Autumn trips aren’t always about seeing fall foliage. Fall vacations are also a great chance to visit places that are normally crowded in summer or places that offer a lot of fun seasonal activities. From big cities to the great outdoors, the following are some of the best places to go for a memorable autumn vacation.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Avoid hot, humid summer weather with a fall visit to the Bayou region. Autumn weather in New Orleans is typically still warm with lower humidity levels. The streets of the city come alive during fall with exciting festivals and events, such as the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Fest, NOLA Coffee Festival, Ghosts in the Oaks, Water Lantern Festival, and NOLAXNOLA music festival. Go paddle boarding or kayaking, or have a fall picnic at a local park. Lodgings in New Orleans range from charming bed and breakfasts to artsy Garden District hotels and elegant French Quarter hotels.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Sleepy Hollow is a perfect place to go for spooky activities and autumn splendour. Take hayrides through town while admiring views of the surrounding foliage. Go for a daytime or evening tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to learn more about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and author Washington Irving. Visit nearby Rockefeller State Park Preserve for fishing, hiking and bird watching. Other events to enjoy include the Sleepy Hollow Street Fair, parades, Oktoberfest, and nighttime tours of Lyndhurst Castle. Sleepy Hollow has several accommodations available, including inns, bed and breakfasts, hotels, and campgrounds.
Gatlinburg offers a fun and beautiful place to visit during the fall. Take scenic drives amid the fabulous leaf colour changes, and view unique handmade artisan products at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair. Other festive events include Boo Bash at Gatlinburg SkyPark, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, and the Smoky Mountain Fall Festival. During your trip, you can also go hiking in cooler weather in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and catch live shows and entertainment in family-friendly Gatlinburg. Book one of the hundreds of affordable Gatlinburg cabins in the foothills, so you can enjoy picturesque views and all the amenities of home throughout your stay.
This is one for later in the fall, early to mid-November, the time when savvy travellers hit Florida. The summer crowds are gone, and even the “fall break” surge is over, leaving cooler temperatures and a slower pace of life, even as all the restaurants, shops and amenities are still open – look for the USA Top 10 Wine Festival in November. Seaside is the super-quaint, real-life setting for the Truman Show, with luxury rental cottages as the only guest accommodations in town – no hotels or high rises. Facing the teal-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico across a private beach of sugar-white sand, this little town offers casual gourmet elegance and family fun, in a place where time really does seem to slow down.
From fall foliage and apple farms to haunted houses and breweries, Seattle offers something for everyone during fall. Take photos of stunning fall colours in Washington Park Arboretum and Lincoln Park, or go apple picking at a local farm. Have a thrilling adventure in haunted attractions, or enjoy a drink at local Oktoberfest events. Visit the Seattle Space Needle for breathtaking views in every direction, stroll through the Seattle Art Museum, or take a tour of the Seattle Chocolate Factory. You’ll find plenty of accommodations to choose from for a fall trip to Seattle, including inns and lodges, hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts.
Aspen is a prime ski destination, so going in fall instead of winter means avoiding packed trails. Explore the Aspen Snowmass area on a mountain bike, while taking in stunning views of golden aspens. Ride the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, go ziplining, or try your hand at fly fishing in the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork Rivers. Exciting fall events and festivals in the area include Snowmass Balloon Festival, Aspen Filmfest, and Snowmass Wine Festival. Aspen has a wide range of accommodations available, including luxury resorts and hotels, mountain lodges, vacation condos and homes, and bed and breakfasts.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
For an autumn adventure in wide, open spaces, head to Grand Teton National Park. The park is less crowded, and the weather is cooler during this time of year. Admire golden aspen groves, watch for migrating herds of bison and elk, and take a scenic drive on Teton Park Road and other roadways in the park. Other fall activities to enjoy include horseback riding, hiking, biking, and fishing. Grand Teton National Park has several campgrounds available, as well as areas for backcountry camping. Other accommodation options include lodges, ranches, and cabins in the park.
Door County, Wisconsin
Door County in northern Wisconsin is filled with vividly coloured trees during fall, along with plenty of festive activities. Visit the peninsula and Washington Island to go hiking or take scenic drives. Go camping in Door County for cooler weather and fewer crowds. Visit local orchards to go apple picking, buy locally grown produce at farmers’ markets, and take lighthouse tours. Go on a shipwreck diving tour, go kayaking and paddle boarding, or go fishing for salmon and trout. Accommodation options include cottages, resorts, campgrounds, log cabins, and hotels.