Taking short trips to view the fall foliage is one of my favorite activities to do in October/November. The fall colors usher in the season of gratefulness and thanksgiving. Changing leaves also means that cooler weather is near so scarves and boots are completely acceptable attire. 🙂 So how do you pick the perfect spot for your fall getaway?
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Research Peak Foliage
The first step in planning the perfect autumn trip is to research the area in which you are traveling. You should search for the state’s name+fall foliage+year. Once you find a credible site then you will be able to see when the peak foliage is expected to happen in the area that you are visiting. Typically the cooler parts of the state (the northern area) change colors first, and it moves south through the state.
Driving Time/Flying Time
Will your trip be a road trip, or will you be flying? Driving is always cheaper so for short getaways we like to hop in the car and take a drive. Part of the fun is seeing the leaf colors change as you get closer to your destination. If it is a long weekend road trip that you are taking then I recommend keeping the driving time at 4 hours or less. You don’t want to spend all of your precious time in the vehicle.
If you are flying to your destination then you will more than likely want to have a rental car so that you can visit the wooded areas with the brightest foliage. You may want to hit up some fall festivals while you are out as well. 🙂
One of the first steps that you have to figure out is the amount of money that you will spend on the trip. A short weekend trip usually doesn’t cost very much, but you can decide the budget and choose your activities and accommodations accordingly. Make sure that you budget for:
snacks for the road (if driving)
It’s always a good idea to check the weather patterns for the area that you are visiting. Of course, the weather app is typically only correct a few days before you arrive at your destination, but you can get an idea of what the weather will be like during your trip. It’s also fun to Google what the typical weather patterns are during your stay. It won’t be completely accurate, but it could help with your packing endeavor. 🙂
Duration of Stay
How long are you wanting your fall getaway to last? Knowing the duration of your stay will help you when deciding which activities you can fit into your itinerary. For me, a long weekend getaway is perfect for viewing fall foliage and hitting up some fun autumn activities like craft fairs and pumpkin patches.
One of my favorite things about planning a trip is deciding what to pack. I love creating packing lists and being prepared. If you are taking a road trip then it will be easier to pack because you won’t have to worry about airline luggage policies.
Fall weather is typically cool and wet so bringing light jackets, boots, and rain boots is a good idea.
Some of my essential items for a autumn getaway include:
Check Calendar of Events
More than likely, your destination will have a website to visit that is FULL of information to help you plan your trip. Make sure that you check the calendar of events for the area. Autumn is a popular time for fall festivals, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, live outdoor concerts, and haunted houses! For Arkansas travel information check out the event page on the state website. 🙂
Most towns/cities have free guide books, travel guides, and maps available free to print or to receive in the mail. Make sure that you look for these useful FREE resources. I love receiving guide book and maps in the mail for an upcoming trip. It helps to map out road trips if you have a real map in front of you. 🙂
TripAdvisor is one of the best resources that you can use when planning any trip. Make sure to search for the best rated restaurants. Be sure that you also check out the forums on TA to get insider information from people who live in the area that you are visiting. Some of my most valuable information about a town/city comes from the forums on TripAdvisor.
If you click the three dots (. . .) at the top of the page then you will see an option of travel forums. That will give you essential information that ranges from the best time to visit the area to what to pack for your trip. You can also find travel guides that have already been created by local bloggers in the area.
Autumn Trip Highlights-Crowley’s Ridge Scenic Byway
For our annual autumn getaway, we chose to visit northeast Arkansas this year. I mapped out the trek on Crowley’s Ridge Scenic Byway. The fall foliage was gorgeous. If you are near the area during the autumn season then there is plenty of fun, seasonal activities to do!
Stops Along the Byway
Crowley’s Ridge State Park
Must-See: Wishing Well Waterfall
Eat at Skinny J’s and get the pimento cheese burger. Don’t forget to stop by Andy’s Custard for dessert! 🙂
Stay: The Inn at Piggott in Piggott, Arkansas
This bed and breakfast is beyond adorable, but it’s also super affordable. You can stay in a restored and renovated vintage room for less than $100 a night. Did I mention that includes a fantastic breakfast served in a beautifully furnished dining room? We stayed in the Pauline room, and it was lovely.
This charming inn is owned by Joe and Tracy Cole. I didn’t get the pleasure of meeting Joe, but Tracy is delightful. The inn was originally the Bank of Piggott which was built in 1925. It is located on the square which makes it within walking distance of some yummy restaurants and historic sites.
Eat: The Piggott Diner
The Piggott Diner is filled with southern hospitality and down home cooking. Go on Sunday. Eat the buffet. Get fried chicken, sweet tea, and a slice of coconut cream pie. We ate for less than $20! Thank me later. 🙂
Do: All Things Pumpkin Hollow
Pumpkin Hollow is NOT just for children. During the day it is a fun pumpkin patch with a huge corn maze, games, food, and 1/2 price pumpkins (end of season price). There are tons of photo ops too!
After 6:00 pm, Pumpkin Hollow turns into Horror in the Hollow! There are 3 haunted houses that you can visit (do all 3!), zombie paintball, corn maze with flashlights, a haunted hayride, and so much more. It is so worth the money, I promise. The haunted houses are $20 for one haunt, $25 for two, or $30 for all 3!
Enjoy the Slower Lifestyle
Take your time. Walk around the square in downtown Piggott. Enjoy the slow lifestyle of small town USA. Visit the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum.
Take Advantage of the City Park
Wow is all I can say about the Piggott City Park, Heritage Park, in the fall. It was absolutely breathtaking and was the most surprising thing on our whole trip. It looks like something from a fairy tale. You have to see it to believe it.
Don’t Skip the Cotton Fields
The cotton fields are gorgeous this time of year, and they make for perfect fall photos. Plus, it’s a free activity! For more activities around Piggott, Arkansas, check out the Chamber of Commerce website!
What are some of your favorite areas to visit during the autumn season? Have you started planning a trip for this fall yet? Let me know in the comments!