With fall around the corner, now is the time to plan a trip to take in the smattering of fall leaves, the golden-red tones and the chilly evenings. Whether you’re looking for Instagram worthy landscapes or a quiet escape from city life, this list has something for you from upstate New York to the West Coast.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is stunning all year round, but it’s especially jaw-dropping in autumn. The 40-mile stretch of Acadia Byway, with its wild coastlines and National Park, is smattered with an arrow of fall colors during this period.
The leaves noticeably turn on Mountain Desert Island in late September early October, making is a perfect place for a hike or bike trail during fall. Towering over the national park, the Cadillac Mountain is a perfect place for an autumn trail, looking over the town, bay and Cranberry Islands.
Nicknamed the ‘Falls Color Capital’ you’ll struggle to find a place with so many plants turning autumnal shades of yellow, red and orange during the September and October months. With its world-class slopes and its alpine village, Stowe, is best known as a winter ski destination but it looks rather magical in Fall.
Enjoy the brisk, cool air and magical landscape as you cycle or drive along the many country roads in the area, Mt. Mansfield Auto Toll Road is especially spectacular in this time of year. If you’re looking for adventure, try hot air ballooning or zip-lining, allowing adventurers to see the foliage and landscape for a unique aerial view.
New Hampshire Lakes
New Hampshire is one of the prettiest places to visit in general, but it is especially stunning in fall. Head away from the coasts towards the Lakes where the fall leaves are out in their full glory. As this area is protected from the harsh coastal winds, it’s one of the best locations to observe longleaf season.
Kayak or canoe across any of their grand lakes to get the best view of the red maple littered water’s edge reflecting on the clear water.
Home to Gone With The Wind’s Rhett Butler, Charleston is filled with centuries old mansions, Spanish moss draped trees and photographic cemeteries that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. This South Carolina state is especially beautiful to the backdrop of falling Autumn leaves.
September and October are the best times to visit the city as the weather is not too cold and too hot. Enjoy the fall air whilst walking through the Boone Hall pumpkin patches, whilst enjoying the MOJA Arts Festival or the historic parks such as Fort Sumter, to see the leaves fall.
Fall is the best time to adventure around National Parks. There are fewer people and cars around, more chance of seeing a varied selection of wildlife (including brown bears and moose) and cooler temperatures for hiking. On most autumn days you’ll feel like you have the whole park to yourself.
Take a drive through Inner Park Road to see wildlife roam amongst the autumn landscape, take time out to rent a boat and relax on the Jackson lake inside Grand Teton National Park.
Staten Island Greenbelt
City dwellers need not go far to get to one of New York’s most beautiful forests, right between Richmond and Staten Island. If you’re tired of the concrete jungle this maple, tulip and beech littered landscape will cure your blues.
Enjoy the peace of the manicured gardens of Snug Harbor, the beautiful autumnal hues of the Tuscan Gardens and the striking New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. The Staten Island Greenbelt itself is 2,800 acres of natural area and offers 35 different trails through scenic settings.
San Diego may be famous for its palm trees, but this stunning California city has a lot to offer in Autumn seasons. Stroll through the Japanese gardens and observe the maple trees running shades of yellow, orange and red, check out the fiery red sweetgum trees in Balboa Park or hike Palomar Mountain.
The Cabrillo National Monument is one of the best places to go tide pooling in fall due to the low tides. On a crisp autumn day, there is nowhere better than Julian, which celebrates all things apple with apple pie to apple ciders and lets family pick their own apples in the yard.
Advice for International Travellers
Citizens of 38 countries and territories are eligible for visa-free entry into the United States under a Visa Waiver Programme called ESTA.
Once you have applied for ESTA USA, your application is valid for two years from the moment of authorization. You can use this ESTA multiple times over the two years and can stay within the US for up to 90 days at a time. If you have previously submitted an ESTA application, you can receive an ESTA status update by submitting a form on their website. Check online before applying to see if you are from one of the Visa Waiver Program countries.