Written By: Heather Mikesell
Although fall is often overshadowed by summer travel, it is actually one of the best times to steal away. With the weather finally cooling down and the leaves changing color, many destinations are at their best with fewer crowds.
“Autumn is my favorite season, and the best time for traveling,” says Nanci McArdle, a freelance writer based in Bloomfield, NJ. “My husband and I always enjoy weekend getaways in New England, which is an easy drive away. We love finding new hiking trails where we can go with our dog, apple picking in the crisp fall air, fun hayrides in October, basically anything we can do outside while enjoying nature.”
While New England gets it fair share of attention during fall foliage season, it’s certainly well deserved. Known for its bucolic beauty, Vermont is bursting with color in the autumn months. Throughout the state, you’ll find a variety of fun festivals along with pumpkin patches and corn mazes to set the scene. The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa near Burlington, serves as the perfect getaway to enjoy leaf-peeping season. While there, you can visit Chapin Orchard for a fun-filled day of apple picking or get an unfiltered view from above with a hot air balloon ride with Above Reality.
In the Adirondacks, Saranac Waterfront Lodge features more than just a stunning setting with beautiful foliage. In autumn, the vibrant and colorful landscape comes to life with a host of community events, such as the Northern Current music festival, weekly Farmers Market, a fun corn maze, and the finish line for a 90-mile canoe race. With fewer than 6,000 residents living in the historic village of Saranac, NY, what the town lacks in population, it more than makes up for in culture and charm. Of course, it’s also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts who want to immerse themselves in the stunning colors that surround them.
“There is nothing better than heading back to the hotel and throwing on a sweater to enjoy a nice dinner, reading in front of the fireplace, and just taking it all in before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins,” says McArdle.
New England isn’t the only destination that comes to life in the fall. Surrounded by 1,900 rolling acres of parkland, Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, WV, serves as your own private playground with access to hiking, biking, tennis, golf, pickleball, and more. In the evenings, you’ll want to gather around the firepit with family and friends to share more about your adventures. The resort also features Lakeside Cottages and Lake Houses with full kitchens, furnished outdoor areas, fireplaces, and tranquil views of the water or woods for those looking for a more secluded experience.
On the West Coast, Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA, is getting into the spirit of fall by offering a Spooky Scavenger Hunt from October 22 to November 1. This Halloween-themed adventure lets you explore Skamania inside and out. It involves a walk along Creek Loop Trail, where guests are on the lookout for ghosts and goblins, taking photos along the way to collect a prize at the front desk. Autumn is also the perfect time to enjoy spirits of the season with the resort’s new autumn cocktail menu, including a fresh take on hot cider and sangria.
Another awe-inspiring spot to enjoy a fall getaway is Manor Vail Lodge in Vail, CO. Set in the heart of this beloved mountain village, the lodge is within walking distance of charming boutiques; local art installations, and a variety of restaurants, from rustic taverns and sophisticated five-star venues serving international cuisine to those celebrating Oktoberfest. Vail, an idyllic escape in any month, is especially enticing in the cooler months before the ski crowd comes in search of fresh powder. There, you’ll discover a fresh perspective on fall foliage with a gondola ride that showcases the stunning transition of aspen leaves from green to gold.