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Escape from back-to-school stress with a fall getaway

Fall getaways

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And in this case, the freedom of summer vacation is now behind us. Children are back in school and scorching temperatures are slowly dissipating into a crisp breeze. 

If you're not ready for sweater weather just yet, don't worry. Travel & Leisure Magazine's travel director Jacqueline Gifford has the perfect tips for planning a fall getaway.

Best fall vacations in U.S.

If you're looking for ways to avoid the post-summer blues, consider taking a trip to an outdoor location such as the Catskill Mountains in New York. The family-friendly area is known for its rich wildlife, beautiful scenery, camping and great hiking trails.

"It's an incredible place," Gifford said. "You can go hiking, you can go biking. There's so much you can do in the great outdoors. It's a beautiful time to go up there." 

On the west coast, a vacation in Portland, Oregon, may be the perfect option. If your kids are interested in animated movies, pay a visit to the Portland Art Museum. On Oct. 14, an exhibit dedicated to LAIKA — the studio behind "Coraline" and "Kubo and the Two Strings" — will allow your children to discover an adventure that's as wild as their imaginations. 

"This is a great place to go because you can actually see how they make these movies,"Gifford said. "You can see puppets (and) learn about the technology that goes into it." 

In the Midwest, consider visiting Big Cedar Mountain Lodge, which sits in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. Kayaking and sunset cruises are just a few of the fabulous activities you can take advantage of while visiting Table Rock Lake. 

If you're looking for a fall-centric trip that's a little bit off the beaten path, look into taking a day trip that's related to Halloween. Salem, Massachusetts — home to the witch trials — will make for an spooky, yet educational visit. 

And for a local getaway, consider taking a drive to see fall foliage, go pumpkin and/or apple picking, and look into taking a hayride. Sometimes simple fall activities are the most enjoyable! 

Hurricane Irma travel disruptions

Torrential rain, wind damage and storm surge from Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on some Caribbean islands and South Florida. Millions of people have been left in the dark with no answer as to when electricity will be restored. The storm's path of destruction is devastating. 

When it comes to travel accommodations, there are a few things to consider depending on the time frame of your trip — especially if you're planning to travel to an area that was affected by the storm. 

"Most airlines will tell you (that) you have a window that you can change your flights," Gifford said. "Then, when it comes to hotels, just stay on top of it. They're actually actively updating their sites to inform travelers when they look to reopen." 

The reality of the situation is that you most likely will have to change your travel dates, especially for some hard-hit destinations in the Caribbean.

"Travel insurance may or may not cover it," she added. "Read the fine print with your policy, if you have one." 

Best fall vacations for couples

Attention parents: Pat yourselves on the back. You've made it through yet another grueling summer filled with play dates, car pooling, camp programs and arguments over who gets to use the family car — all while managing your demanding work schedules. 

Your children may not be so excited about getting back into the swing of a school routine, but now's your chance to take a vacation. You've earned it.

For those in search of a romantic getaway without the kids, a trip to wine country in northern California may be the perfect retreat. 

"Sonoma and Napa are beautiful places to stay," Gifford said. "You can go out and see all the wineries and travel to vineyards. It's harvest season this time of year, so for couples, that's a great place. And of course, again, that fall foliage." 

If you're more of a foodie, a trip to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee may be more up your alley. 

"For people who are into culinary trips, it's really become this foodie mecca near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park," Gifford said. "They grow and source most of their produce right there on the farm."