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Best Destinations in the USA to Travel to this Fall

Best Destinations in the USA to Travel to this Fall

by Shane Prather September 04, 2018

What’s one to do as the weather cools down at home? Embark on an autumn adventure of course!autumn-vacation-tripsFall is shoulder season in most places around America meaning milder weather, less crowds and lower airfare and accommodation prices. Plus, festivals galore!

Today we have rounded up our favorite destinations for your fall getaway, broken down by mountains, beaches, and cities. There’s a place for everyone to enjoy!

Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains

great-smoky-mountainsNamed for its eerie, smoky haze, the Great Smoky Mountains are a sight to behold all year round. Spanning the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, it is the most popular national park in the USA, with more visitors than the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone combined! But, don’t let that scare you away... When you visit outside of peak season, you won’t have to fight with quite so many crowds.

Main draw in Autumn: The park boasts over 100 different species of trees which put on an autumn display of vibrant gold, orange, crimson, and purple. You’ll also come across more active wildlife as the weather cools down.

Autumn climate: Dry, cooler and foggy. September highs are in the 80’s, with lows in the 50’s. In November, daytime highs are in the 60’s with lows in the 30’s. Temperatures can change by 20 degrees from the base to the mountaintop, so be sure to pack layers.

What to do in Autumn:

  • Climb Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park and the tallest mountain in Tennessee. You can get there by driving the scenic road from Newfound Gap and walking a half-mile to the summit. Enjoy 10-mile views on a clear day!
  • Drive the 5.5-mile Roaring Fork Motor Trail for gorgeous mountain scenery and access to two of the best waterfalls in the area, Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls.
  • Climb Chimney Tops, one of the most popular trails in the park with sweeping views from the top. Be prepared for a short but very steep climb.
  • Take a day trip to Gatlinburg, Asheville, or Pigeon Forge to explore local breweries, attend seasonal festivals, and more.

    Grand Canyon

    grand-canyoneThis impressive, mile-deep canyon carved by the Colorado River stretches for 227 miles along northern Arizona. You will find yourself captivated as the reds and oranges in the valley are accentuated by the low autumn light.

    Main draw in Autumn: The scorching hot summer months lead way to more comfortable temperatures.

    Autumn Climate: September highs are in the 70’s, with lows in the 40’s. In November, highs drop to the 50’s with lows in the 20’s. Weather can be unpredictable so be sure to bring warm clothes and rain gear.

    What to do in Autumn:

    • If you are new to hiking, you may want to stick to the tourist-friendly South Rim which only stretches 12 miles and has a less tumultuous terrain.
    • For less crowds and a more peaceful experience than the South trails, hike the North Rim. This rugged, road less traveled is seen by only 10% of visitors. There are several day hikes of varying length and difficulty such as Arizona Trail, Widforss Trail, and North Kaibab Trail. Be prepared that lodging and restaurants close mid-October due to snow.
    • Take a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon for a unique view of this natural wonder.
    • Wander around Grand Canyon Village to discover shops with Native American souvenirs and then view the Canyon from one of the best spots, Yavapai.

      Acadia National Park

      acadia-national-parkAcadia National Park is a lesser known gem off the coast of Maine that can’t be missed this season! Set on Mt. Desert Island, it boasts a landscape of rocky beaches, pine trees and granite peaks.

      Main draw in Autumn: The crowds have dissipated and weather is crisp but not yet below freezing. You will find the trees ablaze in vibrant colors.

      Autumn Climate: September highs are in the 70’s, with lows in the 50’s. In November highs fall to the 40’s with lows in the 30’s.  

      What to do in Autumn:

      • Drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road and stop at hot spots like Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond and Otter Cliff.
      • Hike up Cadillac Mountain, which is not only the tallest point in the park, but also on the East Coast. You can choose to trek up the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail or drive up the 3.5-mile narrow access road. It’s recommended to go early, and maybe even catch the most amazing sunrise!
      • Take a scenic stroll through the evergreens of Jordan Pond Nature Trail or a more rocky trek through Jordan Pond Shore Trail. Then fuel up at Jordan Pond House, famous for their delicious popovers, decadent, flaky rolls which you top with jam and butter.
      • Savor a dinner of fresh lobster and blueberry beer in Bar Harbor.

        Beaches

        Oahu, Hawaii

        oahu-hawaiiLet’s be real, Hawaii boasts warm weather all year round. But you will find fall is less crowded than the summers and the holiday season, making it the perfect time to visit Oahu (or really any of the islands)!

        Main draw in Autumn: Oahu becomes a cultural paradise with festivals featuring food, fashion, film and Hawaiian heritage. Accommodation prices are also lower with less crowded beaches and little rainfall.

        Autumn Climate: Temperatures stay about the same all year round with highs in the 80’s and lows in the 70’s.

        What to do in Autumn:

        Gulf Shores, Alabama

        gulf-shores-alabamaNothing beats the soft white sand and crystal clear waters tracing Alabama’s southern border to the Gulf of Mexico. This charming resort town can be busy in peak season, but you will experience less crowds as autumn arrives.

        Main draw in Autumn: Fresh, cool ocean breezes, food festivals and of course oyster season!

        Autumn Climate: Daytime temperatures in the 70’s, with lows in the 50’s.

        What to do in Autumn:

        • Relax on the 2-mile stretch of Gulf State Park Beach.
        • Jet ski or parasail at Orange Beach Marina. You may even get lucky and spot dolphins!
        • Check out Alligator Alley where you will get a close encounter with gators from hatchlings to adults, all relaxing in their natural swamp habitat.

          Clearwater, Florida

          clearwater-beach-floridaClearwater is a barrier island with a 3-mile stretch of white sand beaches in Florida's Tampa Bay area. This region is known for year-round sunny weather, so enjoyable any time you visit.

          Main draw in Autumn: The weather is still warm enough to go swimming in the fall, and it’s dry season.

          Autumn Climate: September highs are in the 80’s, with lows in the 70’s. In November, highs are in the 70’s with lows in the 60’s.

          What to do in Autumn:

          Cities

          San Francisco, California

          san-francisco-californiaThe rest of the USA may be cooling down, but in San Francisco, there is an Indian Summer which leaves lots more time for outdoor activities! The City by the Bay is calling your name this fall.

          Main draw in Autumn: While the actual summer months are chilly and foggy, fall tends to be warm and sunny with less crowds. There is also a peak in events to attend.

          Autumn Climate: Warm days, foggy and chilly evenings and mornings. Highs around 70 and lows in the 50’s.

          What to do in Autumn:

          Savannah, Georgia

          savannah-georgiaHello historic Savannah! You will feel whisked away in time with the cobblestone streets, perfectly manicured gardens, and horse-drawn carriages.

          Main draw in Autumn: Say goodbye to the summer humidity. Expect lots of sun but crisp and cool temperatures. It’s also spooky season in this city of haunted history.

          Autumn Climate: September highs are in the 80’s and drop to a comfortable 70’s by November.

          What to do in Autumn:

          Nashville, Tennessee

          nashville-tennessee

          Welcome to Music City, known for its rich country music culture, friendly locals and southern farm to table cuisine. Whether you are a country music lover or not, the variety of live music and delicious comfort food will sweep you off your feet!

          Main draw in Autumn: The toasty weather has cooled down and it’s festival season!

          Autumn Climate: September highs are in the 80’s with lows in the 60’s and in November fall to highs of 60’s and low of 40’s.

          What to do in Autumn:

          Where are you headed this autumn? We would love for you to share your favorite fall destinations in our Facebook Community!

          Check out our favorite destinations for your fall getaway in the USA!



          Shane Prather
          Shane Prather

          Author

          Shane is a Digital Marketing Manager at Conquest Maps. Her love for travel began after college when she landed her first job across the world in Australia. 35 countries and countless memories later; she's not turning back any time soon!




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