Plan a quick fall trip and recharge in these top-notch destinations.
Summer is over, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to plan a vacation this year. These unique autumn getaway options offer a fun way to enjoy beautiful fall foliage, stunning beaches and seasonal festivals with exceptional weather and, in many cases, smaller crowds.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Alabama’s Gulf Coast is gorgeous year-round, but the fall months bring fewer crowds and more affordable prices on both hotels and rental condos. Head to Gulf Shores for warm ocean waters and lovely white sand beaches that you may have all to yourself.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque’s desert plains and desolate landscapes provide a relaxing respite for visitors year-round, however fall is a great time to visit to enjoy the famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Book a trip to Albuquerque in early October to see hundreds of brightly colored balloons dot the sky – you can even take a hot air balloon ride yourself, with a local tour operator. Because this is a popular festival, you’ll want to secure accommodations well in advance.
“Red Rock Country” is surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest along with towering cliffs and multihued stone formations, making it perfect for hiking, biking and general exploration. Visit this rugged but exceptionally beautiful town for outdoor recreation at one of its state parks and shop for local souvenirs at the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen is a fun place to spend a long weekend if you’re craving a destination that excels both in natural beauty and nightlife. Just 34 miles south of the Cancun International Airport, Playa del Carmen is home to a happening main drag known as Fifth Avenue, beautiful white sand beaches and affordable lodging options. What’s more, this beach destination sees fewer crowds and hotels offer cheaper rates during fall.
Destin features stunning white sand beaches, turquoise waters, a family-friendly atmosphere and top-notch resorts. The weather is perfect in the fall, with highs hovering in the 60s to 80s, and the summer crowds are long gone. What’s more, added nonstop routes to the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport make this Florida city more accessible to travelers than ever before.
You don’t necessarily have to jet off to Europe to enjoy German culture or the country’s famed Oktoberfest. Leavenworth is a German-themed town in Washington state and hosts its own version of the historic festival annually, making it a perfect weekend getaway to enjoy beer, brats, live music and fun for the whole family.
Aspen is well-known for its beautiful fall foliage, with hues of yellow and gold on display during autumn months. Head to Aspen to peek at the perfectly colored tree leaves, hike the rolling hills and shop (or browse) the many luxurious boutiques in town before winter ski season sets in.
If you love live music, you can’t go wrong with a weekend away in Nashville. Couples, friends and families flock here to visit famous local sights like the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. And Nashville’s food scene continues to gain popularity, thanks to local eats like mouthwatering barbecue and green chili mac and cheese.
Laconia, New Hampshire
Maybe you’ve never heard of Laconia, but perhaps you’ve gotten wind of the famous New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, which takes place in mid-October in this town. Plan a weekend getaway here to check out the giant tower of jack-o’-lanterns, live music, a beer garden, horse-drawn hayrides and pumpkin-carving contests.
Madison County, Iowa
Madison County’s covered bridges are a beautiful sight to behold any time of the year, but fall is an exceptional time to visit to attend the Covered Bridge Festival in mid-October. Head to rural Iowa to discover the area’s six covered bridges, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and take part in the festival’s offerings, including live music, a parade and vendors selling local food and crafts.