It's official, summer is over! And so are all of the fun barbecues, pool parties, and beach trips. But just because summer is over, and the kids are back in school, doesn't mean our travel plans have to come to a screeching halt.
In fact, fall can be one of the most beautiful times of year to travel, especially when you consider taking a road trip. If you live in the tri-state area of DC, MD or VA, I have 5 fabulous fall getaways for you to visit with your family.
1. Skyline Drive:
There's simply no better time for driving through Skyline Drive than in the fall. The trees, in their colorful magnificence, almost seem boastful as they overlook the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
As you drive through the 105-mile-scenic-stretch of road through Shenandoah National Park, don't be afraid to get out of your car at any of the 75 scenic overlooks. Not only is the view breathtaking, you can capture some terrific Instagram worthy shots.
If You Go: Cost: $30 per vehicle. (The pass is good for up to 7 days). It'll take 3-4 hours to drive through, depending on how many times you pull over to take in the view. (We pull over at almost every lookout point!)
2. Shenandoah Caverns:
The caverns are not far from Skyline Drive, so this trip could be done on the same day. This is a great place to bring the whole family, however, be prepared for a lot of walking, as this guided tour covers about a mile and takes about an hour or so.
You first ride down into the cavern in an antiquated elevator, which seems to come from the 30's era. Once you exit the elevator, you're in another world. A world of crystalline stalagmite and stalactite formations, which is absolutely beautiful!
If You Go: Address: 261 Caverns Rd, Quicksburg, VA 22847, Phone: 540-477-3115, Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Price: Adults - $25, Seniors (62+) $22, Children (6-12) $13, children 5 and under are free. (You can save $2 per adult ticket by purchasing tickets online). It might be a good idea to bring a light jacket, as it is a bit cool and damp in the cavern. They also have a small gift shop and dining area, so bring a little money with you.
3. Great Falls:
Great falls is hands down one of the most scenic national parks to enjoy nature and an invigorating hike. This 800-acre park, located along the Potomac River, has a flat, fairly easy walking trail with three overlooks to view the Great Falls. One of the trails leads directly to quite possibly the most spectacular view in the state of Maryland. (see below pic).
The falls are beautiful all year long, but particularly on crisp autumn days. Its grandeur is magnificent and some may even say majestic. The whole experience is breathtaking, and the crashing sounds of water thundering downstream inspire deep meditative breaths, all the way down to your lungs.
If You Go: Address: 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854, Cost: $10.00 per car (pass is good for 2 days). Hours: 7 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset. Caution: The Potomac river can look calm on the surface, but has powerful rip currents that are not visible. Be careful, these currents can pull a human being down to the bottom.
4. Baughner Farm:
Located an hour's drive from Baltimore, MD, Baughner's Farm, is Westminster's pride and joy, where the word of the day is pumpkin!
There's so much to do at this farm, you could easily spend all day here!
Enjoy the playground made of hay, take a hayride to the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkins, take a pony ride, build your own scarecrow, play on the playground or in the game room, visit the petting zoo or eat some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and baked desserts from their farm fresh market, (which also boasts the best apple cider slushie in town!)
If You Go: Address: 1015 Baughner Road, Westminster, MD 21158. Cost: There is no admission to get into the farm, however, the hayride to the pumpkin patch is a nominal fee of $2.00 per person (children under 1 are free). The pumpkins are paid for separately at .49 cents per pound. The annual Fall Harvest Festival is held every weekend in October with operating hours from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. in November until Thanksgiving.
5. The Renaissance Festival
The Renaissance Festival in Annapolis, MD is a once a year event for the enjoyment of the entire family. It's a place where your imagination can run wild! Come in costume or just come as you are. Either way it's still a ton of fun for all ages!
If you are new to this type of festival, it is best described as interesting and different. Interesting, because it's a step back in time to the medieval era. Different because it's nothing to see people walk around dressed like fairies, elves, witches, wizards, knights, Robin Hood, Kings, Queens, Princesses, or even an occasional Orc.
Some of the main features include riding elephants, jousting shows, bagpipe music, dancing, and lots of shops with hand-made items. There is also a wide selection of food and fun games.
If You Go: Address: 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, MD 21401, Cost: Adult (16-61) $26, Seniors (62+) $22, Child (7-15) $11, Children under 7 are free.
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Kimberly is the owner of Travel Kimestry. Her areas of expertise include The Bahamas, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and ALL THINGS DISNEY. She’s passionate about working with families who enjoy traveling the world. She looks forward to working with YOU soon!