Is fall your much-awaited time of the year? If yes, you’re definitely in for a treat. The temperature gets cooler and the colors of nature get more vivid, so you will have a gorgeous backdrop for those Instagram snapshots. You can take your pick from amazing tourist attractions and no matter where you go, the seasonal changing of the leaves makes for an arresting sight.
These are just some of the reasons why it pays to travel during the fall season. Read on to learn about more advantages when traveling in autumn, and which areas in the US are considered to be the cheapest travel destinations for fall.
Why Is Autumn the Ideal Season to Travel?
If you’re after the fall foliage, you can actually visit any area in the US where there’s an abundance of trees. Starting from New England to the Pacific Northwest, you can go on an inexpensive leaf viewing trip and be amazed at the spectacle presented by nature.
Aspen in Colorado, for example, has a pretty short timespan when the leaves turn from a vibrant yellow to a dazzling gold once hit by the rays of the sun. The ideal time to visit is from the middle of September up to the end of the month.
Come October, and all the autumn leaves will already be on the ground instead of in the trees – which still make for some pretty decent fall viewing. This scenery is one of the reasons why autumn is the ideal season to travel.
Not convinced yet? Here are a few more advantages for travelers who are exploring new places during the colorful autumn season:
- The temperature is cooler.
- If you’re visiting a zoo, the wildlife will be livelier. They’re lethargic during the summer season – especially big cats and bears – because of the heat.
- The crowds which usually populate the popular tourist attractions would have already dissipated so that you can explore the area like a local.
- When booking flights and accommodations, you will save money during autumn because the rates are lower.
- When checking out theme parks, the lines will be shorter. There are fewer beach goers, and the surf is better.
Whether you’re going out for a quick drive or hopping on a flight to go out of state, you can enjoy these advantages and more when traveling during the autumn season.
Top 10 Affordable Vacation Spots for Fall
So which areas in the US can you spend a fall vacation in, where you would not have to spend a lot of money? Take a look at our top ten list:
You might think that summer is the best time of the year to visit a desert state like Arizona, but the colors are pretty inviting during the fall. There’s also a less dense crowd to deal with, plus a bonus of the rates for flights and accommodations are not too high.
In Scottsdale, for example, Wingate Hotel can be booked for much less during fall than what a room would have cost in January. Venturing towards the Grand Canyon will allow you to see nature in all its glorious autumn colors. There are forest trails that you can follow at the Hualapai Mountain Park, or you can check out the Oak Creek Canyon or the West Fork Trail in Sedona.
If you’re willing to travel a bit farther, Anchorage in Alaska is an excellent place to be in during the fall season. You can book a cruise without having to pay premium rates. Autumn is also a good time to pick berries at Flattop Mountain.
For the ultimate Alaskan foliage experience, take the Railroad trail where you can also have a pretty good view of Mount McKinley. There are other spots in Alaska where you can watch the northern lights, and if you’re lucky, you just might stumble upon some local wildlife like a dall sheep or a spot moose.
Make the most out of your fall vacation by traveling to Atlantic Canada. This part of North America will make you feel like you’ve turned back the clock as you visit a local fishing village that’s straight from the eighteenth century. You can find such gems in Nova Scotia, as well as Lunenburg where the preserved wood-framed houses on the streets are like a living, breathing museum.
Fall is an excellent time to visit Canada because you can save money buying tickets to attractions like the Fisheries Museum, the local pubs, and accommodations like the Smugglers Cove Inn. The rates for these are lower during the autumn season as compared to summer when tourists from the US abound.
You will not be lacking for things to do and places to see in the Windy City that is Chicago. The fresh air and picturesque grounds serve as a backdrop for the World Music Festival which kicks off in September.
Related activities include the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and Riot Fest. Situated right in the heart of the Midwest, Chicago has an efficient public transportation system so you can easily go from point A to point B without any hassles.
You should definitely stop by one of the most amazing boardwalks in the US which is Navy Pier in Lake Michigan, and grab a bite of deep-dish pizza that the city is famous for as you bask in the wonderful fall colors.
Denver is the city to be in Colorado, especially if your fall vacation falls in mid-October. You can see the dazzling foliage from the bike trail at Cherry Creek. You can also walk among the amber cottonwood trees along the High Line Canal.
Beer drinkers would have a blast participating in Denver’s version of the Oktoberfest, as well as the Great American Beer Festival where more than 400 breweries are featured.
Get a combined dose of culture and fall foliage in New Orleans, where the crowds are thinner and the temperature is cooler in autumn. Time your visit during the oh-so-fun New Orleans Burlesque Festival in September.
There’s also the Voodoo Music Experience happening in October, followed the next month by the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. Sports fans have the highly-anticipated Saints football games to look forward to, and no visit to New Orleans would be complete without sampling some Creole cuisine.
Savannah in Georgia has a reputation for being a haunted city, which makes for a quite spooky background for fall revelers. However, it’s all part of the fun. Take your pick from activities like the City of the Dead Tour by Blue Orb, a haunted pub crawl organized by the Moon River Brewing Company, a haunted hotel tour which includes a stop at the 17Hundred90 Inn where you’ll get scared out of your wits by the supposed presence of a jilted servant.
You can also sample some Jewish fare at the Savannah Bacon Festival which is held every September.
Louisville is one of the largest producers of bourbon whiskey, and you can have a toast of the local mix during the National Bourbon Heritage Month held every September.
You can also sign up for the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville where there are 34 tops including the Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant. Here, 120 bourbon varieties can be sampled along with chili that’s flavored with whiskey brisket.
If you’re not necessarily a fan of alcohol, you can simply stroll along Iroquois Park where thousands of carved pumpkins along with the local fall foliage make for an amazing sight.
Bike, hike or walk your way through the gorgeous fall foliage in Portland, Maine. Sign up for Zagster if you want to see the color of the leaves striding a bicycle as you have a short tour of Bradbury Mountain.
Get your hands dirty eating lobster that Maine is most famous for during the Harvest on the Harbor foodie-palooza. It’s also when the Lobster Chef of the Year competition is held, along with the Grand Tasting on the Harbor.
10. New York
Finally, the Big Apple serves as the perfect backdrop for your fall vacation. How can you have a cheap trip to the city that never sleeps, you ask? It’s all about advanced planning.
You can check out when attractions like the American Museum of Natural History can be visited for free or at a discounted rate. If all else fails, you can simply watch the city go by or bask in the foliage of the trees at Central Park while eating a twisty pretzel or a hot-dog bun from a stand on the street.
If you don’t want to travel far, simply visit the local park in your area or the nearest national park. The trees will do all the work for you, as the colors change from one brilliant hue to another and you get caught up in the magic that is the foliage of fall.
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