magazine | Travel | Family Friendly Travel

The Only Guide You’ll Need for a Fall Family Road Trip on the West Coast

Want to know why so many people fall in love with the West Coast? While images of sandy beaches and impressive waves may come to mind, these southwestern states offer so much more to those who scratch beneath the surface.

This Fall, we’ve created a special guide for your family to uncover the unique treasures found around every corner of your West Coast road trip. Find your way through thick Fall foliage to foggy forests to expansive desert and, yes, even to shimmering beaches that you and your family will remember for years to come.

Reporter: Erica Nichols

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San Diego Zoo & Safari Parklearn more

    In addition to its many ocean-based adventures, San Diego is home to two incredible and award-winning animal parks. First, the Zoo, located next to the city’s sprawling Balboa Park and featuring a Skyfari to take you over some of their most popular exhibits. Then, the Safari Park, which offers an opportunity to take a safari car inside their expansive Savannah exhibit.
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    Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    To celebrate the arrival of autumn in the Rio Grande Valley, this annual balloon festival takes over Albuquerque for nine magical days in October. Watch with the sunrise and sunset as the sky fills with vibrant and colorful hot air balloons. And with the Rio Grande Valley as the backdrop, there’s no view more breathtaking this time of year.
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    Mendocino Grovelearn more

    Plan a camping stay that everyone in the family will love at Mendocino Grove. Hugging the picturesque coast of Mendocino, this casual glampsite immerses you in a tranquil world where nature and modern amenities meet for a stay that puts an emphasis on authentic connection.
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    Hood River Valley Harvest Fest

    Oregon
    Immerse your family in a quintessential fall experience at Hood River Valley Harvest Fest. From October 11-13, join in on the fun where more than 120 farmers, food producers, wineries and cideries come together in celebration of Oregon’s agriculture. In between tasting the local food and drinks, enjoy live music and spectacular views along the Columbia River.
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    Big Sur Road Trip

    Big Sur, California
    As you wind through the foggy cliffside and magical forests of Big Sur, you’ll experience firsthand how time seems to slow here. Here, the vacation possibilities are endless—including everything from luxurious resorts to casual campsites. No matter which kind of trip your family prefers, you’ll be able to uncover the best that Big Sur has to offer, from the growing local art scene to nature trails that lead to unbeatable views.
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    Rolling Hutslearn more

    Perfect for the outdoorsy fam, Rolling Huts is an idyllic stay in the heart of Winthrop’s Methow Valley. Hiking, mountain biking, skiing—it’s all on the agenda surrounding the property’s 20 acres. To rest your head, cozy into one of their intimate huts, which comes with sleeping mats, or the Farmhouse for a more expansive stay.
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    A-Frame Hauslearn more

    The A-Frame Haus encourages family bonding time among the amazing sights and landscapes of northern Utah. The cozy, modern kitchen and living room are idyllic gathering spots and the home has a prime location between cool hikes and tasty eats in town.
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    Loews Ventana Canyon Resortlearn more

    With two swimming pools, hiking trails and tons of space to stargaze, this retreat at the foothills of the Catalina mountains has something for everyone. Spend your days switching off between total relaxation on the property or exciting adventure when you step out for a day trip.
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    Columbia River Gorge Fall Foliage Road Trip

    Oregon
    As the weather cools and you make your way up the California coast to Oregon, you won’t want to miss out on this drive that will take your family through the most jaw-dropping sights of fiery fall foliage. This beautiful road winds through towering trees of vibrant colors and runs parallel to the Columbia River.
    Photo:Exceptional Stays
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    Hood Park Manorlearn more

    This mountain lodge in Telluride has plenty of space for your immediate family, plus your friends and their family! Hood Park Manor has nine bedrooms, hosts 20 and comes with multiple gathering spots—including two hot tubs and outdoor patios.
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    The Woodlands Houselearn more

    This woodsy home-away-from-home in Oregon is ideal for the family looking for a place to settle into in between their adventurous afternoons. Sitting on five acres of peaceful pines and lush ferns, the property is close to both the Mount Hood Ski Resort and the charming town of Sandy.
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    Noon Lodgelearn more

    Noon Lodge takes advantage of Big Bear’s natural rustic charm to create a stay that’s cozy with nature, yet still close enough to a day trip out to LA or San Diego when you’re in need of the city life. There are plenty of unique accommodations to choose from, sizing up to three-bedroom cabins to keep the family close together in between the day hikes, lake lounging and campfire s’mores.
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    Kimpton Goodland

    Goleta, California
    Experience quintessential southern California living at The Kimpton Goodland in Santa Barbara. Play by the pool, rent bikes to explore the town and select a vinyl from their record store to take back to your room—each comes equipped with a record player to keep the good vibes going!
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    Hotel del Coronado

    Coronado, California
    This iconic hotel was built for a family vacation of adventure, exploration and (the occasional) relaxation for the parents. Hugging the coast of the Pacific, the Del is just steps from the island’s famed gold sand beaches and boasts easy access to the cute shops and eateries that line Orange Avenue.

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