Want to hit the road for fall break? These road-trip-worthy destinations are perfect for families!
Travel Time from Indianapolis: 3.5 hours
If you are looking for a place where you’ll be surrounded by fall foliage, you will find it in Hocking Hills. Located in the southeastern region of Ohio, this area hits peak-season autumn glory right around fall break — typically the first couple of weeks of October. Drive through Hocking Hills State Park’s scenic byways, then stop and explore the area by foot to get an up-close look at the area’s natural beauty. Hocking Hills has seven major hiking trails, each with unique features to see and explore, including waterfalls, creeks and caves. Families can also enjoy outdoorsy adventures like zip lining, climbing and rappelling, horseback riding and more.
Fridays and weekends in October, hop a ride on the Hocking Valley’s Scenic Railway for the Fall Foliage tour, which will take you on a cozy and leisurely train ride to experience southern Ohio’s fall colors.
Travel Time from Indianapolis: 3 hours
If the cooler temperatures are making you want to deck the halls, then Santa Claus, Indiana, should be on your destination list. As the name suggests, this southwest Indiana town is all Christmas, all the time. Treat your family to a cup of the famous frozen hot chocolate at Santa’s Candy Castle, and then visit the Santa Claus Museum & Village to write a letter to Santa.
But Santa Claus is much more than just Christmas. Thrills await you at Holiday World & Slashin’ Safari, the area’s largest amusement park. On weekends starting September 25 through October 31, enjoy the park’s Happy Halloween Weekends for fun Halloween shows and activities for kids, including trick-or-treating, corn mazes and hayrides.
A few miles away from Santa Claus is Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, one of the three National Parks in Indiana. Pick up a junior rangers activity book at the memorial visitor center, then hike through the park and complete the activities while learning about our 16th president. As you explore the living historical farm, you’ll meet park rangers dressed in period clothing, performing activities typical of daily life in the 1820s.
Travel Time from Indianapolis: 7.5 hours
Insiders know that fall is one of the best times to visit Mackinac Island: the crowds are fewer, and the forests surrounding the island are sporting picture-perfect hues of red, orange and gold. Plan to visit before the island ferry service ends for the season — typically at the end of October.
More than 80% of the island is preserved as a state park, and one of the best ways to see it is by foot or by bicycle. Mackinac Island State Park offers trails through woods to see limestone formations, historic cemeteries, and local flora and fauna. Carriage rides are another popular mode of transportation on the island, and they’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look into the neighborhoods of Mackinac Island residents who call the island their home.
No trip to Mackinac Island is complete without sampling some world-famous fudge at one of the seven fudge shops downtown. Mackinac Island shops make 10,000 pounds of fudge each day during peak tourist season, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see it being made!