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5 Fall Family Day Trips to See the Best of the Outdoors

When you were their age, picking a pre-arranged pumpkin off a church lawn didn't count as "the great outdoors." Here are five places that do!

Summer might be the time best known for road trips, but things don't have to end when the weather cools and the leaves change.

In fact, fall is the best time of year for hopping in a truck and putting the miles behind you; there's so much to see and tons to do.

These five unforgettable day trips are anything but lame.

Texas: Caverns of Sonora

These stunning caverns are open year round and make a great fall day trip. You'll love this adventure just as much as your kids will!

Know before you go:

  • This cave is WARM, about 72 degrees Fahrenheit with 98% humidity most days. Perfect to visit in cooler weather.
  • Wear comfy shoes. There are about 360 stair steps along the tour.


Idaho: Sun Valley

This popular winter resort area virtually empties out in the fall... except, the locals know that fall is the best time to visit! Secluded and quiet, there's nothing between you and the best fall landscapes.

Know before you go:

  • There's a fair bit of driving to do here, so a Sun Valley visit better suits older children. (Good news: with the Ram 1500's Best-in-Class 29 highway MPG*, you'll never have to skip a day trip just because of gas prices!).

sun valley idaho

Utah: Arches National Park

Right near the Colorado border lies what is possibly the most underrated park in the world. It's also one of the smaller national parks at just under 80,000 acres, but within that acreage are over 2,000 natural arches: the highest density of these special formations that exists on earth.

Know before you go:

  • This region is particularly hot and dry through the fall. Even if you're local to Utah and used to heat, don't forget to pack plenty of water and heat-friendly gear!
  • This is not a very hiking-intensive trip; although it takes a moderate hike to reach Delicate Arch, one of the most famous of the arches (not pictured), it's also viewable from a distance after a short, kid-friendly trail walk.


Michigan: Lake of the Clouds

This is the most traditional fall day trip of the bunch: absolutely pure autumn beauty that you'll never forget.

Know before you go:

  • Plan to go up the Lake of the Clouds Overlook: that's where you'll see this stunning view.
  • You can fish here, but it involves about a 3/4-mile hike to the lake. (Check the Michigan DNR for seasonal information).
lake of the clouds
Tan Yilmaz

Ohio: Hocking Hills State Park

Although this park is quite popular, it makes the list because the experience is worth putting up with the crowds.

Know before you go:

  • One of the best things about Hocking Hills is the calendar of organized events, many of which are well organized and offer something for everyone.


Based on Standard Pickup Class. EPA-estimated 29 highway MPG with available EcoDiesel V6 engine 4x2, HFE model. Actual mileage may vary.


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5 Fall Family Day Trips to See the Best of the Outdoors