Looking for the best places to visit in the fall? America is simply beautiful in the fall. Literally from sea to shining sea you will find excellent fall foliage and weather. Autumn is my faaaavorite time of year! Towards the end of August I get so excited thinking about all of my favorite fall things like the colorful fall foliage, layering up with my favorite scarf, going pumpkin picking, and drinking hot apple cider.
Last year I decided to travel to Maine to experience the fall foliage, and it was SUCH an amazing trip. If you love fall as much as me, I highly recommend going for a little weekend getaway at some of the destinations mentioned below.
Now I know everyone thinks of New England when it comes to fall foliage. You’re not wrong, it is beautiful in the fall, but I am so excited to share with you some other destinations that might not have been on your radar previously. So, with that said, let’s get right into it. If you’re wondering where the best places to visit in the fall are, I’ve got you covered. 🙂
The Best Places to Visit in the Fall
1. Portland, Maine
I had to start with Portland guys, I had to. I went last year and it was such a dream. 🙂 Even though Portland is a small town, it truly has A LOT to offer making it an ideal fall destination. It exudes that classic New England charm offering cozy bed and breakfasts, world class coffee, and of course, amazing fall foliage. Shockingly it is also great for foodies and beer connoisseurs offering some amazing cuisine and craft beer.
We also can’t forget to mention beautiful Acadia National Park only a few hours’ drive away. Acadia National Park is actually the only national park in New England, and is comprised of rugged seaside cliffs, dense woods and forests, and over 125 miles of trails.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Acadia National Park
2. Denver, Colorado
Did you know that Denver has one of the longest periods of fall colors of any city in the country? This is caused because Denver has 5 different microclimates within a two-hour drive of downtown Denver. The two main places to check out are Guanella Pass and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Guanella Pass is located roughly an hour from Denver at 11,670 feet in elevation with lots of aspen groves providing that beautiful golden color. Rocky Mountain National Park is about an hour and thirty minutes from Denver and also has lots of aspen groves around Bear Lake.
3. The Smoky Mountains – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Being that I lived a large portion of my life in a small town in Virginia, the Smoky Mountains are dear to my heart. As a kid we would regularly take trips to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (Dollywood anyone?), which I still cherish to this day.
The Smoky Mountains are a mountain range along the Tennessee – North Carolina border and trust me when I say, it is GORGEOUS in the fall. I would suggest Gatlinburg be the base for your trip as it is a perfect little town for tourists. Besides exploring the great outdoors, you’ll find plenty to do within the town itself like a Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, Gatlinburg trolley, and an aerial tram. It can feel a bit touristy, but whatever, it’s just good ole’ rocky mountain fun!
4. Seattle, Washington
Oh my word, Seattle in the fall is to die for. You don’t even have to venture out beyond the city, you’ll find there is plenty of foliage happening everywhere you turn. If you do decide to leave the city, definitely head toward Mount Rainier. This time of year doesn’t see nearly as many crowds, and the bugs have tapered off a bit too. Plus, you really just can’t beat that landscape. 🙂
5. “The Twin Cities” – Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota – where nature meets skyscrapers. Besides the beautiful fall foliage, there is so much to do here! There is a fantastic arts and music scene, there’s the Mississippi River which passes right through the city, and let’s not forget the Mall of America. If you have the time, why not take in a Twins game, too!
6. San Francisco, California
I loved San Francisco the moment I laid eyes on it. The best part, it is a must see in the fall. Imagine everything you already love about San Francisco except enhanced with the beautiful fall foliage.
Read More: How to Spend 48 Hours in San Francisco
7. Manchester, Vermont
Doesn’t Manchester just sound cute and charming? Get excited for all of your New England favorites like some crisp apples, fresh cranberries, and all the yummy farmers market foods like homemade breads, pies, and soups!
Check out this post about some of the best scenic drives to experience that gorgeous fall foliage.
8. Dallas, Texas
I would never have thought of Dallas as being a spot for fall foliage, but guess what?! It is!
Dallas has a lot to offer in it’s own right, but add in some festive fall activities and I guarantee Dallas would make a charming little weekender. You can even go to Six Flags Fright Fest where the park turns into a spooky and haunted attraction.
9. Salt Lake City, Utah
If your only image of Utah is Zion National Park or Arches National Park let me introduce you to northern Utah. Here the terrain is actually quite mountainous and you’ll find world class ski resorts within an hour’s drive of its capital, Salt Lake City.
Of course, it’ll be too early for ski season, but that is okay because you will get to see these beautiful mountain ranges bursting with color. You can even set sail in a hot air balloon for some of the most incredible views!
10. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina is a GREAT destination in the fall. Due to it’s location you might not be wearing your wool sweater just yet, but that’s ok! Charleston still has plenty to offer.
Charleston is HOT in the summertime, so the fall is a nice break from humidity. Furthermore, it’s college football season. If you haven’t experienced football in the south, boy are you missing out. Get yourself some tickets ASAP and tick that baby off your bucket list.
Charleston is also full of spooky history, so book yourself a ghost tour, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to be entertained!
BONUS: New York, New York
I know, I know I promised you 10 places to visit in the fall but I just could NOT end this post without mentioning one of my all-time favorite fall destinations, New York City. New York in the fall is absolute heaven. If you don’t believe me, go watch When Harry Met Sally and then get back to me.
Summers in New York are humid and hot and winters are really frigid cold. But fall? Now that is the perfect time to visit. Grab your scarf and salted caramel latte and stroll down SOHO for some window shopping. Then head over to Central Park for some seriously gorgeous fall foliage. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best places to visit in the fall. Hopefully this autumn I hope I will be able to go somewhere as well, now I just gotta decide where! 🙂 Where will you be going?
Where do you think is the best place to visit in the fall? Love to know in the comments below!
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