Meg Bernazzani is a Content Marketing Associate at FlipKey. Meg's favorite trip was an 11-day drive across the country from California to Massachusetts. In addition to visiting many of the states within the U.S., Meg has also traveled to 8 different countries. When she's not traveling, Meg enjoys cooking and spending time at the beach.
Picture it: sea grass swaying in the breeze, the sun beating down on your face, and everything you need right at your fingertips. Plan a trip to one of the best winter beach vacation spots, and make your travel daydreams come true this season.
America’s Hottest Winter Sun Beach Spots
As if you didn’t need another excuse to escape the cold weather, we’ve highlighted 15 top destinations for winter sun. From undiscovered gems off the coast of Louisiana to tried-and-true Florida hot spots, these places are bringing the heat.
Beautiful beaches pair with Southern hospitality to create the ideal setting for a winter sun vacation in Saint Simons Island. Unwind on your rental’s screened-in porch or unfurl your towel at the beach—you can’t go wrong in Georgia’s Golden Isles. While you’re here, explore the salt marshes in a kayak, tour the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, and dine on succulent seafood straight from the Gulf.
Located along a beautiful string of Gulf Coast beaches, Orange Beach offers thrilling fishing charters, dolphin-sighting cruises, breathtaking nature hikes, and lots of seaside fun. Choose from waterfront condos and apartments, or rent a spacious beach house, so your whole family can join. Don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy winter sun in Orange Beach.
Gather your whole family and head to Galveston for a blissful winter beach vacation. Here, you’ll find sprawling beach parks and a wealth of kid-friendly attractions, like Moody Gardens, plus plenty of waterfront homes that sleep more than 10 guests—the perfect combination for any getaway. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe or discover nature, Galveston is sure to satisfy your winter wanderlust.
When it comes to winter beach vacations, Kapolei is as inviting as it gets! Situated on the coast of Oahu, Kapolei serves as a giant playground for its visitors. From snorkeling in Paradise Cove to golfing at Ko Olina Golf Club, there’s an adventure for everyone. Grab your swimsuit and sunscreen, and see for yourself why travelers describe it as “paradise found!”
Myrtle Beach is one of those winter beach vacations everyone in your family can appreciate. It boasts a vibrant boardwalk brimming with games and entertainment for the kids, stellar nightlife for the adults, and plenty of family-friendly activities everyone can enjoy together. Rent a condo overlooking the water and wake up every morning to the sound of waves washing over the sand.
Sprawling beaches, idyllic nature preserves, and pristine golf courses: what’s not to love about Sunset Beach? Situated on the southeast coast of North Carolina, halfway between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, this winter sun vacation spot offers something to suit every interest. Mornings here are for leisurely beach strolls, while afternoons ought to be spent casting your fishing line from the Sunset Beach fishing pier. Rent a home right on the water and enjoy panoramic beach views around the clock.
Located in the heart of Southern California, Long Beach offers everything from upscale shopping and state-of-the-art museums to waterfront trails and laid-back beach parks. While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of attractions like the Aquarium of the Pacific and legendary Queen Mary, don’t forget to spend some downtime soaking up sun at the beach. A beautiful beach house will provide the perfect starting point for new adventures and lasting memories.
Whether it’s a morning at the beach or an afternoon relaxing on your waterfront rental’s balcony, strawberry daiquiri in hand, Marco Island provides the perfect place for a winter sun escape. Cruise through the sparkling seas to nearby Keewaydin Island, or relax in the white sands of Tigertail Beach. Besides its breathtaking beaches, Marco Island boasts beautiful bike paths, soothing spas, and plenty of options for entertainment. If you’re seeking winter sun, head south to Marco Island!
With its nickname the “Sunshine City,” it’s easy to see why St. Petersburg ranks among the best winter beach vacations. When you need a break from the sun, check out the colorful exhibits of the Chihuly Collection or explore the Dali Museum. Have kids in tow? Watch your little ones light up with glee at the Great Explorations Children’s Museum.
Drive just 45 minutes south of San Francisco and you’ll find Half Moon Bay, a charming coastal town that offers a true escape from the big city. Horseback ride in the sand at sunset, stroll around Pillar Point Harbor, or toast to a fabulous trip at Half Moon Bay Distillery. Need a break from the beach? Head inland to explore the awe-inspiring redwood forests. With something to satisfy all interests, this sunny enclave in Northern California is the perfect setting for winter beach vacations.
Whether it’s a romantic getaway you’re after or a fun-filled trip with your friends, Catalina Island is an obvious choice. The scenic island lies southwest of Los Angeles and is known for its jaw-dropping coastline, abundant wildlife, and friendly atmosphere. Whether you cruise around the island in a golf cart, soar through the treetops on a zip line tour, or just plant yourself in the sand, you won’t be disappointed. Rent a home carved into the cliffs or an apartment right near the water, and make the most of your time here.
Pack your sunscreen and snorkel gear—Paia’s calling! Known for its epic waves, iconic beaches, and frequent sea turtle sightings, Paia is a dream for warm weather seekers. Get a bird’s eye view of the island’s stunning coastline on a helicopter tour, take a private surfing lesson, or simply bask in the sun outside. Whether you choose a beach condo just steps from Ho’okipa Beach Park or a secluded home surrounded by palm trees, there’s no better way to experience Paia’s natural beauty than with a stay in your own private rental.
While Chincoteague Island’s wild ponies have helped put this charming beach town on the map, it’s unspoiled beaches, lack of high-rises, and slower pace of life are what continue to make it a great place for winter beach vacations. Explore the uncrowded Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, follow the bike trails around the island, or birdwatch from your rental’s back deck. Chincoteague Island is full of off-the-map treasures that will make your getaway unforgettable.
Saint Augustine is one of the best winter beach vacations because it blends oceanside bliss with rich history and small-town charm. Step outside your vacation rental and explore the cobblestone streets downtown or grab a boogie board and play in the surf. You’re sure to feel at ease in St. Augustine!
Although it’s just a two-hour drive from New Orleans, when you arrive in Grand Isle, you’ll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This destination is known for its deep sea fishing, so hit the open waters on a private fishing charter. Prefer to stay on land? Pack a picnic for the beach and enjoy lunch with a view. Choose from a variety of beach rentals, and book a winter beach vacation your whole family will love this season.
Don’t let winter’s chilly grasp keep you from exploring! With so many U.S. cities at their prettiest under a fresh blanket of snow and enchanting festivals taking place all season long, we’ve highlighted the best winter vacations to satisfy your wanderlust.
Top Winter Vacation Ideas Across America
While everyone else is fleeing frosty temperatures in search of warmer weather, we’re highlighting seven of the most magical winter getaways right here in America. Each place features a one-of-a-kind winter festival and countless attractions, heartwarming for all. Whether you prefer slopeside entertainment or exhilarating outdoor adventures in the snow, our list covers it all.
When you’re visiting one of these idyllic winter escapes, book a vacation home on FlipKey to enjoy all of the comforts of home, plus extras like luxurious hot tubs, gear rooms, and more. From cabin hideaways tucked away in the mountains to modern apartments in the center of the city, FlipKey has more than 300,000 rentals to choose from for the perfect stay.
Check out our best winter vacations and start planning your trip!
Searching for winter vacation ideas that will please the entire family? Then consider Saint Paul! With its vibrant energy, cosmopolitan culture, and kid-friendly Winter Carnival, it’s the perfect winter escape. The Winter Carnival runs for two weeks each season and features more than four dozen events and attractions. From outdoor ice skating to sledding down the hills of Saint Paul, this is one of those rare winter getaways that will keep everyone amused. Book an apartment downtown and enjoy all of the festivities at your fingertips.
Not only is Breckenridge considered one of the best winter vacations in America for its world-class skiing, this down-to-earth city is also home to the enchanting International Snow Sculpture Championship. Visit in January for the event, and fill your days strolling around watching as snow sculpture artists transform colossal blocks of ice into incredible masterpieces. In the evening, strip off your layers and soak in the hot tub, taking in views of the surrounding Rockies from your mountain hideaway. Breckenridge is also a great home base if you’re looking to explore Colorado’s surrounding mountain towns—both Denver and Vail are just a short car ride away.
No matter how cozy you are in your Anchorage rental, you can’t miss the Fur Rendezvous (Fur Rondy to the locals), the ultimate celebration of winter in Alaska. The decades-old tradition features events like snowshoe softball, the running of the reindeer, and the legendary World Championship Sled Dog Race. Whether you participate in all 10 days of Fur Rondy merriment or take some time to explore the Last Frontier’s natural beauty, your winter getaway in Anchorage is sure to bring endless adventure.
Although the streets of Saranac Lake might be covered in snow, don’t let that keep you indoors! The town’s annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival takes place every February and is the ideal way to embrace this magical time of year. It’s the oldest of its kind in the eastern U.S. (it began in the 1800s) and features daily events, unique competitions, and a massive ice palace made from chunks of ice from the lake. Warm yourself up between events at home in a charming waterfront cottage.
Sun Valley comes alive every winter when fresh snow carpets the ground and avid skiers and snowboarders flock to this vibrant resort town. Shred some powder on the slopes, soothe sore muscles at the spa, or sit by a roaring fire at home in your Sun Valley chalet. What else makes Sun Valley one of the best winter vacations in America? Its annual Winter Wonderland festival celebrates the magic of the holiday season for nearly a month straight! From caroling to shopping at open-air markets, this charming event is a can’t-miss in December.
Winter days in Tahoe City are defined by ski runs at Squaw Valley, snowshoeing in the Lake Tahoe basin, and, if you visit in March, attending North Lake Tahoe Snowfest. The boisterous 10-day festival boasts events like beach parades and polar bear swims with fun for all ages, both on and off the mountain. Away from the festivities, take advantage of the area’s epic snowfall at nearby resorts, such as Alpine Meadows and Heavenly Mountain. Admire the surrounding majestic scenery during a sledding adventure or experience the area’s glitzy nightlife at a nearby casino—there’s no shortage of winter fun in Tahoe City.
Often overlooked as one of the best winter vacations, Baltimore is just the place for vacationers who want to explore, without the arctic cold of more northern cities. Milder winters allow for scenic walks along the harbor and strolls through Fells Point, the oldest neighborhood in Baltimore. Feeling brave? Take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean during the MSP Polar Bear Plunge—Maryland’s “coolest” tradition. The event benefits Special Olympics Maryland and attracts more than 10,000 courageous plungers each year. Just make sure you have someone on the shore ready to wrap you up in a towel!
If you’re itching to fit in one last fall vacation—or searching for a place that’s big enough to host your entire extended family—consider renting a vacation home and enjoying a change of scenery this Thanksgiving.
Top Thanksgiving Getaways Across America
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you’re probably already thinking about digging out your fine china and frantically tidying your home for guests. To save yourself the stress, why not plan a Thanksgiving getaway that’ll allow you to truly enjoy one of the longest holiday weekends of the year? For some inspiration, we’ve spotlighted seven of the most festive Thanksgiving destinations that host a cornucopia of events everyone will love. We know, NYC’s parade is the crowned jewel of Turkey Day events—which is why we didn’t need to include it in our list! Instead, we’re suggesting some other top celebrations across the country you may not have considered.
Book a vacation rental for your Thanksgiving getaway, and you won’t have to miss out on any of your Thanksgiving traditions while you’re away. In fact, you might even be inspired to start a few new ones! Prepare a home-cooked meal in your gourmet kitchen, unwind as a family by the outdoor fire pit, or challenge each other to a game of billiards. From sprawling rural retreats to stylish city apartments, there’s plenty to choose from on FlipKey.
Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with your entire family in tow, here are seven Thanksgiving getaways where you can make the most of your holiday weekend.
Grab your family and inch to the front of the crowd at St. Louis’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With musical floats, giant helium balloon figures, antique cars, and more, the event is a must-see in November. Even Santa Claus comes to spread some holiday cheer! In addition to its Thanksgiving events lineup, the rapidly growing city offers lots to do. Admire the view from the top of the iconic Gateway Arch, tour the Anheuser Busch factory, or stroll through Forest Park. At the end of the day, unwind in your vacation home, enjoying amenities like a private sauna and multiple family rooms.
Thanksgiving is a weekend-long affair in Plymouth, a town best known as the famous landing site of the Mayflower. This charming New England destination is home to America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade—the only historically accurate chronological parade—which breathes life into authentic Americana. Rent a cozy Cape-style home or find a place with panoramic harbor views for an idyllic Thanksgiving getaway. No matter where you stay in Plymouth, you’ll never be far from the festivities!
For more than 30 years, Fountain Hills has been hosting its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade—referred to locally as the Parada de Los Cerros (Parade of the Hills). As one of the only places in Arizona with an official parade to celebrate the holiday, it tops most lists of Thanksgiving getaways in the Southwest. Another perk of spending Thanksgiving in the desert is the option to dine al fresco on your private patio. With warm temperatures year-round, book a spacious Fountain Hills vacation home to enjoy the upcoming holiday poolside.
Every November Charlotte buzzes with energy in anticipation of its 70-year-strong Thanksgiving Day Parade. Arrive early to snag a prime spot on the sidewalk before the floats start their colorful crawl down the streets. Prefer to sleep in? No problem! The event is televised locally, so you can watch without having to leave the couch at your Charlotte rental. Other must-see Charlotte attractions during your Thanksgiving getaway include the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Freedom Park.
For travelers with the urge to immerse themselves in American history, look no further than Philadelphia. It’s one of the most celebrated cities in America and its storied past is palpable. Translation: it’s the perfect place for Thanksgiving getaways that blend education with fun. Tour the Philadelphia Museum of Art, step inside Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed), or relax in your turn-of-the-century row house rental. Just make sure you keep Thanksgiving morning clear for the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest of its kind in America.
All of Montgomery County buzzes with anticipation every November for the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, held in downtown Silver Spring. The spirited celebration takes place the Saturday before Thanksgiving and heralds the start of the holiday season. Don’t fret if you’re not in town by then—the event is rerun on television, so you can watch it in the comfort of your Silver Spring vacation home. At just 20 minutes from Washington, DC, it’s an ideal spot for travelers who want access to downtown, without the big city price tag.
Don your Thanksgiving-themed costume and kick off your day with the annual Turkey Trot, a road race through downtown Detroit. Often called “the parade before the parade,” the family-friendly event bursts with cheer and is the perfect way to make that second slice of pie less guilt-inducing. Cross the finish line then head to America’s Thanksgiving Day parade, a decades old tradition in Detroit. After an action-packed day, retreat to your spacious Detroit rental for your Thanksgiving meal (and a well-earned nap!).
According to travel reviewers on FlipKey, these US spots have the top-rated vacation rentals for hosting a girls’ weekend getaway.
USA’s Top Girls’ Weekend Getaway Ideas
Millions of travelers have written about their bachelorette weekends and annual girlfriend getaways, so we dove into their reviews to identify the most popular girls’ trip ideas in the country. Put simply, our algorithm analyzed every property review on FlipKey* to identify the destinations with the highest-rated rental homes for hosting a girls’ trip. Whether you’re looking to head to the beach, visit a spa, or dance the night away in the city, we’ve spotlighted 15 of our favorite places (and their must-visit spas!) that are sure to offer an unforgettable girls’ weekend.
Once you’ve chosen your destination, use FlipKey to find the right rental for the right price. Booking a vacation home will score you extra bedrooms and bathrooms, while many also offer fun extras like private hot tubs, fire pits, beach gear, and more. Whether you’re searching for an urban oasis or waterfront condo, you’ll find plenty to choose from for your girls’ weekend getaway.
So, what are you waiting for? Call up your girlfriends and pack your weekend bag—we bet it won’t take much convincing once they see our list of top spots for a girls’ trip.
“This house is beautiful and impeccably kept! We will be returning next year for another girlfriends weekend—hopefully for many more birthday celebrations!” – FlipKey Traveler
Relaxing on vast verandas, sipping mint juleps, and touring historic antebellum mansions—Savannah is the picture of the ultimate girls’ weekend getaway. Known for its Southern charm and abundant hospitality, it’s one of the oldest cities in Georgia and a popular spot for travelers, young and old. Explore Savannah on foot, pose for a photo in Forsyth Park, or dine on fresh seafood and creamy grits. No matter what you choose to do during your stay, everyone in your group will agree that Savannah is the ideal spot for your next girls’ trip!
Grand old Victorians, natural springs spas, spirited nightlife, and thrilling horse races: Saratoga Springs has everything a girl needs for a one-of-a-kind weekend with the girls. The Upstate New York destination’s bubbling mineral springs put it on the map, and today city’s the waters are still touted for their healing powers. Spoil yourself at the Roosevelt Baths and Spa after the adrenaline rush of betting on horses at the Saratoga Race Course. Use your down time to sweat it out on a jog around Congress Park or unwind in the comfort of your vacation rental. With so many things to do in Saratoga Springs, you might need two trips!
There’s no better way to relax and recharge than by spending 48 hours at the beach in Wilmington with your best girlfriends. Tucked away on the picturesque coast of North Carolina, this spot offers countless things to do. When you arrive, head to the Riverwalk, a central location for checking out the local shops and restaurants, and explore this scenic mile of boardwalk. Later, pamper yourself at the spa or acquaint yourself with the local history at Bellamy Mansion. Whether you choose to rent a spacious home in the historic district or a coastal retreat on the water, you’re sure to enjoy a carefree weekend getaway in Wilmington!
“Myself and a few of my girlfriends rented The Painted Buffalo for my bachelorette party in Fredericksburg, and it was over the top spectacular!” – FlipKey Traveler
Situated in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a small city with big-time charm. It’s known for its authentic German heritage, which is celebrated by the town’s music, architecture, festivals, and more. Kick off your girls’ weekend getaway with a stroll down Main Street, browsing the boutiques and sampling German pastries at bakeries along the way. The surrounding region is home to renowned vineyards where you and your girlfriends can tour wineries and taste the local blends. Wrap up your trip with a visit to the spa for luxurious treatments that will leave you positively refreshed.
Planning a girls-only weekend in West Palm Beach? You’re in for a treat! With nearly perfect year-round weather, trips to the beach are a must during your girls weekend here. Lather on the sunscreen and bask in the Florida warmth. When you need a break from the sun, saunter down the palm-lined streets of downtown West Palm Beach where you’ll find a treasure trove of designer stores and unique boutiques. Make sure you save some energy for a night out on the town, thought—the nightlife in West Palm Beach is unrivalled!
“Perfect place for a weekend with friends. Would love to come back again.” – FlipKey Traveler
Whether you live in New England or it’s been on your travel bucket list for years, Newport is an idyllic setting for your next girls’ trip. From touring the town’s opulent mansions nestled along the Rhode Island coastline to wine tasting at a local vineyard, there’s no shortage of things to do. Rent an apartment near the cobblestone streets of downtown Newport to be close to restaurants and shopping, or book a home near the ocean and fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore—you can’t go wrong!
“It was the perfect location for a weekend with the girls and wine tasting!” – FlipKey Traveler
Sip, relax, repeat: experience the most perfect weekend getaway with your girlfriends in Paso Robles. Located just north of San Luis Obispo, this destination is known for its exquisite wineries and thriving olive groves. Whether you spend the weekend exploring the local vineyards or soaking up the California sun from your rental’s backyard patio, Paso Robles doesn’t disappoint. This burgeoning new wine country is just the place for your next girls’ trip!
Located on beautiful Long Island and nestled within the prestigious Hamptons, Sag Harbor should be on everyone’s list for a girls’ trip. The area is legendary for its wealthy enclaves and celebrity sightings, but you don’t have to be a superstar to vacation here. Plan your trip for the summertime and experience the town bustling with activity, or visit during the offseason when the crowds are gone and vacation rental prices drop.
“I pulled into the driveway and just said ‘WOW!’ We spent hours on the back porch and enjoyed the very inviting pool area. My high school girlfriends and I enjoyed this lovely home!” – FlipKey Traveler
It’s no surprise that Charleston makes our list of the best girlfriend getaways in the U.S. Bursting with Southern charm and home to a flourishing food scene, historic landmarks, and much more, girls and guys alike flock to this coastal city from all over the country. Snap a group photo in front of Rainbow Row, shop the stalls at Charleston City Market, or relax along the water’s edge at Riley Waterfront Park. Your trip to Charleston can be as relaxing or action-packed as you and your girlfriends want it to be!
Looking to let loose with the girls? Then consider San Antonio, a vibrant city in central Texas. Famous for being home of the Alamo (it’s a must-visit while you’re in town!), San Antonio also boasts award-winning chili (its signature dish), historic landmarks, and thrilling nightlife. When you’re not exploring the city, relax at a spacious home just minutes away. Book a girls’ weekend getaway in San Antonio, and you might end up staying longer than planned!
“Pictures live up to the real thing!! Will definitely return in the near future, this time with family, so that they can get the great experience the girls and I had!” – FlipKey Traveler
Plan a girls weekend getaway like never before—from spirited honky tonks and historic music venues to five-star dining, Nashville offers non-stop fun for everyone. Tap your toes to live music at the Bluebird Cafe or explore the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to learn about country music’s greatest artists. When you get hungry, hop from barbecue joint to barbecue joint along Broadway downtown. Now all you need to do is find the perfect Nashville rental for your girls’ weekend.
With your besties by your side, step onto the sandy beaches of York, and let your worries wash away during your girls weekend getaway. Grab coffee at a cafe downtown then explore the beautiful coastline on foot. Scenic cliff walks and beachfront paths provide spectacular views of rippling waves, endless blues skies, and Cape Neddick Light, an authentic Maine lighthouse still in use today. If that’s not relaxing enough, head home for a lobster feast (Maine is famous for its lobster!), and unwind in the comfort of your cozy beach cottage.
No matter what brings you to Aspen—whether it’s the scenic mountain setting, thrilling outdoor adventures, or the cozy taverns—this destination is the ideal place for girls’ weekend getaways. Often thought of as a winter wonderland, Aspen has plenty to do all year long. Visit before the snow arrives and take a horseback tour of the iconic Maroon Bells, a favorite spot for wildlife-watchers. Planning a winter escape? Rent a lodge near the slopes and take advantage of fresh powder daily.
“Relaxation and fun all in one place! I stayed at this cabin with five of my BEST girlfriends and we had the BEST time ever!” – FlipKey Traveler
From hiking and mountain biking to shopping and dining, Asheville boasts something for everyone in your group. When planning the itinerary for your girls’ trip, leave time to visit the city’s thriving microbreweries (New Belgium Brewing Company is a must!). You’ll also want to climb Black Balsam Knob and watch the sunset while sipping a glass of wine at the Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt’s historic country estate. Whether you choose a cabin with a view near the Blue Ridge Parkway or a hip apartment downtown, you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime during your Asheville stay.
With its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe, Laguna Beach serves as a fabulous girls’ trip idea for those seeking fun in the sun. Take a dip in the dazzling Pacific Ocean then enjoy a picnic lunch at Heisler Park. The town’s spectacular clifftop setting provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor exploration and ample group photo-ops. When you’re not basking in the California sun, pamper yourself at the spa or unwind by the firepit at your rental for a sweet dose of relaxation!
Thanks to crisp air, fewer crowds, and several long holiday weekends where kids are out of school, fall is the perfect time to plan a family getaway.
Affordable Family Vacations Across America
Whether you want to admire the vibrant foliage in Laconia or hit the beaches of Hawaii, we’ve rounded up 12 idyllic vacation spots to take your family this fall. Each is full of kid-friendly fun and boasts budget-friendly rental prices all parents will love. Need more reasons to book a fall getaway? We’ve also included our favorite family activity in each city, so you’re sure to spend more time making memories than planning.
Pristine beaches, soothing waters, and plenty of kid-friendly activities are what draw families to Alabama’s Gulf Shores. Whether you let your teenagers hit the beach on their own while you relax at the spa, or you channel your inner child at The Track—a thrilling recreation center with go-karts, mini golf, and more—there’s never a dull moment here. Book an oceanfront condo and be at the heart of it all in Gulf Shores.
Branson boasts everything needed for a fun, family getaway: a world class theme park, mysterious caverns, limitless opportunities for outdoor recreation, and spacious accommodations that don’t break the bank. It’s a true gem in the heart of the Ozarks where families can go to let loose and spend some quality time together. From taking in the beauty of the Ozark Mountains to discovering the region’s rich history and culture, you’ll find something that captures everyone’s interest in Branson.
Nestled within New Hampshire’s scenic lakes region and just a short drive from the picturesque White Mountains lies Laconia, a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Watch the sunset over Lake Winnipesaukee, picnic at Ahern State Park, or look for wildlife along the surrounding nature trails. In Laconia, you’ll fill your days with fun adventures and one-of-a-kind memories that’ll last a lifetime!
Searching for a new city to discover as a family? Look no further than Depoe Bay. The picturesque destination sits along the coast of Oregon and combines jaw-dropping natural scenery with the restaurants and activities you’d expect from a major city. Rent a spacious vacation home overlooking the ocean, and enjoy the city’s main attractions right outside your door. Often overlooked when it comes to affordable family vacations, Depoe Bay is a must-visit in the fall!
Located on the South Kohala coast of the island of Hawaii, Waikoloa is much more than just a picture-perfect beach town. It’s an ideal base for exploring the awe-inspiring beauty of nearby Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and a home to ancient Hawaiian history. Whether you opt for the beach or choose to tackle a new outdoor adventure each day, Waikoloa is an unforgettable family vacation destination everyone will love.
World-famous theme parks, thrilling performances, fabulous shopping—you name it! Orlando provides endless entertainment for the entire family. Spend your days embracing the magic of Disney World, screaming from a Universal Studios roller coaster, and sampling international cuisine at Epcot. Need a break from the theme parks? Continue the family fun in the comfort of your Orlando vacation home.
Situated along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock is a blank canvas for kid-approved outdoor activities. Hike the Glen Burney Trail, climb to the top of Blowing Rock, or take a leisurely horseback ride through the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park—the sky’s the limit! Choose a rustic cabin in the mountains, so your little ones can explore the wonders of nature during your stay.
Lake Havasu City was made for families in search of fun in the sun. With warm temperatures that linger well into the fall, vacationers can indulge in a variety of water sports on the lake or hit the hiking trails that cut through the nearby desert. Choose from a variety of affordable rentals in Lake Havasu City, and see for yourself why travelers describe it as “a great family getaway” and the perfect place for a “hassle-free vacation.”
Autumn brings colorful foliage, crisp temperatures, and an abundance of family-friendly adventures to Bozeman. Drive through Gallatin National Forest, hike to Palisade Falls, or make the drive to Yellowstone and discover the area’s dramatic landscape. For ultimate access to nature in Bozeman, rent a spacious farmhouse or cozy log home, and enjoy the land all to yourself.
For a family vacation that doesn’t break the bank, consider Denver. With loads of free museums, countless hiking trails, and a charming downtown area that buzzes with life, you’ll never run out of things to do here. Visit during the fall when the mountains are ablaze with color and pleasant temperatures invite vacationers to explore the great outdoors.
Whether you rent a casita surrounded by the splendor of the Southwest, or book a condo in the center of the city, Santa Fe is easy to explore with (or without!) kids. Venture into the rugged foothills of the Sangre Cristo Mountains, discover decades of history and culture at local museums, or feast on the city’s legendary Southwestern cuisine. With its fiery landscape and unique attractions, Santa Fe is a popular destination for affordable family vacations, especially during the fall.
With the beach as its backdrop and the magic of Disneyland just a car ride away, San Diego rounds out our list of budget-friendly family vacations. It’s known for year-round 70-degree temperatures that make exploring the dazzling Pacific Coast a possibility during any season. Stroll around Balboa Park, come face-to-face with giraffes at the San Diego Zoo, or pack a picnic to eat at the beach—there’s something to delight visitors of all ages here.
Having children doesn’t have to slow you down on vacation! Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, road trip-lover, or relaxation seeker, you can do it all—even with kids in tow.
Expert Tips For Family Travel
We asked top mom bloggers from around the world to share their tips and tricks for traveling with kids—along with their favorite family vacation destinations—to help inspire your next trip. From where to go and when to start planning to what you absolutely can’t forget to pack, these moms are experts when it comes to family travel. Heed their advice, and make this the year you finally plan a vacation that pleases everyone.
While you might not be able to control the number of meltdowns or bathroom breaks needed while you’re away, you can control where your family stays each night. Opt for a vacation rental and ensure that your family has the perfect place to stay during your trip. Enjoy amenities that come with renting an entire home, like extra room, outside space for energetic little ones, enough proper beds for everyone, a fully-stocked kitchen, and in-home laundry. All you need to do is set your budget, choose your rental, and go!
Favorite family vacation destination: Living in Florida, our favorite family vacation destination is Walt Disney World. It’s an easy drive and no matter how many times we go, we have a different experience each time.
Top tip: Planning ahead is so important! I try to find the least popular times to visit destinations and, if possible, that’s when we go. I also search the internet for deals before we leave. There are sites online with discounted tickets to popular events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. If it’s a beach vacation, I look for places where kids eat free or two-for-one deals on attractions like mini-golf.
Don’t forget to pack: I’d be completely lost if I forgot my camera. After all, part of the fun of a great family vacation is reminiscing over the photos when you get back home.
Favorite family vacation destination: The Western Cape has come to be one of my favorite places. Last year we stayed in Botrivier and it was such a stunning spot! Kid-friendly, close to the beach, and the weather was perfect. The beach is a great destination because it is “free” fun for the kids.
Top tip: Space! Your accommodation needs to have space for the kids to run. And preferably a restaurant/shop nearby.
Don’t forget to pack: WETWIPES! And water for everyone.
Favorite family vacation destination: Our first family-fun trip was to Disney World in Florida with our eldest child when she was just four years old. I would love to take my younger one there too, as Disney World is truly magical. Not only did our daughter love it, but my husband and I did too. More recently, our favorite family destination is Goa, India. Goa is famous for its beautiful beaches, yummy seafood, flea markets, and water sports. It was a memorable trip and we are looking forward to going back soon.
Top tip: Traveling with kids means a lot of pre-planning and a lot of things to be carried along on a trip. The most important tip for other moms traveling with kids is to book everything in advance. It’s always better to book the accommodation, cabs, or anything else you will need a reservation for before your arrival. It saves time, and you don’t want any kind of hassle when you are traveling with kids.
Don’t forget to pack: There are many things that I make sure to pack on a family trip, but the three that top the list are: books (very helpful on long drives with kids), food (cookies, cakes, fruits, or anything that the kids can easily eat while traveling), and medicines (better to be prepared than running around on a vacation).
One more thing you can’t forget to pack: a camera. Traveling with family is all about creating memories to be treasured.
Favorite family vacation destination: We recently returned from Spain and had the most wonderful time. Between the hustle and bustle of Madrid, the beauty and design of San Sebastiàn and then the relaxing beachfront escape that El Vendrell provided, the trip offered the best of all worlds! I have to say, as someone who has been to dozens of countries all around the world, Spain was my favorite yet!
Top tip: I think it’s important to remember that there needs to be a third of your day that is scheduled specifically for downtime. Your children can only do so much. Keep your accommodation centrally located for sightseeing and dining and easily accessible for afternoon naps.
Don’t forget to pack: Some people may not appreciate this one, but chargers! My family needs our electronics. While in Spain, we took two 6-hour train rides and they were both managed all thanks to game apps and downloaded movies. Thank goodness for battery packs and plugs!
Favorite family vacation destination: We’re big Disney fanatics in our house. I went to Walt Disney World with my parents and grandparents for the first time when I was 6 years old. Those memories have lasted my whole life, and we’ve been helping to create lasting memories with our family since our kids were little, too. WDW is our favorite family vacation destination because of that. Our kids love the magic of the Mouse.
Top tip: We love traveling in the shoulder season—fewer people, often better rates. We look for dates that work for us, and it’s always a more pleasant trip. Our kids help with the planning so it’s a team effort and everyone helps to make some of the planning decisions.
Don’t forget to pack: Water bottles and sunscreen—two musts for a hot, sunny day at a theme park!
Favorite family vacation destination: We love exploring the Oregon Coast when traveling with kids because we can keep going back and always see something new! Our favorite Oregon destinations are the seaside boardwalks that are perfect for family hikes, Newport Aquarium, and visiting old landmark lighthouses.
Top tip: We have three small children, and it’s important for us to plan flexible activities for each day. We generally research an area using a service such as TripAdvisor and we choose several destination options. I love when a travel resource also includes reviews of each attraction in an area! We also enjoy staying at a vacation rental rather than a hotel because vacation rental houses often include multiple rooms and more amenities (such as a kitchen or hot tub right outside the door) for a young family of five. Our experience at a vacation rental is often unique each time, allowing us to build fun memories with our kids on our family vacation.
Don’t forget to pack: We can’t forget to pack the double stroller! A reliable compact stroller is a must-have for traveling with kids through a new city. But make sure it easily folds up to fit in the trunk of any rental car.
Favorite family vacation destination: Ask my family and hands down we will all say South Dakota. It was a family vacation that made us curious, allowed us relaxation, and kept us going out for more. We toured Mount Rushmore and Bear Country and everything in between. It is wide open land with scenic views and a pace that allows for relaxation.
Top tip: We’re always looking for someplace new. Our first question is “where have we never been?” and then we start searching for things to do and places to stay in that location. We’ve planned destinations based on books we’ve read, movies seen (Oak Island for Nicholas Sparks fans), and also places we’ve read about on the internet or in books. We keep a running list, and as our life takes us down different roads, we check in with our list.
Don’t forget to pack: Our one thing is a day pack. We each have one loaded with high protein snacks, extra water, a walkie talkie (in case we get separated), and bandannas. It makes spontaneous travel easy…sometimes we just pull off to the side of the road, grab the day pack and see where the trail takes us. Other times, we follow a tour guide. We’re always ready with our day pack. As soon as we come in at night, we restock any items used.
Favorite family vacation destination: Our favorite family destination is Maui. The island offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and begs to be discovered and explored. As a family, we have the option of simply relaxing by the beach or making the trek up the mountain to see the sunrise at Haleakala. Whether you crave adventure or want to unplug, the island offers a myriad of activities, water sports, and more.
Top tip: My best tip for selecting a destination is to plan ahead with sufficient time. Not only will this ensure the best prices, you have the most options when it comes to selecting accommodations and activities you desire, particularly during high season.
Don’t forget to pack: The one thing we can’t forget to pack is a camera to document all of our incredible memories together as a family.
Favorite family vacation destination: My all-time favorite family destination is Treasure Beach, Jamaica. We fell in love with it when we visited for the first time six years ago and discovered the adventurous way to travel with your family through community tourism. Over the course of one week, we went out with our boat captain Dennis Abrahams (who happens to earn a #1 rating as the most popular activity tour to take in Treasure Beach). Captain Dennis took us to Pelican Bar (a bar in the middle of the ocean), cooked us a jerk lobster beach lunch on a private island, and navigated our way through Black River where we observed wildlife and crocodiles and swung off tree vines to cool off on a hot summer day. On another trip, we even stopped to meet a farmer who gave us watermelons before ending our journey at the beach with a lobster dinner under the stars. I could go on and on, but if you have older kids and are in for adventure, fun and great food, then Treasure Beach is the place for you!
Top tip: Absolutely check out reviews that real people have written about the places you’re visiting. I have to say, even though we have been to Treasure Beach a few times, when we wanted to try new places to eat or visit, I definitely checked out TripAdvisor to see what places people raved about and which restaurants or cafes they loved. And of course, I loved the fact that Captain Dennis has the #1 tour in Treasure Beach—I know firsthand he’s earned the recognition!
Don’t forget to pack: One thing I have found to be a huge resource now is to make sure we get International data and calling when we are out of the country. That helps when searching for things to do or navigating your way to a destination if you’re on your own. In terms of packing, sunscreen and bug spray are always high on our list!
Favorite family vacation destination:Hawaii is a great family vacation because of the vast amount of kids activities in one of the most gorgeous places in the world. We love the various fresh foods and the different family trips you can take there. I highly recommend Kauai and Maui for great family fun. Don’t forget to try the pineapple and shaved ice!
Top tip: You have to make sure everyone in your family can enjoy the trip. We have kids at various ages and if one kid is not occupied, it can get boring quickly and end up being a bad vacation. We also try to make sure there are family-friendly activities at the various places we visit.
Favorite family vacation destination: Our family loves to take road trips where we spend a few days at accommodations with some fun local sites nearby. We like to stay in places that have nearby activities and preferably a pool, so we can choose how active we want to be and just enjoy each other’s company. We also might take one or two days to see local sights. Especially with young kids, we like to have a plan, but not be over-planned.
Top tip: I’d put together a list of must-dos and nice-to-dos. Include any time restrictions, like if a museum you want to see is closed on certain days. Fill in the must-dos on your schedule. Then keep your list of nice-to-dos with you so if you feel like you need another activity, you have a whole list already compiled.
Don’t forget to pack: Since we love road trips, we can’t forget car activities. No one wants hours of driving with a cranky toddler.
Favorite family vacation destination: Our favorite family vacation destination has to be Colorado! We love the mountains and all of the outdoor adventures that await us there. We’re huge outdoor people so we love to hike, fish, swim, and everything that goes along with a Colorado adventure vacation!
Top tip: I think about what it is we want to do—is it hiking, riding rides at a theme park, lying on the beach? Then I narrow it down from there. I try to pick a location that we’ve never been to before, because we like to see new things and discover new places. Consider the busy times of year too, and avoid those when you’re planning.
Don’t forget to pack: My camera!!!! Photos are so important to me, I want to be able to look back at them and remember that amazing time my family had!
October is an ideal month to plan a vacation: fall foliage is at its peak, the weather has found a comfortable midpoint between scorching summer highs and chilly winter lows, and autumn activities abound.
Where To Go In October For Fall Vacations
From the shores of Cape Cod to the mountains of New York, we’ve handpicked 10 fall getaways that are at their peak in October. Each brims with fun—apple picking or wine tasting, anyone?—guaranteeing a great day out at any of our top October vacation spots. Since it’d be impossible to mention all of the classic fall attractions in each city, we’ve highlighted our favorites to check off your fall bucket list.
Make your seasonal stay extra special by booking a vacation rental on FlipKey, and enjoy a comfortable place to relax after a day of merriment. Choose a log cabin and take in the colorful mountain landscape from your private hot tub, or rent a spacious vacation home so your family can spread out at the end of the day. With more than 300,000 rentals to choose from, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for!
Located in the shadow of the Catskill Mountains, Westwind Orchard & Cidery is the place to be every weekend from Memorial Day through the end of October. Stroll down the rows of apple trees, filling your sack with handpicked fruit along the way. At the Cidery, sample traditional apple cider, cider with a raspberry twist, and more—all made from the fruits grown on site. And what could be more fall than a mug of sweet apple cider? A freshly baked doughnut dunked in cider!
Cider Hill Family Orchard is just one of the many fall attractions that make Kansas City a top spot for October getaways. Whether you’re in the mood for pumpkin and apple picking, pond fishing, or a relaxing hayride, this family-run orchard has it all. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy under the shade of one of the big trees out back, or purchase yummy treats like cider doughnuts and kettle corn to enjoy in the comfort of your Kansas City vacation home. Your visit to the Cider Hill Family Orchard will undoubtedly be fun-filled.
Mid-October, Richmond floods with folk music enthusiasts from around the country. The city’s eclectic festival features a mix of musicians, dancers, artists, and more, celebrating unique traditions from all over the world. Bounce from stage to stage swaying to the beat of the music, sample a variety of regional, ethnic, and traditional foods, or check out the cultural presentations—there’s no shortage of things to do here.
“I will drive an hour to go to Bishop’s,” said one TripAdvisor traveler. We recommend saving yourself the long car ride though, and booking a rental in Guilford for an unforgettable fall getaway. From tasty fruit wine tastings and a gourmet market to the pick-your-own apple orchards and winding corn maze, there’s fun for all ages at Bishop’s Orchards. Here, you get to experience all of the classic fall activities your heart desires right in one place.
Surround yourself with nature just minutes from downtown Detroit at Core Orchards. It’s the first and only u-pick apple orchard in the area and a source of pride in the community. Designed to increase access to fresh, nutritious foods for those in the neighborhood, the orchard also serves as a welcoming fall attraction. Grab a bag of doughnuts to sweeten your tractor ride out to the farm where you can pluck mouthwatering honey-crisp apples straight from the branches. Once you visit Grosse Pointe Park, you’ll never wonder where to go in October again.
Take a break from crisp fall temperatures with a dip in the natural mineral springs at Strawberry Park. Located in Steamboat Springs, these balmy, 104-degree pools are particularly soothing after a day spent hiking through the foliage at Pike’s Peak. Unwind with watsu therapy in one of the private pools or enjoy a massage in the quiet of your own hut. These impressive hot springs are sure to make your autumn escape memorable.
Apples and fall go hand in hand at Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill in southeast Michigan. With several apple varieties ripe for the picking, award-winning, fresh-pressed cider, and family-friendly wagon rides, it’s the ultimate fall attraction packed into 60 acres of land. The best part though? Admission is free! Plan a trip to Plymouth this season to see for yourself why travelers describe Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill as a “must visit in the fall!”
What’s fall without a weekend getaway in New England? Just 45 minutes north of Boston, the charming coastal town of Hampton Falls is where you’ll find Applecrest Farm, a picture-perfect place to indulge in all things autumn. With pick-your-own-fruit offerings, weekly fall festivals, and a farm-to-table dining experience, it’s no surprise that visitors describe it as a place with “something for everybody!” Plan your trip to this 4th generation gem, and stay just down the road at a spacious rental overlooking the ocean.
Does your ideal fall vacation involve colorful foliage, scenic mountain drives, picking apples and sipping on warm cider? In that case, we know just the place the travel to this October: Flat Rock, North Carolina. This quintessential fall vacation spot is home to Sky Top Orchard, a family favorite with lots of fun and memory-making in store for visitors. Pick a wagon-load of pumpkins, say hello to sheep, goats, chickens, and more in the barnyard, or simply take in the panoramic views. Book a vacation rental in Flat Rock and you’ll have your own u-pick orchard right in your backyard (well, almost!).
Are you a foodie wondering where to go in October for a fall getaway? Consider Wellfleet, a quaint fishing town situated at the tip of Cape Cod. While many think of it as a summer destination, the annual Wellfleet OysterFest in October draws visitors to town from all over the region. The event celebrates Wellfleet’s eponymous shellfish grown in the cold, salty waters of Cape Cod Bay. From oyster shucking competitions and cooking demonstrations to spelling bees and live entertainment, there’s something for everyone at Wellfleet OysterFest.
Searching for a weekend getaway out West? FlipKey has handpicked 10 top destinations that show their true colors every fall. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a relaxation seeker, you won’t be disappointed.
Best Fall Weekend Getaways
The arrival of autumn brings cooler weather, colorful foliage… and the urge to get away for a weekend amidst nature. Sip on fine wines in California’s majestic vineyards, marvel at the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, or enjoy warm weather a little while longer in the Sonoran Desert. No matter your preference, the cities on our list are at their best during the fall.
While there’s no wrong time to visit California Wine Country, Napa Valley is particularly stunning during autumn. The change of seasons brings the grape harvest, and fall color isn’t limited to the trees—gold and russet vines stretch as far as the eye can see. In between wine tastings, tour the vineyards on foot or drift through the air in a hot air balloon. After a fall weekend getaway in Napa Valley, you might just be ready to move here!
Portland is home to picturesque parks, bustling microbreweries and distilleries, and a thriving arts scene that will keep you entertained all weekend long. Stroll along the gallery-lined streets of the Alberta Art District, or spend a leisurely morning browsing at the Portland Saturday Market. Looking to add a splash of color to your photos? Explore the surrounding Willamette Valley mid-autumn when the leaves are at their most vibrant. Whether you choose a modern apartment in the center of the city or an old Victorian home near the river, it won’t be long before Portland feels like home.
Score a front row seat to Mother Nature’s breathtaking beauty by renting a cozy cabin in Anchorage. Every autumn, the city glows with the golden hues of leaves and the awe-inspiring aurora borealis illuminates the night sky. Hop on a train to Fairbanks for stunning views of aspen and birch trees, or explore the outskirts of Anchorage on foot. Just keep your camera at the ready—moose are known to cluster at the edges of the city. Another benefit of booking your cabin rental on FlipKey during the fall? You’ll avoid the summer rush in Anchorage.
Just a short ferry-and-bus-ride away from Seattle, Bainbridge Island transforms into a leaf peeper’s paradise every fall. Visitors will be blown away by the blazing red Japanese maple leaves at Bloedel Reserve, a stunning public garden on the island. Prefer an activity the entire family can enjoy? Pick pumpkins off the vine at Suyematsu Farm. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, whip up a homemade pumpkin pie with your day’s pickings in the comfort of your Bainbridge Island rental. We don’t think there’s a better way to cap off the perfect fall weekend getaway out West.
Everyone knows that Aspen is a world-class winter destination. But, it’s also the perfect spot for fall weekend getaways. From hiking scenic trails that meander through Aspen’s iconic Maroon Bells to taking in a bird’s eye view of the foliage from the Silver Queen Gondola, the area is chock-full of fun things to do. Plan your trip here from September through November, and experience the beauty of this destination… before the ski crowds arrive and the bone-chilling winter temperatures set in.
Coeur D’Alene should be on everyone’s list of idyllic fall weekend getaways. It boasts a sparkling lakefront location, an all-American atmosphere, and a rugged landscape that attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the country. Cast your fishing line into Coeur D’Alene’s namesake lake on a crisp fall morning, follow the Tubbs Hill Nature Trail through the wilderness, or go golfing along the water. After a day of adventure, retreat to your rental and enjoy all the comforts of home while on vacation.
Bend has everything fall lovers look for: fiery foliage, an abundance of beautiful nature trails, and mild temperatures. Nestled along the eastern edge of the Cascade Range, it’s the outdoor recreation capital of Oregon and an ideal spot for your fall vacation. Kayaking in the Deschutes River and hiking Pilot Butte are among the best activities during autumn, but there are plenty of craft breweries for those feeling less adventurous. Book a cottage rental just steps from the Deschutes River or stay in an historic home downtown—you’ll find it all in Bend!
Known for its ponderosa pine forests, astounding scenery, and invigorating outdoor activities, a trip to Flagstaff will leave you rejuvenated. The city is set at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, which offer plenty of options for fun in the fresh air. Whether you witness the changing foliage up close on a guided hike or you soar above it on a chairlift ride, there’s plenty to do during a fall weekend getaway in Flagstaff. Book your cabin on FlipKey, and see for yourself why travelers describe this city as a “perfect base-camp to enjoy Northern Arizona.”
For those more interested in chasing summer-like temperatures than seeing colorful foliage, Palm Springs is the place! Located in the desert of Southern California and surrounded by mountains and canyons, this literal hot spot offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Lace up your sneakers for a hike up San Jacinto Mountain, or rent a bicycle to cruise around downtown. Don’t pack your schedule too much though—the refreshing pools and luxurious spas are part of Palm Springs’s appeal.
Sun Valley shines during the fall: warm weather lingers, the crowds are gone, and the leaves begin to change color. Grab your camera and follow the exhilarating trails up Bald Mountain. Don’t settle for halfway up the mountain though—the panoramic views from the top are too phenomenal to miss. In the evening, toast to the day’s adventures at one of the local breweries. Choose Sun Valley for your fall weekend getaway this season, and hit the trails before the snow arrives.
It can be sad to say goodbye to summer. But dry your eyes, because we know you’re secretly excited about what the next season has in store. A kaleidoscope of natural color. Cool, crisp air that marks a fresh beginning. And all the plaid and wool you’ve been dying to fish out of the closet. Admit it. Fall’s fantastic.
Best Fall Vacations For Small-Town Color
Rugged peaks, glistening lakes, tumbling falls, and woodland hideaways that make the daily grind seem a million miles away. That’s what we look for in the ultimate fall vacation. Tiny mountain towns don’t generally provide a lot of hotel accommodation, so a rental is often the best option. And what avid leaf peeper wouldn’t want to stay in a cozy log cabin in the woods, anyway?
We’ve rounded up some of the best fall vacations this season in America’s most charming small towns, each offering a range of vacation rentals to book from FlipKey. Choose a spacious home for friends and family, or an intimate retreat for a couples getaway. You’ll enjoy a fully stocked kitchen and peaceful surroundings that’ll have you destressed and refreshed in no time—not to mention an incredible display of fall foliage right out your window.
Now layer up, grab a hot drink, and read about these 15 best fall vacations in Small Town, USA.
“The cabin was immaculate, with plenty of space for the whole family. The view from the balcony is truly breathtaking—we got some awesome pictures of the moon between the trees! ” — FlipKey Reviewer
Sugar Hill is one of the best fall vacations in New England: a teeny tiny town with front-row views of the White Mountain National Forest. It’s small, it’s off the beaten path, and its fall foliage really is a sight to be seen. Quaint Sugar Hill offers one of the most picture-perfect backdrops for ushering in the new season.
Dawsonville is situated right by the magnificent Amicalola Falls State Park, a terrific leaf peeping spot known for its thundering 729-foot waterfall. This is also great birdwatching territory and you’ve got the Etowa and Amicalola Rivers to paddle about in. While you’re here, you might as well try a tour and a tasting at the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery, too.
“This cabin was absolutely charming and everything we were hoping for in a mountain retreat. The location was spectacular, yet easy to get into town or up to the park.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Estes Park is a great place for a cabin vacation, and one of the best fall vacations out West. It’s a traveler-preferred starting point for exploring the stunning Rocky Mountain National Park. Tackle early-morning hikes to get breathtaking sunsets over rocky peaks as your reward. Breathe in the crisp mountain air, watching bighorn sheep and elks roam free, and see the golden leaves do their thing as far as the eyes can see.
Blowing Rock is known as the ‘Crown of the Blue Ridge’, and attracts hikers, skiers, spelunkers, and spa fans alike. It has cozy cabins galore with views to die for. If you’re planning a fall vacation to this area, there’s also nearby Banner Elk, where the splendid reds and golds are vivid enough to render spectators speechless.
This is a small, friendly community in the eastern Sierra Nevada region, where you can enjoy the peace of sparkling June Lake and its smaller neighbor, Gull Lake. People come here for the excellent watersports facilities, the hiking trails, the inspiring mountain views—and, of course, the spectacular fall colors. June Lake might be the best fall vacation you don’t know about.
You can see why New Yorkers love having Hunter within easy reach. This charming mountain resort in the Northern Catskills has plenty of small-town appeal, and draws cyclists and zip-lining fans to enjoy the scenery in its autumnal glory. A tour on the Scenic Skyride Chairlift provides thrills and unforgettable views of the fall foliage.
East Stroudsburg has some historic buildings and a thriving arts and crafts scene, providing plenty of mementoes to take home. It’s also a handy base for viewing the forested peaks of the Pocono Mountains, walking the rugged hiking trails of Worthington State Forest, and watching the rushing waters of Bushkill Falls, also known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania.” To see the beautiful colors from above, opt for a thrilling skydive…if you dare.
“Breathtaking sights, beautiful cabin, relaxation to the fullest. Our first time to stay in the mountains. Amazing views! The cabin was awesome with everything you needed to set up house!” — FlipKey Reviewer
Strap on your hiking boots and don your woolen hat. You’re going leaf-crunching in the Great Smoky Mountains. Driving tours are particularly recommended here and there are some excellent routes for taking in the seasonal colors and the odd glimpse of the local wildlife. Hmm, but what else makes Pigeon Forge one of the best fall vacations? Dollywood, of course! It just wouldn’t be right to come here without visiting the theme park masterminded by the country-singing icon who grew up in a tiny cabin in nearby Locust Ridge.
Luray sits in the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Massanutten Mountains. The best way to appreciate the fall foliage here is to take the Skyline Drive, a 105-mile stretch of road through this scenic area. You can also tour the famous Luray Caverns, which shelter a jaw-dropping array of huge rock formations.
“So quiet and secluded, which is what we love. Made s’mores out in the fire pit, barbecued on the grill, and ate outside on the deck, felt like we were in a tree house.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Hospitable Hendersonville is another picturesque mountain town where people can leave the rest of the world behind. It’s not far from here to Dupont State Recreational Forest, where you can follow scenic trails and see tumbling waterfalls. This stunning natural landscape is so beautiful and vast it was chosen as a backdrop for The Last of the Mohicans and the 2012 Hunger Games movie.
The Lake Almanor reservoir in Plumas County is a peaceful spot, perfect for those who want to be by the water to fish, hike, and sail. Enjoy serene forest walks or explore the welcoming little towns dotted around the lake’s shore, where there’s always something fun going on.
The mountain town of Blue Ridge is rich in cozy hideaways offering gorgeous vistas. You’ll love the relaxed pace of this gentle town, where you can ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, try a bit of trout fishing, or shop for antiques and artworks to take home.
“Perfect retreat for a cozy getaway… This cabin was the perfect getaway where we could turn down the noise of the city and listen to the peaceful sounds of country life. The cabin is beautifully and thoughtfully built with every amenity.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Maybe not your first guess of the best fall vacations in America, but Cleveland is a great base for some truly breathtaking fall scenery. Follow the steep road to the top of Caesars Head State Park for the best views of the changing colors and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. There are some excellent hiking trails around here too, some of them pretty challenging, so do your research before you set off.
Who likes their leaf peeping with a side of adrenaline? If you’re in Stowe, sign up for a Ziptour Adventure and see the local fall foliage from above, whizzing high above all the reds, browns, and golds. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, try the hiking trails and take in that mountain scenery in a more sedate fashion. While Stowe is renowned for its winter skiing, this Green Mountain State gem is also one of the best fall vacations you can take.
Some say Connecticut looks its most beautiful in the fall. There’s no better place to find out for yourself than this little destination on the banks of the Mystic River. Explore the town with Mystic Bike Rentals, take to the trees (in a safety harness) at the Fields of Fire Adventure Park, go walking at Haley Farm State Park, and see all colors of fall at Pequot Woods.
From the historic streets of downtown Boston to the coastal neighborhoods of Santa Cruz, we’ve highlighted 12 of the best coffee cities well-known for their caffeinated brews. Each of these places boasts gourmet coffee shops on almost every corner, making it an impossible task to mention all of them. But we’ve featured our favorite in each city so you can sip more and search less! Whether you’re looking for coffee by the cup or beans by the bag, we think you’ll like these cities a whole latte.
After you decide which destination to visit, opt for a vacation rental from FlipKey to save money during your trip (we know how quickly those specialty coffees can add up!). Enjoy the benefits of extra space and full kitchens—many rentals even have coffeemakers, so you won’t have to leave the house without a cup of coffee to start your day. From modern city apartments to spacious vacation homes, FlipKey offers a variety of rentals to fit every budget and travel style.
While you’d think that Austin’s roasting temperatures might curb visitors’ appetite for java, Austin’s coffee scene is booming. And, as new coffee shops are popping up all over town, one continues to stand out: Caffé Medici. Austin’s original specialty coffee shop, Caffé Medici has been perfecting the art of pouring a cup of joe for more than 10 years. From well-balanced, classic coffee to sweet and fruity espresso with a chocolaty finish, the menu here has something to please all palates.
With long, cold winters and a massive student population, Boston is a city that insists on high levels of coffee consumption. While there are plenty of places throughout the city to fuel up for the day, Barrington Coffee Roasting Company offers some of the best in Boston. It was founded in 1993 out of two friends’ mutual love for everything coffee. Today, the self-described “power-coffee duo” prepares some of the finest coffees from around the world at their Roastery in Lee, MA. The coffee is then delivered fresh to customers and served at their two cafes in downtown Boston.
Known for a different kind of brew, too, Minneapolis is happy to share its local coffees all across the country. Case in point: Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co., which supplies its Orion blend to Caffé Medici on our list. With four cafes throughout Minneapolis, Spyhouse Coffee is a hub for students, professionals, and people of all walks of life. This independent coffeehouse serves an exceptional cup of coffee while educating customers about the sourcing, roasting, and brewing processes, from origin to consumption. Looking for something unique? Try the Spygirl, a latte with lavender and honey.
Located in the Montrose neighborhood, Siphon Coffee has helped put Houston on the map as one of the best coffee cities. This unique coffee shop offers a precise and flavorful cup of coffee using halogen burners and a game-changing siphon brewing method. Working with local Houston roasters, they’ve created a selection of palate-pleasing brewed and espresso based drinks that will satisfy any taste!
Philadelphia gets coffee fanatics’ stamp of approval—even Ben Franklin’s, a known coffee enthusiast and one of the city’s founding fathers. For some of the city’s finest brews, check out Joe Coffee, a family-owned shop with locations in Philadelphia and New York. The shop has both single-origin and blended offerings on the menu, which they roast in-house. Whether you take your cup on the go or lounge at the cafe, a flawless brew from Joe Coffee will perk you right up.
Looking to try the local java in Pittsburgh? Then head to Commonplace Coffee Roasters in Pittsburgh. Since its founding in 2003, multiple locations have opened throughout Steel City, all of which offer a “hug in a mug” with their flavorful brews. Get a boost of energy from a cappuccino or indulge your sweet tooth with a chocolaty mocha. You can’t go wrong, no matter what you order!
A foodie city in its own right, Portland is also a hub for coffee drinkers with Coffee By Design adding buzz to this coastal destination’s downtown. This combined micro-roastery and coffee bar brews a selection of coffees from exotic grinds, single-origin coffees, and rich roasts. With the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting in the air, you won’t be able to walk by without stopping in for some liquid joy in a cup.
With sweet “coffee milk” the state drink of Rhode Island, it’s no surprise that Providence makes the cut as one of the best coffee cities in the U.S. Get a quality cup of coffee—hot or iced—at Bolt Coffee Company in the heart of Providence’s historic district. This local purveyor of artisanal coffee expertly pours a precise and intense cup of coffee with each order. From unique carbonated coffees to double shots of espresso, the baristas here take great pride in their product and service, and it shows!
Santa Cruz made our list of the best coffee cities in America because of one-of-a-kind roasters like Verve. Whether you’re starting your day, searching for an afternoon pick-me-up, or need a caffeine fix before tackling the surf, this hot spot has something for everyone. While the shop’s roots remain in Santa Cruz, Verve can be found in cities across the world from Los Angeles to Tokyo. Can’t make it to one of those cities, but want to wake up to Verve coffee aromas every morning? Subscribe and have freshly roasted coffee delivered to your door!
What’s a list of the best coffee cities in America without Seattle? Home of the original Starbucks, there are also a multitude of lesser-known local coffee shops throughout the city. One such favorite is Convoy Coffee. For the perfect start to your morning, stop in for an espresso and a Salmonberry Goods pastry. Heading to Seattle for a weekend getaway? You won’t want to miss the weekend Ballard and University District Farmers Markets, where Convoy Coffee sets up a shop with bicycle carts. With its ever-growing rotation of single origin coffees, we recommend visiting often to try them all!
Home of PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.—the standard-bearer for small-batch specialty coffee—Topeka holds its own among the best coffee cities in the country. This local coffee shop’s mission is simple: roast and brew an amazing cup of coffee from the freshest of ingredients. It specializes in serving Direct Trade coffee and espresso, but its diverse menu features options that will satisfy all tastes. From an afternoon meeting over lattes to an evening study break for coffee with Baileys, PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. is a must-visit in Topeka.
Washington, DC’s coffee culture continues to expand year after year. The city has more than 1,000 coffee shops and cafes—meaning a jolt of caffeine is never out of reach. One such spot with rave reviews is Peregrine Espresso, a neighborhood cafe that prides itself on offering quality coffee with friendly service. Whether you’re in the mood for a sweet mocha with a dollop of whipped cream or a bold, flash-brewed iced coffee, you can bet Peregrine Espresso has it on the menu. Want to learn about what’s in your cup? The owners—Ryan and Jill Jensen—also love sharing their coffee knowledge with customers through monthly classes about coffee brewing and espresso.
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