The Getaway
Enjoy America's Best Fall Travel Destinations

Fall is one of the most magical seasons of the year in America. More than just trees and plants changing colors, the fall is celebrated across the country in very and unique ways. Everywhere from hot apple cider to horse and carriage rides to pumpkin picking in the fields and fall festivals, there is never a lack of fun things to do in the autumn. Now is the time to make your fall travel plans to some of these remarkable destinations.


01 Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wooden bridge in the Great Smoky Mountaians National Park, USA.More images from the Great Smoky Mountains NP: MoreISO / Getty Images

This vast park equally straddles North Carolina and Tennessee and covers 522,427 acres. Late September and October is a perfect time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park because the weather is usually warm — not too hot and very dry. It's also less crowded at this time of year because most people schedule their vacations during the summer. The park is a top fall travel destination because, as winter approaches, it's simply a magical time. Some of the most spectacular fall colors in a variety of orange, yellow, and red hues will be on display like they're the last bit of warmth before winter.


02 Salem, Massachusetts

If you're looking for a frightening fall experience, Salem, Massachusetts, might be the place for you. Home of the famous Salem Witch trials of 1692, this is a great travel destination for Halloween. Only 16 miles from Boston, it's easily accessible by the MBTA commuter train. Once in Salem, the city is convenient to see by the trolley system. Salem hosts the "Haunted Happening" each year for Halloween. Visiting Salem is a family-fun experience that is full of fall-time fun.


03 Napa Valley, California

Street through a wine vineyard in the autumn in Napa USA Spondylolithesis / Getty Images

Visiting the wine capital of Napa Valley is a great choice for a fall travel destination. The mornings can be chilly, but the sun warms things up to a comfortable 65–75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Locally, this time of year is called “cabernet season” because of the grape harvests. A great way to enjoy the fall in Napa Valley is a wine and cheese tasting tour surrounded by multicolored fall vineyards.


04 Yellowstone National Park

A beautiful sunset landscape scene at Yellowstone National Park, with steam rising from a hot spring. Bison are peacefully eating grass, with the rustic Old Faithful Inn in the background. Cheryl Ramalho / Getty Images

Yellowstone National Park includes portions of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. This immense national park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, all set to a kaleidoscopic backdrop of fall color. Watching the “Old Faithful” geyser erupt like clockwork against a backdrop of buffalo and fall colors is what awaits visitors to Yellowstone. Visiting Yellowstone during September and October is an appointment with beauty and wonder. Pack the kids, warm clothes, and a camera with fully charged batteries for this fall vacation destination.


05 Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

View of a small town surrounded by the forest in the mountain in fall in Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. Alex Potemkin / Getty Images

The Poconos are beautiful year-round; however, the colors on display in the fall are breathtakingly unique. Some choose to take an air tour over the Poconos to appreciate the vistas from above. Other visitors might enjoy a 25-mile train tour through the Poconos on the Stourbridge Line, or they may opt for shorter train trips. Those looking for a more eco-friendly option might want to take advantage of the more than 260 miles of biking trails. Whether by air or by land, the Poconos are a marvel to behold. More than 67,000 acres of mountains and many miles of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers make this fall destination an unforgettable adventure.


06 Williamsburg, Virginia

A carriage along the street in Williamsburg in Autumn. Greg Meland / Getty Images

Williamsburg is well-known for going all out during its Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations. Sipping on a spiced pumpkin latte and taking in the fiery foliage is a special treat. Taking a carriage ride through historic Williamsburg gives couples an opportunity for romance. If looking to spend a little time apart, couples can go their separate ways to take advantage of shopping and a round of golf at one of the many championship courses. Mild temperatures and plenty of outdoor activities make Williamsburg a great fall travel destination.


07 Redwood National Park, California

View of trees and foliage autumn leaves in Redwood National Park Lisa-Blue / Getty Images

Redwood National Park is so much more than giant trees. Yes, the park features some of the tallest trees on planet Earth, but it also has prairies, pristine rivers, and 40 miles of the Pacific coast. This diverse environment allows for endless exploration and sightseeing. Some of the famous redwood trees are five stories taller than the Statue of Liberty at 370 feet in height. Either by car or by foot, Redwood National Park has enough opportunity to get lost in nature and enjoy the fall season.


08 Texas Hill Country

A big rock in the middle of the Guadalupe River surrounded by color-changing trees. TriciaDaniel / Getty Images

It's hard to narrow down the Texas hill country to just one city or park. That's because the whole central Texas region sits upon the Edwards Plateau and is characterized by gently rolling hills. For this reason, we suggest taking a road trip through this area to take in the many awe-inspiring fall sights. Some places to include on the list are the Texas Wine Trail Vineyards in Fredericksburg, Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City, Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, the Guadalupe River Crossing in Gruene, and Lake Austin in the Lone Star State’s capital.


09 Catskill Mountains, New York

A couple relaxing, sitting in nature in autumn when the colors are changing. MundusImages / Getty Images

The peak of fall foliage in the Catskills is early to mid-October. However, September is a little warmer, with temperatures around 55–75 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall harvest season in the great northern Catskills traditionally involves pumpkin carving and corn shucking, and these days, Oktoberfest plays a major role in the fall festivities calendar. The booming craft beer scene in the Catskills makes a variety of artisanal beers available for sampling. Biking, hiking, and outdoor sports are virtually everywhere. When most animals are preparing for hunkering down and hibernating, locals and visitors of the Catskills come out in droves looking for fun and festivities.


10 Aspen, Colorado

Dawn at Maroon Bells with autumn aspen trees and Maroon Lake in the Rocky Mountains near Aspen, Colorado Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images

The Rocky Mountains have been a destination for outdoor enthusiasts for decades. Beating the crowd that comes to ski in the winter in Aspen and Vail, smart travelers make their way to this vacation destination in the fall. Taking a horseback ride and seeing the trees and plants turn fall colors against the backdrop of the snowcapped Rockies is a real treat. There's something completely unique about Aspen that makes it easy to pinpoint the changing of the leaves. Aspen trees share a root system and are considered one organism. Because of this natural phenomenon, when the trees change colors, they do so all at once., and if you time your visit just right, you will be treated to seeing this first hand. Aspen trees change first at higher altitudes, so start your fall tour higher up and then make your way downtown.


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