25 Best Places to Visit in the Fall in the USA for a Fall Getaway or Vacation
Last Updated on March 1, 2023
Planning your next vacation and wondering where to go? Discover some of the best places to visit in the fall in the USA. These top fall vacation spots are perfect for a romantic getaway, a family trip, a road trip with friends, or for solo travelers.
Explore the United States this fall and cross some destinations off your US bucket list. From destinations featuring stunning fall foliage to less crowded places to getaways with ideal weather conditions for a fall trip, you’ll find listed below the perfect fall destination for you and your group!
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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
By Meg from Fox in the Forest
Easily one of the best fall destinations in the US, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is perfect for anyone who loves the great outdoors and wants to see some amazing fall foliage.
If possible, travelers should plan their visit for late September or early October. This way you can take a scenic drive along Trail Ridge Road and Bear Lake Road and enjoy the stunning aspens all around you.
Just be aware that Trail Ridge Road closes in mid-October. So, do try to time your visit prior to this since this route is easily one of the most scenic drives in Colorado.
However, other great places to see these gorgeous, golden-hued aspens include Fern Lake Trail, the Bear Lake area, the Cub Lake Trail, the East Inlet Trail, and Kawuneeche Valley.
And while hiking, be on the lookout for local elk populations that start to migrate from higher elevations to local meadows for mating season. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to hear the eerie call of male elk in the background.
Finally, head back to nearby Estes Park and spend the night at The Inn on Fall River. After all, this property has a bunch of cozy log cabins that overlook the nearby river and have a fun mountain aesthetic about them. For something more secluded, book a vacation rental near the park.
By Linda from Linda on the Run
Looking for one of the best fall destinations in the US? If so, then you can’t beat Philadelphia since this historic city comes alive with fun fall activities.
So, start by enjoying Halloween Night at Eastern State Penitentiary. It’s an amazing immersive experience where you can stroll through the cellblocks and check out haunted houses, themed bars/lounges, and more.
You can also explore the trails at Fairmount Park before seeing some amazing foliage at Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square West, and Old City.
Additionally, Longwood Gardens is another amazing, 1,000-acre park where you can see vibrant leaves before enjoying festive fountain shows, quaint treehouses, a Pumpkin Playground, and more.
Just be sure to time your visit for late October or early November since this is when the leaves on the trees will be at their most colorful.
Then, after enjoying some of the best things to do in Philadelphia in the fall, unwind at the Lokal Hotel Fishtown. It’s well-located in one of the city’s most exciting areas and is an “invisible service” hotel with no concierge or front desk.
By Karen from Forever Karen
While most visitors travel to Alaska in the warmer summer months, the fall brings fewer crowds and discounted prices. Juneau, the capital, offers diverse activities such as hiking, seeing a glacier, watching a salmon run, or a chance to see the northern lights. The aurora borealis is unpredictable, so you should check the aurora forecast during your stay.
Expect average daytime temperatures of 47 F and lots of rain. While southeast Alaska is wet in the fall, there’s not much risk of snow until late October.
The Silver Bow Inn and Suites offers accommodation downtown, within walking distance of shops and restaurants. From downtown, you can travel to Mendenhall Glacier to see a magnificent retreating ice field.
In the fall, you can view the salmon in Steep Creek, and it’s an excellent opportunity to see black bears before they hibernate for the long Alaskan winter. The Nugget Falls hike provides a nice walk to see a thundering waterfall. Alternatively, Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center has other trails for seasoned hikers.
On a clear day, the Mount Roberts Tramway provides spectacular views of the Gastineau Channel from the peak. If you plan to hike one of its many trails, wear waterproof hiking boots and expect a muddy path.
Since Juneau sits within the Tongass National Forest, you’ll want to prepare for your fall trip with layers, a waterproof jacket, and waterproof boots.
Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
By Kristin from Global Travel Escapades
Another place that’s lovely to visit during the fall season is the desert landscape of Red Rock Canyon. During the fall, the temperatures in Red Rock are a lot cooler compared to the summer months, making it much more comfortable for all of the outdoor activities it offers guests!
Speaking of activities, there is plenty to enjoy in Red Rock Canyon! For example, hiking is a great way to explore the area. You’ll find trails of all different difficulties and lengths, so whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, you can easily find a trail that suits your hiking level.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something faster-paced, opt for biking through the canyon. You’ll be able to discover the area at your own pace but also cover more ground faster. Or, for a little adrenaline rush, try rock climbing! Red Rock Canyon offers hundreds of different climbing routes for both beginners and more experienced climbers.
So, if you’re ready to explore the rugged side of the desert region during the fall, consider Red Rock Canyon!
And for places to stay, check out Caesars Palace hotel! It’s a 4-star hotel located on the Las Vegas Strip and will give you easy access to both The Strip and Red Rock Canyon! For something a bit more special, book either this geodesic dome or this glamping tent, both located in secluded and peaceful areas with stunning views.
By Brittany from Travel by Brit
Portland, Maine, is a fantastic destination to visit in the fall due to its picturesque views, delicious seasonal treats, and exciting activities. With high temperatures ranging from 70°F in September to 48°F in November, depending on when you visit Portland, you can enjoy a warmer fall experience or chilly weather right before the winter snow.
One must-visit location in any season is the iconic Portland Head Light. Located on Cape Elizabeth, this lighthouse offers stunning ocean views and is surrounded by picturesque trails, perfect for a brisk autumn walk.
For beer lovers, a brewery tour is a must-do activity in Portland. Popular breweries like Allagash Brewing Company and Foundation Brewing Company offer visitors the chance to taste some of the best local beers (including pumpkin beers!) at the best breweries in Portland, Maine.
Additionally, a visit to The Holy Donut is a must for any foodie. This local donut shop offers pumpkin and apple-flavored donuts perfect for fall.
If you have a car, you can enjoy even more of the state’s beautiful fall foliage by taking a few day trips to nearby attractions. Apple picking at a local orchard or hiking in Acadia National Park are popular activities allowing visitors to enjoy Maine’s beautiful natural scenery.
The historic Portland Harbor Hotel is an ideal choice for those seeking accommodations in the heart of the city’s Old Port District. With fine dining restaurants on-site and luxurious rooms with great amenities, like soaking tubs, you’ll love this charming hotel during your visit to Portland in the fall.
Alternatively, you can book an ocean-front cottage to enjoy the view and the comforts of a home away from home.
By Melodie from Travel Must Do’s
Gatlinburg, TN is a great place to visit in the fall. With its beautiful mountain views and lush foliage, Gatlinburg will take your breath away. In the fall, Gatlinburg comes alive with brilliant colors of red, orange, yellow, and brown that are scattered across the mountainsides.
Climb to the top of Gatlinburg’s Space Needle and experience awe-inspiring views of the city, or traverse through Great Smoky Mountain National Park and witness unparalleled scenery from its many picturesque overlooks.
Additionally, Gatlinburg is also home to a variety of exciting fall activities, from the Gatlinburg Chilli Cookoff to Jeeptoberfest and more. There are also numerous concerts and fairs held in Gatlinburg throughout the fall, including the Gatlinburg Bluegrass Festival, Gatlinburg Quartet Convention, Gatlinburg Art Show, and Gatlinburg Fall Craftsmen’s Fair.
Gatlinburg is a great place to experience the arts, music, and culture of the area in the fall!
When visiting Gatlinburg, TN in the fall, be sure to bring a jacket for cooler nights, as Gatlinburg is known for its comfortable but chilly evenings.
Visitors to Gatlinburg in the fall should consider staying at The Park Vista – Gatlinburg Hotel & Suites, where guests can enjoy a convenient location and stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The hotel is situated in the heart of Gatlinburg and provides easy access to attractions like Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area, Dollywood Theme Park, and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
You’ll also find plenty of vacation rentals and cabins with great views and amenities such as fireplaces and hot tubs.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable fall getaway, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the place to be. With its stunning scenery and plethora of activities, Gatlinburg is an ideal spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience all that fall has to offer.
By Candice from Exploring the Gulf
Clearwater, Florida is one of the best places in the country to visit during the fall! By fall, the sweltering temperatures of the summer have cooled and are balmy and comfortable. Not to mention, most of the peak season travelers will have returned home, so popular attractions including beaches won’t be as crowded.
Water sports enthusiasts and beach bums alike are drawn to the beautiful paradise that is Clearwater. Travelers who are looking for a place that offers more than just the beach experience, Clearwater also features high-end shopping and stunning golf courses. With so much to offer, there’s bound to be an activity or attraction perfect for every traveler.
There are so many must-see places and attractions in Clearwater. Fall is the perfect time to explore Clearwater Beach, Honeymoon Island State Park, and Caladesi Island State Park. These are all great locations to slide into a kayak or jump on a jet ski.
Clearwater is also home to some of the most entertaining fall festivals in the country. SHINE St. Pete Mural Festival is an annual occurrence every fall, where public spaces throughout the city are reimagined by local, national, and international artists.
The Clearwater Jazz Festival is a music festival that takes place every October. Some of the best Jazz musicians from near and far gather in Clearwater to share their talents and have a great time.
Clearwater motels are a great option for lodging when visiting this area. If you’re looking for a great place to soak up the sun and enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation, consider booking a room at Belleair Beach Resort Motel. This vibrantly colorful motel boasts clean and spacious rooms, but more importantly, its own private beach!
Clearwater is sure to make your fall getaway one to remember!
Yosemite National Park, California
By Karen from Travel Mad Mum
Yosemite in the fall is the perfect place to plan a trip and be at one with nature with its lush landscape. As the weather in the fall turns cooler from September to November, all entrances to the park are open at all hours of the day.
Yosemite is home to the iconic Half Dome and El Capitan, popular for outdoor enthusiasts who want a taste of the most spectacular hikes. There are even places to take to the water and try rafting or kayaking.
Fewer people around this time mean more solitude and the opportunity to enjoy some of the park’s delights.
Another trail offering mesmerizing views is the Mariposa Grove, lined with giant Sequoia trees over 2000 years old.
Other exciting activities include biking around Yosemite Valley, hiking to the Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, and sunsets at Cook’s Meadow.
To have an unforgettable experience at Yosemite, pack a sturdy pair of hiking boots, reusable water bottles, hiking poles to tackle the steep trails, the ALLTRAILS app for easy navigation, and a backpack for easy mobility.
Camping is a cost-effective alternative to lodging for a night or weekend stay. However, the Yosemite campgrounds occasionally get busy, so book early. Other lodging options include the Yosemite Valley Lodge, which caters to backpackers and families.
El Portal, the closest town to Yosemite, has great accommodations, including the Yosemite View Lodge with four pools, a hot tub, and a convenience store nearby. You’ll also find plenty of nice vacation rentals outside the park.
Fort Worth, Texas
By Catrina from 24 Hours Layover
Fort Worth is a great place to visit in the fall. The weather is comfortable and mild, making it an ideal time to explore the city’s many outdoor attractions – plus enjoy the fall foliage!
One of the top attractions in Fort Worth is the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. There are lots of things to do at Fort Worth Stockyards, including visiting the historic buildings that offer a glimpse into the city’s cowboy and cattle drive history.
The Trinity River Trail is a great place to visit in the fall, with miles of hiking and biking trails along the river.
In addition, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a fabulous fall destination for nature lovers, with a wide variety of plant species and gardens to visit. Plus, in November, the Gardens hosts the Japanese Garden Fall Festival – a really lovely festival, fun for children and adults.
Two other popular fall festivals include the Fort Worth Oktoberfest – featuring live music, authentic German cuisine, and plenty of beer, and the ArtsGoggle, featuring local artists and live music performances.
When it comes to hotel recommendations, there are plenty of options in Fort Worth to suit a range of budgets and preferences. In the Stockyards, a great place to stay is the Hyatt Place Fort Worth Historic Stockyard. If you prefer to stay in downtown Fort Worth, then Aloft Fort Worth Downtown is ideal.
North Cascades National Park, Washington
By Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
If you’re looking for an underrated fall destination, head to North Cascades National Park in northern Washington state. Autumn in the North Cascades is jaw-dropping– while there’s a handful of deciduous trees that turn vibrant hues, come fall, most of the vibrant foliage actually comes from the wildflowers and shrubs carpeting the mountains’ slopes, turning spectacular shades of orange, red, and yellow.
The North Cascades also boasts a unique tree, the larch, a coniferous tree that turns a vibrant gold each fall before its needles fall off for the wintertime.
One of the most classic places to enjoy fall here is along the Heather Maple Pass Loop trail, where you’ll hike up to a ridge of a mountain, past countless larch groves, fields of autumnal wildflowers, and dazzling views of the surrounding mountain peaks.
Another popular trail is the Blue Lake trail, where you’ll hike to the basin of a turquoise lake, surrounded by golden larches and sitting in the shadow of a rugged mountain.
While you’re in the park, pop into the charming town of Winthrop, where you can stroll along antique wooden boardwalks, enjoy the Wild Western facades of its downtown, and find plenty of great lodging options.
For an autumnal drink, pop into the Methow Valley Ciderhouse, offering locally-made cider and incredible views of the Cascade Mountains.
If you’re up for some adventure, you can camp at the park (the backcountry campsites stay open year-round and are free). Otherwise, you can also book a cabin nearby.
Palm Springs, CA
By Alisha from Travel Today Work Tomorrow
Escape the chilly temperatures this fall for some sunshine and R&R in Palm Springs, CA. This desert oasis is famously known as a luxury destination that features top-notch accommodations, lavish spas, golf courses galore, and a trendy downtown area for shopping and restaurants.
However, many people don’t know that Palm Springs also offers numerous beautiful hikes and outdoor activities.
Fall is the perfect time of year for a getaway to Palm Springs. After the scorching hot summers, the weather in Palm Springs begins to dip down to cooler temperatures. You can expect pleasant sunny days in the 70s to 80s and breezy nights. The weather is ideal for getting outdoors and enjoying some fresh air.
The autumn months also bring tons of yearly festivals and fun fall activities to Palms Springs and the surrounding area. Some of the popular ones include the annual Joshua Tree Music Festival and Greater Palm Springs Pride week.
One of the best things you can do when visiting Palm Springs is to take a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The national park is about an hour’s drive from Palm Springs. Joshua Tree is covered with miles and miles of hiking trails, massive rock formations, and unique desert plants that you can only find in the Mojave Desert. Joshua Tree is also a popular and fantastic spot for stargazing.
During your time in Palm Springs, a wonderful hotel to stay at is the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs. It is located footsteps of all of the action in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. The Kimpton features a rooftop pool with private cabanas and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
San Francisco, California
By Gabriel of Chef Travel Guide
If you are planning a fall getaway, San Francisco is at its best after the summer tourist crowds dissipate and the summer fog starts to disappear for the season. Accommodation prices start to drop, and it’s a lot easier to score reservations at the city’s hottest restaurants. This means you can ride the elevator to the top of the Coit Tower for views of the city without waiting in line.
San Francisco is a top culinary destination with so many delicious treats to discover. Consider taking a guided tour of the street food in the Mission District or book that special meal at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants like Atelier Crenn.
You should also visit some of the amazing bakeries in San Francisco, like Tartine or Josey Baker for their world-famous sourdough.
For those traveling to California for some of California’s sunshine, the best time to visit San Francisco is in the Fall. As summer comes to an end, the fog that covers San Francisco starts to disappear, and the sun starts to warm up the city and the surrounding beaches. In fact, September and October are the warmest months of the year in the city.
This warmer weather means it’s a perfect time to have a picnic in Golden Gate Park or to visit Baker Beach, where you can enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
It’s also a great time to take advantage of the clear skies to take in the panoramic views of the city from Twin Peaks, which overlooks the entire city and most of the Bay Area.
San Francisco is a top destination in the United States year around, but the fall is hands down the best time to visit, with incredible weather and fewer crowds at the city’s best attractions. A great place to stay is the well-located Handlery Union Square Hotel, ideal for both families and couples.
Newport, Rhode Island
By Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Newport, Rhode Island is an ideal fall destination in the United States. It is situated on Aquidneck Island and is well known for its serene beaches and cliffs. The fewer crowds in autumn make it a great place to enjoy outdoor activities, historic museums, and delicious foods.
The Cliff Walk is a great way to view the local history. It offers a 3.5-mile walk, which can be done in parts or as a whole. Along the path, visitors can find sea cliffs, beaches, and the famous Newport mansions with their notable history and architecture. You can start at the Breakers and walk as far as you want – be sure to wear a wind-resistant jacket as the wind from the water can be chilly.
There are plenty of things to do in Newport for any visitor. Foodie travelers will enjoy Newport Festa Italiana in October or Restaurant week at the beginning of November. History lovers would enjoy exploring the Naval War College Museum or the Audobain Museum.
Warm up at the White Horse Tavern, the oldest tavern in America, before heading out on a ghost tour featuring the Jailhouse Inn. If you’re traveling with kids, enjoy a hayride at one of the farms nearby or get out on the water with a harbor cruise.
The Marriott Newport, situated in Newport city center, is close to Bannister’s Wharf and Bowen Wharf, two areas where one can buy souvenirs and observe boats. It’s a great place to stay in the heart of the city. Couples looking for something more romantic can book a room at the historic Almondy Inn Bed & Breakfast, one of the best-rated B&B in town.
Alternatively, check out the many vacation rentals you’ll find in town, many feature ocean-front views and great amenities such as a hot tub and fireplace.
By Erin from Go Hike Virginia
Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Virginia is an easy destination to love, especially in fall when the changing leaves are on full display. Explore historic landmarks, stunning wineries, scenic hiking trails, and the walkable grounds of the University of Virginia (UVA).
For history lovers, it’s a must to visit Monticello, the one-time residence of Thomas Jefferson, our country’s third president. Take a guided tour of the main house, then get outside to stroll through manicured green spaces, including the flower and vegetable gardens.
Enjoy dramatic fall colors by starting at Kemper Park, which is home to a dozen forested hiking trails, including the Saunders-Monticello Trail, which leads to Monticello. It’s a two-mile walk (one-way), but it’s an easy stroll through colorful foliage and along a gently curving wooden boardwalk.
For more presidential history, it’s a short drive from Charlottesville to James Monroe’s Highland and Montpelier, the former home of James Madison, the fourth U.S. president. Take a break at Michie Tavern, a colonial-era tavern.
Make it a weekend with a stay at the Graduate Charlottesville. This on-trend boutique hotel sits on historic Main Street and is a stone’s throw from the Rotunda at UVA. A rooftop bar on the eighth floor serves up craft cocktails and local brews.
Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Road Trip
By Alanna from Periodic Adventures
One of the most iconic scenic fall drives in the United States is the Blue Ridge Parkway, run by the National Park Service. Located in Virginia and North Carolina, you’ll want to spend 3 days driving the Blue Ridge Parkway to get the most out of your trip.
Along the way, you’ll see stunning fall foliage along the road and at overlooks on the side of the road. Not only that, but the region has a rich history with pioneers, Native Americans, and folk culture.
Some essential stops include Mabry Mill, a historic mill that makes the perfect fall backdrop, Yankee Horse Ridge with a multi-tiered waterfall and very easy hike, and Blue Ridge Music Center to dive deeper into the bluegrass and music history of this region.
The Blue Ridge Parkway also starts and ends at two national parks, so you can easily cross them off your bucket list – Shenandoah National Park to the north and Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the southern end. Both will also have stunning fall views with lots of hiking, waterfalls, and scenic drives.
If you’re looking for a fun, unique stay along the way, Grassy Creek Cabooses is for you! Stay in one of their converted train cars, enjoy the scenic views, and some isolation from the autumn crowds.
By Marissa from Sunset Chasing Blonde
Boston, Massachusetts is one of the best fall vacation spots in the US. This popular New England destination is a vibrant city filled with a rich colonial history and architecture. People come from all over to see a New England Fall, and rightfully so.
During the autumn months, Boston has incredible weather – mild to crisp temperatures along with a mix of cloudy and sunny weather. It’s prime sweater weather and great for those who want to avoid the intense humidity of summer.
On sunny days, you can enjoy outdoor walks along the Charles River Esplanade, a beautiful walkway along the Charles River with plenty of trees, open space, and great views of the city and nearby Cambridge.
On the days when it’s a bit cooler, you can grab a warm cup of coffee inside the must-visit coffee shop called Tatte Bakery & Cafe (pronounced tah-tay). A favorite location is the Beacon Hill Tatte, which is in the Boston neighborhood home to the famous photo spot “Acorn Street.” This is the cutest cobblestone street with stunning brick buildings as the backdrop.
Discover incredible Italian food in the North End, Boston’s Little Italy. In the Seaport area, you can’t go wrong with Harpoon Brewery or Trillium for delicious beers and food. In Back Bay, walk along Newbury Street for some of the best shopping in the city as well as plenty of top-rated restaurants.
For a centrally located hotel, look no further than the Boston Park Plaza. The rooms are a bit on the smaller side, but you can’t beat the location near the Public Garden. It’s easy to walk to many of the places on this list or it’s a quick Uber ride.
Boston in the fall is unlike any other, and it’s a must-add to your list!
Hudson Valley, New York
By James from Travel Collecting
The Hudson River Valley is a wide, sprawling valley on both sides of the Hudson River between New York City and the state capital, Albany. It is the perfect place to visit in the fall in the US.
The entire area is one of the best places in the country for leaf peeping. Starting in the north and slowly creeping its way to the south over the course of several weeks, the woods, nature preserves and neighborhood trees turn a fiery blaze of red, orange, and gold. Top places to see the fall color include the Mohonk Preserve and the nearby Minnewaska State Park. Tip: Get there early, as the parking lots fill up in the peak fall weekends.
Visiting the Hudson Valley in the fall is also perfect for agritourism. This is one of the main apple-growing regions in the Northeast, and many apple orchards will let you pick your own fruit. Some, like Twin Star Orchards, also serve wood-fire oven-baked pizza at tables in the orchards. Others, like Hurd’s Family Farms, have corn mazes, pumpkin picking, hay rides (drawn by a tractor), and fun activities for the whole family.
For more adult-oriented activities, there are also dozens of wineries, distilleries, and cideries in the valley, and many are open for tastings. Fall is harvest season, so an especially great time to imbibe with views of the nearby farms and vineyards.
A wonderful place to stay is Mohonk Mountain House – a fantastical old-style mountain hotel set on the shores of a small lake.
By Nicoll from Living Tiny With A Wolf
Nestled in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, Telluride is a picturesque town that becomes even more stunning in the fall. The crisp mountain air, the breathtaking fall colors, and the wide variety of outdoor activities make Telluride an ideal destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable autumn experience.
One of the main attractions in Telluride during the fall is the Gondola. This free transportation system takes visitors on a scenic 13-minute ride from the town of Telluride to Mountain Village, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and fall foliage. The ride is especially magical during sunset when the colors of the sky blend with the autumn hues.
Telluride is known for its incredible hiking trails, and fall is the perfect time to explore them. With cooler temperatures and breathtaking autumn colors, hiking in Telluride during the fall season is an unforgettable experience.
Some of the best hikes to consider during this time include Bridal Veil Falls. This hike takes you to the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado. The Jud Wiebe Trail is a moderate hike that takes you through aspen groves and offers sweeping views of Telluride and the surrounding mountains. Another great option is the Bear Creek Preserve Trail, which leads you through golden aspens and leads you to a cascading waterfall.
Telluride also offers a wide variety of fall events and festivals. From the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival to the Telluride Film Festival, there is always something happening in this vibrant mountain town.
The Hotel Madeline is considered one of the best options for a fall stay in Telluride. It is a luxurious hotel with breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains and Telluride Ski Resort. The hotel offers a range of amenities, including an on-site spa, fitness center, outdoor pool, and hot tub, with multiple dining options. Its location in the Mountain Village area puts guests close to hiking trails and scenic drives, making it an ideal base for exploring the fall foliage in the region.
Santa Barbara, California
By Kris from JJ & The Bug
Santa Barbara is known for its stunning beauty year-round, but it is especially breathtaking during the fall months. From the nearby vineyards to the fun harvest festivals, autumn in Santa Barbara is a must-experience destination for those looking for a fall getaway.
On any given day in Santa Barbara, you can kayak the harbor, taste your way along the urban wine trail, explore the ever-evolving Funk Zone, or pedal along the paved Santa Barbara Waterfront bike path.
If you visit on the first weekend of October, head 15 minutes south of the city to enjoy the Carpinteria Avocado Festival. This festival celebrates California’s favorite fruit with countless avocado-centered bites, including everyone’s favorite, avocado ice cream.
Fall is also prime whale-watching season along the Santa Barbara Channel. In early fall, look for humpback whales and blue whales, the largest mammals on earth. In later fall, you might see a Pacific gray whale heading for the warm waters of Baja. Those with sharp eyes can see whales spouting in the distance from land. For a closer encounter, get out on the ocean with a whale-watching tour.
Wondering where to stay? Consider the Harbor View Inn, which boasts one of the top locations in town. You’ll be steps from the beach and just a quick walk to Stearns wharf and the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.
By Amber from Amber Everywhere
The quirky and charming town of Boulder, Colorado is the perfect place to visit in the fall for adventurous and outdoorsy travelers. There are dozens of hiking trails within a short drive of downtown Boulder, and you can choose from several routes that are accessible by foot from the Chautauqua or Sanitas areas.
If you’d like to see the fall foliage, you’ll want to drive towards Ward, Colorado along the Peak to Peak Highway for some of the best views.
On a warm day, be sure to wander along Pearl Street, the central pedestrian mall with restaurants, shops, cafes, and street performers. Chocolate lovers will want to visit Piece, Love, and Chocolate, a local chocolatier with fabulous, handmade truffles in intriguing and bright flavors. For a unique gift, visit Liberty Puzzles for a wooden jigsaw puzzle with imagery from Colorado, famous paintings, or board games.
Colorado is known for its breweries, and Boulder is a hotspot for some of the best beers around. If you have a car, it’s worth making a trip to Avery, a large and very popular brewery in east Boulder. Within the downtown area, you’ll want to try Mountain Sun, a local spot that serves beers on tap along with plenty of food options.
Be sure to stay in a hotel near Pearl Street, the most central area of Boulder. The Boulderado is a great choice because of its great location, charming decor, and for the option to request a room with a view of the Flatirons.
New Haven, Connecticut
By Lyndsay from The Purposely Lost
New Haven, Connecticut, is easily one of the best fall getaway destinations in the United States for anyone who wants to experience the season’s beauty. Located in the New England region of the United States, New Haven is a great city to enjoy the changing colors of autumn.
For history buffs, a visit to Yale University is a must. The Ivy League school is home to some of the most prestigious learning in America, and its sprawling campus is a great way to experience the beauty of fall. You can also take a guided tour to learn more about the university’s history or cheer on the Bulldogs at a Yale football game.
If you’re looking for something more active, New Haven also offers a wide range of outdoor activities. You can hike or bike through one of the many trails at East Rock Park or enjoy a crisp walk along the beach at Lighthouse Point Park.
For a more family-friendly activity, there are plenty of pick-your-own apple orchards in New Haven County. And New Haven is home to its own style of pizza, called apizza, that you absolutely need to try if you’re in town.
For a place to stay, consider renting a vacation home or book a room at the convenient New Haven Hotel featuring modern rooms, great amenities, and an ideal location.
With its stunning foliage, distinguished institutions, and public parks, there are tons of fun things to do in New Haven in the fall.
By Anu from Destination Checkoff
Maui is a stunning island located in Hawaii, which is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
Although it is a popular summer destination, Maui is an excellent place to visit in the fall as well. The weather is slightly cooler than during the summer, making it the perfect time for outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, and exploring the island’s beautiful landscape.
In the fall season, you will find better deals on resorts and flights, as well as fewer crowds than summer and winter seasons.
Maui has a variety of beautiful beaches like the Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach.
In addition to its beaches, Maui has a lot of hiking trails to explore in the Haleakala National Park. The cooler fall weather makes hiking more enjoyable. You can also spend a day driving the Road to Hana, the most famous scenic drive in Maui.
An evening at Old Lahaina Luau is the best way to experience the island’s local cuisine and hula dance as it is one of the most authentic and traditional luaus in Maui.
Maui is popular for whale-watching and the season begins in the late fall months of October-November. You can take a whale-watching tour or simply sit on the beach and watch them from a distance.
The West Maui area of Kaanapali or Lahaina are good places to stay. Aston Kaanapali Shores is a great beachfront resort with a fun outdoor pool and a nice beach.
New York City, New York
By Chelsea from Adventures of Chels
For a great destination to visit in the fall in the US, head over to New York City.
Fall might be the best time to visit New York City. Temperatures are cool and comfortable, the tourist crowds have dwindled since the busy summer season, and even within a concrete jungle, you can find colorful fall foliage.
In a city like the Big Apple, there’s no shortage of activities to do and enjoy. Here are just a few suggestions of what to do in the fall specifically as the crowds will be far smaller than during peak tourist season:
- Take the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Enjoy the views of Lady Liberty and your time learning about one of the largest former immigration inspection points in the US.
- Visit the September 11th Museum and Memorial and respectfully learn about and remember what happened on that fateful day.
- Rent a bike and go for a ride around Central Park. This is where you’ll find the most colorful fall foliage. With the space being as large as it is a bike will allow you to cover the most ground.
For a competitively priced hotel in a great location, consider staying at Freehand New York. It’s centrally located within the city and also easily accessible by public transportation.
By Yanitza from Next Stop Adventures
Helen is a beautiful German town in Georgia, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a popular destination due to its German heritage as well as its riverfront and family-friendly activities.
When the weather is nice, many visitors flock here to take advantage of the great outdoors, such as lazy tubing on the Chattahoochee River that winds through the center of town. Gem-mining and breakfast at the German Bakery are also at the top of many visitors’ lists of things to do.
However, autumn is the best season to visit Helen – with the pleasant weather, it provides a perfect opportunity for exploring Unicoi State Park or taking in stunning waterfalls like Anna Ruby Falls. Visitors can also sample locally produced wines or go for a roller coaster ride through the mountains!
But undoubtedly, one of the main attractions that draw people from all over the US every year is Helen Oktoberfest – at 29 days long, it is America’s longest-running Oktoberfest! From September 7th until October 29th you can join in all manner of parades and celebrations, and witness firsthand unique German culture and traditions such as tapping of the keg.
As for places to stay, you’ll find many nice vacation rentals in town and secluded cabins in the area. If a hotel is more your thing, check out the popular and well-rated Riverbend Motel & Cabins.
Orcas Island, Washington
By Sumeeta from Sumeeta Seeks
Orcas Island is an enthralling island in the San Juan Islands to the west of Washington State. It is one of the best fall destinations in the US because it offers the perfect mix of natural beauty, outdoor activities, excellent dining options, and exciting activities.
Fall is the perfect time to visit because the weather is crisp, the leaves are changing colors, and if you go in early fall, it’s the perfect time to see Orca whales!
There are a plethora of things to do on Orcas Island in the fall. You can kayak around the islands and go on a whale-watching tour.
Art lovers should be sure to check out Orcas Island Artworks to see the work of local artists, Orcas Island Pottery for unique handmade pieces, and Darvill’s Bookstore for local books with a view.
Nature lovers can choose from some of the best hikes including Mount Constitution and Obstruction Pass.
Foodies will delight in all the excellent culinary choices, and those seeking rejuvenation have some great spa resort options to choose from.
A great place to stay on the island is West Beach Resort with its quaint bungalows. You can also check out the vacation rentals on the island, many feature stunning ocean views and all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay.
Be sure to plan ahead for ferry times, especially during the busy season, and bring a car so you can access all the best parts of the island.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
By Stephanie from History Fangirl
Jackson Hole is a popular summer and winter destination, but it truly shines in the fall. In summer, families flock here to visit the Wyoming national parks of Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP. And during the winter, this is a world-class ski destination. But you should consider Jackson Hole, and its spectacular fall colors, a Wyoming autumn hidden gem.
While you should definitely make time for outdoor adventures with visits to both national parks, as well as the Elk National Refuge, give yourself time to spend in the town as well. There are breweries, distilleries, art galleries, boutique shops, and delicious restaurants to enjoy.
Other highlights of Jackson Hole include the Museum of Wildlife Art and the iconic antler arches on Town Square in Jackson. Autumn is also the perfect time to enjoy a soak at the Astoria Hot Springs, run in the Jackson Hole Marathon, and enjoy the Fall Arts Festival.
Stay at one of the vacation rentals from Rendezvous Mountain Rentals, a trustworthy vacation rental company with units throughout the area. If you’re looking for a hotel experience, check into the stunning Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole.
Talimena National Scenic Byway, Oklahoma and Arkansas
By Stephanie from Oklahoma Wonders
The Talimena National Scenic Byway is the premier fall foliage destination in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Running from Talihina, Oklahoma, to Mena, Arkansas, the Talimena’s name is a portmanteau of the two towns on either end of the route.
The scenic route runs through the ridge of the Ouachita Mountains, with vistas and overlooks every few miles. While it’s beautiful year-round, its popularity skyrockets in late October and early November when the colors start to change. In fact, the local fall foliage report becomes quite popular as the color change approaches.
For those who want to get out among the fall colors, you can enjoy hikes along the route, as well as in Talimena State Park and in Queen Wilhelmina State Park. There are plenty of campsites along the route as well, but book early! Everything sells out here during the peak foliage season.
Other things to do nearby include visiting the towns of Talihina and Mena, visiting nearby Broken Bow and Beavers Bend State Park, and exploring more of the Ouachita Mountains and the nearby towns of Poteau and Heavener.
If you don’t want to go camping, you can stay in one of the hotels in Talihina or Mena. Check into the Hootie Creek Guest House in Talihina or the Ouachita Depot vacation rental in Mena.
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