Fall Break Fun: Staycation Tips And Day Trips


Fall Break Fun: Staycation Tips and Day TripsWe did it. We made it through summer, false fall, then the temporary return of summer, and now it’s FINALLY starting to feel like fall. Cool foggy mornings, warm afternoons, and chilly evenings are here!

The following list is meant to be a helpful collection of ideas. Pick and choose what works for you and your family. But this list of ideas is no pressure — remember that not every moment of every day needs to be packed full of educational, meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime memory making. And if you aren’t up to being adventurous everyday, that’s okay. It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of a fun-packed fall break, but we all need rest too. There’s nothing wrong with a Bluey marathon every now and then, and it’s a thousand percent okay to need a break sometimes.

Fall break at home:

There’s plenty of fun to be had around the house. These activities are also adaptable for seasonal themes.

  • Star gazing: let the kiddos stay up late and pile onto a blanket outside. Look for shooting stars, learn about constellations, and tell stories.
  • Backyard bonfire: If you have a fire pit, now is the best time to use it (safely and responsibly, of course!). Make s’mores or have a family competition to make a unique type of s’mores — change up the chocolate or the graham crackers for Reese’s cups or your favorite kind of cookie! Stoke those imaginations!
  • Need some solo time to work or just have a break? Send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find fall shapes around the house or in the backyard.
  • Paint! You can turn all those broken sidewalk chalk pieces into sidewalk paint and let the kids go wild painting the driveway. You can use brushes or pour your concoctions into old (cleaned) condiment containers.
  • If your kiddos have been bringing home loads of art from school, let them set up an art gallery. They can use wall-safe tape and their own art to create the gallery while you make some fun snacks. Then they can give you a “tour” of their art.
  • Take advantage of windy weather to fly a kite!
  • Family Movie Night: pjs, popcorn, and parents get to pick the movie.
  • Board game bonanza: Each day, a different family member chooses a board game for the family to play.
  • Book spree: Start the break off with a trip to the library. Stock up on books and participate in the library’s final reading challenge of the year. You can keep track of everyone’s reading in the Beanstalk app or on the paper reading log found at the library. Reading and prizes — woohoo! More information here.
  • Fall Baking Day: Choose your favorite fall treats and learn to make them at home. Pumpkin snickerdoodle, apple cider, leaf-shaped cookies, apple pumpkin muffins– there are loads of fall favorites you can make at home for a yummy treat to enjoy all fall break long!

Around town:

Sometimes day-to-day life can get in the way of really experiencing the city where you live. View Knoxville through a tourist’s eyes with these fun activities!

  • Knox County library offers the Read City Explorer Pass to get free or discounted tickets to local attractions. Penny4Arts also offers discounts to arts and culture experiences. Options include Zoo Knoxville, The Muse, and more!
  • While you’re thinking about the library, check out their calendar of events and see all the wonderful programs! From story time to crafts to LEGO club to all the books, there’s something for everyone at the library!
  • Knoxville Museum of Art has gorgeous art, a kids’ play area, and is in close proximity to World’s Fair Park and Fort Kid.
  • Go for a walk at the UT Botanical Gardens.
  • Downtown Knoxville offers a kid-friendly day to spend a lovely day downtown. Check it out here!
  • Have a 90s throwback day with bowling, a visit to the arcade, a trip to the comic book store, and 90s tunes in the car all day long. 
  • Top off your 90s day at Bit Burger and/or Token for a themed milkshake and meal alongside pinball, arcade games, and loads of retro video game decor.
  • Check those KCS coupon books for special discounts on around-town attractions!

Day trips:

Itching to actually get out of town? Try these day experiences!

  • Sevier County: Be a local tourist and take in a show, visit a museum, or spend the day at Dollywood.
  • Chattanooga: The aquarium, zoo, downtown, and public art installations make for a full day!
  • Spend the day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Pack a picnic and take in the beautiful fall foliage! 
  • Campbell County: Explore Cove Lake Park, eat at the local restaurants, and visit McCloud mountain for stunning views.
  • Asheville offers a gorgeous drive full of fall colors, hiking trails, and a bustling city to explore.
  • With Native American Heritage month right around the corner, take a trip to Vonore to the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum to learn about Cherokee history.
  • Visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama to spark or stoke the love of all things space in you! I mean…for your kids!

May your fall break be just what you need!

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Christine Derr
Hey, y’all! I’m an adventurous wanderer who put down roots here in East Tennessee back in 2014. My little family moved here from the wilds of suburban Alaska in 2014. We love exploring Knoxville and the surrounding areas, especially the Smoky Mountains. I’m a freelance writer and teacher who loves looking at the mountains when my nose isn’t in a book. I’m a mom to two bookish kids, a wildly clingy dog, two cats, and a fish I’d be in trouble for not mentioning. Since becoming a mom, I’ve been able to add Lincoln Log architect, LEGO contractor, and mediator to my resume. I’ve always been a bit of a jack of all trades, as I’ve been a tutor, teacher, circus instructor, bookseller, amateur baker and, of course, writer. I remind myself of this as I tell my kid not to sit on my other kid’s head while stopping the dog from chasing the cat and the other cat from jumping on top of the fish tank. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and am currently pursing my Master of Fine Arts while keeping all these creatures who live in my house alive. I survive on coffee, writing fiction, reading, Disney, and snuggles. You can read more of my work at www.pawprintsinthesink.com.


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