5 Budget-Friendly Fall Travel Destinations

Fall Vacations At Reasonable Prices

5 Budget-Friendly Fall Travel Destinations
September 16, 2021

Schools are back in session and the summer vacation season is finally coming to an end. If you are fortunate enough to have vacation time in the fall, you are likely to find lesser crowds and attractions that are willing to make concessions to fill in the gaps. Where can you take advantage and make the most of your fall travel dollars? Here are a few domestic suggestions.

  • Chicago – Fall is a great time to visit the Windy City. The weather has not turned brutal yet, and outdoor attractions like the Lake Michigan shoreline and the Navy Pier are at their peak. There are plenty of museums, excellent public transportation, and deep-dish pizza that will fill you up for a reasonable price. Unfortunately, this may be the one year where you cannot get cheap tickets for the Cubs in late September — but it may be worth the splurge anyway. Maybe you can say that you saw a Cubs game in the year when they finally broke the curse.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park – RMNP in Colorado is chockfull of beautiful scenery, hiking trails and horse riding opportunities, and features affordable vacations in the fall months before the snows close off access to major trails. You can travel through the tundra across the Continental Divide on scenic Trail Ridge Road, and spend some time relaxing at Estes Park or Grand Lake at the opposite ends of the park entrance. Wildlife is more active in the fall, and you are likely to see elk strolling through the center of town.

  • Las Vegas – Vegas as a budget-friendly destination? Absolutely — if you can resist the urge to gamble. September and October are good transition months in Las Vegas as temperatures start to moderate, summer masses decrease and the holiday season has not started yet. The hotels themselves are spectacles, and there are plenty of free sights such as the Fremont Street Experience's Viva Vision Light Show, the constant acts at the Circus Circus, and the Bellagio Fountains. For you chocoholics, there's M&M's World and Hershey's Chocolate world, featuring an 800-pound chocolate Statue of Liberty.
  • Orlando – Once the kids go back to school, theme parks are far less crowded and offer a more pleasant experience. Disney often runs promotions for the slower fall season, and Universal is currently offering package deals to coincide with the opening of Diagon Alley in the new Harry Potter-themed section. The LEGO Imagination Center can keep your kids busy for hours. Orlando is more than just theme parks, as there are excellent museums, galleries, and parks to avoid theme-park fatigue.
  • San Francisco – It is certainly possible to leave your heart (and your wallet) in San Francisco, but you can see the iconic sights of the Bay Area such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars, Lombard Street, and the seals at Pier 39 for free. Muir Woods is across the bay, and there are multiple art shows — although San Francisco is a bit of a living art show every day. You can even watch Giants baseball for free at scenic AT&T Park from the archway by the waterfront promenade if you get there early enough.

If you live in or near a location with traditional seasons, consider a driving tour as the leaves change color. Several websites give up-to-date information on the best times and travel routes to take, as well as inexpensive lodging options.

With a little planning, you can enjoy yourself on a budget, regardless of whatever destination you choose. Good luck, happy planning, and enjoy your fall vacation!

Photo ©iStock.com/Spondylolithesis

  Conversation   |   31 Comments

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Sara | 09.16.15 @ 13:35
Most of these I would not have guessed would be budget friendly. Nice to know since I do not have a school aged child yet.
steven | 09.16.15 @ 13:39
Kind of strange to see spots we normally think are expensive actually on the budget friendly list.
trish | 09.16.15 @ 13:40
Autumn is my favorite season! Love all of this information!
Daniel | 09.16.15 @ 13:43
Love fall trips, some we take are beyond budget friendly just a nice ride into the moutains to see the fall colors
Britt | 09.16.15 @ 13:45
Autumn is my favorite season by far, as these all sounds so amazing!
Steffanie | 09.16.15 @ 13:53
Some of these sound like some great trips to take!
Meredith L | 09.16.15 @ 13:53
I've been to Vegas and highly recommend the all you can eat buffets over the high-end restaurants. There are a ton of shows and things to do beyond gambling but if you do like the tables, you can save on the comped drinks. As for Disney - well, if you're a Florida resident, there are great savings too - but off-season is a good way to save too.
Chrisitna | 09.16.15 @ 13:55
Great ideas! I'm always looking for a travel bargain!
Kailie | 09.16.15 @ 13:57
These things all sound like they would be a blast!
Angie | 09.16.15 @ 13:57
I think the fall is the best time to travel anyway - the heat of summer is a big deterrent for me.
Kyle | 09.16.15 @ 13:59
We take a trip up to Tennesee every October for a camping trip. It's affordable and gorgeous.
Morgan | 09.16.15 @ 14:02
These all sound great and even more so - affordable.
Elaine | 09.16.15 @ 14:03
Never would have guessed some of these would be budget friendly.
Jackie | 09.16.15 @ 14:05
I love traveling during Autumn when the air is cooler and the leaves are changing. I'm glad to see there are budget friendly options.
Erin | 09.16.15 @ 14:07
Fall is one of the best times to travel in my opinion. The weather is still great and crowds are smaller. Now if only time off of work was more readily available.
Zanna | 09.16.15 @ 14:12
Our favorite fall trip is to the beach! Prices drop significantly after labor day, and the beaches are much less crowded. Perfect for a family, or a couple!
Angie Taylor
Insurance Agent in Montevallo, AL | 09.16.15 @ 14:12
These look like they would be very budget friendly.
Ron | 09.16.15 @ 14:22
Affordable vacation trip for autumn: Asheville, North Carolina. Cabins, mountains, great city!
Tina | 09.16.15 @ 14:24
This list surprises me! Budget-friendly (as in cheap) fall destinations led me to think of places where we'd take in the beauty of leaves changing, etc. I guess I have a lower budget than the target audience.
Bobbie | 09.16.15 @ 14:28
I find the problem is finding affordable ways to get to the travel destinations. My family does San Francisco several times a year since we are in driving distance. Can't wait to hit a few more of these places off season once hubby retires.
Rindy | 09.16.15 @ 14:39
We always take a beach trip in September when the rates are cut in half. Everything is cheaper and the weather still warm enough to enjoy the ocean and pool without the crowd.
Jo Ann | 09.16.15 @ 14:57
A person can also look around their own area and find a lot of great weekend get-a-ways fairly inexpensive this time of year. It is nice to be able to drive a couple of hours and then be able to unwind for a couple of days.
Heather | 09.16.15 @ 15:00
My favorite fall destination is Disney. With all the fall/Halloween decorations everywhere it's just beautiful. Plus it doesn't get any better than trick or treating at the magic kingdom.
Sarah | 09.16.15 @ 15:06
Fall is the only logical time to visit Florida anyways....
Kamie | 09.16.15 @ 15:13
I can see how Fall season makes things cheaper.
Jill | 09.16.15 @ 15:16
We visited Orlando this summer, I am wishing we had waited until the fall!
irene | 09.16.15 @ 15:18
We do so many day trips in the fall that we could not afford another vacation. We like to visit all the hay rides, haunted houses etc
Beverly | 09.16.15 @ 15:18
I wonder whose budget most of these are budget friendly budget too. Having grown up in Colorado I would be partial to RMNP, it's a beautiful area.
Alec | 09.16.15 @ 15:37
I live not too far away from Disney. It's not really budget friendly at over $100 per ticket per person. But maybe that's just us. - My vacation this year will be me heading back home to North Carolina to soak in the beauty of the chilly air and the color changing leaves!
George | 09.16.15 @ 16:06
I love taking a family trips in autumn ,all the changing colors,and the weather.
Christina | 09.16.15 @ 16:17
I think Fall is one of the best times to take trips.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.01.20 @ 12:00