We love everything about fall getaways: the stunning foliage, the apple treats, the steaming hot drinks... the fact that it's no longer 90 million degrees out. Yep, all of it! If you're ready to enjoy everything that the season's got to offer, check out our 15 favorite ideas for getting out of town and making the most of autumn.
Harpers Ferry's 19th century village is bordered by both the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers and chock full of incredible fall foliage and
plenty of things to do. Visitors can take advantage of guided tours (including ghost tours!), hiking trails, workshop classes and the historic park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. History buffs can plan their trip around live history event weekends. The town's Olde Tyme Christmas will feature live entertainment, kids' activities, and extended shopping hours, Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 10-11.
The chunk returns, Nov. 4-6! Watch post-Halloween during
Punkin Chunkin as pumpkins are catapulted impressive distances across a field in Bridgeville, Delaware. The three-day fest also includes tailgating, a camping option, a "punkin" cooking contest, chili cook-off and more.
Drive along the 105-mile stretch through the Blue Ridge Mountains and
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, where more than 60 scenic outlooks make it easy to stop and explore. Take advantage of horseback riding, rock climbing, or a whiskey and wine tour. The drive from The District is close to three hours but the fall foliage views are more than worth it.
Fall in Williamsburg has a lot to offer. With ghost walks, bluegrass concerts, craft workshops and beer tastings, there are options for everyone -- and now that the swelter of summer is over, you can enjoy plenty of time outside exploring. Williamsburg has grown beyond its historic novelty as
a Colonial-era destination into a regular vacation spot as well, with golfing, spa services and plenty of shopping. See a calendar of events here.
Take a spooky tour through
the Farnsworth House in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, billed as one of the most haunted inns in the United States. It's still a functioning bed & breakfast, so you can choose to stay in a Victorian room, drink in the beer garden and enjoy period dining by candlelight, surrounded by Civil War photographs by Mathew Brady. And yes, you can take tours to search for ghosts in the mourning theater, the garret/attic, haunted cellar and more; check out your options here. (And if you're looking for ghost tours closer to home, we've got a guide to that here.)
Apple picking is a fall excursion must. There are few outings that yield both fresh produce and cute photos of the whole family, so it's important to take advantage of the ones that do. The DMV has a lot of orchards to choose from, such as
Milburn Orchards in Elkton, Maryland; Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Homestead Farm in Poolesville, Maryland.
Go glamping in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, where
Primland Resort offers cottages and suites on a plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A unique lodging option is their intimate tree house for two. Guests can look over the Dan River Gorge from their terrace or their bathtub outfitted with Bulgari toiletries. Room service is available but guests have the option to dine at one of three on-site restaurants, one of which offers a nine-course tasting menu. For a romantic evening, the observatory has its own telescope perfect for stargazing. Primland also offers activities such as fishing, golf, horseback riding and more.
Summers Farm in Frederick, Maryland, hosts its
20th annual fall festival now through Oct. 31. Head to Frederick for hay rides, pumpkin picking and an Orioles-themed corn maze! Tickets cost $13.95 for adults, students and members of the military, $7.95 for seniors and $8.95 for children. Kids younger than 2 get in free.
Explore and learn about Thomas Jefferson’s historic estate,
Monticello amidst a dazzling autumn landscape. Tours are family-friendly and cost $20-$25 for adults and $9 for kids. Tickets grant you access to the Mountaintop Activity Center, the cafe and shop, as well as the African-American burial ground.
The quaint Maryland town of Havre de Grace features a wealth of beautiful attractions, including the
Concord Point Lighthouse and museum sites that tell the story of Havre de Grace's involvement in the War of 1812. You can relax along the waterfront of the marina or get a bite to eat at Rochambeau Plaza.
Just about an hour outside the District in Crooked Run Valley Rural Historic District,
Delaplane Cellars is fermenting vinifera varietals, a particular type of grape grown right in Virginia. Guests can sip on the terrace, overlook the hills of Lost Mountain and listen to live music on Saturdays and Sundays. The vineyard allows picnics, in addition to serving locally sourced handcrafted dishes. Reservations can be made for parties as large as six.
Annapolis City Dock offers numerous opportunities for relaxation and fun, from waterside strolls to boat tours to restaurants and more. Visitors can even enjoy shopping at a variety of local specialty gift and boutique shops. Events -- everything from boat shows to festivals -- are offered throughout the season; upcoming highlights include historic "hauntings," Midnight Madness ad a holiday lighting display.
If you're looking for a fun way to teach your child early colonial history, then visit
Historic St. Mary's City, Maryland, a 17th-century settlement that served as Maryland’s first capital. Play colonial games, tour historic buildings, and experience history for yourself. The nearby Inn at Brome Howard is also great for a quaint getaway.
Visit this Virginia winery to taste some diverse wines, go on a cellar tour or dine at the Chateau Morrisette restaurant. You can even bring your (well-behaved) dogs to enjoy the view and to keep you company.
Natural Bridge, Virginia, is named for its famed landmark, a large natural bridge formed when a cavern collapsed. Today, you can visit the bridge and walk through the caverns, or stay at the historic Natural Bridge Hotel. You'll also find a plethora of dining options and the nearby Virginia Horse Center.