Looking for a quick weekend getaway this month? Here are a few of our picks guaranteed to put a smile on your face as we head into autumn.
Barber Vintage Festival
October 6-8, 2017
Their website calls the Barber Vintage Festival “a motorcyclist enthusiast’s dream,” and a quick look at the schedule roundly confirms this is not hyperbole. There really is a little something for everyone, including Vintage Motocross, Indian demo rides for fans, a Road Race, the somewhat ominously-named Globe of Death Stunt Show and a number of seminars for cycling enthusiasts. Tickets for the 3-day festival, are reasonable at $60, or you can buy single day tickets from $25 to $35 depending on the day.
When to Buy: You can still get nonstop flights from New York (LGA) on Delta for around $500 and from Chicago on American for around $400.
Austin City Limits
October 6-8 and 13-15, 2017
Austin City Limits is another festival monster, coming close to the end of the festival season, the always eclectic lineup is not to be missed. This year headliners include Jay-Z, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz, the Head and the Heart, Solange and Chance the Rapper, to name just a few. Tickets are sold on a tiered basis – you can still get 3-day passes for the second weekend for $255 from the organizers. One-day tickets start at $100.
When to Buy: Somewhat surprisingly, last minute airfare from Los Angeles is still a deal. Nonstop flights from LAX on American will set you back $381. Denver to Austin nonstop tickets are around $350 on United as of this publishing ate. Other gateways are more expensive. Buy your airline tickets early for this one – airfare is at a premium for this weekend, so get out in front of things and watch for deals early.
October 7, 2017
This tiny hamlet in Kansas capitalizes on the beloved classic “The Wizard of Oz” and brings the story to life through Oztoberfest! Activities include the OZ Costume Contest, Classic Car Show, Munchkinland, Auntie Em’s Boutique, Tin Man’s Garage, Uncle Henry’s Farmers Market, Boom Battle Sports, Beer & Wine Garden, and all of the other standard festival standbys (live music, food and kid’s activities).
When to Buy: Flights into Kansas City are reasonable at this time of year, so you should plan to buy around one to three months from your travel dates. If you’ve procrastinated, you can still get roundtrip tickets from Los Angeles for around $350 on United and nonstop from Chicago for $450 on United.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
October 7-15, 2017
The Balloon Fiesta has grown to be the largest international hot air balloon convention in the world. Highlights include scheduled Mass Ascensions, where hundreds of hot air balloons launch at once, and the “Special Shape Rodeo,” a crowd-pleasing launch that includes many unique and non-traditional balloons. Of course, the event would not be complete without the America’s Challenge balloon race, a traditional competition to see which gas balloon travels the farthest (past winners ended up as far north as Canada and the East Coast). A large center stage venue hosts local musical acts and children’s performers to entertain between balloon events. Affordable food vendors abound, some with a nod to the local cuisine highlighting New Mexican chili peppers.
When to Buy: This is a hugely-attended event for the city, so plan to start your research early to get the best prices. $300 round trip from New York and under $200 from Los Angeles should be easy to find. If you procrastinated, flights are a bit more but can still be found for under $500 on United from New York and for under $300 from Los Angeles on Allegiant.
National Shrimp Festival
October 12-15, 2017
Gulf Shores, AL
Got a hankering for a four-day shrimp bacchanal where you can dine on shrimp for every meal, prepared a plethora of different ways? Then the 46th Annual National Shrimp Festival is tailor-made for you. Throw in a Children’s Activity Village, an arts & crafts expo, nonstop music featuring major national recording acts as well as local favorites to keep the fun on point. Other activities include a sand sculpture contest and a 10k run/walk.
When to Buy: Pensacola International Airport is a short 40 minute drive from Gulf Shores. Flights are not cheap from anywhere, so this would be a start the search early destination – fares seem fairly stable, so buying early is probably a safe bet.
Marine Corps Marathon
October 22, 2017
The Marine Corps Marathon positions itself as “The People’s Marathon.” The route is known to be one of the best in the country for beginners and the race always draws a wide range of racers in large numbers. There’s a one-mile kids run for your littles (open to ages 5-12), but the main event is the marathon. Registration is still open!
When to Buy: Flights into D.C. are quite reasonable at this time of year. As long as there are not other big events going on in the D.C. metropolitan area, purchasing tickets in the 1-3 month range should be a good strategy for reasonable flights.
For the complete roundup of events in 2017, check out our other top picks! Happy travels!