Fall is an excellent time for road trips and weekend getaways. Destinations crowded with tourists during the summer typically see fewer visitors in the fall, and in many parts of the country the changing season turns forests and parks into a vibrant mix of gold, yellow, and brown leaves. So let's toss some clothes into a weekender bag and check out the best places to visit in the fall.
Camping in the Fall
Fall camping has a very different feel than summer camping. Waking up to a crisp, clear October morning is exhilarating, while hiking through a deciduous forest in its autumn colors exemplifies why many people consider fall their favorite season.
Camping in the fall requires different clothing than summer trips. Make sure to pack clothing you can layer into your duffel bag. You’ll need extra layers in the morning and evening, but fall afternoons are surprisingly hot. Pack fleece, wool, and polyester clothing, and consider adding a beanie, long underwear, and an insulated, wind-resistant jacket.
As for where to go when you're camping, most of the major national park campgrounds remain open in the fall, and RV camps tend to be less crowded. If you want to hike through New England’s fantastic fall foliage, consider Acadia National Park or Cape Cod. Percy Quin State Park in Mississippi, Crater Lake in Oregon, Big Bend in Texas, and Grand Tetons in Wyoming also rank among the best places to visit in the fall.
Take a Road Trip
Fall and road trips go hand-in-hand. Get away for the weekend to explore small towns, quiet state parks, or just drive through the fall foliage. New England fall road trips provide such attractions as antique shops, charming bed and breakfast accommodations, and opportunities for leaf peeping.
If fall foliage isn’t your thing, plan your trip around fall concerts, festivals, or sporting events. Perhaps there’s a museum in a neighboring state you’ve always wanted to visit or a kooky tourist attraction you never found time for during your summer travels. Make such places the focus of your fall road trips and explore for a weekend.
Spend the Day in a Picturesque Small Town
Escaping the big city for a weekend in a picturesque small town is one of the most popular types of fall trips. The best small towns to visit in the fall are the ones slightly off the beaten path, with the attractions and accommodations you want but without crowds of weekend travelers. Finding these
One note on small towns where summer is peak tourist season: Visiting such locations in the fall can reward you with great accommodation deals, but some attractions and businesses close their doors at the start of fall and remain closed until spring.
Go Apple or Pumpkin Picking
If you enjoy apple and pumpkin picking, a 5-day New England fall road trip may be your perfect weekend getaway. Plan your trip around different farms and attractions, and come home with a bushel of apples and a couple of pumpkins for Halloween! Many orchards can be found online, but you can also locate them by asking B&B hosts or checking with local chambers of commerce. If you want the rewards of apple picking without the work, many orchards and farms sell apples and pumpkins outright.
Before going apple or pumpkin picking, call the farm or orchard to see when they’re open to the public. Ask if they have other activities on-site; Many orchards offer hayrides, petting zoos, hiking trails, and corn mazes. If children are traveling, ask if the orchard trees have low branches so kids can pick apples. Combining pumpkin picking with a trip to Salem in October makes for a memorable trip!