Weekend getaways are a great way to rejuvenate and refresh those batteries. For most people, a break is often welcomed at anytime of the year, however the fall is a terrific time to get away because it can serve as a breather between hectic summers and a rapidly approaching busy holiday season.

There are many possibilities to explore in order to plan the perfect fall weekend getaway. One can consider traditional trips or get creative and try something wildly different or new.

Changing Foliage

Autumn is usually synonymous with the changing of the leaves. Many terrific regions offer absolutely beautiful fall foliage which can set the backdrop for a great weekend getaway. Consider mountain regions and river regions, as these terrains complement great fall foliage. Many areas offer special events to coincide with fall foliage. I personally love the U.S. northeast for foliage (upstate New York and Western Massachusetts are beautiful), but living in Virginia, a few years back I discovered the Shenandoah Valley, most particularly Skyline Drive.

Fall foliage/Skyline Drive (Virginia)
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

Taken during a 2012 trip down Skyline Drive. Incredible views that can truly take a day or more to drive the 105 miles, so many beautiful stops along the way. Lodging facilities are also in the park.

Road Trip

A good old-fashioned road trip is always a great idea any given time of the year. Being the autumn temperatures in many areas are moderate, this makes the possibilities endless. You can either pull out a map and track precisely where you want to drive and pick a destination, or simply grab the GPS, do a few searches and let the road take you where it may. During the early autumn months when the foliage is peaking, a scenic road trip may be just what you're seeking.

Pennsylvania highway
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

Viewing fall foliage on a road trip through Pennsylvania

Escape to Warmer Climates

As the summer goes back to slumber and the chilliness of the fall begins to creep into the days, some might prefer to revisit summer for a last hoorah before winter settles in for good. Many travel websites offer great deals in the off-season in order to try and attract travelers to book flights and accommodations. One of my favorite places has been Treasure Island, Florida (and surrounding towns).  Great time of the year to walk the beaches, and Fort DeSoto is a neat place to check out if you like history1.

Possibilities include Florida, Las Vegas, southern California (or grab a jacket and head a little further north to San Francisco) and, for those living in the eastern section of the U.S., perhaps even a quick jaunt to one of the Caribbean islands2

Family Fall Festivals

In the U.S. many regions offer a number of fall festivals. This is particularly a great way to spend a weekend. Many schools also have three-day weekends in the fall and these weekends are a great opportunity for a quick family getaway. In many places, farms open their doors to the public during the autumn months and offer hayrides, apple orchards, pumpkin picking, corn field mazes, farm tours and lots of other family fun activities. Many of these events are even fun for adults. I tend to visit many of these here in Northern Virginia, but also like to visit festivals in other states for a nice weekend getaway.

Fall festival in Clarence, N.Y.
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

Fall festival in Clarence, N.Y.

Potential destinations could be theme parks, beaches, wineries, or simply choose a nice hotel or bed and breakfast to stay. Book a room and spend the weekend antiquing or visiting historical landmarks and museums.  If you just pull out a map or do a random web search, you might find there are some nice affordable options practically in your backyard. This is the plan I'm going to follow again the next time I seek a quick getaway. A couple of years back, we spent a nice weekend in Strasburg, Virginia and stayed at a beautiful historic hotel. It was a lovely stay and near in proximity to some very scenic locations. Not to mention it also had a small museum and some other historic sites nearby. We even stumbled upon a marker where a Civil War Battle had taken place.  I had no idea this town existed and it was only about an hour away. Made for a nice weekend getaway.


Hotel Strasburg
Credit: Leigh Goessl

Hotel Strasburg

Choosing a weekend during the autumn months are a perfect time to plan a quick pick me up weekend getaway before the cold and dreary winter months set in. The places to choose from can range from something as near as a destination right in your backyard to a quick flight to a distant destination. The cost can be on the cheap or go full out, depending on your budget. The possibilities are endless.