‘Tis the season when high-school seniors and their parents hit the road for college visits.  But college towns are actually a great getaway idea for many of us—especially in the fall. After all…

College campuses are at their most colorful in autumn.

Many have park-like settings, with gardens and arboretums, and the changing leaves and crispness in the air make strolling around them even more enjoyable. Think ivy-covered brick framed by trees of orange and gold.  Many of the best fall-foliage getaways are in parts of the country that are dotted with colleges.

Cultural offerings abound.

Museums, libraries, concerts, theater performances, and talks are plentiful on university campuses—and are usually inexpensive or free. Don’t forget that colleges offer student-led walking tours that ensure you learn the history behind the school. And many college towns, especially in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, are in areas that are festive in the fall; think crafts fairs, harvest festivals, apple picking, the works.

It’s football season.

What with the marching bands, pre-game activities, tailgating, and food stands set up by campus clubs, college games can be fun for the whole family. You get much closer to the players than you’ll ever get at a pro game—and it’s a lot cheaper. Celebrations such as homecoming add even more pageantry.

There are plenty of affordable accommodations.

Colleges are accustomed to having many visiting parents and families, so typically there are a lot of economical places to stay, from inns, B&Bs, and motels to rental houses and apartments.

Inexpensive eats abound too.

Since college towns cater to students on budgets, there is usually a smorgasboard of affordable eateries, especially ethnic restaurants, coffee roasters, and bookshop cafés.

If you’re heading to a college town, check the college’s Web site for things to do and tips for planning your visit; and, of course, punch the town’s name into the search box on TripAdvisor, then click on Attractions, for a short list of things not to miss.