs
That’s a popular question! Many families who travel a lot avoid high seasons (like spring break and summer). Another option is to sign up for flight alerts so you know when there are cheap fares. And if you want to go somewhere expensive (like Walt Disney World), start setting aside money every week in order to save up.
There are a few easy ways to save a few bucks on vacation. Take public transportation instead of renting a car or hailing a taxi. Only eat out once per day and make your own food the rest of the time. Stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel.
Fall is actually one of the best times for a USA road trip. That’s because it’s much less crowded than summer and the weather is usually mild. You’ll have a bit less traffic near National Parks and might even be able to take advantage of some great fall travel deals.
Cheap Fall Travel Wrap Up
As the leaves change colors and temperatures drop, it’s time to think about where you want to spend your fall break.
Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or something more long-term with all of your family members in tow, there is a spot out there that will meet your needs while still being affordable.
Check out our other blog posts on travel destinations across America (including the Pacific Northwest!) for some inspiration this season!
In the end, if you still feel like you cannot afford a fall vacation simply visit the local park in your area or the nearest national park. There are lots of ways you can do fall camping with kids!