Back-to-School Weekend Travel Ideas for Families

The kids may be back in school, but there are good reasons to squeeze in a weekend getaway this fall: the weather is still warm and prices are more affordable than during the busy summer season. From lakeside retreats to big city explorations, here are our 5 favorite weekend getaway ideas for families.

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort

1. Lakeside Retreat: Lake Placid, New York

Get out of town and out on the water at a lakeside retreat, like Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, NY. Spend a fall weekend kayaking, paddle boating and canoeing. You’ll find fewer bugs, smaller crowds and more room to play on the lake than during the summer season. Grab your life vests and test your balance on a paddleboard or pedal out onto the lake with the kids (but don’t go too far since you’ll need to pedal back).

Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a short hike around Mirror Lake in the town of Lake Placid. Or, aspire to become a Saranac Lake 6er, climbing the 6 peaks that surround neighboring Saranac Lake. Want to climb just 1? Start with Mount Baker, which is best-suited for families. This will give you plenty of time to get back on the lake before the school bell rings on Monday.

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort 2559 Main Street Lake Placid, NY 12946


Phone: (518) 523-3353

Carnival Cruise Lines

2. Tropical Cruise: Carnival Cruise Lines

Start the weekend early by hopping on a Caribbean cruise departing from Miami on Thursday afternoons. Bound for Key West and Cozumel, Mexico, these popular 4-day cruises are cheaper than ever in September and October, but offer the same amount of family fun. Kids will love WaterWorks, the cruise line's onboard waterpark, complete with twisting slides and soaking splashdowns. Moms and dads will love Serenity, the adults-only retreat on board many ships, including the Carnival Victory.

West coasters, enjoy a 2- or 3-day cruise to Mexico on board the Carnival Imagination. Bound for Baja Mexico, cruises feature plenty of activities and attractions, like the WaterWorks park and Camp Carnival. There’s even a spa when you’re ready for a massage or aromatherapy. Hop off when you reach the port in Ensenada for activities like horseback riding or kayaking. Or, simply spend the day shopping and exploring the town.

Carnival Victory: 4-day cruises from Miami to Key West and Cozumel Carnival Imagination or Inspiration: 2- to 4-day cruises from Los Angeles to Baja Mexico

Kingsmill Resort

3. Historic Escape: Williamsburg, Virginia

Incorporate fun and learning into a weekend getaway by exploring a historic destination, like Virginia’s Historic Triangle, which includes the cities of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. Take part in RevQuest, an interactive, clue-based game in Colonial Williamsburg, explore replicas of ships that landed at Jamestown or take a guided Segway tour through Yorktown.

Children can rent period costumes to get into the spirit of 18th-century life and even spend time learning a trade, like wooden barrel making, to become an apprentice to a tradesman. Be in the middle of the action by staying at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, which offers free shuttle service to Colonial Williamsburg, a breakfast buffet and kayaks for use along the James River.

Kingsmill Resort 1010 Kingsmill Road Williamsburg, VA 23185


Phone: (757) 253-1703

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