Fall is my favorite season of the year. Leaves change colors, winds bring in fresh mountain air, and children head back to school leaving the house peaceful once again. It also happens to be one of the best times for travel in general. Here are 15 US destinations for a relaxing getaway.
|By User:Argash,: CC|
AustinWhy Fall: Known worldwide as the Live Music Capital of the World, the fall season is one of the best times for music in Austin. Bands such as the Helio Sequence, Sun Seeker, and Not Yo Mama’s Blue Jeans play in pubs, concert halls, and galleries. (1)
Aside from the music families can enjoy a fun night out at the Barton Hill Farm. Make fall come alive with their 4-acre corn maze, live music, and great tasting local food. For those who love the arts, the Old Pecan Street Festival is a free event showcasing the best local arts and crafts from talented artists. Live music plays throughout the streets to make this festival come alive. To cap it all off, the streets of Round Rock come alive in early October during the Round Rock Chalk Walk. Visitors are given free chalk and encouraged to create their own Italian street art as live music plays in the background. (2)
|James Williamor: Flickr|
OuterbanksWhy Fall: Come visit some of the nation’s best beaches when the crowds have already packed up, the weather is beautiful, and the hotel rates are cheap.
If you only have time for one event make it the Annual Outerbanks Bluegrass Festival. The event begins on Oct. 3rd and runs through Oct. 7th and hosts some of the nation's best bluegrass artists. Fitness enthusiasts can try their hand at the Outerbanks Triathlon (Spet.16-17). The route includes swimming on Roanoke Island, biking to Mashoes, and running through the Manteo area. For my fellow foodies, Nags Head will be hosting the annual Outerbanks Seafood Festival. Over 15 local restaurants display their best local seafood at this festival. (3)
|Larry Johnson: Flickr|
Jackson HoleWhy Fall: Summer crowds have long dispersed, aspens begin to pop with color, and fresh mountain air abounds.
Fall is one of the best times to experience both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Fewer crowds mean open roads and open trails. Enjoy beautiful fall colors in both native aspen and cottonwood trees that abound in and around Jackson Hole. Red, yellow, and orange leaves breathe new life into the surrounding landscape. Listening to elk bugle is a huge fall attraction as elk use their bugle to attract new mates from September to late October. Finally, fall is a great time for races such as the Jackson Hole Marathon.
YellowstoneWhy Fall: Wildlife comes alive during the fall as they migrate to different areas of the park. Leaves burn bright, and crowds are much smaller than in the summer months.
The fall is arguably the best time for Elk in the park. Visitors can hear the distinct bulge of the elk as they search for mates during rutting season. Vast sections of Yellowstone roads are open for bikers to take advantage of smaller crowds and beautiful fall foliage. Explore one of the parks many hikes even just a mile into the forest to see the landscape bursting with color from autumn leaves.
|By Khanrak: CC|
CharlestonWhy Fall: Crowds flock to Charleston during the busy summer months (Jun-Aug), driving hotel prices through the wall. Temperatures drop into the mid-70s during the fall as the crowds fly home, leaving a myriad of cultural events for the fall traveler to explore.
For those who love food, why not check out Charleston Restaurant Week. Enjoy world-renowned cuisine from top local chefs showcasing some of the best southern dishes around. The MOJA Arts Festival celebrates African-American and Caribbean forms of art. Over half the shows during the week of the festivities are free. Moja is a Swahili word meaning “one,” or the community coming together as one. Last but not least, the LowCountry Jazz Festival highlights some of genres best musicians. (3)
|By Lee Sie from San Diego, CA, USA|
San DiegoWhy Fall: Visit the beautiful San Diego in the fall for warm waters, lower hotel rates, and fewer crowds. A gentle breeze brings with it calm feelings of autumn on the seashore.
The Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the largest air show in the US, celebrates Vietnam veterans this year from September 22-24. San Diego’s own Fleet Week is a sea and air parade to honor men and women of the military from October 12-15. Events include military parties, the football classic (Boise State vs. San Diego State), and an enlisted golf tournament. If art is your forte, be sure to check out Art San Diego Contemporary Art Show. 500 talented contemporary artists take center stage to broadcast their latest work. (4)
|By Patrick Shanks: Flickr|
The CatskillsWhy Fall: For those who enjoy escaping modern life through immersion in nature, the Catskills in southeastern New York offers some of the nation's best fall foliage.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy getting lost in the miles of backwoods country that is the Catskill Mountains. The Catskill scenic trail offers 26 miles of trail one way or plenty of room to soak in the sights and smells of autumn. Go for a drive to one of the idyllic Catskills Waterfalls (Vernooy Kill, Kaaterskill, Russell Brook, & Tompkin Falls). The Kaaterskill waterfall drops 260 feet, or 90 feet higher than Niagra Falls at 167 feet. Various cultural events grace the region, such as the famous Woodstock Comedy Festival. (5)
GlacierWhy Fall: Fall is the perfect time to see wildlife in action and enjoy camping in Glacier NP.
Grinnell Glacier is a strenuous hike but well worth the trip. The glacier was named after George B. Grinnell who helped establish the park by exploring the area. Going-to-the-Sun Road is a beautiful piece of engineering that truly showcases beautiful mountain lakes, peaks, and valleys.
Cape MayWhy Fall: With temperatures in the mid-70s and crowds long dispersed, visit this famous beach town in the fall for relaxing weather and great events.
The New Jersey Audubon Society hosts The Bird Show, an event celebrating the migration of thousands of different birds and butterflies. Catch a glimpse of a humpback whale on a guided tour from Cape May Whale Watchers. Step back in time in the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum. This museum displays classic jets, airplanes, and helicopters used in WWII. Cape May has a history of haunted buildings that visitors can explore during guided ghost tours.
LancasterWhy Fall: The land of the traditional Harvest, Lancaster is home to the Amish people and full of tasty seasonal produce and good old farmers’ markets.
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm boasts 50 different farm activities including corn mazes, baby chick hatcheries, wagon rides, and rubber duck races. You can even take a train to get to the farm. Take a relaxing Covered Bridges tour of the more than 20 distinct bridges in Lancaster. The Harvest Days Festival is a great way to step back in time for a minute. Find out how apples become apple butter, watch regular wool transform into shaw, and enjoy fresh turned ice cream this fall. For those who dare try Lancaster’s famous ghost tour.
|By Robbie Shade: Flickr|
BostonWhy Fall: Perhaps the most picturesque US city in the fall, Boston comes alive as the leaves blaze bright orange, yellow, and red. Plenty of events come to town in the fall at good prices.
Those who love music but hate paying for overpriced tickets will love local restaurants like The Middle East, Paradise Rock Club, or T.T the Bear's Place. Live Indie bands often grace the stage and tickets are almost always under $20. For those who love fall colors, give yourself a guided tour of the city's best fall foliage at the Boston Common and Public Garden. Created in 1634 the Boston Common was America’s first public park. The Public Garden followed in 1837 and was America’s first public botanical garden. Today the garden hosts over 80 species of unusual plants, fountains and monuments, and 100-year-old Swan Boats still in operation. (6)
|By Terrydarc: CC|
SedonaWhy Fall: From pumpkin patches to apple picking, Sedona comes alive in the fall. Various hikes showcase the beauty of the landscape and fall colors.
If you only have time for one activity the West Fork Trail displays Sedona’s most beautiful landscapes. Fall foliage is in full bloom as hikers pass by oaks, cottonwoods, and maples. Experts recommend visiting on a weekday when the trail is less crowded. (Remember to bring $8 for parking) If you happen to find yourself in Sedona for Halloween, visit Uptown Sedona for some fantastic Halloween festivities. In the late afternoon, visitors splash their way through a pool full of pumpkins. Bat caves and Trick or Treat on Main Street make this an event for the whole family. Old fashioned apple stands in Oak Creek Canyon boast delicious organic apples for a steal of a deal.
Shenandoah ValleyWhy Fall: From the classic Old Rag hike to comfy bed and breakfast joints, the Shenandoah Valley has something for everyone this fall.
Take in the view of the entire surrounding Shenandoah Valley on a peaceful drive up Skyline Drive. This 105-mile long road contains 75 overlooks offering stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley. (7) Challenge yourself with a strenuous 9-mile hike up Old Rag. Explore one of the area's many caves (Lurray, Endless Caverns, Skyline) and discover total darkness at a constant 56 degrees. Tour a historic colonial presidential mansion at Monticello or Montpelier.
Walla WallaWhy Fall: From corn mazes to classic antiques, Walla Walla offers some outrageous activities for fall fun.
History buffs will love Fort Walla Walla, a museum created on the ground of a 19th-century military fort. The museum contains a historic farm settlement with 17 buildings and 5 large exhibits chock full of precious artifacts. For those seeking fall spooks, the Whitman Mission tells the story of Marcus & Narcissa Whitman. The Whitman’s were Methodist missionaries who settled in Cayuse Indian territory. Due to rising tensions between the different cultures, the Cayuse killed both Marcus and Narcissa along with 11 others. (8)
Maryland’s Eastern ShoreWhy Fall: The fun doesn’t stop on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with the end of summer. Fall brings with it a concourse of festivals, music, and food.
Visit Sunfest in Ocean City for live music, fantastic food, and crafts on display from local artists. Assateague Island is perfect for those wishing to soak in that autumn air and escape the crowds while watching beautiful wild horses, birds, and a possible rocket launch on NASA’s nearby Wallops Island. Take a guided canoe tour from a native guide of the Bending Water Park. Take a ride on the Chesapeake Bay and explore the abundance of wildlife that calls the Chesapeake home. (9)
|By Derrick Brutel: Flickr|
NashvilleWhy Fall: America’s musical city comes alive in the fall with concerts, food festivals, and tours.
Nashville’s Music and Molasses Festival is full of pony rides, farming exhibits, and pure molasses making classes. Stop by the Americana Festival for electrifying musical performances in downtown Nashville. The Southern Festival of Books welcomes 200 authors from around the US in any genre. Tickets are free and seating is on a first-come basis.
There are many towns across the US that are great for fall festivities. For more amazing travel destinations be sure to follow me on Twitter.