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10 Epic Fall Travel Destinations for Families on a Budget

10 Epic Fall Travel Destinations for Families on a Budget

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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: 

1. ALASKA

Many people count Alaska out, but Anchorage is an excellent place to visit during the fall season.

Alaska is one of the fall travel destinations you probably aren't thinking about. Image of a cruise ship port in Juneau.
Cruise ship in port of Juneau, Alaska.

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

Conveniently located downtown, the Westmark Fairbanks sets the standard for elegance, style, and service in the Golden Heart City. Check latest rates and more information.

Hotel Alyeska

Located in the Chucagh Mountain Range about 40 miles from downtown Anchorage, Hotel Alyeska is a gorgeous hotel and spa. Check latest rates and more information.

2. CHICAGO

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!

Chicago is on of the more budget-friendly fall travel destinations for families. Image of the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park.
Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park.

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

Located in the downtown/The Loop neighborhood, the Travelodge is close to Michelin-rated restaurants, amazing architecture, and “The Bean.” Check latest rates and more information.

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.

3. ARIZONA

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.

Cathedral Rock is one of the many reasons to visit Sedona, Arizona in Fall
Cathedral Rock from Red Rock Crossing in Sedona, Arizona on a clear, cloudless autumn afternoon.

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

The La Quinta in Scottsdale offers free breakfast, a swimming pool, and a shuttle service. Plus, kids stay free! Check latest rates and more information.

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.

4. LOUISIANA

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!

For a budget-friendly fall getaway, head to New Orleans.
Old New Orleans houses in French Quarter.

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

Alder Hotel

The Alder Hotel is located near Tulane and Loyola Universities and has some of the liveliest spots for food and live music. Check latest rates and more information.

The Whitney Hotel

Head to The Whitney Hotel for an intimate New Orleans hotel with beautiful rooms and thick walls (so you won’t hear other guests.) Check latest rates and more information.

Best Western Plus St. Christopher Hotel

The historic St. Christopher Hotel is a boutique-style hotel located in the heart of New Orleans and just 50 steps away from the world-famous French Quarter. Check latest rates and more information.

5. MAINE

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.

Portland, Maine is a great fall weekend getaway in New England
View of the landmark Portland head lighthouse in Maine as a ocean freighter approaches.

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

A hidden gem in South Portland, the Quality Inn and Suites is located near Maine’s largest mall and I-95. Check latest rates and more information.

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

Stay just a 15-minute ferry ride from downtown Portland at the 8th Maine Regiment Lodge, an American Civil War Museum and a Victorian-era lodge. Check latest rates and more information.

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.

Cabot Trail is just one of the reasons to visit Nova Scotia in the fall.
Cabot Trail scenic view in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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

Delta Hotels by Marriott Dartmouth has a fitness center, pool, yoga studio, free Wi-Fi, and has great showers and comfortable beds. Check latest rates and more information.

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.

7. GEORGIA

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.

Savannah Georgia is a beautiful and budget-friendly fall getaway
Savannah, Georgia, at Forsyth Park Fountain.

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.

8. COLORADO

Denver is the city to be in Colorado, especially if your fall vacation falls in mid-October.

Denver Colorada is a beautiful fall desination that is affordable
Denver Cityscape Colorado.

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

As the name suggests, the Ramada by Wyndham is located near the airport and offers a free shuttle as well as a free breakfast buffet and free WiFi. Check latest rates and more information.

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

Newly remodeled, the Clarion Hotel is located in the heart of Denver and has a free hot buffet breakfast and a free shuttle. Check latest rates and more information.

9. KENTUCKY

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.

Kentucky is an affordable fall travel destination in the United States.
The Louisville skyline with John F Kennedy Bridge.

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!

Central Park is one of the best places to see fall foliage in NYC
Central Park with morning bright sunlight and urban skyscrapers in Autumn in New York City.

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

Manhattan Bowery Lodge is located in the heart of Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, surrounded by many great restaurants and shops. Check latest rates and more information.

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.

Morningside Inn

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

How do families afford to travel?

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.

How can I save money while traveling?

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.

What’s the best time of year to drive across the USA?

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!

Looking for more awesome Fall travel destinations? Check out my posts about Pacific Northwest weekend getaways, cheap US family vacation spots, best Fall destinations in the U.S., and spooky Halloween vacations!

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