Traveling does not have to be expensive to be fun!
No matter where in the United States you live, there are plenty of nearby places offering rich culture and beautiful scenery that you can experience with a short—or long if you choose—car ride. Whether you’re on the East coast, West coast, or somewhere in between, certainly, at least one of the places on this list is within reasonable driving distance and at a cheap price.
Or maybe you are feeling adventurous and want to set off on a cross-country sight-seeing tour this fall. In that case, see if you can check them all off your list!
Founded in 1626, Salem is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The Massachusetts town is best known for the infamous Salem witch trials, making it a prime spot to visit during the spooky Halloween season.
If you visit Salem in the fall, there are several attractions to see surrounding the historic witch trials that took place there. There is the Salem With Museum, the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, and the Witch House. The Witch House is a fascinating stop on your tour of the old town as it is the only structure that remains that is directly tied to the witch trials.
Aside from the history of witchcraft, Salem is a beautiful town in the fall as it takes on that famous New England fall foliage that is colorful and beautiful.
Asheville, North Carolina
If your idea of a perfect fall day involves Apple Orchards, pumpkin picking, and delicious seasonal beverages, then Asheville, NC may be the ideal place to visit in October.
The oppressive North Carolina summer heat has broken by October, making for mild and comfortable temperatures. Because of the climate, the Asheville area has one of the longest fall foliage seasons you will find. The colors are bright and vibrant, and being located in the Blue Ridge Mountains means that tourists can take in breathtaking views.
If you can book it early enough, staying in the Omni Grove Park Inn is a great experience. The hotel takes luxury to another level, and the view of the surrounding areas is gorgeous in the fall.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is a significant tourist destination in the summer months. It is located on Mount Desert Island and at the edge of the famous Bar Harbor, which means June through mid-October can be pretty crowded in this corner of Maine.
However, in the latter half of October, the crowds typically begin to disperse as the vacation season has wrapped up. Without the masses of tourists, the fall season becomes a beautiful time to visit. As with most of New England, the leaves have mainly changed to vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow by the first week in October. This fall scenery is a sight to behold.
The air will be cool and crisp, so be sure to dress appropriately, but hiking the gorgeous paths and hills of Acadia National Park in the fall should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Big Sur, California
Thus far, we have focused on East coast locations, so let’s head out West for our next stop!
Big Sur is located on the coast of California from Carmel to Cambria. The combination of heat and crowds can be a bit much during the summer months, but from September-November, the temperatures cool, and the crowds subside.
Big Sur is the home to several wonderful state parks, such as Andrew Molera State Park. This park may be less developed; however, it offers beaches, great hiking opportunities, and an excellent view of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Big Sur is filled with spectacular sights to see and is a perfect West Coast stop in the fall months.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Once again, we have a destination in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that is extremely hot in the summer months but cools to a more tolerable temperature in the fall months.
In the autumn, the trees become colorful, and there’s a cool breeze that keeps visitors comfortable. From an activity standpoint, the biggest draw of Albuquerque in the fall is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. For nine days in early October, you can witness sensational sights as hundreds of colorful and different-shaped balloons soar through the skies over Albuquerque. It is truly a sight that you won’t want to miss.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
What list of fall travel destinations would be complete without mentioning the majestic Rocky Mountains? The mountains are magnificent any time of year, but the view becomes surreal when the lush green foliage is replaced with bursts of gold and orange colors.
Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect fall destination, located in the Aspens of the great mountain range. In addition to the hiking trails and beautiful scenery, autumn is the time of year to witness the elk rut. Every fall, the elk descend from the high country to begin their mating season in the plains. If you visit this time of year, you have a fantastic chance of seeing elk and listening to the bugle call of the male elk.
Door County, Wisconsin
Heading to the Midwest now, Door County, Wisconsin is another great fall travel destination. The cool northern temperatures in October bring out the vibrant colors in the scenery.
Door County has excellent locations for camping; remember to bring your jacket! Waking up to the sunrise in the crisp, cool air while surrounded by beautifully colored trees is an unforgettable experience. During the day, there are plenty of fantastic trails to hike. Following the recommended 3-day nature itinerary will ensure that your Door County experience is one always to remember.
Touring the country isn’t just intended for the warm summer months. There are many locations to see across the United States that offer beautiful foliage, moderate temperatures, and fun activities in the fall months. If you prefer to avoid large crowds, autumn may be the best time of year to visit most of these places.