There are tons of perks that come along with sweater weather. As the heat subsidies, we can head outside for more enjoyable adventures like apple picking, football game tailgates or driving through colorful forests. As we head into the holiday season, it’s a great time to travel around the United States, whether you’re on the hunt for fall foliage or popular attractions that are far less crowded than when the kids are out of school, we put together a list of great spots to visit.
Hit the trails by bike or foot around Lady Bird Lake, scope out traditional Texas barbecue and take in the local talent scene. Bars and restaurants are just a few popular spots to hear some of the best homegrown music with lush pumpkin patches and wineries in the background.
Big Sur [California]
The beautiful beaches and dramatic cliffs spanning across the 90 miles of California coast are just a few of the reasons people visit Big Sur. Following the peak summer months you can take advantage of warm dry days without the hassle of large crowds.
Trek the Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Andrew Molera State Parks or catch some waves at Sand Dollar Beach. Much like San Francisco, keep in mind it’s the ideal time for whale watching as blue whales, humpback whales and orcas all begin migrating.
Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains there is an endless amount of outdoor activities to keep you busy here. Fishing, paddleboarding and kayaking can help pass the time along with the art, culture and restaurant scene in the city. Visit Yellowstone, Fairy Lake or the Hyalite Reservoir nearby. The Sacagawea Peak offers a remarkable hiking trail where mountain goat sightings are common.
Door County [Wisconsin]
Don’t give all of the credit to New England when it comes to fall foliage because the Midwest has plenty of pretty leaves worth seeing. Door County is nestled between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Nature trails, drives and boat rides are some of the ways you can see Peninsula State Park, Potawatomi State Park and other woodsy waterside preserves. Picturesque lighthouses and remarkable rocky cliffs frame the birch forests. On the outskirts, you’ll notice fishing and shipbuilding towns that host farmer’s markets with locally grown pumpkins and apples.
Looking for the perfect place to watch the leaves change colors right in front of your eyes? Check out Flagstaff in September, the state's top places to witness the change of season. The Snowbowl which attracts crowds for skiing and snowboarding also lends itself in the fall to hiking. The temperature stays in the 70s, making it great for touring Historic Downtown and the Railroad District where you will find breweries, boutique shops and art galleries.
Here, you’ll find the first Oktoberfest outside of Munich to get the German city’s official seal of approval. You won’t want to miss the wiener dog races, polka dancing and delicious pretzels all while sipping an authentic Bavarian beer in Heritage Park. History buffs might be intrigued to learn the town, which is known as “Little Baravia” was founded in the 19th century by Franconian immigrants. To this day, there is great pride for the timber-frame architecture, chicken and schnitzel cuisine and locals showing off their lederhosen.
Grand Canyon [Arizona]
The best way to save a little money, avoid unbearable heat and hoards of people is to visit the Grand Canyon as soon as fall arrives. The park's South Rim, which is usually buzzing with tourists in June, July and August, sees fewer visitors come September, making it a great time for hiking traveler-approved paths like the Rim Trail.
Greenville [South Carolina]
Pair breathtaking autumn scenery with southern hospitality and you have Greenville South Carolina. Travelers have the luxury of sunshine and cooler temperatures to enjoy hiking and biking adventures. Peddle down the 22-mile-long Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail or spend a day exploring the 15 miles of trails in Paris Mountain State Park.
Jackson Hole [Wyoming]
A little more rugged and down to earth than other nearby towns, like Aspen, here you can spot wildlife, enjoy the Grand Teton mountain range and go horseback riding. Check the calendar for the popular film and music festivals that take place here as well. We also suggest a relaxing soak in the Granite Hot Springs while you’re in town.
Lake Tahoe [California / Nevada]
This is a go-to spot in summer and winter, but don’t dismiss the fall season at the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If you’re looking to avoid swarms of people and save a little on accommodations, September is the perfect time to travel here. Explore with the calm and uninterrupted trails without the overwhelming number of boaters and jet skis.
Universal and Walt Disney World Resorts take holiday decorating to the next level with seasonal displays and bright autumn colors flooding the parks. A dedicated theme-park is created each year in order to celebrate in style called Halloween Horror Nights. Pack your walking shoes so you can see all of the different amusement parks and hit all the major rides.
San Francisco [California]
This is the ideal month to visit the city as it's the warmest and driest of the year. In other parts of the country, the transition from summer to fall usually brings cooler weather but here you can take advantage of the Bay Area’s fog-free skies and warmer temperatures. Visit Baker or Ocean Beach for sunshine, whale watching and sea life migration.
Santa Fe [New Mexico]
Come for the food, stay for the culture. Santa Fe serves up some of the region’s most distinct flavors and tributes to its indigenous people. Make sure to schedule a time for the Architectural Walking Tour, the Opera House and Meow Wolf. Those are a few of the can’t-miss attractions!
While also being well known for its winter activities, this town is perfect for hikers of all skill sets and abilities. Film fanatics can schedule their visit later into the season to catch the Telluride Horror Show which takes place in October. Just don’t forget to check out the most famous tourist attraction - the gondola rides. The fall backdrop makes this the ideal spot for pictures!
The Berkshires [Massachusetts]
The mountains on the western portion of Massachusetts offer a great variety of outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Crisp fall weather in the Berkshires is perfect for touring the region's museums and historical sites as well as comfortably hiking some of the local mountain trails, like Mount Greylock or Monument Mountain. If you have a chance to hit the trails, expect an up-close look at the beautiful fall foliage that starts popping up this month. Double check the calendar for the area’s most popular seasonal events and festivals.
Washington [District of Columbia]
With the heat easing up, the cooler temperature makes exploring the nation's capital more enjoyable. There is no shortage of historic landmarks from the iconic Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the White House. Catch a sports game at Georgetown University or tour the campus if you have any little scholars with you.
White Mountains [New Hampshire]
Towering peaks and wild woodlands are in no shortage here whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail or driving the Kancamagus Highway. If you’re not too scared of heights, ride the historic Mount Washington Cog Railway to one of New England’s highest points. There is also an aerial tram up Cannon Mountain.