Best Fall Vacations in the USA for 2024: 35 Must-See Places

One of the best times to plan a vacation in the USA is during the fall when crowds lessen in well-known places, and the weather gets milder. 

You also get to experience foliage changes where the color of leaves starts to change. In this review, we’ll give you 35 must-see places to go on the best fall vacation. 

Best Fall Weekend Getaway Ideas

If you’re looking to plan for your next vacation, here are the best fall weekend getaway ideas:

1. Zion National Park

Zion National Park is an iconic area located in the southwestern United States. The park is well known for its stunning landscapes and the diverse wildlife in the area. 

The park offers recreational activities you can do with friends or family like aerial tours, ATV riding, canyoneering, camping, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and scenic tours.

Fall is the best time to visit Zion National Park as this is the best time to hike. Most of the trails are open during the fall, and crowds begin to thin.

2. Kaua’i, Hawaii

Kaua’i is the fourth largest island of the main Hawaiian islands. The island is well known for its beauty, green landscape, and tropical vegetation, making it a top choice for tourists seeking a peaceful escape.

The island offers many activities for travelers like exploring Waimea Canyon, visiting Wailua Falls, scuba diving, or simply enjoying the beach. 

The best time to visit Kaua’i is during the fall because of the pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices for your hotel, travel, and accommodation. 

3. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is the biggest city in Western North Carolina and is well-known for its stunning setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains, making it a sought-after destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 

There are many popular things to do if you visit Asheville like exploring the Biltmore Estate, driving along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking the popular trails, taking a brewery tour, and more.

In Asheville, fall is one of its most magical seasons because of the mountains’ vibrant foliage and pleasant weather. Fall is also usually the biggest time of the year for tourism in the city.

4. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is known for its rich cultural heritage and well-preserved historic district. It is located in the state of Georgia and is the oldest city. 

The city has a wide range of activities tourists can do like exploring the Historic District, strolling through various parks, taking a walk on River Street, visiting historic house museums, and joining different festivals. 

With its festivals, tours, mild weather, and fewer crowds, fall is a wonderful time to visit Savannah.

5. Big Sur, California

Big Sur is a breathtaking stretch of coastline along California’s central coast. This region is well known for its scenic landscapes, pristine beaches, and stunning ocean views.

If you come to Big Sur, you can go on scenic drives, explore different beaches, visit McWay Falls, check out the view at Bixby Creek Bridge, and more. 

Fall is a great time to visit Big Sur as the crowds have died down and the weather is great. 

6. Grand Canyon National Park

One of the most iconic national parks in the USA is Grand Canyon National Park. It is located in Arizona and is considered one of the world’s geological wonders. 

In the Grand Canyon, you can go hiking, camping, stargazing, exploring scenic overlooks, going on mule rides, and doing the Grand Canyon skywalk.

Fall is a great time to visit the Grand Canyon as its beauty is accentuated during this season, with milder weather, and fewer crowds, and it’s an ideal time for hiking. 

7. New York City, New York

New York City is one of the most iconic and popular cities in the USA. The city is often referred to as ‘NYC’ and is well known for its famous landmarks and cultural diversity. 

New York City has vast activities that tourists can enjoy like visiting Times Square and Central Park, going to museums, watching a Broadway show, taking a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, and more. 

Fall is a great time to visit New York City because of the more pleasant weather. The air is dry and crisp unlike during the summer. 

8. Maui, Hawaii

Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island located in the central Pacific Ocean. It’s best known for its diverse landscapes, natural beauty, and beautiful beaches. 

Travelers have many options they can add to their itinerary when visiting Maui like snorkeling and diving, visiting Haleakalā National Park, taking a scenic drive on Road to Hana, beach hopping, and the like. 

The great thing about visiting Maui during the fall is it offers a less crowded experience with pleasant weather. 

9. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is a major city in the USA and is found in Washington. It is the largest city in Washington surrounded by forests, mountains, and parkland. Seattle is home to large tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft. 

If you’re looking to visit Seattle, you can do activities like visiting the Space Needle, exploring Pike Place Market, taking ferry rides to nearby islands, and going to the Museum of Pop Culture. 

Fall is a sweet spot to visit Seattle as this is when the crowd disperses, potentially making hotel rooms cheaper. 

10. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, located on the shores of Frenchman Bay on Mount Desert Island, serves as the entrance to the mountains and cliffs of Acadia National Park, one of America’s favorite parks. 

If you’re looking to go to Bar Harbor for your weekend getaway, it is recommended that you go visit Acadia National Park, Downtown Bar Harbor, and go on a boat tour. 

One of the best times to visit Bar Harbor is during the fall because of the beautiful fall foliage, especially in Acadia National Park. 

11. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is the financial, commercial, and cultural center of Northern California. The city is well known for its diverse population, scenic views, and iconic landmarks.

If you’re in San Francisco, you should consider visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, exploring Alcatraz Island, riding cable cars, strolling around Fisherman’s Wharf, and more. 

Fall offers some of the city’s most pleasant weather throughout the year, with fewer crowds, making it a great time to visit. 

12. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a historic port city found on the southeastern coast of the U.S. The city is well known for its horse-drawn carriages, cobblestone streets, distinguished restaurants, and hospitable residents. 

There are various things to do in Charleston like exploring the historic downtown, visiting Fort Sumter, taking house and garden tours, and shopping at the Charleston city market. 

The mild weather brought the fall makes it an ideal time to visit Charleston and experience its architecture and natural beauty. 

13. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is the capital city of New Mexico and it sits in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. The city is well known for its Pueblo-style architecture and rich history spanning different cultures. 

If you’re planning to visit, you can do a ton of things in Santa Fe like strolling along Sante Fe Plaza, exploring Canyon Road, visiting Museum Hill, and checking out the San Miguel Mission, which is said to be the oldest church in the U.S.

If you want to visit during a time when the city is a little less busy and much cooler weather, you should consider going in the fall. 

14. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island is a historically rich and unique island in Lake Huron. It has been car-free for over 100 years as motor vehicles have been banned since the early 20th century. 

If you find yourself going to Mackinac Island, you can go on carriage tours, biking, visit Fort Mackinac, and try the famous Mackinac Fudge, among others. 

Fall is a great time to visit the island as crowds tend to be much lighter and the weather is much more pleasant. 

15. Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is located north of San Francisco. The city is a well-known wine-producing region with its hundreds of hillside vineyards. 

Some things you can do while visiting Napa Valley are wine tasting, hot air ballooning, riding the Napa Valley Wine Train, and dining at Napa Valley’s world-class establishments. 

Fall is one of the best times to visit Napa Valley because this is when harvest season happens. Visitors can see the entire winemaking process firsthand while enjoying the vibrant foliage. 

16. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is the capital state of Tennessee and is referred to as ‘Music City, USA’. The city is renowned for its deep roots in the music industry, specifically country music. 

The city offers a diverse range of activities like going to well-known music venues, visiting museums, and admiring historical attractions. 

Fall is a great time to experience the Music City’s music and film festivals while enjoying milder weather. 

17. Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is the deepest lake in the U.S. and is renowned for its clear water and panoramic mountain landscape, making it a popular destination for nature lovers. 

You can do many outdoor activities in Lake Tahoe like boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, hiking, biking, and going on scenic drives. 

The crowds in Lake Tahoe can get crowded during peak season, so the best time to experience the area with fewer tourists is during the fall. 

Best Places to See the Fall Colors in the USA

Here are the best places to see the fall colors in the USA:

18. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

On the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, you’ll find a renowned national park called Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s best known for its rich cultural history and natural beauty, making it one of the most visited parks in the USA. 

If you plan to visit this national park, you can enjoy activities like hiking, scenic drives, wildlife viewing, camping, and horseback riding.

One of the best times to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park is during the fall. This is usually the driest season of the year, making it close to perfect weather to enjoy all the activities. 

19. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is a desert town located in the northern part of Arizona and is surrounded by pine forests and canyon walls. Sedona is well known for its red rock formations and vibrant arts scene. 

There’s an array of outdoor activities in Sedona like hiking, joining jeep tours, stargazing, taking a hot air balloon ride, visiting Red Rock State Park, and more. 

Fall is a great time to visit Sedona because of the great weather, harvest activities, and the burst of colors around its forests. 

20. The Berkshires

The Berkshires is a beautiful region in the mountains of western Massachusetts. It is a popular vacation destination well-known for its stunning natural landscapes, outdoor activities, and annual festivals. 

The Berkshires has an array of activities like hiking, kayaking, fishing, visiting cultural attractions like MASS MoCA and The Clark Art Institute, and joining local festivals. 

A great time to visit The Berkshires is during the fall because of its beautiful fall foliage and great weather for outdoor activities.

21. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole is home to three well-known ski areas. The city is best known for its vibrant wildlife and outdoor recreational activities. 

If you visit Jackson Hole, you can explore Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, join wildlife safari tours, and go snowboarding or skiing during the winter. 

A great time to visit Jackson Hole is during the fall when it’s less rainy compared to spring and you’ll see the leaves change color in an already scenic area. 

22. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a wilderness recreation area that is nearly 3,500 sq miles long. The park is home to hundreds of animal species and is well known for its stunning landscapes and geothermal features. 

The park has enjoyable activities for tourists like seeing the Old Faithful geyser erupt, visiting the Grand Prismatic Spring and Mammoth Hot Springs, and more. 

Going to Yellowstone National Park during the fall increases the chances of wildlife sightings. This season is a great time to see elk, bison, and bears.

23. Sonoma, California

Sonoma is located in northern California at the heart of the well-known Sonoma Valley winemaking region. The city is renowned for its art galleries, wineries, and vineyards. 

If you plan to visit Sonoma, you can do activities like wine tasting, joining winery tours, exploring Sonoma Plaza, visiting the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, and more. 

Fall is a much-awaited season in Sonoma as the crowds have lessened, the air carries the scents of autumn, and the vineyards display striking red and orange colors.

24. Telluride, Colorado

Telluride is a town located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The town is nestled in a box canyon amid forested peaks and serves as the backdrop for a well-known ski-and-golf resort. 

If you take a vacation in Telluride, you can go skiing and snowboarding in the winter, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, kayaking, and more. 

You may be able to go skiing and snowboarding during the winter season, but fall is also a great time to visit Telluride. Fall is when you can enjoy the stunning view of the San Juan Mountains in gorgeous fall foliage. 

25. Burlington, Vermont

Burlington is a city in northwestern Vermont and is south of the Canadian border. It is the largest city in Vermont and is known to have a thriving arts scene, great shopping locations, and a suite of activities for all four seasons. 

If you plan to go to Burlington, you can do activities like visiting Waterfront Park, strolling along Church Street Marketplace, and going to local art galleries.

One of the best times to visit Burlington is during fall when the scenery undergoes a vibrant transformation, making it a beautiful place to explore. 

26. Portland, Maine

Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maine and is set on a peninsula extending into Casco Bay. The city is home to a seaport called the Old Port. Portland is well known for its scenic coastal setting and small-town charm. 

When you are in Portland, you can take a ferry and explore the islands of Casco Bay, visit the Portland Head Light, check out the Old Port, go to the Portland Museum of Art, and more. 

If you’re looking for a time to visit Portland with fewer crowds and nature at its finest, you should go during the fall. 

27. Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg is a city that played an important role in the American Revolution. The city is part of the Historic Triangle with Jamestown and Yorktown. Williamsburg is well known for its well-preserved historic district. 

The city is a great place for history enthusiasts to visit. You can explore historical buildings, visit museums, stop over the Yorktown Battlefield, and more. 

A great time to visit this historic city is during the fall because of its scenic beauty as the leaves on trees go through vibrant changes and the milder weather. 

28. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is one of the largest cities in the U.S. and is famed for its bold architecture, rich history, and museums. People often call Chicago the ‘Windy City.’ 

The city has numerous enjoyable activities for tourists like taking an architectural boat tour, visiting the Skydeck at Willis Tower, visiting Millennium Park, and exploring the Museum Campus. 

Fall is an excellent time to visit Chicago when the weather is more likely to be warm and dry. Going through the streets of Chicago is also more enjoyable with the changing colors of fall foliage. 

29. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is a 47,000-acre recreation area located on the coast of Main and was established in 1916. The park has a diverse landscape and is home to a diverse wildlife. 

If you plan on visiting this renowned park, you can drive the park loop road, hike Cadillac Mountain, explore carriage roads, rock climbing, and more. 

A great time to visit Acadia is during fall when you experience the leaf-peeping season and pleasant daytime temperatures. 

30. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Great Basin National Park is a stunning national park found in eastern Nevada. The park is approximately 77,180 acres and is well known for its unique and diverse ecosystems. 

The park offers activities for tourists like hiking various trails, taking Lehman cave tours, wildlife watching, stargazing, camping, and more. 

One of the best times to visit Great Basin National Park is during fall when there are fewer crowds, warm days, and cool nights. 

31. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park is a diverse and vast protected area on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. It covers close to a million acres, is home to an array of ecosystems, and is well known for its beautiful landscapes. 

If you plan on visiting the park you can do things like hiking various trails, exploring the rainforest, visiting the beaches, and camping, among others. 

A great time to go to Olympic National Park is during fall when crowds have dispersed. 

32. Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Litchfield Hills is found in northwestern Connecticut. It is distinguished by its rolling countryside and scenic towns. The area is well known for its cultural attractions and natural beauty. 

If you happen to be visiting Litchfield Hills, you can explore Litchfield’s historic district, hike at Macedonia Brook State Park, do outdoor recreational activities at Lake Waramaug, and more. 

If you want to experience Litchfield Hills during much friendlier weather and see the fall foliage, the best time to go is during fall. 

33. Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

The Ozark National Forest is located in northern Arkansas and spans more than one million acres. The national forest offers a wide range of recreational activities for tourists. 

If you plan on visiting Ozark National Forest, you can go hiking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, mountain biking, and more. 

Mid to late October is a great time to visit Ozark National Forest. This is when you get to experience pleasant temperatures and stunning fall colors. 

34. Door County, Wisconsin

Door County is on a peninsula between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. It is well known for its parks, long shoreline, and stunning landscapes. 

Door County offers a wide range of activities like visiting state parks, touring lighthouses, going on water activities, cherry picking, and more. 

Mid-October is a great time to visit Door County when this is the best time to see fall colors. 

35. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

The Columbia River Gorge is a river canyon in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. that stretches over 80 miles. The Columbia River is one of North America’s most powerful rivers that forms the boundary between Washington to the north and Oregon to the south.

If you’re visiting the river on your next vacation, you can stop over different waterfalls, go hiking, windsurfing, and other outdoor recreational activities. 

Fall is an excellent time to visit the Columbia River Gorge to fully experience its beauty with less tourist traffic.


Which countries are best to visit in the fall?

A few great countries to visit in the fall are the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, and Germany. 

What is the prettiest state to visit in the fall?

Many states are great to visit in the fall, some of them include Vermont, North Carolina, California, Maine, New York, and Arizona. 

Why is Vermont so pretty in the fall?

Vermont is so pretty in the fall because of the fall foliage with the state being one of the most heavily forested in the U.S. 

Is Vermont or New Hampshire better for fall colors? 

Both places have equally beautiful fall colors with their abundant fall foliage. 


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Victoria Omololu

Victoria Omololu is a fashionista exploring the world on a budget. She co-founded Only Earthlings in 2023 to show her travels in North America, Europe, Africa, and everywhere else. Victoria loves writing about travel tips, itineraries, packing guides, and taking photography from all over the world.

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