While most people take a vacation during the summer or winter holidays, fall or autumn is one of the best times to experience America’s awe-inspiring natural beauty. As the sweltering heat of summer fades along with tourist crowds, there’s no better time to plan a trip and take in some of the most dazzling displays of fall color. Let’s not forget that it’s also time for cozy clothes, autumn activities, harvest celebrations, and Halloween! With so many fantastic destinations across the US, you don’t have to travel far to take in the phenomenal fall foliage.
Tennessee is at its best during the fall. With Gatlinburg in the middle of the Smoky Mountains, it offers a great base in witnessing the mountain forests turn a stunning array of reds, oranges, and yellows.
Get access to the highest point in the state, Clingman’s Dome, as well as Newfound Gap Road where visitors can view a brilliant tapestry of colors from 1,400 ft. above sea level. The 11-mile loop around Cades Cove winds past beautiful foliage surrounded by streams, waterfalls, and gorgeous vistas. If you love hiking or cycling, this could be the right autumn destination for you!
Autumn isn’t just about fall foliage. It’s also a time for family fun, food and drinks, and festivals! Kissimmee will give you just that. It will let you enter an entire world of unique outdoor experiences to discover in this region of Florida.
Give the kids a quick weekend getaway to Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park or go with friends to the Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides. If you’re more into theme parks, stay for a scream with Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, or Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. There’s also SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular and Legoland’s Brick or Treat.
If you’re in it for the food, drop by the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Partin Ranch Corn Maze, Oktoberfest, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, and Matador Tacos & Tacos Bar.
Hilton Head Island
Vacation season on Hilton Head Island never ends, and it’s one of the perfect destinations for a romantic getaway, as well as girls’ or guys’ trip! Fall brings gorgeous yellow, gold, and orange hues to the trees and the grass. Plus, the incredible sunrises and sunsets are more vibrant this season in this part of the South Carolina Coast.
Aside from the usual that there are fewer crowds and the weather is more comfortable, the calming island always has something to offer. Enjoy live music outdoors with a beautiful view at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina after fishing with Captain Trent Malphrus.
It’s a beautiful time of year to hike, bike, kayak, and horseback ride. For anything you need, to do all sorts of outdoor activities, just go to Hilton Head Outfitters! Don’t forget, another thing Hilton Head is famous for – sports. Go work up a sweat playing tennis or challenge loved ones and friends with a round (or rounds) of golf.
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Going to the beach isn’t the only thing to do here. If the lure of fewer crowds and great weather isn’t enough, there are a lot of reasons why autumn is one of the most underrated times to visit Myrtle Beach. This place is a mecca for recreation!
You can view fall foliage at the Brookgreen Gardens and the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway, which runs to the Huntington Beach State Park. For music, food, or art, there’s the Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival or the Pops at Marina Park. Towards the end of September, indulge at Bacon & Brews Fest, then dance ‘til midnight at the Jazz Festival.
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While summer and winter are the obvious times to visit Lake Tahoe, most locals would admit to a hidden secret on just how perfect autumn is for a Lake Tahoe vacation. The crowds have thinned with the waning daylight, but the weather is perfect for having some outdoor fun and to discover the area.
Some of the most picturesque, challenging trails and mountain bike rides are in the Tahoe area. Cyclists will love that during fall, the trails are quieter but the views remain. If you want to get on the water, you can go kayaking and SUP boarding. With calmer waters and tourists gone, it’s a great time to take water sports lessons. Limber up and try your hand at disc golf or take a hike on Page Meadows and Spooner Lake. For simply viewing and photo-taking pleasures, drive through Highway 267 or Highway 88 and see the changing colors.
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Traveling to this sunny California city this autumn means big savings at family-friendly attractions, fewer crowds, and plenty of outdoor pursuits. Aside from Halloween and Thanksgiving, October is Kids Free San Diego all month. Kids with a paying adult can visit attractions including the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, Legoland California, and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, among others, for free!
November is for those who love to drink. San Diego Beer Week is your chance to taste local craft beer, tour breweries, or hop on the Beer Train Trolley Tour. If you want something more classy, San Diego Wine & Food Festival with wine tastings, culinary classes, and celebrity chef dinners.
If you wish to be surrounded by nature, you can stroll through the massive Balboa Park, soak up the sun on the beach, or head north to hike Torrey Pines. Tide pooling is also a popular activity during the fall season. Cool little sea creatures reveal themselves in areas such as La Jolla Shores Beach and the Cabrillo National Monument.
There’s also the Fleet Week, Miramar Air Show, the Fall Apple Harvest in Julian, and Carlsbad Village Street Faire.
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These destinations and attractions are just a few of everything there is to do in the U.S. this fall season. Tell us your favorite autumn destination and why to help us know what to include next year!