Growing up on the East Coast, I never had a fall break, because school didn't start until the Wednesday after Labor Day. Sure, we had a long weekend in October for Columbus Day, and an extra-long weekend in November for Thanksgiving, but our first vacation was over Christmas.
This year, the kids started school on August 10, and it's a very long haul from August 10 to Christmas. They have next week off, and I'm hoping we'll actually do something. The idea is to spend a few days in Tucson visiting interesting things down there, but we have appointments Monday and Friday and piano lessons on Wednesday, plus karate both Saturdays. We'll have to fit a trip in somewhere. We had such a great time at the Grand Canyon, etc last year that we are looking forward to doing something equally fun this year.
There's a lot to choose from, and here's our list of most-likely destinations: Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Casa Grande ruins, The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, Tombstone, and San Xavier del Bac Mission.
We thought about Kartchner Caverns but decided against it for three reasons: 1) you need to make reservations in advance; we'd rather be flexible 2) the interior of the cave is warm (72 degrees) with 99% (not a typo) humidity all the time and 3) the rules and restrictions are not exactly kid-friendly; you can't even bring bottled water with you on the 90-minute tour. (If my salivary glands are acting up, I would have a hard time making it 90 minutes without having something to drink.) I understand they're trying to preserve the caverns, but I have no desire to take my kids to what is essentially an underground fishbowl where we'll be policed by fanatics lest we brush up against a wall and contaminate the environment. Colossal Cave is dry. That, I can deal with.
Now I get to play travel agent and find a hotel, plan an itinerary,and print out maps, if I can figure out when and where to go.