Are you looking for the best fall vacations in the USA? Awesome! This post will give you lots of ideas for the best places to visit in the fall in the USA.
Fall is a great time to travel in the USA. The weather is typically a little cooler and summer crowd levels are gone.
Let’s explore some of the best fall vacations in the USA!
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Mammoth Lakes, in the Eastern Sierra of California, makes for a fabulous fall getaway. Located plum in the middle of some of the most breathtaking fall color you can see in California, the resort town makes an excellent base for leaf peeping and sightseeing, with a variety of choices for lodging and dining. Mammoth Lakes is one of the best places to visit in October because it is at the peak season for leaf changing.
Scenic Fall Drives
From Mammoth Lakes, there are a variety of scenic fall drives you can take, along both paved and unpaved roads. If you want to explore the backcountry, arrive in an appropriate vehicle.
The June Lake area to the north, the town of Mammoth Lakes and its lakes basin, and Bishop Creek Canyon to the south are all excellent for fall color viewing, with aspens, cottonwoods, and willows turning yellow, orange, and red.
Best Fall Activities at Mammoth Lake
Other than sightseeing, you can go hiking into the mountains, go boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding at area alpine lakes, or enjoy mountain biking or horse riding. Landscape photographers will find endless opportunities for great photos. You can also look for birds and wildlife.
However you choose to spend a fall vacation at Mammoth Lakes, you will have a wonderful time!
Contributed By: Dhara from Roadtripping California
San Francisco in the Fall
San Francisco, also coined Fog City, is a fitting nickname for this coastal harbor metropolis most of the year. But, the sunshine breaks the sky and crowds disperse, making San Francisco one of the best fall destinations in the USA through September to November.
Best Fall Activities in San Francisco
The fall months in San Francisco offer a plethora of things to do. You can’t go wrong with a bicycle ride across the iconic Golden Gate bridge.
Make sure to visit the quaint community of Sausilito on the other side and grab yourself an ice cream. The Ferry Building located along the popular promenade is home to many gourmet picnic ingredients. Pick out your favorites and head to Dolores Park with your blanket and enjoy the stunning views of the skyscape and bay area beyond.
In October in particular, San Francisco hosts Fleet Week, a multi-day celebration of US naval and marine forces. Ensure you set time aside to watch the Blue Angels jets soar through the sky with a fully choreographed airshow.
Street Food Festival
If you are hungry, check out the SF Street Food Festival that showcases some of the city’s top culinary talent.
Spend 3-4 days in San Francisco to fully experience all this Bay Area city has to offer. San Francisco is one of the best Fall vacations in the USA!
Contributed By: Haley of haleyblackall.com
Jackson Hole in the Fall
Jackson Hole is one of the best Fall vacations in the USA. Early September sees the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, when the streets and galleries of Jackson fill with art, wine and music.
Things to Do in Jackson Hole in Fall
Fall is also a great time to see and hear wildlife. Elk spend the warmer months up in high meadows, and start to head down to the fields of the National Elk Refuge, which is just north of Jackson, in mid-to-late fall. Throughout September and October, you can hear their loud mating ‘bugle’ and perhaps see the elk rut. Fall is also a good time to see moose mating and black bears filling up for winter.
Fall Leaves in Jackson Hole
In mid-to late-September, the aspen and cottonwood trees in Grand Teton National Park turn bright autumnal colors. Popular places to see the spectacular fall foliage are Oxbow Bend, Snake River Overlook, the Moose-Wilson scenic drive, and Antelope Flats Road.
Between the art, animals and aspens, autumn really is the perfect time to visit Jackson Hole.
Contributed By: Parks Collecting
Utah in the Fall
Utah is one of the best places to visit in the fall in the USA! Utah really has it all! With its mountains near Salt Lake City and its National Parks in Southern Utah there is so much to explore in the fall.
Salt Lake City in Fall
The best thing to do in mid-September and early October is take a drive in the mountains. There are some beautiful scenic drives that will allow you to see all leaves changing colors.
Utah National Parks in Fall
Utah has the Mighty Five National Parks located in the southern part of the state. Fall is one of the best times to visit. Hiking at Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef is one of the best activities to do in the fall. Zions is unbelievable in the fall with less crowds and better weather. Bryce Canyon is also a beautiful destination.
No matter what part of Utah you decide to visit, it is one of the best places to visit in the fall in the USA!
Fall in Colorado
Explore Boulder Colorado
Visit Rocky Mountain National Park
Fall at the North Shore of Minnesota
The North Shore in Minnesota (located from Duluth, MN along Lake Superior up to Canada) is the best fall vacation in the USA because of the gorgeous fall foliage and outdoor activities.
It’s a more remote part of Minnesota surrounded by a lot of hiking and state parks. The North Shore is home to the All American Scenic Drive. Along this route there are 8 state parks as well as many small shore front towns with charming cafes, bars, and local art.
Hiking at Tettegouche State Park or Gooseberry Falls is the most picturesque fall afternoon enjoying the crisp air and landscape before it will soon be covered in snow. After spending a day outside hiking and getting some fresh air, curling up next to a fire (either a campfire or a fire in a cozy cabin) with some wine or hot chocolate makes the North Shore of Minnesota the perfect relaxing fall destination. It is one of the best places to visit in October in the USA!
Contributed By: Wanderlustinreallife.com
Fall in Door County Wisconsin
Door County is one of the best places to visit in the USA in the fall. It is considered the best fall vacation destination in USA tours that suddenly takes a turn and becomes calm and quiet.
During this season, Door County starts to feel relaxing. Travelers who love fall colors can experience a vibrant range here. The beautiful colors and serene environment are paired with the best restaurants, astonishing live performances, and shopping scenes.
Popular Door County Fall Destinations
The popular sites for adventurers include historic lighthouses. You can visit Rock Island, Washington Island, Nelsen’s Hall, and more. If you love art, places like Sievers School of fiber arts and Hands-On Art Studio are worth visiting.
Travelers can explore the major sites in one day. However, you can break the itinerary and stay a little longer.
From the best resorts in Door County to calming beaches, this place has a lot to offer. The must-do and see things include Door County Maritime Museum, fishing on Green Bay, hiking along the Ahnapee Trail, biking on the Backcountry roads, playing golf at The Orchards Golf Course in Egg Harbour and so much more.
If you want to enjoy all the little activities, stay a little longer, preferably two to three days.
Contributed By: Paulinaontheroad.com
Fall in Chicago
Chicago isn’t just one of the best cities to visit in the US, it’s especially fun to visit during the Fall. Located in the Great Lakes region it is easy to travel to Chicago, “The City of Big Shoulders” gets incredible Fall foliage and crisp Autumn weather.
On top of everything Chicago offers–like the Sears Tower Skydeck and the Field Museum, just to name a few–Fall presents unique celebrations everyone can enjoy.
Around Halloween, the Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns lights up the Chicago Botanic Garden with intricately carved pumpkin displays. Likewise, Oktoberfest is a big deal in Chicago, and there is no shortage of breweries to celebrate at, like Forbidden Root Brewing and Revolution Brewing.
Architectural tours on the Chicago River are a great attraction year-round, but with Fall foliage popping along the banks, the city’s famous skyscrapers look even more spectacular.
Chicago is one of the best cities to visit in the Fall even if you don’t have a particular destination. To stroll through the tree-shrouded lanes of Lincoln Park or around Millennium Park when the maples are in full bloom, coffee in hand, is a sublime experience. Fall in Chicago is a must!
Contributed By: 9to5voyager.com
Fall In New Orleans
New Orleans is always a great destination and fall has its bonuses in the form of more favorable weather, less tourists and low-season prices.
NOLA, as the locals lovingly call their gorgeous city, is perfect for short getaways with tons of amazing places to see and a myriad of activities to choose from.
Things to Do in New Orleans in Fall
While in the city, you cannot leave without exploring the French Quarter with its charming architecture, lively jazz bars and fun vibe. Walk along the Mississippi river bank and observe massive cruise ships pass by as well as the flood barrier system. Garden District and the historic cemeteries are also a must for their uniqueness and movie location fame.
You also cannot miss two important out-of-town activities: an educational visit to at least one of the plantations and a swamp boat ride that takes you super close to fascinating alligators.
Visiting New Orleans is not only fun, but you’ll also learn a lot about the southern climate, hurricanes, importance of swamps, alligators, and slavery. The city belongs to the top attractive places in the USA and it leaves a lasting impression. It totally qualifies as one of the best Fall vacations in the USA!
Contributed By: On2continents.com
The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway Drive is easily one of the best fall vacations in the USA! The Blue Ridge Parkway spans both North Carolina and Virginia, and North Carolina provides some of the best views on the route.
Fall in Blue Ridge is usually in October, but make sure to check the foliage calendars to be sure.
Scenic Fall Drive
One of the best places to stop is Grandfather Mountain which offers stunning sweeping overlooks of the valley below and is a perfect place to see foliage. Drive along the Lynn Cove Viaduct for amazing viewing from your car.
Stay in towns such as Asheville and Boone so that you can sip on cider after you are done with your day of hiking and driving among the fall foliage!
Contributed By: Victoria Yore from Followmeaway
Vermont in Fall
New England is world renowned for its unbeatable Fall foliage season and the entire state of Vermont transforms into a kaleidoscopic earthy toned wonderland each September and October, attracting thousands of leaf-peeping tourists.
Top to bottom, the narrow state of Vermont overflows with quaint and charming towns, historic covered bridges and beautiful rolling hills radiating burnt oranges, fiery reds, golden yellows and emerald greens.
Best Fall Activities in Vermont
Photographing and experiencing the most vivid and vibrant Fall foliage colors are of course the major reason for visiting Vermont in Autumn, but remember this is also a wonderful time to hike picturesque mountains and get out into the great outdoors.
Scenic Fall Drive
With a week in Vermont, it’s best to follow the peak colors from North to South as they illuminate hillsides as far as the eye can see.
Start at the base of Mt Mansfield in the awesome northern Vermont town of Stowe, before moving onto the idyllic town of Woodstock in the center. Finish the week in Manchester, right in the heart of the Green Mountains.
Visit postcard-perfect farms, drive rural countryside roads, find unique Fall foliage perspectives, hunt covered bridges and whatever you do, don’t forget spare batteries for your camera, you’re going to need them! Vermont is one of the best Fall vacations in the USA!
Contributed By: Wherearethosemorgans.com
New York in the Fall
New York City in the fall is absolutely magical and should be at the top of your list of places to see during these months.
The weather will still be warm but not too hot and of course, you can enjoy the incredible fall foliage that makes the city light up.
Things to Do in New York in the Fall
Head to Central Park or Highline Park to enjoy nature in the city and rent a bike to get around. A boat tour on the Hudson or East River is also highly recommended to see the skyline in all its glory. Head to the Empire State Building and enjoy stunning views over the city. It’s truly amazing up there and well worth the entry fee.
New York in fall is all about being outside and enjoying the warm air. It’s absolutely beautiful and the perfect excuse to walk around Manhattan and get lost in the many little neighborhoods and streets.
It is one of the best Fall vacations in the USA!
Contributed By: Guideyourtravel.com
Hudson Valley Fall Foliage - New York
New York’s Hudson Valley is the perfect fall getaway destination. The fall foliage is truly spectacular there, and because of the river valley’s south-north orientation, there is peak fall color throughout October and into early November. You can also take a fall foliage helicopter tour to see the leaves.
Where to See Hudson Valley Fall Foliage
The valley has thousands of sugar maple trees and wooded hills that turn bright orange, red and yellow. Popular leaf peeping places include Mohonk Mountain, Minnewsaka State Park and Hudson Highlands State Park.
Things to do in Hudson Valley During the Fall
Fall is also harvest time and there are plenty of farms that are open for apple picking, pear picking and even some pumpkin patches where you can find the perfect Jack O’Lantern pumpkin. Smaller kids can get lost in a corn maze or just enjoy a hay ride.
There are other Halloween activities in the area, too. In Croton-on-Hudson, the Giant Jack O’Lantern Blaze has over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins that are arranged in elaborate displays forming enormous pictures and sculptures like a Statue of Liberty, signs of the zodiac, and a herd of dinosaurs.
If you dare, you can also visit a haunted village at the Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses.
There’s no end to the fall fun!
Contributed By: Travel Collecting
Berkshires in the Fall - Massachusetts
One of the best fall vacations in the USA is the Berkshires. The Berkshires is a county in Massachusetts and refers to a portion of the Green Mountain Range that comes down from Vermont into Western Massachusetts.
It is known for its picture-perfect mountain tops, lakes, rivers, and outdoor recreational activities. The county consists of quaint towns with eclectic festivals, museums, antique shops, farm to table restaurants, and quirky coffee shops.
Though you could easily spend a week in the Berkshires, four days was enough to see some of the most popular sites.
Things to do in Berkshire in the Fall
Some of the more popular things to do in Berkshire are as follows:
- Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams, MA is home to the only natural white marble arch in North America. The bridge is made up of 550 million-
year-old bedrock marble. It was carved into its famous arch by forces of glacial meltwater 13,000 years ago.
- Bash Bish Falls in Mt. Washington, MA. Bash Bish Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in the state (60 feet). The park is adjacent to Mt. Washington State Forest and New York’s Taconic State Park.
- Stockbridge, MA was home to Norman Rockwell. His studio is still there today. Stockbridge’s picturesque Main Street is in his famous painting,
Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. It is the quintessential New England town.
Before you leave make sure to check out Peace, Love and Chocolate for their yummy treats!
Contributed By: Lifeatmyownpace.com
Best Fall Vacation in the USA
Hopefully, this helps give you some ideas for the best fall vacations in the USA. There are so many amazing places to experience.
With better temperatures, less crowds, and beautiful scenery, fall is a great time to travel!
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