Best Fall Getaways - Road Trips by region

Distances, roads to take, stops to make and things to do.

Make your fall getaway road trip more fun. Check out our Road Trips post for why road trips are the best way to travel and tips to keep things interesting and fun!

We have the Ultimate Road Trip Checklist  in an easy PDF format for viewing and printing.

best fall getaways

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Traveling in the USA, road trips are the best option and every region has some popular destinations, especially for fall. If you’re taking a road trip to Panama City Beach, check out our Road Trip to Panama City Beach post with specific info about that destination and driving there. Also, if you’re looking to take a road trip within the Midwest, check out our Best Midwestern Weekend Getaways with detailed info about certain Top-Cities and weekend trips in the Midwest.

If you’re traveling on a budget, we have some awesome tips for budget travel planning and how to get amazing deals! Check out our Budget travel post.

best fall getaways

Best Fall Getaways in the Midwest

For more Midwestern Road Trip Destinations and Inspiration, Check out our Best Midwestern Weekend Getaways!

Kansas City, MO & Kansas

Get directions from any city to Kansas City by clicking on the directions tab(desktop) or “view larger(mobile) below.

Click on any City’s name in this article to be taken directly to the driving directions and map.

Road trip to Kansas City, Missouri

Driving distance from St. Louis is going to be around 3.5 hours. I-70 takes you directly from STL to Kansas City, without having to change roads. Some great scenic stops to take would be the Overton Bottoms Conservation Area right in the middle of your trip. You can enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting and catch sights of some great fall foliage. If you’re coming from Michigan or Chicago, you’re looking at 7 hours(Chicago) and 11:15(Michigan). From Chicago, you’re best roads would be I-55 and US-36 while from Michigan, you will take I-55. If you’re looking for great stops, Chicago is a great city to make a stop in coming from Michigan. While Bloomington, Springfield, IL and Hannibal would be some good spots from Chicago as well as Michigan.

Lake of Ozarks, Missouri

Get directions from any city to the Lake of Ozarks by clicking on the directions tab(desktop) or view larger(mobile) below.

Missouri has a lot to offer. The Lake of Ozarks is one of our top fall getaways offering beautiful foliage, hiking, fishing, entertainment and adventure. From romantic getaways to family vacations, this destination is perfect for everyone. From St. Louis, the distance is about 4 hours when you take I-44. You can stop at Sullivan, St. James and Rolla. St. James offers some great wineries with free wine tastings. From Wisconsin, the distance will be almost 9 hours taking I-39 South and I-72. Rockford, Springfield and even St. Louis would make excellent stops on the way there! Coming from Chicago, you’re looking at around 7.5 hours if you take I-55 and I-72. Bloomington, Springfield and Jefferson City make for good break-stops. If you like Missouri and the Lake of Ozarks, check out our Things to do in Branson, MO – another wonderful destination for fall!

Lake Michigan

Get directions from any city to the Lake of Michigan by clicking on the directions tab(desktop) or view larger(mobile) below.

You can get to Lake Michigan (click for directions) from just about anywhere. Lake Michigan is perfect in fall because there is amazing scenery of fall foliage, the beautiful big lake and a lot of adventure like hiking, fishing, renting a boat and more. There are many lakeside vacation rentals to choose from right here.

Best Fall Getaways southeast

Orange Beach, AL

If you need directions from a specific city and address, click “directions” (desktop) “view larger” (mobile) on the map below.

Orange Beach is similar to popular beach destinations like Panama City Beach and Destin, FL. Orange Beach has the same white-sugary sand and is very kid-friendly. Some will argue that it’s much quieter and more kid-friendly than Panama City Beach because there is not as much going out and nightlife. Orange beach is also a bit cleaner and friendlier than Florida. The distance to Orange Beach is about 11 hours from Missouri. From Atlanta, GA it will take your about 5.5 to 6 hours. Click the map above for directions to Orange Beach from anywhere. And if you’re wondering what to do in Orange Beach, AL – check out our Orange Beach, AL Vacation.

Panama City Beach, FL

If you need directions from a specific city and address, click “directions” (desktop) “view larger” (mobile) on the map below.

Panama City Beach is beautiful in fall with temperatures ranging from 76 degrees (Nov-Dec) to 86 degrees (Sept-Nov). Taking a road trip from Nashville to Panama City Beach will take you 7:45 hours taking I-65 straight down. Stop at Birmingham and Montgomery to stretch your legs. From Atlanta, GA on the other hand, it will only take 5 hours to arrive at PCB. If you’re coming from Alabama, you’re looking at only 3 hours, 47 minutes. Taking I-65 to I-55 will get you there pretty quick. Stop at Georgiana and Andalusia for some interesting breaks.

Panama City attractions and things to do

Below you will find many different things to do in Panama City Beach, but for a full list of attractions, lodging options, restaurants and things to do, check out our other PCB Things do to post here.

St. Andrews State Park, a great place to explore offering tours to the shell island where you can snorkel and enjoy a secluded island. 

Shipwreck Island is a popular water park.

Coconut Creek Family Adventure Park offers mini gold adventure and a grand maze to get you through your boredom.

Race City Amusement Park has roller coasters, arcades, go carts, mini gold, spinning zone, maze and more.

Beachfront Adventures offers an aqua maze, mini golf and go carts  as well as zip line and rope courses. In addition, they have a special area for smaller kids.

Bay Point Water Sports, Sunshine Water Sports, Coldwater Excursions offer unique and different experiences. What they offer and what sets them apart from one another can be found in detail here.

Sharky’s, Pineapple Willy’s and Margaritaville are our top beach front restaurant choices. What makes them so special can be found here. If you’re in PCB, make sure to check out our Best Beachfront Restaurant recommendations!

Louisiana and the East Coast

If you need directions from a specific city and address, click the “directions” (desktop) “view larger” (mobile)on the map below.

Louisiana as well as North & South Carolina are great places for best fall getaways if you’re looking to go somewhere warm. 

Distances

Louisiana is 9 hours away from Tennessee  with I-65, I-20 and MS-28, 8.5 hours from Atlanta, GA also taking I-20 and MS-28. Birmingham and Tuscaloosa are some great cities to stop and take a break in. It takes only 5 hours to get to Louisiana from Dallas, TX using I-20 and I-49 and. Canton, Kilgore, Shreveport and Kisatchie National Forest all make for convenient and good stops. 

Distance to North Carolina from Atlanta is 5:45 hrs taking I-85 and US-64, possibly stopping in Greenville and Gastonia for breaks. From Kentucky on the other hand, you’re looking at 7 hours when taking I-64, I-75 and I-40. Stop in Morehead and Bluefield for some scenery from the nearby National Forests.

Things to do

Louisiana is well knows for their flavor! Experience some amazing food, attend some of many fun Festivals (list of festivals 2018), outdoor concerts and much more. 

In North Carolina you will get to see a lot of fall foliage. Some of the best places for that are the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and many waterfalls that are surrounded by forests.

Best Fall Getaways... out west

Colorado

If you need directions from a specific city and address, click the “directions” (desktop) “view larger (mobile) on the map below.

Distances

Colorado is full of natural fall foliage. Road trips are beautiful going toward Colorado. The distance from Salt Lake City, Utah is 8.5 hours with a few different pathways, check out the cities name or map above for options. From Santa Fe, NM, it’ll take 5:45 hours and there is some beautiful foliage to see through the Carson National Forest and the Pike and San Isabel National Forest.

Things to do

Colorado has plenty of outdoor activities to offer. There are many beautiful national parks, hiking trails, mountains to drive through or climb, attractions to visit and see. For some adventurous activities and attractions go here for Colorado Springs activities. For some family vacation Ideas and free Itineraries, go to our Family Vacation Ideas and look for Colorado destinations. Colorado is amazing throughout all the seasons of the year, you will not be disappointed. Breckenridge is a Winter Wonderland when snow falls and also a great spot for summer activities like hiking, camping and shopping. It’s located between mountains and in the middle of many ski slopes. 

California - San Francisco

If you need directions from a specific city and address, click the “directions” (desktop) “view larger” (mobile) tab inside the map below.

Distances

San Francisco is about 10 hours away from central Nevada if you take I-80 and US-50. Plumas and Stanislaus National Forests will make for excellent stops with scenery of fall foliage. From Las Vegas, you’ll be looking at 8.5 hours because there isn’t a direct road to take you straight to San Francisco. And from Oregon, you’re looking at close to 9 hours. If you’re coming from anywhere north, you’re looking at some wonderful National Forest Scenery that you will be driving through!

Things to do

Some things to do in San Francisco include driving on the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the Alcatraz Island, Pier 39 has great food and activities, the Golden Gate Park, Union Square and Chinatown. There are tons of things to do like hiking, biking, going shopping, restaurants, attractions and sight-seeing. 

Want to make your vacation more romantic? Then check out our Romantic Vacations for more information. 

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