10 Best Fall Vacations for Foliage Views, Fewer Crowds, and Stunning Scenery

We've rounded up the best fall vacations for every type of traveler.

Crisp, cool weather and brightly colored foliage make fall the perfect time to travel. Whether you head to the mountains to spot the changing leaves or flock to sunny shores to soak up a few more days on the beach before winter sets in, we've rounded up the best fall vacations for every type of traveler. Cooler temperatures and fewer tourists make destinations like New York City and Maui ideal for fall getaways, and outdoor adventures await near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Flagstaff, Arizona, where you'll be just a short drive from some of the country's best national parks.

Here are the 10 best fall vacations for your next autumn getaway.

1. Asheville, North Carolina

Aerial view picturesque Asheville neighborhood during the Fall with colors starting to show
Getty Images

Nestled in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has everything you could want in a fall getaway. The quaint downtown area is filled with unique shops, galleries, breweries, and restaurants, and you're almost guaranteed to see some local street performers as you wander around. Go for a hike in nearby Pisgah National Forest to spot beautiful waterfalls among the changing leaves, or take a scenic drive through part of the park to take in the beauty without working up a sweat. The Biltmore Estate is another popular Asheville attraction worth visiting; this Gilded Age mansion is the largest privately owned house in the United States, complete with gardens and a winery. For private and cozy accommodations, opt to stay in a nearby tree house or cabin found on Airbnb.

2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Teton mountain range reflection in the Snake River at Schwabacher's Landing in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Fall scenic nature landscape with evergreen trees and a mountain water reflection.
Getty Images

Located near some of the country's best national parks and most popular ski areas, Jackson Hole is a great place to visit year-round, but fall is ideal if you want to avoid some of the crowds and see the colorful mountain foliage. The ski season typically starts at the end of November, so time your trip for early fall to enjoy milder weather without the summer visitors. A short drive to both Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole is truly a gateway to autumnal outdoor adventure. Take a scenic drive (and watch out for moose and bears), go for a hike, or visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art. For a luxurious stay during your outdoorsy fall getaway, check out the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole. Or consider The Virginian Lodge, totally renovated in 2021 and a few minutes' walk from the town center.

3. New York, New York

View of buildings in Manhattan during fall
Getty Images

With the summer heat gone, fall is a perfect time to visit New York City. Explore all the shops, restaurants, and museums the city has to offer, or relax and watch a show on Broadway. Pick a hotel located along Central Park, like The Mark, Park Lane, or JW Marriott Essex House, all of which provide park views so you can enjoy the canopy of changing leaves from the comfort of your room. Of course, you'll want to grab some coffee and stroll through the iconic park to soak in the skyline vistas amid colorful trees.

4. The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Wooded Shores of a Mountain Lake in Autumn. Vibrant Fall Foliage.
Getty Images / iStockphoto

If you want to escape to rolling hills of stunning fall foliage, head to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. There are several charming towns to choose from, including Lenox, Stockbridge, and Pittsfield, and at this time of year, you can drive from town to town while enjoying views of the colorful changing leaves. The Lenox Collection is composed of three charming inns — The Constance, The Dewey, The Whitlock — housed in 18th and 19th-century buildings that were extensively renovated in 2022.

5. Sonoma, California

Sonoma County California autumn vineyards in Sebastopol CA.
Steve Proehl / Getty Images

Fall is an ideal time to visit California's wine country. Wine lovers will want to tour the area's vineyards and wineries — cloaked in beautiful red, orange, and yellow foliage at this time of year — or take a ride on the open-air Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. Take a break from the wineries and go for an easy hike on the Bodega Head Trail for sweeping ocean and bay views, and be sure to grab some fresh seafood for lunch. Montage Healdsburg (named to Travel + Leisure's It List in 2021) offers guests a luxurious stay with plenty of opportunities to immerse in the fall colors, with outdoor yoga classes, miles of hiking trails, and guided e-bike tours.

6. Flagstaff, Arizona

Aspen in Autumn on Wheeler Peak, Flagstaff, AZ
Justin A. Morris / Getty Images

Flagstaff is a nature lover's dream in early fall. This Arizona city is surrounded by national forests, monuments, and parks, so there's plenty to see and explore at this time of year. Learn about Native American history and culture at Wupatki National Monument, where you'll find pueblos that were occupied 900 years ago, and visit the Petrified Forest National Park to see petrified wood and the hills of the Painted Desert. Grand Canyon National Park is just 90 minutes away, so you can easily take a day trip to this incredible national park and enjoy milder weather and fewer crowds compared to the summer months. If you visit in September or early October, consider glamping at nearby Under Canvas Grand Canyon, which is open until Oct. 24.

7. Burlington, Vermont

Sunny Autumn day skyline of Burlington, Vermont
Eduardo Fonseca Arraes / Getty Images

Burlington, Vermont, is covered in red, orange, and yellow hues as the leaves change every autumn, making it one of the best fall vacation destinations in the United States. Spend a day picking your own apples at one of the many nearby orchards, visit a pumpkin patch, or take a scenic drive to check out the beautiful foliage. After a day spent exploring, enjoy a local beer or two at one of the craft breweries in town. Hotel Vermont offers charming accommodations in the heart of the city, near the Lake Champlain waterfront.

8. Telluride, Colorado

Trees and mountains in fall in Telluride, Colorado
Getty Images / iStockphoto

You might think of Telluride as a winter ski destination, but this Colorado town is beautiful all year round. Early fall is ideal if you're looking for colorful foliage in a breathtaking mountain setting. Visit in September or early October to take full advantage of the season's offerings. Go for a hike or bike ride, or take in 360-degree views of the mountains and valley from the gondola, which runs until the end of the summer season in mid-October, before pausing until the winter season begins. The Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection is a perfect basecamp for all your outdoor activities, with close proximity to hiking trails.

9. Maui, Hawaii

Green grass with trees and tall palm trees on the coast of Maui

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Sure, brightly colored fall foliage is nice, but autumn is also the perfect time to head to beachy, tropical destinations. Maui is regularly named among the best islands in the world by Travel + Leisure readers, and once you visit, you'll see why. Here, you can lounge on beautiful beaches, go hiking in a rainforest, or just relax at one of the many stunning resorts on this island. Adults-only Hotel Wailea is perfect for a romantic getaway, while the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea offers a complimentary, daily Kids for All Seasons activities program for ages five to 12.

10. Bermuda

Boats docked at sunset in Hamilton, Bermuda
Getty Images

Escape cooler autumn temperatures for sunny Bermuda this fall. Here, the average daily highs reach the low to mid-80s in September and October — perfect weather for relaxing on Bermuda's iconic pink-sand beaches. Plus, from many East Coast travel hubs, it's less than a 3-hour plane ride to this British Overseas Territory that's 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina — from New York City it's just over two hours in the air. The Loren and the Hamilton Princess are among the popular luxury accommodations on the island.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles