As a Nashville mom, I know how important it is to find the perfect family-friendly destination for a fall break getaway. Fortunately, there are plenty of fantastic places to explore within driving distance of Music City. One destination that should be at the top of your list is Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, but I’ve also gathered four more incredible options for you and your kids to enjoy a memorable and family-friendly fall break.
5 Amazing Family Friendly Fall Getaways Near Nashville
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama
Nestled along the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are a beach lover’s paradise. With its sugary white sands and clear turquoise waters, this destination is perfect for a relaxing family vacation. This area is easy on your eyes and your wallet, offering a more budget-friendly beach vacation than neighboring Seaside/ Rosemary Beach but without sacrificing the quality. Spend your days building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply lounging by the water. You can also explore the Gulf State Park, home to hiking trails and a beautiful pier.
Don’t forget to indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants, such as The Hangout, Cobalt, Cosmos, and Coast Restaurant at The Beach Club Resort & Spa. The Gulf Shores area also offers opportunities for family-friendly water activities, like paddleboarding, kayaking, and dolphin tours, ensuring a fun-filled fall break.
When it comes to first class accommodations my go-to’s are Turquoise Place in Orange Beach and The Beach Club Resort & Spa in Gulf Shores. Turquoise Place takes luxury to a new level with giant units starting at 3,200 square feet, plus my kids love the amazing amenities with their favorite being the private hot tub on every balcony! My family also loves to stay in a Gulf Front condo or cozy cottage at the Beach Club Resort & Spa. This secluded sanctuary is off the beaten path which we love, but is also just a short drive to the city. Once you arrive onsite you don’t need to leave, with dining, spa, shopping and entertainment all on-site. Make sure to book directly through Spectrum Resorts at both of these resorts to get extra perks such as resort discounts, charging privileges, the clean bed guarantee, onsite front desk, housekeeping and maintenance, ,complimentary breakfast at Turquoise Place, and so much more!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina
Just a few hours’ drive from Nashville, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a spectacular destination for a family-friendly fall break. The park offers countless hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging adventures. Take your little ones to see waterfalls, wildlife, and the vibrant fall foliage. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and enjoy it surrounded by nature’s beauty.
For a unique experience, consider a visit to Cades Cove, where you can spot deer, bears, and other wildlife from the comfort of your car. The scenic drives through the park offer breathtaking views, especially during the fall when the leaves change colors.
Fall is a fantastic time to explore Louisville, where you’ll find a mix of cultural attractions and family-friendly activities. Visit the Louisville Mega Cavern, an underground adventure park with zip lines and tram tours, or take a trip to the Louisville Zoo, where kids can get up close to various animals.
Additionally, you can’t miss the Kentucky Derby Museum, where you can learn about the history of the iconic horse race. If your kids are into science, the Louisville Science Center is a must-visit. Louisville’s beautiful parks and gardens also provide great spaces for picnics and outdoor fun. My family loves visiting Jackson’s Orchard & Nursery just a short drive away in Bowling Green, KY also, where you can take in all of the fall activities on the farm. Some of our favorites include apple picking, their homemade cider, the playground and the pumpkin festival which occurs every weekend from late Sept to late Oct.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, with its charming mountain town vibe, is a wonderful destination for families seeking a mix of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration. Explore the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest privately-owned home, where the whole family can enjoy the beautiful gardens and historic tours.
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers stunning fall foliage views, and hiking trails are plentiful in the surrounding mountains. If you have young adventurers, a visit to the Western North Carolina Nature Center is a must, where they can learn about native wildlife.
Head to Memphis for a taste of music, history, and culture. Visit Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley, and immerse your family in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Take a stroll along Beale Street, known for its live music and delicious barbecue restaurants.
For educational fun, the Memphis Zoo and the Memphis Botanic Garden are excellent options for kids. You can also explore Mud Island River Park and its Riverwalk model, which offers an interactive experience teaching about the Mississippi River.