The Top 10 Places to Visit During Your Fall Vacation

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Fall is the ideal time to travel because of the crisp, chilly air and vividly colored foliage. We’ve picked up the greatest fall vacations for every sort of traveler, whether you hike to the mountains to see the changing colors or rush to sunny beaches to soak up a few more days on the beach before winter sets in.

Cooler temperatures and fewer travelers make fall trips to New York City and Maui perfect, while outdoor activities await near Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Flagstaff, Arizona, where you’ll be just a short drive from some of the country’s top national parks.

Photo by: Noel Kirkpatrick

Travel restrictions and regulations are changing as the coronavirus pandemic grows, so check with any destinations, hotels, or attractions ahead of time to guarantee they’ll be open when you arrive.

Here are the top 10 fall vacation destinations for your next autumn break.

  1. Asheville, North Carolina

Photo by: Asheville

Asheville, located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, provides everything you could desire in a fall trip. The charming downtown area is full of one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, breweries, and restaurants, and you’re almost certain to come across some local street performers as you stroll around.

Hike in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest to see stunning waterfalls among the changing leaves, or take a scenic drive around the park to soak in the scenery without breaking a sweat.

Another renowned Asheville destination worth seeing is the Biltmore Estate; this Gilded Age mansion is the biggest privately-owned residence in the United States, along with gardens and a vineyard. Stay in a nearby treehouse or cabin located on Airbnb for private and cozy accommodations.

  1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Photo by: iStockPhoto

Jackson Hole, located near some of the country’s best national parks and most famous ski areas, is a terrific destination to visit all year, but fall is perfect if you want to escape crowds and experience the beautiful mountain foliage. The ski season normally begins at the end of November, so plan your vacation for early fall to experience warmer weather without the crowds of the summer season.

Jackson Hole is definitely a gateway to fall outdoor adventure, being only a short drive from both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Take a lovely drive (beware of moose and bears), go hiking, or visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Check out the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole for a spectacular stay during your outdoor fall break.

  1. New York City, New York

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Fall is a great time to visit New York City because the summer heat has subsided. Shops, restaurants, and museums are open across the city, and Broadway is set to reopen in September. Choose a hotel near Central Park, such as The Mark or JW Marriott Essex House, which both have park views and let you enjoy the canopy of changing leaves from the comfort of your room. Of course, you’ll want to get a cup of coffee and take a stroll through the iconic park to take in the skyline views among the colorful trees.

  1. Telluride, Colorado

Photo by: Daryl L Hunter

Telluride could be best known as a winter ski destination, but this Colorado town is stunning all year. If you want to see vibrant foliage in a magnificent mountain landscape, visit in early October. To take full advantage of the season’s offers, visit in September or early October. Take a trek or a bike ride, or take in 360-degree views of the mountains and valley from the gondola, which operates until the end of the summer season on Oct. 17 before resting until the winter season begins.

You could also travel in early December to take advantage of the opening days of the ski season (which typically starts around Thanksgiving Day). With ski-in/ski-out access and near proximity to hiking trails, the Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection is an ideal basecamp for all of your outdoor activities.

  1. Burlington, Vermont

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Every autumn, Burlington, Vermont is bathed in red, orange, and yellow colors as the leaves change, making it one of the greatest fall vacation spots in the United States. Spend the day picking apples at one of the many neighboring orchards, visiting a pumpkin farm, or taking a scenic drive to admire the fall colors. After a day of exploration, unwind with a local beer or two at one of the town’s craft breweries. Hotel Vermont provides attractive accommodations in the center of the city, on the waterfront of Lake Champlain.

  1. Berkshires, Massachusetts

Photo by: Denis Jr Tangney/Getty Images

Head to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts if you want to escape to rolling hills with spectacular autumn foliage. There are numerous attractive towns to select from, including Lenox, Stockbridge, and Pittsfield, and at this time of year, you could travel from town to town while seeing the changing colors of the leaves.

Blantyre, a Relais & Châteaux resort near Lenox, Massachusetts, was established in 1902 as a Tudor-style palace and estate; now, it provides luxury accommodations for tourists seeking the ideal fall vacation.

  1. Flagstaff, Arizona

Photo by: Bill Morrow

In the early fall, Flagstaff is a nature lover’s paradise. At this time of year, this Arizona city is surrounded by national forests, monuments, and parks, so there’s lots to see and explore. Learn about Native American history and culture at Wupatki National Monument, which has pueblos that were occupied 900 years ago, and explore petrified wood and the Painted Desert hills at Petrified Forest National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park is only an hour and a half away, so you can easily take a day trip there and enjoy cooler weather and less crowds than during the summer months. If you travel in September or early October, you could experience climbing in the nearby Under Canvas Grand Canyon, which is open until October 25.

  1. Sonoma, California

Photo by: Sonoma County Tourism

The fall season is perfect for visiting California’s wine country. Wine connoisseurs will want to visit the area’s vineyards and wineries – covered in gorgeous red, orange, and yellow foliage this time of year, or ride the open-air Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley.

Take a break from the wineries and go for an easy hike on the Bodega Head Trail for magnificent views of the ocean and bay, and don’t forget to grab some fresh seafood for lunch. The nearby Farmhouse Inn (one of Travel & Leisure’s top 15 resort hotels in California) provides guests with a deluxe stay in wine country, along with sommelier-led wine tours and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

  1. Maui, Hawaii

Photo by: Fun Life Crisis

While vividly colored fall foliage is lovely, Autumn is also an excellent season to visit beachy, tropical destinations. Maui was selected the best island in Hawaii by Travel + Leisure readers in the 2020 World’s Best Awards, and you’ll understand why once you visit.

You can sunbathe on lovely beaches, go hiking in a rain forest, or simply unwind at one of the island’s countless stunning resorts. The adults-only Hotel Wailea is ideal for a romantic holiday, while Montage Kapalua Bay provides Paintbox, a program for children between the ages of five to twelve.

Currently, fully vaccinated US travelers are not required to be quarantined or tested for COVID-19 prior to arrival.

  1. Bermuda

Photo by: CRAVE Magazine 2021

This autumn, escape the milder autumn temperatures and head to sunny Bermuda. Bermuda reopened to overseas tourists last summer, and visitors must follow a variety of health and safety protocols, including presenting a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken before arrival (for full guidelines, visit the Bermuda tourism website).

Bars and restaurants have reopened, and hotels have put in place extensive health and safety procedures, allowing you to relax on the island’s renowned pink-sand beaches. The Loren and the Hamilton Princess are two of the most popular luxury hotels on the island.