As the crisp air of autumn begins to roll in, thoughts of cozy sweaters, pumpkin patches, and warm apple cider come to mind. But for many, Fall is the perfect time to take a vacation and witness the stunning colors of the season. From the Adirondacks to the Rockies, the USA is bursting with breathtaking landscapes during Fall.
For those who love the great outdoors, destinations such as Acadia National Park or Lake Tahoe offer endless opportunities to hike and take in the changing leaves.
For those who prefer a more urban escape, cities like New York City or Boston provide a perfect mix of fall foliage views and exciting city life. No matter where you choose to go, a Fall vacation in the USA promises to be a memorable and enchanting experience.
Here are the top fall vacation ideas in 2023. Get your sweaters out, and let’s take a colorful autumn trip!
Best Fall Vacations USA
Fall travel offers such special memories, especially when traveling with the kids and the rest of the family. Summer may be over, but there is still plenty of time and opportunity to get away and enjoy yourselves.
Plus, by booking a fall vacation, you’re securing lower prices than you’d find in summer, as well as fewer crowds in all the fun places you have on your itinerary.
Not to mention the almost complete lack of lines you’ll have to stand in since so many people have already returned to their own homes.
Pair all the convenience with the mesmerizing scenes of golden and deep red leaves and that crisp smell of fall in the air – and there you have it, the ideal time to travel.
Not all destinations are created equal; each has a unique charm and some you may have never considered. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit in the fall in the US!
If you’re taking the family on a road trip, try out my famous cinnamon coffee cookies to pack as snacks for the car!
Best Places to Visit in Fall
From fishing in Wyoming to picking pumpkins in Maine, we’ve compiled an extensive collection of the best fall destinations to visit. It doesn’t matter if you’re the type of family to go in search of all the fall leaves or if you’d rather spend your entire days in the warmth, wandering around a museum. There’s something here for everyone.
Choose your preferred fall vacation spots and start planning your trip as soon as you can.
Harpers Ferry West Virginia
Harper’s Ferry is a small town with a big history. Located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, it was once an important strategic site for both the Union and Confederate armies.
Today, it is best known as a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs and is often overlooked as one of the best fall vacations.
In October, the leaves turn a beautiful shade of red and gold, making it the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. There are also several festivals in Harpers Ferry in October, including the West Virginia Wine and Arts Festival and the Appalachian Heritage Festival. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the autumn foliage or explore the town’s rich history
Located within minutes of Shenandoah National Park, Harpers Ferry offers endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping.
In addition, the town itself is a historic treasure trove, with numerous buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or an adventure-filled weekend getaway, Harpers Ferry is the perfect destination for a fall vacation.
~ Things to do in Harper’s Ferry~
- Visit the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. The park is situated where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet and flow together and form the Chesapeake Bay. Stroll the quaint streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike our trails and battlefields, including the ruins of a Civil War-era armory and arsenal, as well as many museums and exhibits. For outdoor activities, there is hiking, camping, kayaking, and bird watching.
- Head to The Point where you can experience the three rivers and three states (West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland) merging. Here you can take some spectacular pictures.
- Hike the Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Take a look inside White Hall Tavern, the oldest community gathering spot.
This magnificent town might be best known for its surrounding skiing slopes, but there is so much here for travelers during all seasons. Before winter brings blankets of snow covering the hills, autumn visits Stowe and provides beautiful views of fall-colored trees and open spaces. Vermont is known for its fall colors worldwide and may just be one of the best places to visit in the US in October or November.
The 200-year-old town welcomes visitors throughout the year, and those in search of stunning fall images and fun activities are in luck here. Hikes through the mountains, visits to the apple orchards, and filling up on delicious snacks are all on the itinerary here.
~Things to do in Stowe~
- See the fall leaves from above on a zipline tour.
- Enjoy the season with a relaxing Gondola Ride.
- Have one of their 800 daily-made donuts and a mug of cider at Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
- Tour the Ben & Jerry’s Factory.
- Never tried a maple latte? Now’s your chance!
- Visit the Cabot Farmers’ Store, Vermont artisanal cheese!
- Go hiking and find a few of Vermont’s waterfalls.
- Hop onto a boat ride for views of fall from a stunning new perspective.
~ Where to Stay in Stowe, Vermont ~
- The Lodge at Spruce Peak This lodge has been a staple of Stowe Vermont and features stunning mountain views from an elevated location southwest in the Green Mountain National Forest, with miles of hiking trails just outside your doorstep.
- Maple Street Dairy House This quaint little 1800s farmhouse has a winding staircase, wood plank floors, and charm for days and is within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and recreation.
- Green Mountain Inn In the heart of historic downtown Stowe on Main Street, the Green Mountain Inn is perfect for couples or traveling with children. A short drive to Smugglers Notch and the Ben and Jerry’s Factory.
Montpelier is a thirty-minute drive from Stowe, Vermont, and either town would be a dream to spend fall months. Montpelier, Vermont, is one of the most charming towns in all of New England and one of the best places to visit in October in the USA. This picturesque small town is home to many historic sites and attractions, including the most beautifully restored historic building in America- The Vermont Statehouse.
Montpelier is nestled in the Green Mountains and is the largest urban historic district in Vermont. This district is home to many independently owned shops, farm-to-table dining, art galleries, live music, cinemas, and theatre.
~Things to do in Montpelier ~
- Hike or bike the Green Mountains
- Go apple picking at Burtt’s Apple Orchard
- Eat dinner at the Mule Bar & Pub
- Visit Bragg Farms to learn about traditional maple sugaring and snag some of the best pure maple candy boxes. Be sure to grab a couple of extra gift boxes to bring home for family or friends.
- Get nostalgic at the award-winning independent bookstore, Bear Pond Books.
- See Vermont’s fall foliage from Above Reality Hot Air Balloons
~Where to Stay in Montpelier~
- The Quintessential Vermont Farmhouse This newly renovated farmhouse is bright and clean. Sit on the rocking chairs on the front porch and take in Vermont’s scenery.
- Fairfield Inn If you are wanting to stay in a hotel, this hotel is ideally nestled in the Green Mountains and is easily accessible to Stowe and Montpelier.
- Upper Pines Lodge This private and secluded cabin is perfect for families and groups traveling to Montpelier. Breathtaking treetops and mountain views.
Imagine historic buildings, cozy fireplaces, friendly chats with locals, a mix of white, sandy beaches along with a pebbled rocky coastline, and picturesque scenery. You can find all of this in one of the best fall vacations on the east coast in Kennebunkport, Maine.
This cozy little seaside village is one of the most fantastic fall destinations in the US – for many reasons. From September to October, the weather is still pleasant enough that outdoor adventures are enjoyable and fun.
While evenings cool down encourage everyone to head indoors with a blanket and warm drink before settling down in front of the cozy fireplace.
~Must-do Kennebunkport Activities~
- Live out your Hallmark movie fantasy and stroll the rocky beaches before heading back to your Old Inn accommodation and reading a book by the fireplace.
- Add in some adventure and go kayaking.
- Pick your own pumpkin at The Pumpkin Trolley Patch at Seashore Trolley Museum (almost as fun as the pumpkin patches in Dallas-Fort Worth).
- Head off on one of the best bike rides you’ll ever experience.
- Buy some seashells at the Shell Shack
- Get a world-famous lobster roll at the Clam House
- Hop onto a sailboat and take to the seas as you view the small town’s coast and the President Bush compound.
- Hunt down Goat Island Lighthouse for some amazing vacation photos.
~Where to Stay In Kennebunkport~
- Cottages at Cabot Cove This is quite possibly my favorite place to stay in America. These cottages are simply dreamy and if you stay at one, you are lucky. They are located on Main Street, bikes are available to ride and a little boat to take out is right at the shore. Fresh baked muffins and juices are delivered to your door every morning and each cottage is uniquely different.
- Kennebunkport Captains Collection This is a unique and historic property for a romantic Maine getaway. There are four houses in the Kennebunkport Captains Collection—Nathaniel Lord Mansion, William Jefferds House, James Fairfield House, and Acton Patterson House. Each house holds different unique hotel rooms and carriage houses.
It’s not surprising that Colorado offers one of the best places to travel in the fall. Breckenridge is a popular place for winter activities and draws a crowd in summer. But it’s fall that offers this town the perfect time to shine.
Fall often comes to Breckenridge before the rest of the US receives its cloak of golden hues. Breckenridge is one of the best places to visit in September and October. This is thanks to the high altitude. So if you want to enjoy your fall vacation and make it home before Halloween, this is the place to go.
~Where to go in Breckenridge~
- Hike through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance
- Grab a cookie at Mountain Top Cookie Shop (insider tip, ask them for a scoop of dough, head off, and find a hot chocolate. Drop your cookie dough in the hot chocolate for the best treat in Breck)
- Enjoy one of the many festivals, like Brecktoberfest or the wine festival.
- Try out ax throwing.
- Head off on a spooky ghost tour.
- Immerse yourself in the town’s arts, culture, and history offerings.
~Where to Stay in Breckenridge~
- Residence Inn At Breckenridge Located right at the edge of town on Main Street, this hotel is the perfect location to explore the adorable town of Breckenridge. Morning breakfast, plush beds, and the perfect location for hiking, shopping, and dining.
- Welk Resort the Ranahan. This is a brand-new resort in Breckenridge. On-site fitness facilities, pools, saunas, hot tubs, and bikes.
- The Treehouse Cabin. This is the perfect cabin for small families or groups. Located one mile from Main Street, this cabin is quiet with a wood burring stove to enjoy your crisp fall nights under the mountain sky.
Portsmouth New Hampshire
Portsmouth offers one of the best fall getaways in the USA thanks to the town’s fun and exciting festivals that take place around this time of year.
If you’re on vacation with young kids, schedule some time to stop at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for some fun activities. Older visitors may enjoy Zombie Zips, which allows you to go ziplining at night with zombie guides!
There’s so much to explore here as well, and all with the added bonus of fall colors and that crisp smell in the air.
~What to do in Portsmouth~
- Track down the Scarecrows of the Port.
- Browse the outdoor history museum, the Strawbery Banke Museum.
- Pack some Googie’s Sandwiches and picnic in Prescott Park.
- Grab a hot chocolate and some treats at La Cascade du Chocolat and head for a walking tour of the beautiful and quaint Downtown area.
~Where to Stay in Portsmouth, New Hampshire~
- The Sailmakers House This is a beautifully modern and unique boutique hotel located near all of Portsmouth’s attractions. Not only will you feel like you are immersed in a quintessential New England home while you are staying here, but you will also be taken care of like family.
- The Inn Downtown Portsmouth’s first boutique “apart-hotel.” Right in the heart of Portsmouth, this studio offers a quiet retreat with a kitchenette and laundry.
Experience the haunting beauty of Salem in the fall, is a quintessential and best fall vacation in the US if you love Halloween and everything fall.
The leaves are changing colors, and the air is getting colder. The trees have begun to shed their leaves, which means it’s time for a visit to this bewitching town.
As you walk around town, you will be dazzled by all of the gorgeous reds and oranges that line the streets. You can feel a sense of peace as you take in the scenery from one of Salem’s many parks, historic structures, and bridges. If you’re looking for some spooky fun, there are plenty of haunted houses and ghost tours available throughout town!
~What to do in Salem~
- Find all the filming locations of Hocus Pocus
- Get some delicious confections at Ye Olde Pepper Companie
- Sail the high seas with the Privateer Schooner in Salem Sound
- Do a Salem Witch Trials walking tour
- Go eat at one of the coolest and most delicious pubs around, Olde Main Street Pub
- Explore Salem’s oldest cemetery founded in 1637, Old Burying Pointe Cemetery
- Experience art and culture at the Peabody Essex Museum
~Where to Stay in Salem~
- The Salem Inn is an excellent place to stay if you’re traveling around New England. This little Inn has a lot of charm and good place to explore Salem with museums right across the street!
- Hawthorne Hotel is a one-of-a-kind experience. The hotel has been around since the 1800s and was originally used as a private residence for wealthy families who wanted to get away from their stuffy city life. Now, Hawthorn Hotel is the best place for travelers visiting Salem because of its rich history and central location to all major attractions.
- The Cottage on Whitter This adorable brand-new cottage offers modern amenities in historic Salem. Near all the main attractions and the beach.
- Charming Old Town Cottage A sweet and enchanting stay on your historical vacation. A historic cottage near Salem has views of Abbot Hall. Perfect for a couple’s getaway to magical Salem.
- Authentic 1739 Cottage completely renovated 1739 cottage with modern amenities for the ultimate Salem experience.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Ask any traveler about the best season to visit Jackson Hole in Wyoming, and you’ll find mixed reviews. The skiers love the winter, while those desperate for camping on warm nights would choose summer.
But the truth is that this place is one of the best places to vacation in the fall. Especially early fall, since sometimes the snow is a little eager and will show up, early and unannounced, in mid-October. But from early September, you can enjoy fewer crowds while still taking advantage of the pleasant weather and fun activities.
Majestic mountains and resorts surround this small town, so the views here are breathtaking.
~Where to Explore in Jackson Hole~
- Go camping before it gets too cold – you can do this at any of the national parks in the area.
- Spend some time fishing on the Snake River.
- Take the family hiking in the much cooler temperatures.
- Attend the Fall Arts Festival.
- Witness the elk herd migration.
- Don’t miss the chance to stargaze next to a bonfire – the skies are open and clear.
~Where to Stay in Jackson Hole, Wyoming~
- Hotel Terra- A Noble House Resort Hotel Terra Jackson Hole is a cozy mountain resort with an inviting atmosphere and charming rooms. Located in the heart of Teton Valley, this hotel offers easy access to skiing, fishing, golfing, and hiking trails. You’ll have plenty of options for finding adventures around every corner.
- Fireside Resort Cabins individual tiny homes for a unique Jackson Hole experience. Each individual cabin has a kitchenette, cozy beds, and a picnic table on the porch.
- The Lodge at Jackson Hole The Lodge Jackson Hole is a stunning hotel in the Grand Teton National Park. The resort offers breathtaking views of the mountains, cozy rooms with fireplaces, and many outdoor activities to explore.
- The Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole is situated on the edge of Grand Teton National Park with breathtaking views. The resort offers all-inclusive luxury for those seeking a retreat from their everyday lives. We can dream…
Traverse City, Michigan
Unofficially known as the Cherry Capital of the World, Traverse City is often visited by crowds of people in summer for that well-known cherry-picking. But, if you’re more interested in charming scenery and quieter streets, fall is a wonderful time to visit this town.
Traverse City is ideally located on Lake Michigan, near several splendid hiking trails, and surrounded by farms that offer fresh foods, fun picking activities, and more stunning views.
But the town itself embraces this season so dearly that you’ll find every fall fantasy you’ve ever had come true. Think apple and pumpkin picking, cozy dinners at an inn, and lots of twirling under falling red and yellow leaves.
Plus, this is one of the top places to visit in September in the USA, especially for those who want to visit the many wineries in the area.
~What to See in Traverse City~
- Most importantly – find the fall foliage! Great for photos or just soaking in the scenes.
- Pick your own apples or pumpkins at one of the nearby farms.
- Explore the town and support the many locally-owned businesses.
- Taste various liquors at Grand Traverse Distillery.
- Join a historical tour of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
- Book a wine tour and visit a number of the surrounding wineries.
~Where to Stay Traverse City, MI~
- Grand Beach Resort Traverse City The Grand Beach Resort is located on Lake Michigan and boasts gorgeous views of the shoreline. There are plenty of opportunities to fish, boat, hike, or golf while staying at this resort. It’s also close enough to other attractions such as Sleeping Bear Dunes.
- Hotel Indigo Traverse City A very walkable boutique hotel with views of rolling hills, scenic views of Lake Michigan, and the quaint downtown area.
New York City, New York
We wanted to add at least one major city to the best fall vacations USA. We believe New York City is one of the best fall vacations in the United States because you can get the best of both worlds, nature and the city.
New York City turns into one of the most beautiful fall vacation spots. It’s gorgeous, from the changing leaves on trees to the cozy cobblestone streets and neighborhoods. Not to mention, Central Park in the fall is filled with autumn goodness.
NYC in fall is the best time to visit. There are so many things going on while the weather is perfectly crisp and cool. You can enjoy some of the city’s iconic sights, such as strolling Central Park, Brooklyn Heights, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and more. So if you’re looking for a major city fall destination, explore NYC in all its fall colors!
A Guide to New York City in the Fall
~NYC in Fall ~
- Stroll through Central Park and find Bow Bridge for the ultimate fall photos.
- Walk the Highline and visit the Vessel at Hudson Yards
- Visit Little Island Park. This public park in Hudson River Park has foliage, flower beds, and amazing views.
- Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens for the ultimate fall experience, then head over to Brooklyn Heights for one of the most beautiful fall neighborhoods in all of New York.
- Get an Italian hot chocolate at Max Brenner
- Head to Roosevelt Island and drink cocktails at Panorama Room. You will have New York views like no other.
~Where to Stay in NYC~
- The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New York City The Taj Hotel is a well-known luxury hotel chain that is known for its five-star service and impeccable hospitality. The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New York City is near Central Park making it a perfect base to see fall foliage and explore this magnificent city.
- Herald Square Hotel looking to not break the bank and spend on fall activities? This hotel is a budget, but the stunning hotel in Herald Square, right next to the famous Macy’s. This is where we stay and love it every time.
New York City Travel Guide-Everything You Need to Know
Best Fall Vacation Ideas 2023
Right after the heat of summer, and just before winter grips the States, fall is an ideal season to go on an adventure. So many towns offer travelers striking scenes of orange, red, and yellow foliage, along with several fun activities for the whole family.
Use these fall vacation ideas as a guideline to plan your next getaway and be prepared for an unforgettable trip. Just don’t forget a camera. You’re going to want to capture those views.
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