Vacation: A Favorite Fall Tradition

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It may seem odd to take a vacation in the fall of the year. I think most people are probably hunkering down for a busy season. Many kids have schedules with school and extra activities that don’t allow them to leave home for long.

Since we homeschool, we can take our education on the road. We build our own academic calendar and make sure that there’s room to take breaks and go on an adventure. We did have to work around hockey practices and some outside classes, but it was worth it to make our fall vacation happen.

For us, it’s becoming a welcome tradition that we look forward to each year. Off-season travel appeals to us for a number of reasons, budget being one of them.

Here are some of the others:

Exploring our state

While I grew up in Southern California, I actually spent more of my childhood free time in the Mid-West than I did in California. I’ve never been to Yosemite or the Sequoias, two natural wonders of the Golden State. But I will…. someday.

Now as an adult, I’m enjoying exploring new places with hubs and the kids. Last year we went to the shore. We traveled up and down the Central Coast of California, visiting Monterey, old friends, and the grandparents. It was our first full-blown vacation in 14 years, and one which we were able to just go where the wind and our whims blew us.

This year we decided to take our vacation in the Eastern Sierras. We drove the six hour drive to Mammoth Lakes, CA. Only one accidental detour and one bout of carsickness later, we arrived at our resort hotel. Since we were traveling during the off-season we were able to get a 3-bedroom condo for a great price. It had lots of bells and whistles, including daily housekeeping, which made it really feel like a vacation. But, of course, we didn’t pay the full season price.

The mountains had received an early and unexpected snowfall, so it really has given us a jumpstart into the fall and winter months. The snow-capped mountains and crystal lakes were just breathtaking.

Taking home with us

Before we left, I cooked up some meals to freeze so that we ate like kings without paying the equivalent prices. I mixed up hot cocoa mix as well as a bunch of baked goods and freezer meals. We also packed some of our favorite comfort foods, including those BBQ potato chips.

Oh, yes. Those BBQ potato chips.

We took games and movies and books as well as the well-loved fleece throws to make our home away from home a little cozier.

Enjoying the out-of-the-ordinary

And we did a few extra things that we wouldn’t normally do to make this little adventure a special occasion. I bought junk food cereal. Yes, really. I surprised myself. I rarely buy boxed cereal, let alone junk food cereal. The kids loved it.

FishPapa gave the kids a daily vending machine allowance. What a treat! They were so cute as they picked out a different candy every day. (Thank goodness, I packed healthy dinners to compensate.)

We went swimming with snow on the ground! A surprise snowfall brought over a foot of snow to the mountain. It wasn’t exactly what we originally planned, but was fun for the kids — and for us, too. The heated pool was incredibly warm. And some of the days, the weather was absolutely temperate making it the best of all ways to experience snow play.

A Favorite Fall Tradition

While it might not be a “typical” fall tradition, taking an autumn vacation is part of our family’s special memories. It might not be your standard summer or Christmas vacation, it’s definitely a special occasion for our family.

What’s a favorite fall tradition in your family, typical or not?

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  1. Looks like you had a great time! Every fall when the leaves turn we take a day trip to Galena, Illinois. We travel along the Mississippi River enjoying the colorful leaves and the river. We stop at a park along they way and hike all the trails they have and then eat a picnic lunch. We go to a ski resort next and look around at the beautiful views. Then we arive in Galena and go through the quaint shops and this time visit a home President Grant lived in. Then we head home and eat a nice meal at a restaurant along the river. We just did this yesterday and had such a fun time. It’s a family tradition!
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  2. Oh, I love those pictures with the mountains in the background, especially the 3rd one with the hot cocoa(?) in it. Beautiful! Now I think I might need to mix up some hot cocoa myself!!

  3. Wow, looks like it was a great time, relaxing and adventerous at the same time. I love that you broke some of the food rules. You’re making some sweet memories. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

  4. We take fall vacations every year too! We are gearing up for our trip up to my parents time share in Vermont! We don’t go there every year, but have often since our rooming is payed for already since it is owned by my parents 🙂 We love vacationing in the fall since the prices are down and the crowds are so much smaller! We hope to be able to continue this condition in the future and as our children grow.

  5. Reading your post made me long for vacation!

    We went to Mammoth a few years ago and loved it. If you liked Mammoth, you will LOVE Yosemite….

    We tend to hit that region in the August timeframe – a nice break from the 100 degree TX weather. And yes, as you say, it’s much more affordable!

  6. I just finished reading this post because I was on our fall vacation in Avila Beach 🙂 We like to vacation in the fall because it is easier on the budget and there tend to be less crowds and because we homeschool we can accomodate the change in schedule. Last year we discovered that Disneyland was super empty on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after Labor Day. It was great.

    We were going to do Mammoth this year but neither my husband nor I know where would be a good place to stay in Mammoth. However, if I had known that there was somewhere where you could rent a condo and have maid service we would have done that! If you would not mind sharing where you stayed that would be great. It sounds as if you had a great vacation and like it was the best of snow and swimming, all in one shot, too.

    1. How funny! We looked into Avila Beach and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t too pricey! I think we better switch contacts. I’ll send you an email. 🙂

  7. Although not always the same, we love to do something in the Fall. FrightFest at Six Flags St. Louis (parents give us season tickets so might as well go 1 more time each year?), apple/pumpkin picking at Ekerts Orchard with all their fun activities, and as much hiking as we can fit in.

    DH is on a university calendar so we are limited to weekends. But, he gets a week off at Thanksgiving so one year we explored the Cumberland Gap—a wonderful tie in to our study of early American explorers! Love the fall trips after the LONG hot Arkansas summers. 🙂

  8. We do a fall vacation as well, a nice break after a busy, hot summer, and canning season 🙂