Whether you’re searching for your next international travel destination or are simply consumed by wanderlust, you will love discovering the most breathtaking places to visit within the United States this fall. With its vast and varied landscapes, America has a widespread number of incredible vacation spots for all kinds of travelers, from those looking for quiet getaways, to those in pursuit of their next great adventures. Below you can check out our top three destinations to visit in the United States this autumn!
1 - Portland, Maine
With its October food festivals, lobster, and some of the most breathtaking views of fall foliage in the country, Maine is an ideal New England autumn destination for landscape-lovers and foodies looking for a quiet weekend getaway.
When to go? Visit Maine in mid- to late-October for a chance to visit the best festivals and see the peak color for fall foliage!
What to do? For red and golden hues and beautiful scenery, travel to Bradbury Bradbury Mountain State Park. For a weekend trip, try driving up to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, only three hours away! On a rainy day, check out the Portland Museum of Art that feature the studio of the great American landscape painter, Winslow Homer.
What to eat? If you’re visiting in mid-October, be sure to stop by Maine’s premier food and wine festival, Harvest on the Harbor. Plus you can’t leave Maine without trying some of their world-famous lobster! Visit Portland Lobster Co., The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, or Becky’s Diner for the best lobster (and lobster rolls!) in town.
Where to shop? Open 24-hours a day, the LL Bean flagship store features outdoor clothing and gear and is surrounded by factory outlet stores. Acclaimed horror author Stephen King is known for frequenting this beloved American company.
2 - Asheville, North Carolina
Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this artistic, musical, and foodie town has some of the most beautiful scenic routes for fall foliage.
When to go? Asheville has a long fall foliage season. To see the best scenic drives for early color, head out in late September. For peak colors, mid-October is the best time to travel here. For late color, visit Asheville at the beginning of November.
What to do? Go hiking or take scenic drives along the Blue ridge Parkway and stop by the Folk Art Center. Take a tour of the Biltmore, which is the Vanderbilt family mansion home, and stop by their Antler Hill Village and Winery. You can easily take day trips to the nearby Grandfather Mountain and the town of Boone, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or Chimney Rock State Park. Finally, in mid-October, you will have the chance to stop by the Leaf Music Festival!
What to eat? For breakfast grab some Southern-style biscuits at Biscuit Head. For afternoon tea, check out Dobra Tea. For dinner, stop by 12 Bones Smokehouse for barbecue. Finally, you simply must try the most luxurious chocolate desserts and drinks at the Chocolate Lounge.
Where to shop? Be sure to save time for wandering around downtown Asheville. You will find streets full of boutiques, galleries, and quirky stores like the geode shop called Points of Light Crystal and Mineral Gallery.
3 - Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountains National Park is known for its beautiful aspen trees with incredible changing colors in the fall. This scenery will make this trip an all-around favorite for any adventurer in search of incredible views and an outdoorsy travel experience!
When to go? While the trees start changing colors by the end of August, the best time to visit is for the peak color in late September!
What to do? For a scenic route on the west side of the park, try driving along Trail Ridge Road—just be sure to stop at Kawuneeche Valley and Fairview Curve for photo opportunities! On the east side of the park, be sure to check out Hidden Valley, Twin Sisters, Bear Lake Road, and Glacier Gorge Trail for some gorgeous scenery. The Rocky Mountains are a great destination for adventurers looking to hike, camp, whitewater raft, zip line, mountain climb, and more. Plus, you can easily take a day trip to Boulder or Denver, or take a weekend trip to Aspen!
What to eat? For a traditional American breakfast, stop by The Egg & I in Estes Park. For lunch and dinner try the Fat Cat Cafe and Sagebrush BBQ and Grill in Grand Lake!
Where to shop? The town of Estes Park, located in the east side of the Rocky Mountains, has a lovely range of boutiques and artisan shops.
Three Breathtaking Fall Destinations Vocabulary—Try practicing the following vocabulary list with this Quizlet flashcard deck!
Wanderlust: The desire to travel
Fall foliage: Refers to when the leaves change color in the fall
Foodie: Someone who is very interested in food—especially gourmet food—as a hobby
(Quiet) weekend getaway: Refers to a short and relaxing weekend vacation
Lobster roll: Refers to a hot-dog style sandwich that involves lobster meat served in a bun. This dish is from New England, but is especially popular in Maine
Flagship store: This term refers to a chain of stores’ most popular or largest location
Factory outlet store (or factory outlet or outlet store): This kind of store is where products are sometimes irregular or damaged, and are sold directly from a manufacturer or company to the public without the middlemen
Scenic route: A road that was designed to travel through an area with beautiful scenery
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Deen is a student at Washington University in St. Louis studying English Literature, American Culture Studies, and Communication Design. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, going to art museums, and eating ice cream.