Fall Day Trip Ideas For Busy Families

This post is sponsored in part by Holiday Inn Hotels.  All opinions are 100% our own. #JoyofTravel #HolidayInn

I'm not sure what it is about the fall season, but it makes my family want to get out and enjoy all the gorgeous changing colors and take a hike in cooler temperatures OR simply just explore new areas. Perhaps it is because we all know that very shortly we will be indoors for months on end in the very windy city; frozen in our homes as the outdoors is plunged into winter.

We wanted to get away for a quick day trip with the entire family as we all have such busy schedules we don't seem to be together as often as I would like. We wanted something that was not too far away, for a family-friendly weekend overnighter.  

We selected Madison, Wisconsin as it was about a two hour drive and we have yet to explore this city.

Here are some super fun ideas for exploring Madison, including fall hikes, a place to see wild animals, a house on a rock, the State Capital, foodie spots and seasonal fun like hayrides and apple and pumpkin picking. We will be enjoying these activities on our next visit.

FAMILY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN MADISON

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Take a walk down the halls of the Madison State Capitol. From the towering marble columns to the secret tunnels, the State Capitol is not to be missed.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Walk down the pedestrian-only State Street and go into each and every little store to sample local treats.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Stroll down the halls of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Then walk across the street and take a peek inside the Wisconsin Historical Museum and The Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Next take your kiddos for some fun at the Madison Children's Museum.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Take a stroll and see the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace and Convention Center. It is right downtown on the shores of Lake Monona, just two blocks from the capitol. Sit up on the rooftop and enjoy the view.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Here are some other day activities your family could enjoy in and around Madison.

Bring your bikes along and hop on the Lake Monona Loop with the family. Didn't bring your bikes, not a problem. Simply rent some bikes and explore the University of Wisconsin Arboretum or the Lakeshore Path

Spend some time exploring the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The have 16 acres of outdoor gardens to explore. Beginning December 5, Olbrich's will host a Holiday Flower and Model Train Show.

Go on a kid-friendly fall foliage hike around the shores of Lake Monona.

Visit Madison's FREE Henry Vilas Zoo.

Find a corn maze, take hayride. pick some pumpkins and some apples.

Have a day of outdoor discovery at the Cave of the Mounds. Dig for fossils and see butterflies flitting about.

Drive to Spring Green and see The House on the Rock.  Your family will be entertained by the world's largest carousel and a 200 foot sea creature.

We missed the Dane County Farmers’ Market as it is hosted on Saturday mornings, but we do plan to visit Madison again and be in town on a Saturday morning!

Once we saw all of downtown Madison, we headed back to our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Madison At The American Center and it was so close to the tollway for us, so it was super convenient. The Holiday Inn Madison At The American Center is located near an industrial park on the east side of Madison and 15 minutes from downtown Madison.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

We had dinner at a local restaurant near our hotel based on a recommendation from the front desk. Everything was delicious at dinner. The children were begging for time in the pool, so we stayed in for the evening, plus we were pretty tired from exploring Madison all day.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

FAMILY FRIENDLY HOTEL

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

We had a fun filled day in Madison and a fun filled night in the pool. We slept like babies in our adjoining room and ate breakfast at Geier's Grill, the hotel's restaurant. They served a full buffet breakfast and my family was so happy they had something that everyone likes. {I have picky eaters}. The children's meals were even free.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

The Kids Stay and Eat Free Program

Did you know kiddos eat for FREE at Holiday Inn hotels? The Kids Stay and Eat Free Program is available at ALL Holiday Inn hotels and resorts. This is key for us since we have three kiddos in tow at all times.

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

My girls rushed down to the pool to swim again all morning long before we made our journey home to Chicago. The pool was perfect for them and like I said before, I didn't even need to leave the hotel . . . they would have been happy swimming all day long!

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel
Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

Madison hosts a number of holiday activities in December, including light displays, theater and ice skating. We can't wait to return to the Holiday Inn at the American Center and explore this city further in the winter! I'm busy plotting our next day trip in Madison!

Fall Day Trips Ideas For Busy Families #JoyofTravel

What would you suggest for a day activity in Madison?