Fall Travel Ideas for Military Families

Written by Susannah Wruk

The weather is growing colder, leaves are starting to change colors, and days are growing shorter — the season of fall is quickly approaching. Why not seize the opportunity presented by the cooler weather and beautiful scenery to make some travel plans with your family this autumn? Here are a few fun fall travel ideas tailored for military families:


Go Leaf Peeping

“Leaf Peeping” is a delightful pastime of seeking out and enjoying scenic fall foliage. While New England is widely acknowledged as the leaf-peeping capital of the USA, it’s not the only place to see gorgeous fall colors! Some of the best places to see fall foliage include:

  • Ozark National Forest in Arkansas
  • The Columbia River Gorge in Oregon
  • Taos, New Mexico
  • Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia
  • Franklin, Tennessee
  • The Catskill Mountains in New York
  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  • Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

Whether you want to travel across the country or stay close to home, you should be able to discover plenty of fall vacation ideas that allow you to admire the amazing fall colors. However, it’s important to keep in mind that peak fall colors occur at different times in different locations across the nation. Here’s a handy fall foliage predictor map to help you determine the best time to visit your chosen location.


Take Advantage of Holiday Leave

While there is no official fall leave period for the military, many commands offer time off for Thanksgiving, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. These long weekends can be a perfect opportunity for fall vacation ideas. Planning a getaway around these holiday weekends allows you to use less leave time while still enjoying a brief vacation!


Explore Military Travel Deals and Discounts

With the cost of living on the rise, many military families are finding their budgets stretched thin this year. Save money by taking advantage of military family vacation deals and special offers available to active duty military members and their families. American Forces Travel is a travel planning website that provides discounts on hotels, flights, rental cars, cruises, and more for military families.

If you’re planning a military family vacation to visit loved ones during the holidays, consider looking into Operation Ride Home. This program, provided through the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA), assists service members and their families with the expenses of traveling home during the holidays. Applicants must be seeking to travel between November 1st and January 31st, making it a helpful option for fall travel ideas during this season.


Discover Local Attractions

Perhaps traveling out of state is not in the cards this year due to logistics, cost, work, or other constraints. That’s perfectly fine! Often, there are numerous enjoyable fall staycation ideas right outside your door! I always encourage military families to explore their duty stations and venture beyond the base. Fall provides an excellent opportunity to do just that!

Check magazines and newspapers for fall travel ideas nearby that may just be a short drive from home, such as harvest festivals, trunk or treat events, seasonal markets, block parties, and more! Facebook can also be a valuable resource for finding exciting local fall events.


Find Your Local ASYMCA Branch

The ASYMCA actively engages with military communities, fostering connections among families while providing support to service members and their loved ones. If you’re looking for fall travel ideas, consider reaching out to your local ASYMCA branch to learn about the services they offer, upcoming events, and more!

Find My Local Branch