Best Weekend Getaways For Fall Foliage & Family Fun This Year

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view of fall waterfall and fall foliage - best weekend getaways in the south

Autumn is in the air and you’re wondering where the best weekend getaways are for fall foliage overload, dreamy drives, and fairy tale hiking trails. AmIright? Nothing gives us the warm fuzzies more than surrounding ourselves with crisp cool air and scenes of pumpkin patches, beautiful waterfalls, and fun family activities and family vacation ideas are my jam!

Best weekend getaways in the south

Check out the best fall weekend getaways in the south below with contact information for each activity at the very end.


The Blue Ridge Scenic Parkway meanders 469 miles through the spine of the North Georgia Mountains and you can take a heartwarming boxcar ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway that travels 26 miles round trip with stunning views along the beautiful Toccoa River and into Tennessee. Downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia holds a Harvest Festival and it will delight all ages with games, live music, interactive displays, carnival snacks, costumed characters, pumpkin painting and much more.

Spooky Savannah tours are available for those thrill seekers that want to see beautiful Savannah, Georgia’s spookier side.  Take a creepy walking tour through Bonaventure Cemetery, where you are guided by a master storyteller past the graves of famous people and every-day Georgians or go on a spine-tingling candlelight walking tour to hear chilling tales of this Gothic town’s most famous ghosts and local folklore. If you dare, stay at the Marshall House Inn, formally a Civil War hospital, where rumors abound of soldier and child ghosts running in hallways and turning on appliances.

Best Weekend Getaways for fall foliage overload, dreamy drives, & fairy tale hiking trails - Georgia Pumpkin Festival
Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival, James Emery, cc

Experience the all-new Play-by-Day and Glow-by-Night at the Pumpkin Festival of Stone Mountain.  During the day you can soar to the summit on the Skyride, ride the Scenic Railroad around the mountain, meet and greet Spookly the Square Pumpkin, and join in storytelling with Mother Goose, pie eating contests, and tea party games with the Mad Hatter.  Get ready for a world of ginormous glowing pumpkin displays, a glow-along party parade, costume contests, and more glow-in-the-dark family fun.

Visit the Rock Ranch Festivals as one of the best weekend getaways for family fun on Saturdays that include hot air balloons, “not so scary” Halloween fun, and National Pumpkin Destruction Day!  Built by the late S. Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A, this 1,500-acre working cattle ranch located about an hour south of Atlanta was founded by Truett to “unite families to the land and each other.”

South Carolina

The Beaufort Fall Festival of Homes & Gardens is a delightful way to spend a fall afternoon in October.  Pick a day out of the three offered for a private stroll through historic homes and plantations in the Beaufort National Historic Landmark District and surrounding Lowcountry.

The South Carolina Pecan Festival in Downtown Florence is a fabulous spot to experience fall in South Carolina for one of the best weekend getaways.  Enjoy eight different stages of live entertainment, over 200 Arts and Crafts, Non-Profit, and Food Vendors, the “Run Like a Nut” and “Bike Like a Nut” events. For 15 years, they’ve been providing a lovely festival of great activities, entertainment, and family fun.

Best Weekend Getaways for fall foliage overload, dreamy drives, & fairy tale hiking trails - South Carolina Mountain
Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, South Carolina,  -ted, cc

Head out for a family hike at Spoonauger Falls with its easy terrain at just half a mile to the beautiful 50-foot falls and a shallow pool at the bottom that the kiddos will adore.  Table Rock State Park offers even more impressive fall foliage views but the payment is it’s strenuous 3.6-mile climb up 2,000 feet of mountain to reach the top of the granite dome.  Table Rock also has two lakes, a campground, mountain cabins, and a historic lodge.

North Carolina

Ken’s Korny Corn Maze is North Carolina’s longest-running corn maze and it’s easy to see why.  Not only is there a 10-acre Fall playground, but also 2 1/2 miles of paths in their corn maze.  Truly a family-friendly venue, your family can enjoy rubber duck races, a corn tunnel, wooden ship, picnic area, hay barn, miniature golf, and a hayride.

Best Weekend Getaways for fall foliage overload, dreamy drives, & fairy tale hiking trails - North Carolina Corn Maze

Peanuts™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express is a Great Smoky Mountains Railroad narrated trip (of the Charlie Brown story) that boards at the Bryson City Depot and travels to the pumpkin patch.  Kiddos will be greeted initially for photo ops with the Peanuts gang and then they’ll enjoy layover time at the patch to enjoy campfire marshmallows, a bouncy house, hayrides, and more!


One of the best weekend getaways during fall in Tennessee is to visit the Smoky Mountains National Park area and plan a day hike with the family around Cades Cove.  Twenty-seven miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Cades Cove has numerous old churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other eighteenth and nineteenth century structures along the route. There are short and long hiking trails to choose from.

If you are looking for a variety of family activities in one gorgeous Tennessee mountain town, Chattanooga is your spot!  Chattanooga, Tennessee is unique in that its lively downtown hub is surrounded by easily accessible mountains and rivers and more scenic beauty than you can shake a stick at!  For instance, you can park that family car and explore the vibrant Downtown District by walking or catch a free electric shuttle or Grayline Chattanooga Hop On/Off Trolley.  Starting in September, your fam can enjoy the fall colors by foot on breathtaking vistas (Lookout Mountain, Raccoon Mountain, Sunset Rock, Lula Lake Land Trust, Prentice Cooper State Park, Point Park) by boat, train or bike!

Best Weekend Getaways for fall foliage overload, dreamy drives, & fairy tale hiking trails - Tennessee Fall Colors
Smoky Mountains National Park

The Mid-South Barbecue Festival is on its 10th year running and they say you can smell their “butts” for miles! Take the family to see what all the hoopla is about at this KCBS sanctioned barbecue competition. Fill up on endless samples in Downtown Mount Pleasant and enjoy entertainment, vendors, a classic car show, a free zone for kids, and a kid’s Halloween costume contest.


One of the best weekend getaways is the delightful working farm in Hillard Florida known as Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres.  Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” Conner’s corn maze was chosen for “The Great Pumpkin Patch” transformation! Not only do they have an out-of-this-world corn maze, families can enjoy tumble bug races, barnyard animals, a corn box, corn hole, a cow train, and horse train rides.  Don’t miss this adorable place for family fun in October!

Best Weekend Getaways for fall foliage overload, dreamy drives, & fairy tale hiking trails - Florida Fall Festival

Step back in time when you arrive this October at the historic McIntosh 1890s Festival along Hwy. 441 between Gainesville and Ocala, Florida.  Bring a blanket and a picnic to enjoy all day, free entertainment as residents walk among you in their 1890s clothing, children playing in the park, and the backdrop of Victorian homes underneath the canopy of 100-year old live oak trees.  You and your family can also stroll along the park and check out over 280 arts, crafts, food, and antique vendors.


Check out the Fall Farm Day Festival in Dothan, Alabama where the fam can see how peanuts were harvested in the Wiregrass region nearly 100 years ago. You’ll get to indulge in the sights, sounds and sweet smells of cane grinding, syrup making, butter churning, soap making, and other traditional farm activities. There will be fun music, antique tractors, wagon rides and the largest quilt display in the entire Wiregrass area.

The best weekend getaways in Alabama start with the Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama, Blount County.  There is an amazing Fall Color Trail, but be sure to take in the scenery of Oneonta/Blount County and enjoy the color from Horton Mill, Old Easley or Swann covered bridges and Palisades Park. You should also attend the delightful Covered Bridge Festival.

Best Weekend Getaways for fall foliage overload, dreamy drives, & fairy tale hiking trails - Alabama Covered Bridges

Scarecrows in the Park is a remarkable community tradition in the small town of Opp, Alabama.  Over 300 scarecrows spread along the trails of Lake Frank Jackson State Park’s three miles of walking trails every October and November since 2008.  Stick around at the gorgeous 2,050-acre Frank Jackson State Park for a picnic, fishing, or a leisurely walk along a pedestrian bridge to a lake island.

watch Scarecrows in the Park video 

Tell me in the comments which of the best weekend getaways listed here are you most excited to visit?

Info to know before your best weekend getaways

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway:  241 Depot Street, Blue Ridge, GA (877) 413-8724

Bonaventure Cemetery Tours:  415 Bonaventure Road, Suite B, Savannah, GA (912) 292-0960

Candlelight Walking Tour:  Colonial Park Cemetery 201 East Oglethorpe Ave, Savannah, GA (912) 604-3007

Marshall House Inn:  123 East Broughton Street Savannah, GA (912) 644-7896

Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival:  1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA (800) 401-2407

The Rock Ranch:  5020 Barnesville Hwy, The Rock, GA (706) 647-6374

Beaufort Fall Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens:  208 Scott Street, Beaufort, SC (843) 379-3331

South Carolina Pecan Festival:  324 W. Evans Street Florence, SC (843) 665-2047

Spoonauger Falls:  Burrells Ford Rd, Mountain Rest, SC

Table Rock State Park:  158 E Ellison Ln, Pickens, SC

Ken’s Korny Corn Maze:  3175 Benson Road, Garner NC

Great Pumpkin Patch Express:  45 Mitchell St., Bryson City, NC

Cades Cove:  107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN

Visit Chattanooga

Mid-South Barbecue Festival:  104 N Main St., Mount Pleasant, TN

Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres:  19856 County Road 121, Hilliard, FL

McIntosh 1890s Festival:  Van Ness Park, McIntosh, FL

Fall Farm Day:  430 Landmark Dr. Dothan, AL

Alabama Fall Color Trail

Scarecrows in the Park:  Frank Jackson State Park, 100 Jerry Adams Dr, Opp, AL


view of Tennessee Rapids & fall foliage - best weekend getaways in the south

Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Margie DQ
    September 10, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    This is a fantastic list! We lived in Miami for over 30 years and never really experienced Fall. Since my husband and I are both teachers, we never took long weekends to Tennessee or South Carolina to see the leaves change, but I will definitely share this on my FB page for all my friends closer than I am right now.

  2. Andy
    September 11, 2018 / 9:44 am

    They all sound like fun getaways! I’m so ready for fall, aren’t you?

  3. Lia
    September 11, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    The Alabama festival is so fun!! I definitely need to road trip to some of these other ones!

  4. Kristin Cook
    September 11, 2018 / 3:58 pm

    I think Asheville is a great getaway in the Fall. It’s absolutely gorgeous! Plus, starting in November, they have the gingerbread house display at The Grove Park Inn! So fun!

  5. Lara
    September 11, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    All of these look amazing! I’m loving the warmer alternative to the New England foliage trips! 🙂

  6. Nicole Kauffman
    September 12, 2018 / 7:53 am

    Great ideas!! We definitely need to plan a weekend getaway so I’m saving this!

  7. Crystal // Dreams, etc.
    September 12, 2018 / 8:07 am

    I read about the spooky walks in Savannah before and have always wanted to go! This list is great!

  8. Brittany
    September 12, 2018 / 2:44 pm

    North Carolina is my favorite In the fall!

  9. Madison at The Weaver Fam
    September 12, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    All of these states are awesome for weekend getaways! We love Savannah, but we need to check out that pumpkin festival in Stone Mountain. Sounds awesome!

  10. Katie werthmann
    September 13, 2018 / 2:09 pm

    You forgot Michigan! And Vermont!

  11. Kevin
    September 13, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    I live in Canada so there it’s pretty much summer straight to winter haha the weather in the south probably allows for a lot of fun weekends and great Thanksgiving weather!

  12. Bekah
    September 14, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    Awe, I want to do a straw maze! I am on the West coast now but I hope I can find some awesome Fall activities like these closer to me.

  13. Sabrina
    September 15, 2018 / 9:24 am

    I’m pinning this for later since travel is pretty much out for me this year! These are some amazing places!

  14. Melanie
    September 17, 2018 / 8:22 am

    Such a great list Shan!! I love Savannah’s Haunted Tours!! I have also always wanted to do a corn maze, I need to remember to make that a priority this year!

  15. candy
    September 28, 2018 / 9:16 am

    We love traveling during the fall. Not so many crowds and the fall colors can’t be beat.

  16. Jessica
    September 28, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    That Blue Ridge Scenic Railway trip sounds like something all of my kids would enjoy! I live in the PNW and have not spent very much time in the south. It looks beautiful! Fun to see all of the different fall activities you can do in that neck of the woods!

  17. Lynn Woods
    September 29, 2018 / 9:42 am

    Ken’s Korny Corn Maze is right around the corner from my house! It looks so much fun and I wondered how it was. Thanks for this!

  18. Kelsey
    September 30, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    I love Savannah! Also, it may not be “southern” but I went to The Greenbriar in October last year and it was amazing!

  19. Josephine
    October 5, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    The Smoky Mountains National Park, I would definitely love to be there. Heard a lot of great things. These are great lists.

  20. Robert Chase
    October 14, 2018 / 5:48 am

    Hello Shan,
    Excellent traveling post on Smoky Mountains National Park. Great list and helpful information. As a travel lover mid age people, walking in this spot, Is need walking canes? please reply your valuable opinion.

  21. Shan
    August 25, 2019 / 8:09 am

    Sounds beautiful, Carol. I would love to visit! Thanks for letting us know all the details surrounding your hometown.


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