From Festive to Frightening: 10 U.S. Destinations to Visit This Fall

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From admiring fall foliage to braving haunted houses, some of us live our best lives when the leaves change and cooler temps prevail. *sips apple cider* *rearranges decorative pumpkins for the 100th time*

But if traditional fall activities aren’t your thing, but, say, getting outdoors, eating (and drinking) locally, and learning about history are—not to worry. I’ve rounded up 10 destinations in the U.S. where fall activities reign, whether you enjoy them from the apple treetops or the vineyard patio.

Where to go for fall foliage (or getting outdoors)

Asheville, North Carolina

If a foliage-filled city break is what you’re after, Asheville is the place to go. The city is known for its great restaurants, wineries, and thriving brewery scene.

You can also plan a day hike to experience the fall colors and cap it off with a scenic picnic.

Finger Lakes, New York

Grab your canoe and witness the leaves changing from one of the 11 lakes in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Prefer patios over paddling? Visit one of the area’s 100+ wineries instead.

North Cascades National Park, Washington

Mountains, glaciers, and lakes. Oh my! Just three hours outside Seattle, North Cascades National Park is an ideal place for hiking, fishing, camping, and of course, leaf peeping.

Tip: Check out this fall foliage prediction map to plan a leaf-peeping trip during your destination’s peak week for fall colors.

Where to go for apple picking (or sipping local cider)

Amesbury, Massachusetts

… more specifically, Cider Hill Farm—an idyllic destination for everyone who loves all things fall. What’s on offer? Apple picking, of course, but there’s also a farm store and open air fall market, a hard cider bar, pumpkins, hayrides, food trucks, and more.

You can book tickets to pick your own apples 72 hours in advance. Not sure of your weekend plans? The farm also welcomes walk-ins.

New Hope, Pennsylvania

Located in scenic Bucks County, the town of New Hope has lots to offer by way of fall family fun, including strolling historic Main Street, taking a ghost tour, or exploring Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve.

At beautiful Solebury Orchards, you can pick your own apples (reservations required) or visit the farm market for other locally grown fruit and products, including their own apple sauce and apple cider.

Placerville, California

Home to over 50 family farms—and a community known as Apple Hill—Placerville is California’s apple-picking paradise. Plus, there’s loads of other fall and family-friendly fun in store. From pumpkin patches to wineries, bake shops to kids’ activities, there’s something for everyone in Apple Hill.

Fennville, Michigan

Nestled in what’s known as Michigan’s Fruit Belt, Fennville is home to myriad orchards, vineyards, farms, and more. Head to this corner of the Mitten State to get your fall fix at places like Crane Orchards and Gold Coast Farms.

More interested in drinking your apples? I feel you. Head to Virtue Cider to sample their range of ciders made with 100% local apples. Visit the taproom for a tasting, or book your own greenhouse to enjoy your cider flight and bites in a cozy atmosphere.

Where to go for Halloween (or spooky history)

New Orleans, Louisiana

If you love parades, New Orleans should be high on your fall destinations list. Enter: the Krewe of BOO! Halloween Parade. This annual Halloween parade features floats, marching bands, dance troupes, and walking krewes—all marching through NOLA’s famed French Quarter.

This year, the parade takes place Saturday, October 23rd.

Planning to take the post-parade party indoors? Remember your health passport, as New Orleans now requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for entry to bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues.

Read more: City Break: New Orleans

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is one of America’s spookiest cities thanks to its historic cemeteries, reported ghost sightings, and famed voodoo-practicing residents.

Take a ghost tour—via trolley, hearse, or on foot (there’s even a haunted pub crawl option!)—to learn about the city’s spooky past and access some of its most haunted locations.

Hudson Valley, New York

New York’s Hudson Valley is ripe with fall activities that range from festive to downright frightening.

On the festive end, opt for a jaunt through Van Cortlandt Manor when it’s dressed up for The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. That is, covered in thousands of hand-carved jack o’lantern displays—from dragons to the Statue of Liberty. Advanced reservations are required, so book your timed entry now.

As for frightening? You’ve heard of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, right? You can visit the real village of Sleepy Hollow. Or, head to nearby Tarrytown where Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving lived. His historic home will be decorated for the season. Spooky SZN, that is.

Note: As cities reopen around the world, be sure to consult and adhere to all local guidelines and travel restrictions, as they vary widely and will continue to change. One way to stay on top of changing guidelines is to consult the COVID-19 travel guidance feature in the TripIt app for destination-specific information, including current infection rates, quarantine rules upon arrival, testing requirements, and other information you need to know before visiting the area.

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