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Amusing Kids While Admiring Fall Foliage

by Barbara Rogers

Sep 27, 2022

© Photographerlondon | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Leaf-peeping is not most kids’ idea of an exciting road trip. Children generally regard foliage-viewing trips with profound disinterest. To the little backseat passengers, when they’ve seen one red maple tree, they’ve seen them all and are ready to do something more interesting. Try these ideas to keep kids happy while you enjoy the fall scenery on your family travels:


Take a Hike

Get them out of the backseat with some short fall hikes. Rail trails are easier than woodland trails, but they’re also less interesting for young hikers. Choose easy woodland trails or gentle climbs with some reward at the end, like a waterfall or giant boulders to play among. Some trails have surprises hidden in the woods for children to look for.


Collect Leaves

How many different colors and shape can they find? Older kids can try to identify them; iNaturalist and LeafSnap are good apps they can use, or you can find printable charts online. This means getting out of the car, of course, but you’ll want to do that anyway.


Create with Leaves

Take along a pad of paper and some crayons so kids can make rubbings of leaves they’ve collected. Suggest creating designs by rubbing multiple leaves or rubbing the same leaf in different positions. Press the prettiest leaves in a magazine so they can create collages when they get home.


Go for a Scenic Ride

Throughout fall foliage regions, you’ll find scenic train rides and mountain tramways fun for kids to ride and, at the same time, give drivers a chance to watch the scenery instead of the road. Gondola and cable car rides are especially exciting and lead to great “king of the mountain” views.


Pack a Picnic

Ask everyone to watch for the perfect picnic spot and take a break from driving. State and local parks usually have picnic tables, often overlooking lakes or ponds that reflect the fall colors.


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