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Fall vacation on a budget? Check out these destinations

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By Trae Bodge/GOBankingRates

If you're an avid summer staycationer who enjoys local pools, hiking trails and concerts, you might be itching to get out of the city by the time temperatures drop in the fall.

A 2015 poll of over 2,500 Trip Advisor users found that 82 percent of U.S. travelers planned to take a leisure trip last fall, a 26 percent increase from the year before. The poll also found that 66 percent planned to travel domestically, 17 percent planned to travel internationally and 16 percent planned to travel both domestically and internationally.

So, where will you go? If you're short on vacation ideas or don't know what the best travel destinations are, we've got you covered.

This article was originally published by GOBankingRates.

San Diego

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Justine McDonald, a travel expert, recommended the waterfront Bay Club Hotel & Marina for travelers who enjoy affordable adventures by the beach.

"The weather is beautiful in Southern California in the fall," she said. It's also less expensive than in the summer.

Dates: Sept. 8 to Sept. 12

Cost: From $435 per person, including four nights at the Bay Club Hotel & Marina and round-trip airfare from San Francisco.

Must see: "Check out a Padres game, enjoy classic as well as innovative and cutting-edge water activities, like kite surfing and water-powered jet packing, or enjoy the vibrant nightlife scene in the city's Gaslamp Quarter," McDonald recommended.

The Fleet Week Sea and Air Parade on Sept. 10, which gives visitors a chance to see modern ships and planes -- and also those from World War II -- is a must-see event, she said. If you want a closer look, ship tours are available Sept. 10 through Sept. 14.

Park City, Utah

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Park City, Utah, is a fall destination for adventurous travelers. "Generally considered a winter wonderland," McDonald said, "Park City is home to some great fall activities and offers considerable savings in the off-season." She recommended a stay at the Hyatt Place Park City.

Dates: Sept. 16 to Sept. 19

Cost: From $405 per person, including three nights at the Hyatt Place Park City and round-trip airfare from Dallas

Must see: "The Park City Main Street Historic District offers an assortment of shopping and dining in a picturesque setting," said McDonald. You can also find the Autumn Aloft Hot Air Balloon Festival, which is from Sept. 16 through Sept. 18. Visitors can watch hot-air balloons take off.

Vail, Colorado

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McDonald recommended the rustic Lodge at Lionshead in Vail, Colo., for travelers who like to be active on vacation. "While known for its skiing, the Vail area is home to fun summer and fall activities, like hiking and biking," she said.

Dates: Sept. 16 to Sept. 20

Cost: From $508 per person, including four nights at the Lodge at Lionshead and round-trip airfare from Dallas

Must see: Sept. 16 through Sept. 18 marks the second weekend of Vail Oktoberfest, which offers fun for the whole family.

"Activities include the bratwurst-eating, stein-lifting and keg-bowling competitions -- not to mention yodeling and alpenhorn blowing," said McDonald.

Laguna Beach, California

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Jeanenne Diefendorf, travel expert for, suggested the Laguna Beach House for couples or families.

"October is one of the best months to take advantage of the beautiful Southern California weather," she said. Not only is the weather perfect, but you'll also miss the summer crowds. And if you travel mid-week, the prices are quite low.

Dates: Oct. 10 to Oct. 13

Cost: From $393 per person, including three nights at the Laguna Beach House and round-trip airfare from San Francisco

Must see: From Oct. 8 through Oct. 16, visit the Plein Air Painting Invitational, where 50 of the finest plein-air painters create art right before your eyes. There is also gray whale watching during the fall months. Diefendorf likes Heisler Park, which offers amazing views of the ocean, gardens and spots for picnicking.

Ocean City, Maryland

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Diefendorf recommended the Victorian-themed Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites for couples and families. "Fall is notably cheaper than peak summer season," she explained.

Dates: Oct. 21 to Oct. 24

Cost: From $474 per person, including three nights at the Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites and round-trip airfare from New York

Must see: The Ocean City Boardwalk is a classic beach boardwalk with shops, fried dough, arcades and the famous Thrasher's Fries.

"While some attractions may be closed post-summer, it's still a great spot to check out," said Diefendorf. "There are Halloween activities for the whole family that weekend, including the Drive in Disguise and Halloween Parade -- with Vintage and decorated cars -- O.C.toberfest Howl-o-Ween Pet Parade and the O.C.toberfest Beach Maze."

If you have a car, take a drive to nearby Assateague Island or Chincoteague Island, Va., to watch wild horses run on the beach. Because it's off-season, it might just be you and the horses.


Getty Images/iStockphoto travel expert Tarran Street said vacationers can find competitive deals to London, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. She recommended booking your flight and hotel stay together.

"Travelers looking to take a trip to London, for example, can save nearly $700 by booking their flight and hotel together," said Street. She recommended the Caesar Hotel, because of its central location to attractions.

Dates: Sept. 22 to Sept. 26

Cost: $1,246.93 per person, including four nights at the Caesar Hotel and round-trip airfare from J.F.K. Airport in New York

Must see: The Caesar Hotel is near Hyde Park, which is home to the lovely Kensington Gardens. It's also near the Portobello Road Market, a massive street market that is open to visitors on Saturdays. Until Oct. 2, you can also tour Buckingham Palace, the official home of the Queen.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

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If you're looking to avoid the chillier fall weather, Street recommended the family-friendly Point Pleasant Resort in the Virgin Islands.

Date: Sept. 22 to Sept. 26

Cost: $957 per person, including five nights at the Point Pleasant Resort and round-trip airfare from J.F.K. Airport in New York

Must see: "The Butterfly Garden is a family-friendly attraction where children can enjoy hundreds of butterflies of more than 25 species and six different continents," Street said. "It is located right in the Havensight Mall and [costs] only $12 per adult on"

St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands also has stunning beaches, world-class scuba diving and countless bird watching and boat tours.

La Romana, Dominican Republic

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For a cheap vacation abroad, Diefendorf recommended La Romana in the Dominican Republic, with a stay at the Casa de Campo Resort and Villas, a five-star resort. However, she said, "Keep in mind that October is the last month of the wet season, so weather can be a little unpredictable."

Dates: Oct. 25 to Oct. 28

Cost: From $566 per person, including three nights at the Casa de Campo Resort and Villas and round-trip airfare from Chicago

Must see: "The beautiful Casa de Campo has everything a visitor might need on site," said Diefendorf, "including a full-service spa, three championship golf courses and an equestrian center."

While the temperature at La Romana beach areas will be in the 80s during the day and the 70s at night, the mountains can get chilly. If you plan on visiting the mountains, be sure to bring a light sweater.

Disclaimer: All sample rates were available on or on July 29, 2016 for the travel dates specified. All samples rates for Expedia were available on Aug. 2, 2016. Prices may vary at time of booking.

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