The Best Fall Destinations (Besides New England)
Shenandoah National Park: Skyline Drive in Virginia
If you’re looking for a stellar fall foliage road trip, Skyline Drive offers breathtaking views of beautiful Virginia landscapes along twisting, tree-lined roads. And there’s no shortage of top-notch hikes and nature walks throughout the state’s Blue Ridge Mountains and expansive forests. Nestle in for the night with your loved ones at the rustic Big Meadows Lodge and grab a post-hike barbeque lunch at the Big Meadows Wayside restaurant and picnic area.
St. Andrews, Scotland
This little seaside town, famous for its medieval castle ruins and world-renowned Old Course golf location, is tucked into the cliffs above the North Sea, just a short bus ride away from the historical metropolis of Edinburgh. Many globetrotters flock to Scotland in the summer months to enjoy a little coveted U.K. sunshine, but St. Andrews is arguably most enjoyable in the early fall. It’s impossible not to feel cozy while wandering down Market Street in early October—the gale force winds are bearable when bundled up in a Scottish wool sweater, and the pubs that line the windy streets make the outdoor walk worth it. If you’re in search of a day trip, the best fish and chips in Scotland are located just 20 minutes down the road in the quaint fishing village of Anstruther. Bright fall foliage, sea breezes, and strolls along the West Sands make for the perfect autumnal combination, especially with coffee and a fresh scone from Northpoint Café in hand.
Pretty much any Canadian destination will have something fantastic to offer in the fall, but Quebec City features some of the most incredible, vibrant foliage up north. At this time of year, the trees that line the city streets and sprawling parks pop with reds, oranges, and yellows. Embrace your inner Francophile and grab a seasonal brunch at Le Clocher Penche in the charming neighborhood of Saint-Roch. Take in a bird’s-eye view of the city and surrounding mountains from the rooftop terrace of Auberge Château des Tourelles, where you can snuggle up for the night in a cozy room or a spacious studio.
One word: Oktoberfest. Not only is the capital of Bavaria the most authentic spot for this world-renowned folk festival, Munich boasts colorful treescapes and breathtaking castle views throughout the fall season. Plus, the traditional Bavarian food—think warm pretzels and sausages—makes the perfect sweater-weather snack. Soak up the rich history of Munich during a stay in the famous Charles Hotel, and then take a stroll up to Neuschwanstein Castle—the smoldering colors of changing leaves make a picturesque backdrop for the striking, ancient architecture.
If you’re on leaf patrol, opt for this laid-back autumn road trip. The Ozarks region of both Arkansas and Missouri span miles of seemingly endless deciduous trees that burst into a vivid kaleidoscope of fall colors at the turn of the season. Cruise down Route Seven past fiery reds and outstanding ochres, and breathe in the crisp fall air. Book a room at Big Cedar Lodge, located on an expansive 800-acre wilderness preservation with hilltop and lake-side vistas.
The North Fork
Though it might seem like the North Fork is strictly a summer vacation spot, it makes for an ideal autumn getaway from busy Manhattan—in part because it’s so close. Not only has this Long Island gem become a restaurant-studded food hub, the windswept, water-side landscape is stunning in the fall. Grab a Saturday morning coffee at North Fork Coffee Roasters, spend a day checking out all of the local farmstands, and then wander through the grapes at sunset with a glass of bubbly at Sparkling Pointe.