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Where can we go on vacation this Fall (last minute?) Need ideas!

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So, we're bringing the kids back home to homeschool. I really, REALLY want to take advantage of this newfound freedom and go on some sort of family vacation. I feel like we've been everywhere within driving distance, and I'm not afraid of spending a little money. But where? Ultimately, I'd love to find a last minute deal but know those might be hard to come by for 8 people. It could be something as simple as renting a condo on a beach OR even a cruise. I just don't know where to look to even get prices or ideas. Heeeelp? Thank you.

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Pick a destination and look for airbnbs or vrbos for places to stay.  It's a big country and it's hard to narrow it down without knowing a general starting point.  

One thing we did when homeschooling is to travel based in history.  Lots of good places to do that.   Also, we collected national parks.   

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Great question! We live in the Midwest, so have done most things in Missouri (but not Branson), Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois.  My kids have never seen the ocean so if we flew, I’d prefer we go to one. What I think I’m looking for here, is somebody to say something like “We just got back from “xyz”, stayed at this Airbnb, and had a fabulous vacation.  I could do that for somebody looking to go to Duluth or St. Louis for example. clear as mud?

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How soon in the fall will you take this trip?  West Michigan has a TON of great family friendly options and Lake Michigan can rival the ocean....but might be a bit chilly for swimming.  

My friend owns this airbnb in Cadillac MI and it has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and 7 beds.  Plenty of room for everyone.  The water there is beautiful and shallow so the lake stays warmer.  You can use the paddle boards, etc. when there.  From that location you could do day trips to Sleeping Bear Dunes, go kayaking or rafting, lots of neat hiking trails, etc.

Are you looking for a stay in one place and relax vacation?  A travel around from hotel to hotel and see more places?  Nature or city?

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Haha, it's almost last minute. So a cruise now would be going into hurricaine season. If you're thinking that, price out flights or figure out if you'd drive. For me cruising with just my ds, we fly. It's surprising how inexpensively we can fly, but with 8 people that will get really $$.

So have you thought of going south? We did Arizona in the fall one year, like late sept, early October. It was glorious, perfect. I think the Grand Canyon got snow the following week. We stayed in a cabin outside Flagstaff that would have been big enough to house that many people. We have friends who rented an rv to do AZ, and that's another way.

Ok, so I don't know where you are. It's 18 hours from Kansas City to Phoenix. In that case do New Mexico instead. But even the 18 hours could be worth it. Or if you want to cruise, it's 11 1/2 from Kansas City to Houston/Galveston. Lotsa cruising out of there. We're slated for one next year out of Galveston, so I'm excited. I'm looking at Cruise Critic https://www.cruisecritic.com/cruiseto/cruiseitineraries.cfm?startDate=2019-10&depcity=87&length=6-9&cabin_type_id=3  and you'd have options sailing from Galveston, yes. What you're going to find is the first two people are high and then after that it's cheap to add a person, like maybe $300 per person. I took my mother and stepfather this year and that's how it was.

What you might do, if you decide to cruise, is go with one balcony room and one inside room across from the balcony. That will help keep costs down and no one will care. When they're asleep, they'll be fine, lol.

Cruises have personalities I think. We did Carnival, and it was kind of simple and fun. If you want to cruise, just do what you can afford and it will be fine, kwim? The Cozumel and Belize routes for the caribbean would be nice. Roatan is the least nice, so I would avoid that if you're looking at two equally enticing options. I chose our ship for the bbq and we had fun. Like don't overthink it, lol.

You'll want passports if you do the cruise, so that's another cost to factor in. $60X8 or whatever. I forget what they run now, but it will add up, lol.

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Fall is such a pretty time to travel with the leaves changing.  How far are you willing to travel?  We are visiting Acadia National Park.  It’s beautiful here.  I bet it’s super pretty when the leaves are changing, although Ottakee’s suggestion is probably a lot closer and I bet, pretty too.

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If you want the ocean and are willing to fly, I’d do San Diego. Since we live close to the ocean in the PNW, we don’t really do much ocean stuff when we are there, but there is so much else to do. I’d recommend an AirBnb or VRBO near Balboa Park.

Edited by Frances
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Have you been to Boston?  We used to take fall trips with our family of 7.  If you live near Chicago, you could even take a train to Boston.  We've stayed here and loved it:

https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/longwood-inn.html

(Don't confuse it with The Inn at Longwood, which is in the same area.)

It's in a great area, and also near the T.  When we went there, we were only 4 though and all stayed in one room.  You'd probably need two rooms.  There's a common kitchen there and you can cook your own meals.  It's a really lovely, homey space.

There's so much to see in Boston, and I love it in the fall.

 

 

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In *my* world, planning now for a fall vacation does NOT count as "last minute," LOL.

A few years ago we were waiting on a rescue dog, not sure when things would work out, so I couldn't plan a vacation for the interval my kids had vacation.

(Fabulous, :wub: ) dog arrived with us 9 days before vacation, sending me into a scramble to find somewhere a) I could drive to, while b) taking the dog and kids, that was c) close enough to an airport that my husband could join us efficiently; and d) warm.

I ended up with a dog-friendly VRBO in St Simons GA, one block in from a beautiful white sand beach, easy walk into the super-cute town with mini-golf and cafes and a slew of dog-terrace restaurants. Everyone recalls it as one of our best vacations.  I think (? can't quite remember) my husband flew in/out of Savannah.  In any rate, the flight was direct (from NY, so lots of places are direct) and given the truly-last-minute not too expensive.

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When our kids were elementary/early middle school age we took October vacations to the FL gulf coast.  I guess it is a risk with the storm season, but we always lucked out with beautiful weather.  We would rent a condo on the beach for a week.  We vacationed along 30A or 98.  We used VRBO to find our lodgings.  

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We've done Myrtle Beach in September and October and was wonderful. We rented a condo right on the beach, which is a must so you don't have to drive. They were two of my favorite trips. Not too hot but the ocean was still warm, and not crowded. Not too expensive either.

Weve also done homeschool days at Williamsburg. We hit Jamestown and Yorktown too as they are all within a half hour of each other. 

Edited by MeaganS
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Fall is the best time of the year in San Francisco, and pretty darned good in Monterey.  The summer fog and wind are gone, and it hasn’t generally started raining yet.  Both are on the ocean, and you could see both very well in one trip.  I would suggest staying in a condo or rental house in Santa Cruz and driving to one or the other every day while you are there.  

South within an hour you could see the 17 Mile Drive (best coast views in the state, pretty much), the Monterey Bay Aquarium (this is the one that was imaged into San Francisco Bay for that Star Trek movie, best aquarium I have ever seen anywhere), Cannery Row and other Steinbeck landscapes, the Tech Museum and the Computer History Museum to the north, and the mission at San Juan Bautista to the southwest.  Big Basin also has old redwoods.  Then going a bit further, San Francisco is about an hour and a half away if you avoid the commute times.  

Santa Cruz and Monterey are right on the Bay, and of course San Francisco is on the ocean and the local bay.  Basically all ocean places.  Not warm water at the beach, though.  Just very scenic areas.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Fly into Tallahassee or Pensacola and go to Cape San Blas.  Go to floridarentals.com.   Sometimes they are cheaper than vrbo because vrbo has started charging a lot of fees.  The water is clear, beach is clean, and the bay is great for pontoon rentals or kayaking and snorkeling. 

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