Florida Man on the Run

Revisiting My Favorite Fall Destinations

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With our anniversary being in October, we do a lot of travel during the fall. It’s honestly hard to pick my favorite fall destinations. However, I wanted to take some time to look back on these previous trips and discuss why they are some of my favorite fall destinations. I think it’s always good to reflect on where you’ve been in order to know where you want to go in the future (or make some return trips)! With this in mind, I’ll be taking a walk down memory lane while also outlining what I’d do differently if we got a chance to revisit some of these awesome fall destinations.

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Atlanta, Georgia (October 2015)

This was the first major anniversary trip we ever took together. Being major Foo Fighters fans, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them live at Centennial Park in Downtown Atlanta. With this as the centerpiece of our trip, we planned three full days to enjoy the city. This was where I first learned of the CityPass program. Visiting five different attractions at 40% off? Sign me up! It really was a great way to explore everything Atlanta had to offer and made it one of my favorite fall destinations.

The Foo Fighters show was amazing! My camera quality in 2015, not so much!

It’s hard to highlight all the fun parts of this trip. I’m a Coca-Cola fanatic, so our trip to the World of Coca-Cola was a must do for me. The Georgia Aquarium is one of the finest in the country and I’d have to agree with that assessment one-hundred percent. The Atlanta Zoo happens to be one of the few in the country with pandas. Hard to pass up a chance to see these amazing animals. We also made visits to CNN which was pretty neat. The College Football Hall of Fame was the final highlight for me since I’m also a massive college football fan.

When I look back on this trip, there is honestly very little I’d do differently. Maybe planning an extra day to visit the Zoo. We made our stop there as we were leaving town, so didn’t get as much time there as we might have otherwise spent. Other than that, this trip was absolutely fabulous. The concert ended up being just as killer as I expected it would be! The Foo Fighters were amazing and overall this trip is still one of my favorite vacations, period.

Boston, Massachusetts (October 2018)

Boston was one of the first big trips I took after started this blog. It’s still one of my favorite fall destinations as well. When we headed up there, I was fully focused on packing as much into the little less than a week that we had available to us. One of the things that helped with this was the GoBoston card. It gave us access to so many different sites and attractions while we were in town. This was one of the best choices I made on the trip and really helped maximize our time.

Can’t pass up an opportunity to see a game at Fenway Park!

However, this Boston trip wasn’t just focused on the big city. We took the opportunity to explore many of the historical towns that are scattered on Boston’s edges. Salem is an amazing destination in it’s own right during the fall. What better Halloween trip than one to The Witch City? Lexington and Concord were absolutely delightful as well. The sheer history that permeates these cities is unreal. Boston and the greater area are easily one of the best trips for history buffs to take.

Say hello to Captain Lobster!

Not all went according to plan on this trip and it’s one of the parts I’ve learned most from for other trips. Always check the weather ahead of time. I had a defined itinerary set out and didn’t check to see if I needed to deviate from that. When we traveled out to Cape Cod to catch the sunrise, it was hidden behind storm clouds the entire time. It was a big miss on my part and a big learning moment. Our trip to Boston has ultimately just spurred an interest in returning for a greater New England road trip.

Denver, Colorado (October 2019)

Loved the view of Downtown Denver from the science museum!

Our trip to Denver in the fall of 2019 was an absolute blast. Like a few of our previous trips, we made the most of a CityPass to maximize our time in the city. This trip to Denver was a bit different than some of our other trips because we took more time to simply enjoy the city. Sure there are plenty of attractions in Denver, but the town itself is well worth making a visit even if you don’t see the big tourist spots.

I definitely think this is one of my favorite fall destinations because of how easy it was to simply enjoy being in the city. We took walks along the city streets and basked in the amazing weather. The Clocktower Cabaret put on a show that we’d never forget. Being the big science nerds that we are, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science was also a huge hit for us. We even got a chance to squeeze in a trip out to Rocky Mountain National Park to catch sunrise at Bear Lake!

Bear Lake was one of the best places to spend a Rocky Mountain Morning!

There are certainly some minor changes I’d make to this trip. The first is I’d skip visiting the aquarium. Instead, I’d use the CityPass to check out another attraction like the Rockies Air & Space Museum. That’s not to say the aquarium is bad, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. The second change I’d make is giving us more time. Denver was half of our trip that year, which meant it only got half the time it should have. Despite all this, Denver is one of my favorite fall destinations and we can’t wait to get back!

Denver CityPASS

Albuquerque, New Mexico (October 2019)

This was the second part of our trip in the fall of 2019. In fact, I had originally planned Albuquerque to be the entire trip this year but had to change it up because of the cost of flights. However, this really worked out for the best. Our trip was going to be focused on the world famous Balloon Fiesta that is held there every year. However, we also wanted to enjoy the historic parts of the city while we were in town.

Watching the hot-air balloons take off was an amazing sight!

I had originally planned two different days at the Balloon Fiesta, but changed up those plans at the last minute. This ultimately was the right call because it was easy to just spend a whole day at the Fiesta, with a nice napping break in the middle. That let us spend the entire next day exploring the rest of Albuquerque. We had a chance to visit the Pueblo Cultural Center as well, which was an enriching experience. We definitely loved Albuquerque and it’s one of my favorite fall destinations even though we only spent a couple days here.

Come prepared for some chilly weather!

There are a few things I’d change up now that I’m reflecting on the trip. I wish we would have gotten more time to explore away from the city proper. There are so many amazing places to visit and cultures to learn about nearby. This is especially the case with many of the pueblos that surround the city. Additionally, I’d be more aware of what the weather will be like. We were unprepared for the cold during our morning at the Balloon Fiesta. While we ended up with an awesome blanket out of the deal, I’d also liked to have not been freezing for most of the morning as well. Still, ABQ was a super fun part of the trip and a great end to our little Denver to Albuquerque road trip.

Blue Ridge Parkway (October 2020)

Our trusty Subaru, Linda, was the best travel companion we could have asked for!

This trip can be simply summarized with one word: gorgeous. It’s hard to overstate just how amazing it is to cruise along the Blue Ridge Parkway in October. The colors, the weather, the food, and the time with nature. Of all my favorite fall destinations, this is the top of the list. Plus, this trip wasn’t just driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. We also did the 100+ mile Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park as well!

With 2020 being the year that is was, we still wanted to make the most of our anniversary trip. It was a pretty big one after all (our 10th). What better way to celebrate than combining our love for fall, road trips, and mountains into an amazing adventure. Driving the length of the Blue Ridge is one of the most iconic road trips in America. Every day we were on the road it was something brand new to enjoy. More than any other trip I’ve taken, I continually think back to this one. We barely had a chance to scratch the surface and can’t wait to do it all over again.

This whole trip was an amazing adventure with my favorite person too!

The only thing about the entire trip I would change is more camping. We stayed in a couple of hotels along the way. Ones like Fancy Gap Cabins and Campground were absolutely fantastic! Others were more mainstream and really weren’t the vibe I was looking for. We camped in the back of our Subaru Forester for most of the drive, but I wish we would have done it every night. It makes you get up early and on to the day’s journey with a bit more gusto. Besides that, this trip was simply flawless.

Baltimore, Maryland (October 2021)

Baltimore is one of those trips that came about from a great deal. In particular, 50% off airfare. I fly with Southwest quite a bit, so when they had a 50% for their 50th anniversary sale I jumped on it. $45 flights non-stop, sign me up! Just like another city on this list, Baltimore is also an awesome place for history buffs. Yet, it’s got so much more potential and that’s why it’s ultimately on the list of my favorite fall destinations.

Isn’t every trip about the friends you make along the way?

Our trip started with a day at the Baltimore Zoo. This is one of the premier zoos in the country and it features my favorite animal: Penguins! This happened to be my first time seeing them, so right there the whole trip was made! From there we had a chance to do one of the best renaissance festivals in the country. The Maryland Renaissance Festival was such a blast. The grounds are huge with a wealth of entertainment, shops, and food stalls. We also had a chance to visit the National Aquarium and spend some time along the harbor.

So what would I change about this trip? Double checking the dates when I buy tickets for things. We got 100% dressed for the fair, showed up, and then realized it was a day early. This threw a wrench in our plans for the entire rest of the trip, including cancelling a couple days I thought about spending in Washington, D.C. Of all the trips I’ve planned this was probably the biggest screw up. However, at the end of the week, we’d had a fantastic vacation in Baltimore. What more could you really ask for?

Other Destinations That Would Be Great in Fall

All of the above trips make this list of my favorite fall destinations because we got to do these trips in the fall. However, there are quite a few locations we’ve traveled too that would have been amazing in the cooler autumn weather. #1 of these trips is our Great River Road trip. Driving the length of the Mississippi River is a great idea for a fall road trip. Time it correctly and you’ll have a chance to see beautiful colors in the north, while still getting pleasant temperatures further south.

Would love to visit Black Canyon in the fall or winter!

Another trip I’ve taken that would have worked well in the fall is my Southwest road trip. Over the summer of 2020, my mom and I trekked across the American southwest. The trip took us to six different national parks, but in some of the hottest weather! Flipping this trip to the fall makes it more pleasant from a temperature stand point. It also will be less crowded since kids are back in school and national parks are big family destinations.

The last vacation I’d throw into this mix is Charleston, SC. Another of America’s great historical cities, it’s also hot and humid much of the year. We came in August for a concert and just walking around downtown took it’s toll. Despite being on the coast, Charleston doesn’t really have its own beach (you’ll head to Myrtle Beach for that). This means coming here during October and November beats the heat and humidity. Charleston is also one of the most haunted cities in America. Plan a trip here in October and get your full of everything spooky!

My Favorite Future Fall Destinations

All this reminiscing about past trips gets my juices flowing for planning future ones. As a massive lover of road trips, these always pop into my head first. And why not? Road trips are one of the best ways to enjoy everything fall has to offer. At the top of my road trip list is New England. I’d love to take a loop starting in Boston, that winds its way through New Hampshire, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts. An even crazier road trip idea would be following the Great Lakes from Duluth all the way to Watertown, NY on Lake Ontario!

Glacier has a brief but amazing window in the fall for visiting!

If I can stop my desire to be continually in motion for a moment, there are also a few other stationary destinations I’d love to add to my favorite fall destinations. Glacier National Park (and all of Montana) are perfect for an early fall trip I’d love to do in September to see some early fall colors. Philadelphia is another historic city that I’d love to finally see. October is a perfect time to visit there. A trip I’d do in November would be Congaree National Park. The trees change color there later than in the mountains, making it good destination for late fall. Plus, it’s one of the most underrated national parks to visit in the fall!

Final Thoughts on My Favorite Season

If you can’t tell by this point, I love the fall. Growing up in Florida, it was always the season that wasn’t quite like everywhere else in the country but still signaled a change. Football was back, the heat was a little less unbearable, and the best holidays were approaching quickly. Getting to celebrate meeting the love of my life each year just makes it that much better! I haven’t had a chance to write about all these places just yet, but they are all special memories to me. I hope you enjoyed reading these briefest of recaps and hopefully I can bring their stories to life soon.

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One Response

  1. Some great destinations! You’ve inspired me and I’m sure many others with this well written list of fall destinations. Love Mom! ?❤ PS I concur. The summer trip we took would have been better in the cooler weather of the fall season. ?

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