Fall Travel, Favorite Spots for Leaf Peeping

Many people are willing to drive great lengths to see leaves change in the fall. That’s me! Fall is my favorite time of year to travel.

This season, we’re participating in holiday travel blog caravan on Best Family Travel Advice. Our contributing experts as well as bloggers from around the world will share their best tips for traveling with kids by answering a weekly question. Given that fall has officially begun, we’re kicking things off with an important topic: What are some great locations to see fall foliage with kids?

The beauty of the caravan-style response is that you can get broad perspective on every topic. Between all of us, you’re sure to find tips and tidbits that resonate.

Favorite Leaf Peeping Experiences

I have yet to visit New England in the fall but I know any “best of” list includes Vermont and New Hampshire. One day that trip will happen but in the meantime my favorite fall experiences are in Napa Valley and Tuscany. Although both destinations have grape vines that create a sea of color over the autumn months, the similarities stop there.

Photo courtesy of William Perry

Napa Valley Fall Travel

October is traditionally the grape picking time in and around Napa Valley and it is extremely challenging to find accommodations without significant planning, i.e. it’s too late for 2010 if you don’t have plans in place, particularly for weekend getaways.

November, however, is a different story. The foliage change in California may be less dramatic than other parts of the country but the upside is that autumn color lasts a few months. You will start seeing things change in September and there will be action through early December. The vines change to red or yellow depending on the varietal and many of the trees in this area are deciduous. The result? Gorgeous autumn scenery!

While Indian Summer will be in full swing in October with warm days, November turns cooler and there may be some rain, but it is still a great time to be in the wine country. We’ve covered kid-friendly activities in Napa Valley a few times on the CB blog, and most recently Dana wrote a great article on the wine country with kids for our partner LocalGetways.com.

The bottom line is don’t be afraid to take kids to Napa Valley. It’s not Disneyland, but entertainment is plentiful and everyone will come back well-fed and refreshed.

Tuscany Fall Travel

The combination of fall foliage in a Tuscan setting is pure magic. If you have pre-school age kids, the fall is a tremendous time of year to see Italy.  For school-age kids, if you are comfortable taking them out of school or can work around other fall holidays, it’s well worth the trip to Europe for shoulder season benefits. Prices are less and the suffocating crowds of summer have disappeared.

You can do everything you do over the summer months except swim. See my article on Tuscany attractions with kids for ideas. Biking on the walls of Lucca with my family under the yellow fall trees (pictured above) is one of my all-time favorite travel moments.

The vineyards of Chianti look like this … need I say more? Unlike Napa, November is a bit too late here for the best of fall color — pencil October 2011 in your planner!

I have some good news, if a fall trip Italy seems out of the question, we’re announcing an exciting giveaway tomorrow that you will love. Tune into the CB blog for details!

Get more tips on the best leaf peeping places on BFTA’s holiday travel blog carnival page.

Relevant Links:

Tuscany with kids

Italy travel tips, creating a family-friendly itinerary

5 kid-friendly activities in Napa Valley

Napa with kids, Oxbow Market

10 great fall vacations with kids

2010 Halloween activity round up

Best San Francisco Bay Area pumpkin patches

5 Comments

  1. Mmm, Napa in October and Toscana in November sounds perfecto to me! I’m with you–fall really is the BEST time to go anywhere!

  2. The last time I was in Tuscany it was in November, and the weather was fantastic – warm, lots of golden light, and most important virtually NO other tourists!

  3. I’ll take Tuscany any time of year, but this really wants me to go to Italy in the fall now. Thanks a lot, now my travel jones has kicked in!

  4. I’ve only ever been to Italy in the summer and it was HOT! Travelling there in the fall looks perfect.

  5. We love Virginia in the fall, Skyline Drive is amazing. We usually will add a visit to an apple orchard – Carter Mountain is one of the best we have been to in Charlottesville, its very kid friendly and the views are breathtaking. Packing a picnic and heading out to see the leaves turning color is a family tradition, we all look forward to. My kids collect leaves and we press them in books and make art of it, we also take a family picture in the same pose every year and its become a great tradition.

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