Summer vacation is officially over, but that doesn't mean you have to put the suitcase back in the closet.
In fact, fall can be a great time to take a family vacation. You'll find smaller crowds and lower prices
, along with better weather in some of America's best travel
1. Orlando, Florida
Photo: Britt Reints
Ever since moving to Florida in 2007, I have become a huge advocate for autumn travel to the Sunshine State. The beauty of a fall Florida vacation is that the sun is still shining but most of the other tourists have gone home. You'll find the beaches almost empty and the lines at your favorite amusement parks surprisingly short. Plan for an October trip to enjoy the International Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT and avoid the holiday crowds that pick up again around Thanksgiving.
2. New York City, New York
Photo: Jelly Dude/Creative Commons
New Yorkers laugh at those of us who visit the city in the summer. That's when the city is at its hottest and most of the real New Yorkers are gone - including all of the celebrities. Go back to the city in September to catch a glimpse of fame in a local coffee shop and enjoy hours of walking around without the threat of heat stroke. You'll also find the city is full of college students who've returned to one of the many local universities. What's that have to do with your New York City vacation
? Head to Union Square for some out of this world people watching. And of course you can't forget to take in the changing leaves at Central Park.
3. Pelham, Alabama
Photo: Southernpixel Alby/Creative Commons
Where? Pelham, Alabama - better known as the home of Oak Mountain State Park. This nearly 10,000-acre park is a perennial member of top ten lists for leaf peeping every year. Once you're done taking hundreds of pictures of the changing leaves, you can also hike, canoe, bike, ride horses, and fish. Throw on a pair of jeans and flannel shirt and you've got yourself a genuine Great Outdoors getaway. If you have an extra day, take a trip into nearby Birmingham.
4. Lake Erie Shores and Islands, Ohio
Photo: Britt Reints
Disclosure: I was recently a guest of the tourism board to this area, but it rained the entire time I was there so I didn't really get to take advantage of the freebies. I'm still recommending you consider a visit. What's there to do in Northern Ohio in the fall? Indoor waterparks and one of the largest collection of roller coasters
in the country, for starters. Cedar Point amusement park, home to 17 roller coasters, is open on weekends through October, but you know you're not going to run into summertime crowds once school is back in session. You can also catch a ferry to one of the Lake Erie Islands and enjoy nature-loving activities like biking and boating. This is a great destination for budget-conscious families who want to mix a little amusement park with a little outdoorsy action.
5. Weston, Vermont
Photo: Pdbreen/Creative Commons
OK, fine. It wouldn't be a fall vacation list without including at least one New England destination, and Weston may be the most genuinely New England town around. A gazebo in the city bears the inscription, "I am New England. This is what you've been wanting to see your whole life." The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places and visitors have compared it to a living Norman Rockwell painting.