In the waning weeks of summer, you can finally comfortably relax outside. It also means it’s time to plan a trip to one of the best fall travel destinations. Whether you plan to travel during fall break or prefer to do it when families are back in school, fall is one of the most relaxing and cozy times to go sightseeing.
Autumn by Grasmere Lake, located within the English Lake District National Park.
Whether you’re passing through or simply want to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the smaller crowds, you will enjoy these 6 destinations.
Montreal, Québec, Canada
There is almost never a bad time to visit Montreal, but the fall is probably the best time to visit this Canadian gem. You can’t miss the stunning views of Mount Royal Park, conveniently located on a hill in the center of the city. The Montreal Botanical Gardens are also ideal for fall visitors and well worth the price of admission during these months. You will see the best fall colors between mid-September and early November.
Anywhere in New England is an ideal travel destination. Each state and mountain range offer their own unique scenery and fall activities. No matter where you go, you’re roughly two or three hours from a large airport or Amtrak station. If you have a week to travel, consider visiting several New England states to enjoy the full fall splendor.
If you don’t have a lot of time or don’t know where to begin, consider Damariscotta, Maine. This fall travel destination is best known for its Maine Pumpkinfest and Regatta that’s held every Columbus Day weekend. You can enjoy several activities including pumpkin boat races where participants carve out pumpkins that weigh over 600 pounds. There’s also live music and art exhibits to take in.
If you can’t make it to this regatta, several others are held in the New England area. If you’re on the west coast, consider checking out the pumpkin regatta in Tualatin, Oregon.
Asheville, North Carolina
The hills come alive during the fall in Asheville, North Carolina. You have easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway for driving tours. There are also plenty of area hiking trails for athletic travelers.
Besides its mountainous beauty, Asheville is perhaps best known for the Biltmore Estate. As America’s largest privately-owned estate, Biltmore was built by the Vanderbilt family at the pinnacle of the Gilded Age. Visiting the estate is an excellent way to enjoy hints of European elegance without having to cross the ocean.
October is the best month to visit Asheville if you want to enjoy the fall colors. The highest mountain peaks have a 6,000+ foot elevation and usually begin turning colors during the last week of September.
Big Sur, California
Big Sur has recently opened for business again following a landslide in 2017 that closed the historic Highway 1. You can now drive the entire 90-mile coastal stretch from Carmel to San Simeon. While you’re in San Simeon, visit the iconic Hearst Castle.
When driving the Big Sur, you will enjoy breathtaking views of redwood forests, pristine coastline, and hiking trails. There are many roadside stops to take pictures and stretch your legs, including art galleries, hotels, and restaurants.
Since Big Sur is in central California, it can easily be accessed from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Even if you only drive the southern or northern stretch, this is still one of the best driving tours in the United States.
Las Vegas, Nevada
If seeing fall colors isn’t a high priority for you, Las Vegas offers something for everyone. It’s also easier to find cheap flights to Vegas during the fall than it is in the summer. Traveling in the fall allows you to escape the brutal summer heat. From September through November, you can enjoy outdoor activities like golf, minor league baseball games, UNLV football games, or Art in the Park.
Although there’s always something going on in Vegas, note that the fall months are a transition period for entertainment shows. They usually take a brief pause before the holiday season begins. Also if you plan on traveling to Vegas with your family, you will want to avoid visiting during Halloween. The town is relatively unfriendly during this week.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Nestled in the Tetons, Jackson Hole is another four-season destination that is enjoyable in the fall. September and October are the two best months to visit Jackson Hole. However, be sure to pack extra warm clothing in October as the average daytime high is 58°F. In September, the daily high is 71°F.
Your best bet for finding fall colors and exploring nature is at Grand Teton National Park, which also encompasses the Snake River Canyon.
Additional autumn activities in the local area include:
Driving the Inner Loop Road (closes early November for the season)
Fall Arts Festival
Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
Bicyclists can take part in one of the newest outdoor experiences-fat biking! Because the biking trails can be muddy during the fall and spring seasons, renting fat bikes is the all-terrain way to explore Jackson Hole.
Getting to the Best Fall Travel Destinations
All of these fall travel destinations are easily accessible by car or plane. Solo travelers and families alike can enjoy all of these destinations. While staying for a week is ideal, a long weekend exploring the fall scenery is still worth the journey.