I might be biased because it’s my favorite season, but I feel fall is the perfect time to travel in the U.S. The leaves are rich with color, the temperature is cooling down, and the tourists crowds are at a minimum because schools are back in session. It’s the perfect time for a hike among the changing trees, visits to hip new coffee shops, and dinners at cool restaurants serving the best comfort foods. Here are my top picks for perfect fall destinations, whether it’s a road trip, a weekend trip across the country, or a full week exploring a new city in all it’s autumn glory.
**These are just SOME of the amazing cities in the US to visit in the fall, there are so many to choose from!**
Fall Foodie Cities
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is perfect for those that hate the cold weather but want to experience great fall eats. Po’boys pilled high with fried seafood, spicy jambalaya or a hearty gumbo feed your fall food yearnings but with a spicy kick. Don’t forget some warm beignets for dessert, fresh from the fryer and powdered with sugar.
The windy city is chock-full of activities and shopping, but it also has some amazing food. It’s especially enjoyable after a long day outside in the cold, when a drink and a nice warm meal is just what you need. Have a Chicago-style hot dog with all the toppings, some cheesy and caramel topped popcorn from Garrett’s, a deep dish pizza oozing with cheese, or sip on a decadent hot chocolate.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville will feed both your hippie soul and your stomach with all it’s delicious restaurants. Go to brunch for some fresh doughnuts, or a loaded buttermilk biscuit. Dinner can be a southern affair, with updated classics of locally sourced ingredients. Asheville has food for everyone’s taste, whether that be southern comfort food, contemporary dining, or an elegant European-style dinner.
This hipster city offers quirk in everything, including its food. Have the ultimate comfort food with a twist, a chocolate chip cookie with smoked almonds and salted caramel. Get your Asian food cravings satisfied with some steaming rice noodles and crab broth. Have the ultimate thin-crusted Margherita pizza topped with capicollo. Or go super Portland quirk and try out the “tweezer food trend” with multiple “snacks” before your meal (I don’t know about that last one…but regardless, Portland has great food).
Fall Foliage/Outdoor Activities
Stowe, considered the fall capitol of the United States, is an explosion of reds, yellows and orange in a beautiful countryside town. There are multiple ways to enjoy the fall colors, each one equally serene and vibrant. Go for a hike along the extensive trails provided and really take your time exploring. Take a canoe or kayak along the river or reservoir to get optimal views from all angles. Or for those who aren’t as adventurous with the outdoors, take a leisurely drive to take in the foliage.
Try: Mt. Mansfield, Stowe Pinnacle, Kirchner Woods, or Sunset Rock for hikes; Waterbury Reservoir, Lamoille River, Winooski River, or Green River Reservoir for paddling; Click this link for suggested scenic drives
Bar Harbor, Maine
This charming seaside town has oodles of activities to fully experience their gorgeous fall leaves. Watch the sunrise atop the mountain and see the colors of the sun bring out the vibrance of the fall leaves. Take a leisurely bike ride, or horse ride, along the beautiful carriage roads. Enjoy some fantastic seafood and take in the scenery on the harbor. And for those botanists, enjoy one of their beautifully cultivated gardens.
Catskill Mountains, New York
This Catskills take leaf-peeping and fall activities to a whole new level! The mountains themselves offer a wide variety of activities to enjoy the fall leaves and weather, including mountain biking, zip-lining, hiking and camping. There are plenty of small towns and villages for a scenic drive, and with some great pit stops for fall treats and shopping. The area is ripe with apples, which makes for some delicious hard cider to enjoy at one of the taprooms.
Taos, New Mexico
Most people only consider the Eastern cities for fall activities, but some of the most beautiful fall sights are out west. Taos is one of those places, with it’s stunning fall landscape and crisp air. There are several scenic road ways to choose from if you like to drive, or you can take the scenic railroad for a stunningly unique adventure. For those art lovers out there, there are several great festivals in the fall months to buy some great pieces. For the more adventurous folk, there are fantastic hiking and biking trails to take in the fall landscape.