Summer is vacation season, but fall is truly the best time to travel around the United States. The beauty offered by changing leaves and the harvest season is unmatched. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best places in the United States to visit in the fall.
Two words: perfect weather. San Francisco in the fall is unlike any other place in the country and the city offers so many different fall activities. Visit near Halloween to check out some of the city’s haunted tours or get your scream on at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s Fright Fest. If spooky stuff isn’t your thing, there are wine country tours, special autumn exhibits at the SFMOMA, and the Great Pumpkin Fest too!
The Green Mountains
There’s no way this list would be complete without a visit to Vermont. The small New England state offers some of the most beautiful fall foliage. Jeffersonville is a good place to make your home base while enjoying fall in the Green Mountains. The area provides so many different outdoor activities like canoeing, hiking, camping, and even zip lining! What better way to see fall colors than that?
If you love Halloween more than life itself, Salem, Massachusetts is your go-to vacation spot this fall. The city is fairly quiet most of the year, but it really comes alive during autumn. Salem is the location of the Salem Witch Trials in the 1600s. If you’re a fan of spooky stuff, the city features ghost tours, graveyard yours, and haunted attractions.
Taos, New Mexico
When you think fall colors, you probably think of the midwest and New England, but Taos, New Mexico has a lot going on in the autumn. A favorite activity for tourists is the Toltec Scenic Railroad, which runs through October 21st. The train takes you along a 64 mile historic trail, featuring desert, canyons, mountains, and lush meadows. There are also numerous fall festivals, like Oktoberfest and the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally that you can enjoy.
Door County, Wisconsin
Door County, which is located on the eastern peninsula of Wisconsin, is a popular autumn vacation spot. It’s a great spot for a fall camping trip and classic fall adventures like festivals, farmers markets, apple picking, and pumpkin patches. There are also scenic tours available as well as numerous breweries and wineries.
Asheville, North Carolina
Peak fall foliage in Asheville is usually around the last week of September all the way through the last week of October, depending on the elevation you’re visiting. The Asheville area actually has one of the longest leaf viewing seasons. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the best road to take to see fall colors, and numerous overlooks and detours make it so you can make your trip as unique as you look.
The Finger Lakes, New York
The Finger Lakes encompasses a fairly large area, meaning there’s nearly endless hiking trails and parks to visit in the fall. Visit any of the area’s state parks, like Watkins Glen State Park, Robert Treman State Park, and Taughannock Falls State Park and you’ll see the beauty that the Finger Lakes has to offer. If you’re a fan of wine, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has more than 35 wineries, cideries, and breweries to visit.
Port Townsend, Washington
Port Townsend is a popular spot in the summer but seriously underrated in the fall. The town features some incredible museums and artistic outlets. Hiking trails can lead you to some beautiful fall foliage, and even though it’s a bit colder, the beaches are still pristine and beautiful.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The best time to visit the Columbia River Gorge in the fall is from late September to the middle of October. There are numerous hiking trails that wind through the gorge, the Cape Horn Trail being one of the more popular. But be cautious – a wildfire tore through the gorge recently, burning a fairly large portion of it.
Maine as a whole is known for a few things: stunning fall foliage, delicious lobster, incredibly hikes, and bitterly cold winters. That last point makes it an especially enticing state to visit in the fall. Portland, Maine is a popular fall spot because of what’s listed above plus Bradbury Mountain, which offers easy to difficult hiking trails and stunning views.