It’s pretty safe to say that we here at Miami Mom Collective LOVE fall. From our annual Fall Events & Activities Guide chock full of things to add to your fall bucket list, fall craft ideas, and a DIY pumpkin cold brew recipe, we’re here for all the fall magic we can make. And if you’re thinking about planning some fun fall getaways, we’ve got you covered there, too!
Here are 8 fall getaways to escape on this year:
There are a million blogs on family-friendly Smoky Mountain trips, including this one from Vanessa, one of our own MMC moms. But one destination, in particular, to check out this fall in the GSM is Clingmans Dome. It is one of the more popular places to visit, and at 6,643 ft, it is the highest peak in the range and on the Appalachian Trail. Due to the high altitude and VERY steep drive to get there, it is only open April through November (check prior to going as hours can vary depending on weather conditions). The trail is only half a mile, but it is STEEP (my husband and I are in good shape and had to stop several times–we were also carrying our daughter).
There were many kids on the trail, and those that venture all the way to the top are met with sweeping (and stunning!) views. There are also beautiful views from the parking lot before the hike for those who aren’t feeling extra sporty. Make sure to pack water and a jacket (and gloves and a hat for the little ones). We were stunned at how much cooler it was at the top (even in October) and had our daughter wrapped in just about every piece of clothing we had with us. There was ice and snow on the branches already and a fierce wind. But it was beautiful and worth the trip to the top! There are also restrooms and a visitor center.
I lived in Nashville on and off for almost 15 years (so I may be a bit partial), but there are few more family-friendly fall destinations. The weather is actually fall-like (unlike South Florida), and the foliage is breathtaking. Check out the pumpkins, gardens, mums, and scarecrows at gorgeous Cheekwood Harvest, or visit the giant corn maze at Lucky Ladd Farm. There is also adorable Gobblins & Giggles at Gaylord Opryland, complete with a Hide & Seek Scavenger Hunt, Jack-O’-Lantern Walk, Haunted Hidden Treasure Escape Room, Ghouls Night Out Riverboat Ride, and a Wicked Brews Spookeasy. Also, make sure to walk around the wonderful shops and restaurants of 12 South and grab a pumpkin for carving at the Nashville Pumpkin Company.
One of the best fall getaways to take with your family is to Asheville, North Carolina. This beautiful mountainside city has plenty to offer and is the perfect place to enjoy the fall foliage and nature at its best. They have a little bit of everything to do there including mountains, waterfalls, trails, museums, an art district, shopping, and a very innovative and diverse culinary scene. If you’re planning on adding this city and North Carolina to your Fall Destination Bucket List make sure to check out these few places:
Blue Ridge Parkway
DuPont State Forest
River Arts District
North Carolina Arboretum
St. Petersburg, FL
I love visiting the beautiful beach town of St. Petersburg. Who couldn’t love the city that holds the record for the most consecutive days of sunshine? The city’s Mediterranean architecture makes me feel like I am somewhere in the middle of Spain. Moreover, the city is home to the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. There are lots of charming restaurants and bars in Downtown St. Pete. Stop by the modern St. Pete Pier which is a whole exPIERience with playgrounds, restaurants, events, a marketplace, and so many things to do.
Since I am a nature gal, one of my favorite places in the area is the Sunken Gardens. It is definitely more pleasant through this 100-year-old botanical garden in more moderate fall temperatures than in the scalding Florida summers. Here you get to discover thousands of exotic plants, cascading waterfalls, butterflies, and even flamingos.
Interested in hitting the beach in the fall? No problem. St Pete has one of the most beautiful beaches with clear water and powdered sugar sand. If you do, make sure to check out the spectacular Don CeSar hotel known as the “pink palace.” Or stop by the historic waterfront Fort de Soto Park for some family fun.
The Chaz River, FL
Fall is a great time to get back out into nature here in Florida. The cooler weather means more time outside, and fewer mosquitoes!
The Chassahowitzka River (aka The Chaz) is on Florida’s central Gulf Coast. About a 5hr drive from Miami.
You can rent kayaks, canoes, Jon boats, or paddleboards. Or you can also launch your own vessel. It’s a 5-minute paddle from the ramp to the Seven Sisters Springs, where you go from murky river water to find water so clear it feels like it was a man-made pool.
The Chaz is an excellent place for wildlife spotting. Our faves are the manatees that come into the rivers to get away from the cooler ocean water this time of year. As you maneuver up through creeks and coves, whole manatee families can come right up to your boat if you are quiet enough.
The Chaz is also only about 30 minutes from Crystal River and 20 minutes from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
This is a great place to spend a few days decompressing. Be it at the campsite in an RV or tent, at a nearby vacation rental, or hotel. It’s also a great day trip place as it is only about an hour from Tampa.
St. Augustine, FL
St. Augustine is an excellent place for a fun family fall getaway. The activities, the food, the ambiance make it fun for all ages. From the Castillo de San Marco to the Colonial Quarter, every corner is just steeped in history. As you walk the streets of the old city or visit the Old Jail, you are transported back centuries.
The attractions are not only informative but entertaining. Whether you watch an actual blacksmith make iron handles at the Fountain of Youth or go on a scavenger hunt at the Pirate museum, the whole family will have a blast!
For some more adventure-seeking families, a rope course above the Alligator Farm might be up your alley. Looking for a less adrenaline-boosting activity? Head to the beach!
See it all while on the convenient “hop on hop off” trollies that can take you to many local attractions that might be further away. After visiting the sights, take a walk through the old city for some fantastic restaurants. Or if you prefer, there are also some great places to eat on the water.
This place is a must-see for anyone looking for a “close enough to drive, far enough to feel away from home” destination.
Blue Ridge, GA
Are you a fellow Miamian in search of all things fall? Dying to wear your favorite cozy sweater and those boots hiding in the back of your closet? “Sweater weather” is just a scenic drive away found in beautiful Blue Ridge, GA.
For years my husband and I have visited Blue Ridge just in time to see the beautiful leaves change and enjoy our drive through the mountains to find the perfect spot to enjoy a bottle of wine and cheese.
Fall is one of the best times of the year to visit. The weather is PERFECT, high of 65 on the warmer days. And there’s so much to do, from apple pickin’ to flea market hunting. Here are the 4 must-do things in Blue Ridge, GA:
- Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pack a picnic and enjoy the sights along one of the many overlooks along the way. Perfect for photo ops!
- Go apple picking and enjoy all of the yummy treats at the orchid. It’s not just pies; there’s bread, ciders and so much more. Your little ones will love running through the orchids and finding the perfect apple.
- Make sure to stop at one of the MANY wineries and breweries. Previously a dry county, after some change in laws over the years there are over 15 different wineries and breweries throughout the TriState area.
- Visit the markets! From farmer’s markets to flea markets, they are filled with lots of great finds from the wonderful locals. Antiques and trinkets, candles, and baked goods are some of my favorite things to search for.
Miami is known for its amazing weather year-round, but if you’re looking for some fall activities and fall weather you may want to consider looking elsewhere!
Two years ago we were all taken back by COVID-19 and our new pandemic way of life. I decided that for Halloween I would take my kids to experience some real fall weather and some outdoor adventures! We packed up our costumes and our sweaters and headed north! Our initial destination was in Georgia but Hurricane Zeta had other plans. After a few detours, we ended up near Chimney Rock, North Carolina.
During our trip, we visited all the nearby cities including Asheville, Hendersonville, and Lake Lure. The kids’ favorite part of the trip was visiting Grandads apple farm in Hendersonville. We picked apples, ate apple pie, and drank cider. The kids made their way through a corn maze and were rewarded with some delicious apple cinnamon doughnuts.
We spent Halloween bouncing around restaurants and breweries in Asheville and ended our night in the town of Chimney Rock–an adorable little town full of charm and very kid-friendly!
Overall I recommend making a trip to all of these little towns in North Carolina to get a real feel for some fall weather and fun!