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Top 20 Best Places to Visit in the Fall

  • 16 min read

Fall is a magical time when nature paints landscapes with vibrant colors, the air feels crisp, and pumpkin-spiced treats are plentiful. The United States is home to an array of unique autumn experiences, from cozy fall foliage escapes to wine getaway. So why not create a memorable adventure of cherished time together? Here are the top 20 best places to visit in the fall, offering something for everyone, whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a wine connoisseur.

  • Explore stunning fall foliage and outdoor activities at breathtaking escapes.
  • Enjoy a unique wine getaway or create lasting memories with family-friendly destinations.
  • Take advantage of inexpensive beach getaways and find things to do in the Outer Banks NC, a perfect place for couples of families.

Fall Foliage Escapes

A couple enjoying the fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains

There’s nothing quite like the vibrant colors of the best fall foliage to make you feel alive. From the stunning Blue Ridge Parkway to the picturesque New England and the charming Upstate New York, there are countless opportunities to witness the breathtaking beauty of autumn.

These destinations not only provide an array of picturesque landscapes, but also offer outdoor activities that will leave you invigorated and inspired.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a haven for leaf peepers, offering a captivating 469-mile drive along the Appalachian Mountains. The parkway is at its most beautiful in mid to late October when the autumn colors in the Blue Ridge region reach their most vibrant peak. The picturesque Asheville, North Carolina, is a popular stop along the parkway, renowned for its colorful fall foliage and inviting atmosphere.

Visitors can explore the following attractions in Asheville:

  • Biltmore Estate: the largest private home in the United States, boasting its own fall foliage and garden
  • Craggy Gardens: for breathtaking views of the vibrant peaks around Asheville
  • Looking Glass Rock Overlook: another great spot for hiking enthusiasts
  • Mount Mitchell: the highest peak east of the Mississippi River

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers an unforgettable fall getaway in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with stunning mountain views, valleys, waterfalls, and wildlife.

New England

New England is famous for its charming small towns, historic sites, and beautiful fall foliage. The region is perfect for a cozy getaway, offering picturesque landscapes and outdoor activities.

In Boston, you can enjoy delightful fall activities such as cider donuts, football games, and brewery tours. For stunning fall foliage, visit Boston Public Gardens, Boston Common, Beacon Hill, and Charles River Esplanade. Don’t forget to take a scenic drive along Route 169 in Connecticut to witness the beautiful changing colors in all their glory.

New England’s captivating fall colors and charming atmosphere make it an ideal destination for a memorable vacation.

Upstate New York

Upstate New York is a treasure trove of picturesque landscapes, delightful wine tasting, and thrilling outdoor activities in the Finger Lakes and Catskills regions. The Catskill Mountains region is celebrated for its vibrant and stunning foliage in the fall, offering incredible experiences such as mountain biking and ziplining at Hunter Mountain.

In the Finger Lakes region, Long Point Winery and Bright Leaf Vineyard are two of the best wineries to visit, providing a perfect backdrop for a relaxing fall weekend.

Upstate New York offers a myriad of outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery, making it one of the best fall destinations to explore.

Outdoor Adventure Destinations

A couple hiking in Yosemite National Park in the fall

If immersing yourself in nature sounds appealing, consider choosing an outdoor adventure destination. Yosemite National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Shenandoah Valley offer ample opportunities to hike, watch wildlife, and take in breathtaking views.

With a variety of activities and stunning landscapes, these destinations are sure to satisfy every nature lover’s yearning.

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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a popular fall destination, offering fewer crowds, mild weather, and beautiful fall colors. The park is home to female grizzly bears that explore in search of a winter den. Meanwhile, the males follow packs of wolves to capitalize on meals before hibernation.

To fully appreciate Yosemite’s beauty, Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, and Glacier Point are some of the most beloved hiking trails during October. With its breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife, Yosemite National Park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts during the fall season.

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park in Washington state is another stunning fall destination, featuring golden larches and scenic hikes during the fall season. Larches, a type of conifer tree with pine needles that turn a beautiful golden hue in late September through October, make the park’s fall foliage truly remarkable.

Some enjoyable hikes to experience larches in North Cascades National Park are Blue Lake and Cutthroat Lake. With its breathtaking autumn colors and mesmerizing scenery, North Cascades National Park is a perfect fall getaway.

Shenandoah Valley

Shenandoah Valley in Virginia offers a blend of wine tasting, hiking, and scenic views during the autumn season. The region is renowned for its delightful wine-producing region, and visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and attractions during the fall months.

Shenandoah National Park is a national park. Park is an awesome spot to experience the beauty of the fall season, with a range of hiking trails and stunning views. With its charming atmosphere and diverse activities, the Shenandoah Valley is an incredible fall destination for nature lovers and wine enthusiasts alike.

Fall Wine Getaways

A couple enjoying a glass of wine in Napa Valley

Celebrate the harvest season with a wine getaway, a fitting tribute to fall. Savor the flavors of the harvest season with wine tasting and vineyard tours in locales such as Napa Valley, Texas Hill Country, and Livermore, California. These destinations offer a distinctive and memorable experience, where you can delight in the fruits of the season amidst captivating fall landscapes.

From the rolling hills of Napa Valley to the lush vineyards of Texas Hill Country.  You can find some great homes to rent at affordable prices on Vrbo vs Airbnb, check out this to see which is better suited for your family,

Napa Valley

Napa Valley, known for its exquisite wineries and wines, is a perfect fall destination to experience wine tasting amongst the changing vineyard colors and attending harvest festivals. With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Napa Valley offers an array of delightful wineries to explore, such as Rutherford Hill’s Barn Bash, the Harvest Ball in St Helena, and the Harvest Festival in Yountville.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Napa Valley is an ideal destination to indulge in the flavors of the harvest season.

Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country is a beautiful region in central Texas, known for its rolling hills, delightful towns, and captivating wineries. During the fall season, visitors can explore charming towns, wineries, and natural sights in the region.

Some of the best wineries to visit in the area include Long Point Winery and Bright Leaf Vineyard. With its picturesque landscapes and diverse wine offerings, Texas Hill Country provides a memorable fall wine getaway for all to enjoy.

Livermore, California

Livermore, California, a hidden gem wine region located in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, offers perfect fall weather, stunning colors, and a more intimate wine tasting experience. The region is home to more than 50 wineries, many of which offer delightful tours and tastings.

With its cozy atmosphere and unique wine offerings, Livermore is an excellent choice for a fall wine getaway.

Family-Friendly Fall Destinations

A family picking pumpkins in a pumpkin patch

Early fall provides an ideal setting for family bonding and creating enduring memories during fall festivities. Partake in family-friendly activities such as apple picking, visiting pumpkin patches, and exploring theme parks in locations like New Paltz, Orlando, and Gatlinburg, making them perfect fall vacations.

Offering a variety of exciting experiences suitable for all ages, these destinations ensure a fun-filled and memorable fall vacation for the entire family, making them some of the best fall vacations.

New Paltz

New Paltz, located in New York’s Hudson Valley, offers a wonderful selection of fall activities for families to enjoy, such as apple picking, pumpkin patches, and hiking.

This charming town is renowned for its vibrant arts and culture scene, invigorating outdoor activities, and spectacular fall foliage. With its picturesque landscapes and fun activities for all ages, New Paltz is an ideal destination for a family-friendly fall getaway.

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Orlando

Orlando, Florida, is a popular family destination, offering:

  • Manageable crowds and extra activities at Disney during the fall season
  • A variety of thrilling theme parks
  • Delightful shopping
  • Delicious dining
  • Invigorating outdoor activities

With its mild weather and plethora of family-friendly attractions, Orlando is an excellent choice for a fall vacation that the whole family can enjoy.

Gatlinburg

Nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a perfect fall getaway with scenic drives, mountain views, and tourist attractions like Dollywood and Oktoberfest. The town offers a vibrant atmosphere, with its historic sites, ghost tours, and Halloween events.

Families can enjoy activities such as apple picking, pumpkin patches, and hiking in the surrounding mountains. With its charming atmosphere and diverse activities, Gatlinburg is an ideal destination for a family-friendly fall vacation.

Urban Autumn Escapes

Experience the urban beauty of fall, complete with colorful parks, seasonal events, and cultural attractions in locales like New York City, Chicago, and Seattle. These urban autumn escapes present a unique perspective on the season, intertwining vibrant fall colors and the hustle and bustle of city life.

Whether you prefer strolling through picturesque parks or attending festive events, these cities provide an unforgettable fall experience.

New York City

New York City offers a variety of fall activities, from Central Park walks to pumpkin festivals and Halloween decorations. The city’s iconic Central Park provides a stunning backdrop for leisurely strolls, showcasing brilliant fall foliage and offering a peaceful retreat from the bustling city streets.

In addition to its beautiful parks, New York City hosts a variety of seasonal events and attractions, such as the Village’s annual Halloween parade and the West 69th Street Halloween decorations. With its vibrant atmosphere and array of fall activities, New York City is a perfect urban autumn escape.

Chicago

Chicago is an excellent destination for fall, offering a variety of museums, galleries, and haunted history exploration during the autumn months. The city is home to a diverse selection of cultural attractions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, and the Chicago History Museum.

In addition to its rich cultural offerings, Chicago hosts a variety of seasonal events and attractions, such as the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest and the city’s famous Haunted History Tour. With its blend of culture and spooky history, Chicago is an ideal urban autumn escape.

Seattle

Seattle, known for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant food scene, is a perfect destination for food lovers, outdoor markets, and romantic getaways during the fall season. The city offers a variety of seasonal activities, such as exploring the iconic Pike Place Market, visiting the Space Needle, and discovering the city’s many festivals and events.

In addition to its scenic beauty and bustling atmosphere, Seattle’s culinary scene is a major draw for visitors, with a variety of restaurants, food trucks, and breweries to explore.

With its unique blend of natural beauty and urban charm, Seattle is an excellent choice for an urban autumn escape.

Scenic Drives and Road Trips

Embark on unforgettable road trips featuring stunning landscapes, quaint towns, and unique attractions along routes like Oregon Scenic Byways, Columbia River Gorge, and Door County, Wisconsin. These scenic drives and road trips allow you to witness the beauty of fall from your car, meandering through vibrant landscapes and charming towns.

Whether you’re seeking a leisurely drive or a thrilling adventure, these road trips offer a memorable fall trip experience.

Oregon Scenic Byways

Oregon Scenic. Byways offer the ultimate autumn drives, with colorful foliage, lakes, waterfalls, and outdoor activities. The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway and McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. Byway provide breathtaking views of the state’s stunning landscapes, offering a perfect backdrop for a fall road trip.

In addition to the beautiful scenery, these byways offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and boating. With its diverse landscapes and array of activities, Oregon Scenic Byways are an ideal destination for a memorable fall road trip.

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge in Oregon is a stunning destination for a fall road trip, offering:

  • Outdoor activities
  • Wine tasting
  • Fruit picking
  • Cider mills during the fall season

The gorge is home to a variety of wineries, such as Cathedral Ridge Winery and Packer Farm, where visitors can enjoy wine tasting and pick their own fruits.

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In addition to its wine offerings, the Columbia River Gorge provides a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and exploring the many waterfalls throughout the region. With its diverse attractions and stunning scenery, the Columbia River Gorge is a perfect fall road trip destination.

Door County, Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin, is a picturesque destination in early October, celebrating the colors of fall with local festivities and delicious apple pies. The region offers a variety of charming towns, wineries, and outdoor attractions for visitors to explore.

In addition to its beautiful scenery, Door County hosts a variety of fall festivals and events, such as the Fish Boil Festival, the Door County Fair, and the Apple Pie Festival. With its captivating landscapes and charming atmosphere, Door County, Wisconsin, is an ideal destination for a scenic fall road trip.

Coastal Fall Retreats

Relax and rejuvenate amidst mild weather, charming environments, and coastal activities in places like Charleston, South Carolina, and San Diego, California. Offering a unique blend of beach relaxation, outdoor activities, and seasonal festivities, these coastal fall retreats provide a memorable experience for those seeking a leisurely fall getaway.

In Charleston, visitors can explore the historic downtown area and take a stroll along the Battery.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, offers a cozy atmosphere, walking tours, haunted pub tours, and an excellent restaurant scene during the fall season. The city is known for its charming historic district, which provides a picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls and exploration.

In addition to its historic sites, Charleston offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as picnicking, hiking, and biking, as well as a thriving culinary scene that is sure to delight food enthusiasts. With its mild weather and inviting atmosphere, Charleston is an ideal coastal fall retreat for relaxation and exploration.

San Diego, California

San Diego, California, provides quieter beaches, Halloween and Thanksgiving events, and good travel deals for a coastal fall retreat. The city offers a variety of seasonal activities, such as:

  • exploring the famous Pacific BeachFest
  • attending the San Diego Film Festival
  • visiting the many museums and attractions that participate in the Kids Free San Diego program

With its mild weather, uncrowded beaches, and array of festive events, San Diego is an excellent coastal fall retreat for relaxation and celebration.

Circling Back Around

The United States offers a diverse array of fall destinations, each providing a unique and memorable experience. From the vibrant fall foliage escapes of Blue Ridge Parkway and New England to the thrilling outdoor adventures of Yosemite National Park and North Cascades National Park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking a cozy getaway, an exciting adventure, or a relaxing retreat, these top 20 best places to visit in the fall of 2023 provide the perfect backdrop for making lifelong memories. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable autumn journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What state has the best fall?

With its vivid red, orange and yellow hues, Vermont is undoubtedly the best state for enjoying the beauty of fall.

Minnesota, Colorado, Maine, and Michigan are also known for their stunning autumn foliage, making them great destinations to experience the season’s splendor.

Which countries are best to visit in fall?

Fall is the perfect time to visit Utrecht in the Netherlands, Tel Aviv in Israel, Novosibirsk in Russia, Seville in Spain, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Ontario in Canada, Tuscany in Italy, and Mount Fuji in Japan for stunning autumn colours and beach cities.

Each of these destinations offers something unique and special for visitors to enjoy. Utrecht is known for its canals, Tel Aviv for its vibrant nightlife, Novosibirsk for its cultural attractions, Seville for its flamenco music, Belfast for its history, Ontario for its natural beauty, Tuscany for its rolling hills, and Mount Fuji for its iconic views.

When is fall in america?

Fall in America typically starts around September 22 or 23 and ends on December 21 or 22. During this season, temperatures start dropping, the nights start getting longer and the leaves of the trees begin to change color and fall.

Additionally, meteorological fall is generally defined as the three months from September 1 to November 30.

What are some popular hiking trails in Yosemite National Park during October?

Autumn is a great time to experience some of the most beloved hikes in Yosemite National Park, such as Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, and Glacier Point.

These hikes offer stunning views of the park’s iconic granite cliffs, lush meadows, and cascading waterfalls. They are also a great way to experience the changing of the seasons, as the leaves turn from green to yellow, orange, and red.

What are some exciting fall activities to do in New Paltz, New York?

Experience the magic of fall in New Paltz by going apple picking, visiting pumpkin patches, and taking a hike!

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