Skip To Content

    13 Fun-Filled US Getaways To Take During The Fall (And What To Do Once You Get There)

    From leaf peeping and brewery hopping to nature hikes and seasonal eats.

    No offense to the other seasons, but fall is obviously the best. Between the crisp, cool air, the gorgeous changing leaves, and the food (hello, pumpkin spice everything), it's just a perfect season. So if you want to take full advantage, here are 13 amazing US destinations that are even better during autumn.

    1. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

    Mount Rainier National Park during the fall
    Getty Images

    Peak leaf-peeping season in Mount Rainier National Park — one of the best places in the US to catch fall's most vibrant foliage — runs through mid-October. Best of all, the park sees a steep decline in tourism after Labor Day, so you won't have to deal with crowds.

    What to do: Hike. There's no shortage of incredible trails offering vistas of Alpine lakes, snowcapped mountains, waterfalls, and meadows. The Wonderland Trail is 93 miles long and encircles the entire active volcano, but there are several entrances, so you can choose to hike a short stretch. There are also tons of shorter trails, like Skyline Trail Loop, Tolmie Peak Trail, and Naches Peak Loop.

    Where to stay: There are several campsites within the park, should you choose to camp out. There are also some lodges within Mount Rainier, including Alexander's Lodge and National Park Inn. You can also make your base in downtown Seattle, which is a 60-mile drive to the park. 

    2. Hudson, New York

    Warren Street in Hudson
    Getty Images

    For this destination, just two hours from New York City and accessible by Metro-North Railroad, you don't even need access to a car in order to get out of the city and into nature. This hip town is often called the Brooklyn of the Hudson Valley for its progressive and artsy vibes and chic downtown area.

    What to do: Explore Hudson's downtown area. Warren Street is lined with great restaurants, antique shops, galleries, vintage boutiques, and home decor stores. Hudson is also set at the base of the Catskill Mountains, so there are tons of hiking trails, farms, and sculpture parks nearby. 

    Where to stay: Book a room at the Maker, an artsy hotel right in the historic downtown, or at the Amelia. There are also some quaint B&Bs, like the Inn at 34 and Battersby House.

    Where to eat: Pick up breakfast or lunch from Kitty's Market; sit down at Wm Farmer & Sons or Lil Deb’s Oasis for dinner. There's Oak Pizzeria Napoletana for amazing wood-fired pies, and Half Moon is the favorite local watering hole.

    3. Flagstaff, Arizona

    Flagstaff Arizona mountains and aspen trees
    Getty Images

    Flagstaff is one of Arizona's best-kept secrets, and this mountain city comes alive during autumn. Unlike much of Arizona, Flagstaff actually experiences four distinct seasons. Close to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, San Francisco Peaks, and the desert, Flagstaff is an outdoor paradise that peaks during fall.

    What to do: Flagstaff is a gateway to Grand Canyon National Park, and the fall is an awesome time to explore the stunning South Rim. Explore the nearby Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon, and Wupatki National Monuments (all just 30 minutes from downtown), or hike the 3.4-mile Inner Basin Trail. In the historic downtown, browse the open-air museum, made up of street art and murals. Drive along Route 66 and gaze at the rows of glistening, golden aspen trees along the snowcapped mountains.

    Where to stay: If you're looking for a hotel, check out the Hotel Monte Vista. The best way to experience Flagstaff is by renting a cottage or cabin, like this rustic A-frame on Airbnb.

    Where to eat: Tourist Home is an all-day café for hearty breakfasts, salads, and sandwiches. Brix is a local favorite for seasonal, farm-to-table fare, as is Shift FLG. Then there's Dark Sky Brewing, a must-visit for craft beer and delicious pizza.

    4. Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

    Gay Head Light House on Martha's Vineyard
    Getty Images

    Summertime brings big crowds to Martha's Vineyard, but the fall is the perfect time to experience the beauty of the island without all the tourists (and the expensive hotel prices). This island off the coast of Cape Cod can be reached by plane or ferry. 

    What to do: Explore the island's protected nature trails and wildlife refuges, like Menemsha Hills, Felix Neck State Park, and Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge; window-shop around Edgartown, with its many boutique shops; rent a bike and explore the various bike trails around the island; or pack a picnic lunch and hit one of the island's many beaches, like Lucy Vincent, South Beach, or Moshup Beach. 

    Where to stay: Rent an Airbnb, book a room at Summercamp or Edgartown Commons, or splurge on one of Edgartown's various boutique hotels, like the Christopher or the Hob Knob.

    Where to eat: Have a feast of chowder, oysters, and lobster rolls at Menemsha Fish Market; grab sandwiches from 7a Foods; or enjoy a sit-down dinner at 19 Raw or the Port Hunter.

    5. Burlington, Vermont

    Fall foliage near Burlington
    Getty Images

    Vermont is basically synonymous with leaf peeping, and Burlington is the perfect urban base for exploring the surrounding towns and mountains as they burst into color.

    What to do: Take a day trip to Stowe or Montpelier, both about 45 minutes by car, for some of the most gorgeous fall scenery around. Cycle along the Burlington Bike Path for excellent views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains, and explore the series of beaches along Burlington's North End. Hit up the local farmers market every Saturday through October, go brewery hopping, and explore bustling downtown Burlington with its excellent art and food scenes.

    Where to stay: You can't go wrong with the centrally located Hotel Vermont, but there are also plenty of charming Airbnb options in this college town.  

    Where to eat: Enjoy breakfast all day at Penny Cluse Café, chow down on comfort food at Misery Loves Co., and for a meal you'll remember for years to come, snag a reservation at Hen of the Woods. Craft beer lovers shouldn't miss Zero GravityCitizen Cider, and Foam Brewers.

    6. Charlottesville, Virginia

    Picnic tables at a winery in Charlottesville during the fall
    Getty Images

    This vibrant college town, home to the University of Virginia, is close to both Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains; plus, it's near lots of wineries, breweries, cider houses, and distilleries galore.

    What to do: Take advantage of the awesome culinary options in downtown Charlottesville. Go hiking in Shenandoah National Park, cycle Skyline Drive, drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, or trek up the Humpback Rocks Trail for some incredible vistas. Explore the Monticello Wine Trail by booking a wine tour or just picking a few spots to visit, like Veritas Vineyards and Montifalco Vineyard. For beer lovers, there's Three Notch'd Craft Kitchen & Brewery; and for fans of bourbon, there's Ragged Branch Distillery

    Where to stay: Rent a place for the weekend using Stay Charlottesville, or book a room at Oakhurst Inn, a cozy boutique hotel right near the University of Virginia. Arcady Vineyard is a cute bed-and-breakfast near Thomas Jefferson's historic home in Monticello. 

    Where to eat: Visit the picture-perfect Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard for wine flights paired with dreamy cheese boards. Lampo is a must-try for Neapolitan-style pizzas, while the Local is a popular gastropub. Don't miss Dairy Market, a buzzy food hall where you can sample the best bites Charlottesville has to offer.

    7. Portland, Maine

    Portland's Head Light with fall leaves
    Getty Images

    Just about two hours from Boston, the city of Portland combines excellent food, a hip downtown, and urban comforts with coastal charm. It's also an ideal starting point for exploring southern Maine's sleepy fishing towns.

    What to do: Eat lobster to your heart's content, take a coastal hike to the Portland Head Light, stroll around the old port, visit the Portland Museum of Art, take a wine sail, or drive along the coast exploring nearby towns like Kennebunkport, Bath, Freeport, Brunswick, and Ogonquit, all complete with seafood shacks and cute shops. 

    Where to stay: The Westin Portland Harborview is conveniently located right in the downtown arts district, while the AC Hotel by Mariott is nestled among lots of restaurants and bars, just minutes from the pier. The Francis, with only 15 rooms, has more of a boutique feel.

    What to eat: Hit up Eventide for oysters and classic New England fare, dive into hand-cut Belgian fries at Duck Fat, and fill up on eggs, pancakes, and bacon at Becky's Diner. if you make it to the Portland Head Light, the Bite Into Maine food truck serves a mean lobster roll.

    8. Asheville, North Carolina

    The Blue Ridge Mountains during fall
    Getty Images

    This Blue Ridge Mountain town is known for its thriving arts culture, culinary scene, and craft breweries. Fall is the best time to visit, as you can see the leaves changing along the Blue Ridge Parkway until the end of November.

    What to do: Go gallery hopping among the warehouses in the River Arts District; take a brewery crawl; treat yourself to a spa day at the Japanese-inspired Shoji Spa; hike in the Pisgah National Forest, Mount Mitchell State Park, or Looking Glass Rock, all part of the Appalachian Mountains, or in Catawba Falls; raft or picnic along the banks of the French Broad River; or drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at some of the many scenic overlooks to take in the ultimate fall vistas.  

    Where to stay: If you like a resort experience, look no farther than the Omni Grove Park Inn. For a more urban hotel, there's the Windsor, and the Cedar Crest Inn is a totally adorable B&B. There are also tons of Airbnbs for those seeking a more local experience. 

    What to eat: Curaté is a long-standing favorite where you can pick on tapas that will transport you to Barcelona; Chai Pani serves up funky and creative Indian flavors; and Buxton Hall Barbecue boasts the best pulled pork and buttermilk fried chicken around. Of course you'll want to hit up some breweries, so don't miss the OG Asheville Brewing Co. or cult favorite Burial Beer Co.

    9. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

    Multnomah Falls at Columbia River Gorge
    Getty Images

    Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a canyon that stretches from Oregon to Washington, and it's a must-visit for wine lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers thanks to its many waterfalls, wineries, farms, and apple orchards. It's beautiful all year long, but the fall colors are spectacular.

    What to do: Drive the Historic Columbia River Highway past waterfalls for epic, panoramic views of the gorge in all its autumn glory. Be sure to get out of the car and hike the trails to Multnomah Falls. Bike-ride along the Fruit Loop, a 35-mile stretch of farms and orchards, and visit Hood River Lavender Farm. Go wine tasting in Columbia River AVA, home to some awesome wineries, like Stave and Stone and the Grateful Vineyard

    Where to stay: Hood River is the most convenient starting point for exploring the area, although Portland is just an hour away by car. Book a cozy stay, complete with a fireplace, at Carson Ridge Cabins; or, on the Washington side of the gorge, RubyJune Inn is bursting with charm, and it's just 10 minutes from Hood River.

    What to eat: Stop by Sugarpine Drive-In for grilled cheese and soft serve, feast on BBQ smoked meats at Grasslands BBQ, and taste small batch beers and pub fare at Thunder Island Brewing. It's a bit of a splurge, but natural-wine lovers and foodies won't want to miss a meal and tasting at Hiyu Wine Farm.

    10. Door County, Wisconsin

    Fall leaves in Door County, Wisconsin
    Getty Images

    Set on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, Door County is rich in coastal shorelines, lighthouses, calm bays, and wilderness parks. While most visitors stay in Sturgeon Bay, there are several tiny towns to explore, like Egg Harbor, Ephraim, and Fish Creek. 

    What to do: Browse the local farmers markets for fall's best produce; take a brewery tour or sip on hard cider; take a ghost tour with Door County Trolley; take part in a fish boil, a Door County tradition; go apple picking at one of the many orchards, like Lautenbach's; kayak along the limestone cliffs in Potawatomi State Park; or hike in Peninsula State Park or Whitefish Dunes State Park, where the leaves are transforming into a spectacle of Crayola colors. 

    Where to stay: The Foxglove Inn is a lovely bed-and-breakfast in Sturgeon Bay. For those who want to go off the grid, consider Cedar Court Inn in Fish Creek. Or, if you're feeling really outdoorsy, rent a yurt with a skylight dome at Wagon Trail Campground. 

    Where to eat: Sample homemade goat's milk cheese and ice cream at Door County Creamery, and take part in a traditional Door County fish boil at White Gull Inn. In Ephraim, don't miss Trixie's for natural wines and seasonal bites. For something a bit more upscale, Chives in Bailey Harbor is a local favorite.

    11. Telluride, Colorado

    Downtown historic Telluride with mountains in the background
    Getty Images

    This cool and laid-back historic mining town in Colorado's San Juan Mountains draws in tourists every season for its dramatic vistas, annual festivals, hiking, and skiing. Autumn is particularly special, thanks to the changing scenery.

    What to do: Telluride during the fall is a hiker's paradise, so take full advantage. Bear Creek Trail, Bridal Veil Falls, and Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail all lead hikers past stunning waterfalls and colorful foliage, while Hope Lake Trail ends at a dizzyingly blue Alpine lake. Take the gondola over the San Sophia Ridge and catch an aerial view of the fall landscape, then stroll historic Colorado Avenue, which runs through downtown Telluride and boasts art galleries, restaurants, and bars. 

    Where to stay: Stay at the Hotel Telluride, located right in historic Telluride and a stone's throw from the entrance to the Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail. In that same area, there's also the recently renovated New Sheridan Hotel

    Where to eat: For a small town, Telluride has a mighty restaurant scene. Start every day with breakfast at the Butcher & the Baker. At 221 South Oak, a vegetarian-heavy menu is served in a quaint, historic home; Brown Dog Pizza serves Detroit-style pies with creative toppings; and at the ever-popular Siam, you can feast on excellent Thai dishes.  

    12. Taos, New Mexico

    Foliage on the Rio Grande River
    Getty Images

    This artsy and spiritual town is in the desert at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. If there's one reason to visit Taos in the fall, it's the 85-mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, which begins and ends in Taos. The autumn scenery along the route is a a feast for the eyes. 

    What to do: Stop by the Harwood Museum of Art and then tour the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for traditional adobe-style buildings. Drive the entire Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, which showcases the state's most impressive scenery lit up for fall. Hike some trails in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument or Carson National Forest. If you visit during October, try to time your trip around the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally, when hundreds of colorful hot-air balloons fill the sky. 

    Where to stay: Reserve a room at the Taos Inn, which is built across several adobe-style houses. Or, for something unusual, stay in a vintage Airstream at Hotel Luna Mystica. 

    Where to eat: Doc Martin's serves classic New Mexican cuisine with locally sourced ingredients (think: green chile pork stew and chiles rellenos), Mesa Brewing Taos Tap Room pairs craft beers with excellent pub food, while the Love Apple is the place to go for elevated, homestyle cooking.

    13. Brooklyn, New York

    The Brooklyn Bridge with fall foliage
    Getty Images

    Just across the East River from Manhattan, Brooklyn is bursting with great food, music, culture, green urban spaces, bars, art, and just about everything in between. There's no bad time to visit, of course, but as temperatures cool down after a sweltering summer in the city, the fall vibe in Brooklyn can't be beat.

    What to do: This single borough has tons of variety, so explore the different neighborhoods, from Williamsburg and Fort Greene to Cobble Hill and Park Slope. Soak up the crisp fall air (complete with views of foliage to match) at Prospect Park or Brooklyn Bridge Park, visit the Brooklyn Museum or the Botanical Garden, go for a tasting at Red Hook Winery or Brooklyn Brewery, visit Smorgasburg food market, drink rooftop cocktails at the William Vale or the Williamsburg Hotel, or hit the beach at Coney Island. 

    Where to stay: For a real New York feel, rent an Airbnb in one of Brooklyn's hip neighborhoods. Otherwise, Williamsburg boasts some trendy hotels in the center of all the action, like the McCarren Hotelthe Hoxton, and the Wythe Hotel.

    Where to eat: There are so many amazing restaurants, it's hard to go wrong, but iconic standouts include pizza at Roberta's in Bushwick or Lucali in Cobble Hill, bagels and classic Jewish deli fare at Frankel's in Greenpoint, and a white-tablecloth steak dinner at Peter Luger. For something special, don't miss a dinner at Olmstead, where seasonal ingredients are grown in the backyard garden.

    What is your favorite place in the US to visit during fall? Tell us in the comments below!

    Sign Up For The Bring Me! Newsletter!

    The latest travel tips, off-the-beaten-path experiences, and inspiration delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form