Plan Ahead for Fall, Part 2: Great Family Getaways


If the heat and humidity of summer have got you down, relieve the psychic stress by planning for a fun fall getaway.

Fall foliage in Vermont.

Walk trails edged with aspens the color of spun gold; bicycle to orchards to pick plump, round pumpkins; ride horseback on mountain paths; and paddle rivers and lakes. These adventures get you out into the fall’s fabulous landscape.

     >>>More: Plan Ahead: Fall Fun in the Mountains

Vermont: Smugglers’ Notch Ski Resort

Smugglers’ Notch, VT, a noted family-oriented ski area, turns autumn into an awesome experience. Take a guided nature hike through the dappled woods or walk on your own past creeks and stands of birch. For a workout, tackle Mt. Mansfield, trekking to the summit for sweeping views. For those who prefer pedaling and paddling to their own foot power, Smugglers’ rents mountain bikes and a local company offers canoes for trips along the Lamoille River.

New York: Lake Placid

Lake Placid and nearby Whiteface Mountain, one of the gems of northern New York’s 6 million-acre Adirondack Park, hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Savor panoramic views by driving up Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway to the peak. For more scenery, bike the Olympic Byway, hike along the Ausable River and canoe Mirror Lake. Take time to browse for pumpkins and late season corn at the Sunday farmers’ market in Keene and if you want Olympic-quality thrills, go on a bobsled run (on wheels) at the Olympic Sports Complex.

New York: Pinegrove Resort Ranch,

Horseback ride through the Catskill Mountains’ colorful foliage at Pinegrove Resort Ranch, Kerhonkson, NY. The family owned and operated dude ranch sprawls on 600 acres. Kids ages 7 and older and adults enjoy the trails. Older preschoolers get accustomed to horses by sitting on ponies and being led around a ring. At Lil’ Mavericks Day Camp, youngsters play games, do crafts and visit the petting zoo. Dudes with tender bottoms can stroll the grounds, pick apples at a nearby orchard, or lap it up in the indoor pool. In the evening, join line-dancing. At this family-friendly resort, accommodations are more plain than fancy.

Michigan: Mission Point Resort

Mission Point Resort, located on Mackinac Island, in Lake Huron, offers a relaxed lakeside vacation. Collect stones on the beach, admire the tree-crested cliffs, fly kites in the autumn breezes, and hop on a hayride. A favorite island pastime: bicycling. Since the island prohibits cars, cycling is safe as long as you watch out for the horse-drawn carriages. Mackinac Island State Park, an 1,800-acre woodland oasis, features 61 miles of roads and trails, many of which wind you through forested groves. At Fort Mackinac, open through Oct. 9, 2016, kids can interact with costumed interpreters portraying 19th century soldiers and observe cannon firings. The resort closes for the season near the end of October.

Colorado: YMCA of the Rockies

Amid the Rocky Mountains’ pine forests, aspen groves in autumn shine like spun gold. In Winter Park, the YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch offers hiking trails, riding stables, an indoor roller rink, swimming pool, climbing wall, and basketball courts—not to mention 5,000 acres of meadows and mountains to explore. Waterfall, an easy 1½ mile hike, leads to a waterfall. This no-frills, comfortable property, operated by the YMCA, is open to people of all faiths.

Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park      

Although Yellowstone National Park doesn’t have the spectacular fall foliage that blazes across New England, Yellowstone does have some trees whose leaves turn yellow and red. But what Yellowstone lacks in color, it makes up in sound. In September through mid-October, the duration of the elk rut, you will hear the elk even before you come upon the herd. The males’ bugling, a sound that starts like a low grunt and escalates into a shrill whistle, fills the air around Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs.


What are your favorite fall getaways? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter, @familytrips.

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