Fall is probably my favorite season. The kids go back to school, the weather starts changing to the cooler nights, but still warm during the days, and perhaps best of all, the leaves start to change color. I have always been amazed at the glorious show that Mother Nature puts on for us.
This year, why not enjoy a fun getaway to one of our Fall Weekender Travel Destinations. The crowds are thinner, and the weather is some of the best of the year. These areas give you a chance to see stunning color changes in leaves while enjoying regional sites and food. From specific cities to locales that offer local color, this list is perfect for a romantic getaway, or simply a great place to spend a week exploring with your family.
Fall Weekender Travel Destinations
San Francisco, California: Fall brings a slower tourist season, but beauty unlike any other season in the area. Changing trees, fog rolling in over the bridge and a perfect temperature to walk and explore one of the most incredible cities in the world. This is a perfect time to explore Fisherman’s Wharf, or take a private cable car tour of the famous landmarks. Don’t forget to visit Golden Gate Park and the Aquarium!
Lincoln, Nebraska: Lincoln is a beautiful city with tons of culture in a slow environment. Rolling fields will be in the midst of harvest season around the city, but the colors changing around will be gorgeous. This area has “the sky that never ends” and is an amazing place to view sunsets with your love. For some off-beat places to visit while in Lincoln, try Licorice International, where you can sample and purchase Licorice from all over the world. The National Museum of Roller Skating, as well as the International Quilt Study Center & Museum round out our top quirky choices.
Flagstaff, Arizona: Nestled in the mountains near the Grand Canyon, this small town has all the amenities of a big city. Truly gorgeous views, changing leaves and depending on when you arrive, snowcapped peaks for snow skiing. Be sure to visit the Grand Canyon even if you only have a day for it. Flagstaff’s Downtown Railroad District is a must for the great food and bar scene. Jerome, AZ is a short drive and is an old mining town that lives up to the Old West mystique.
Salt Lake City, Utah: As the seasons change, Salt Lake City prepares for the winter snow skiing season. The beauty of the desert, mountains and trees is like no other. Fall is also an excellent time to view this city without the hustle and bustle of the summer vacationers or the winter ski bunnies. For the birdwatcher, visit the Tracy Aviary; The Family History Center is the be-all and end-all for genealogists. Don’t forget the Tabernacle and the Red Butte Gardens.
Portland, Oregon/ Vancouver, Washington: Portland is a thriving city with a culture that’s all its own. It’s a top location to visit for cooler temperatures, amazing food culture & Arts districts, and of course the changing leaves. The national forests around the city offer hours of hiking and observation of beautiful fall colors that everyone will love. Check for apple picking in the Hood River region, too!
Just across the Columbia River from Portland, Vancouver offers you a suburban city with just as much beauty as you might see in Portland. Amazing fall colors, bridges and even the occasional classic farm house. For history buffs, a must-see is Fort Vancouver; and for budding conservationists, try the Water Resource Education Center
Seattle, Washington: With the oceanfront location and rainy atmosphere expected, you may be surprised to see the areas around Seattle also house fall colors that will be perfect for the entire family to enjoy. Some must-see places include Chinatown, Hiram Chittenden Locks (there might even be some Salmon spawning), the Gum wall and who could pass up the Jimi Hendrix Statue?
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: The fall season in Yellowstone is simply breathtaking. From observing the waterfalls through the changing leaves, to seeing various animals begin migrating and preparing for winter. That means you may see different or more animals than you do in warmer months. There is lots of geothermal activity, and trails are well marked for your viewing.
Lansing, Michigan: Lansing has everything you’re looking for. Shopping, food, arts, entertainment and great fall foliage as the seasons change. The city is rich in art and music culture, with great fusion cuisine and family friendly entertainment. Old Town is full of unique shopping; the Women’s History Museum and the Capitol building are great places to learn the region’s history.
Chicago, Illinois: Chicago is so full of life in the fall! Even though the city itself doesn’t have a lot of fall foliage, the weather is more than worth visiting it for. Must see in Chicago – Wrigley Field for Baseball History, Millennium Park on the Loop for Art, and the Willis Tour Skydeck – feel like a daredevil 110 stories above the ground!
No matter where you are, or what you’re close to, there’s somewhere that’s not too far to take a great Fall weekend getaway.