Best Fall Vacations
Fall is typically the time when kids go back to school and grown-ups get back to work, meaning now is the time to find lower prices and fewer crowds along with more comfortable temperatures at many popular vacation destinations. With the help of travel experts and reader votes, U.S. News pulled together a list of ideal travel spots for fall that are perfect for enjoying foliage and autumn activities. Vote for your favorite places below to help us determine next year's list.
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Now that the humidity has dropped, strolling through the historic cobblestone streets of the Battery or sticking your toes in the sand at Folly Beach is even more enjoyable. After working up an appetite, enjoy Charleston's specialty: low country cuisine.
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Temperatures begin to drift from the high 80s to the more comfortable 60s and 70s come November. If you've come to enjoy the fall foliage of the area's sycamore, oak and maple trees, plan your visit for early November, when spots like Baldwin Trail in the Village of Oak Creek and The Cookstove Trail in Oak Creek Canyon burst with color.
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With summer tourists long gone, San Francisco's off-peak season allows for easier navigating down crooked Lombard Street and across the Golden Gate Bridge. If you're with kids, take a cable car over the city's steep hills to Ghirardelli Square for some chocolate.
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Travel to this national park in autumn to enjoy cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, but the same stunning natural scenery that wows year-round. The conditions are perfect for hiking and nearby hotel deals are much easier to come by. Just note: The popular North Rim Trail closes in mid-October.
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Asheville's location along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail means the views of fall foliage are unparalleled. Visit between October and early November to see the most vibrant colors on the surrounding mountains. And you can't miss sampling the city's exquisite culinary offerings: Asheville is a top U.S. foodie destination.
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Fall weather in Jackson Hole is sublime, with high temperatures sliding from the low 70s into the low 40s. Autumn also ushers in a few festivals, plus plenty of opportunities to hike the mountains in Grand Teton National Park or journey to the Granite Hot Springs.
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An autumn trip to Boston is all about leaf peeping. The Boston Public Garden and Boston Common are two prime spots for admiring fall foliage, but there are also plenty of tours that depart from Boston for the colorful New England countryside. Plus, this is the season for events like the Head of the Charles Regatta and the Boston Arts Festival.
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Now void of camera-toting tourists, Yellowstone is ready for you to watch its beautiful transition from summer to fall without interruption (except by maybe a buffalo or two). However, be aware that fewer crowds can mean fewer available park amenities.
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An autumn vacation in San Diego will include plenty of outdoor pursuits, since average highs hover in the upper 70s. Travelers can stroll through the massive Balboa Park, soak up the sun on the beach or head north to hike Torrey Pines. Meanwhile, foodies can indulge in a variety of culinary events.
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The leaves and temps aren't the only things falling this time of year: Vancouver's hotel rates also take a dive in autumn. In September and October, locals flock to various events like the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Halloween Parade & Expo. Plus, now is the time to stroll through Stanley Park to spot the changing leaves.
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Travel to the Big Island in the fall to take advantage of lower room rates and stellar weather. Another popular destination for those looking for an adventure, this Hawaiian island offers impressive hiking trails (past waterfalls and molten lava) and pristine beaches.
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Admire the golden aspens that blanket the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from the Ski Santa Fe chairlift and sample the region's distinct flavors during the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. If you've got your own set of wheels, consider driving an hour south for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which is held every October.
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You won't see a whole lot of fall colors in Yosemite as the majority of the trees in the park are evergreens. However, crowds and temperatures will be much more bearable this time of year compared to summer. Plan your visit for earlier in the season (September is the sweet spot) to avoid snow-related closures.
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Prince Edward Island#14 in Best Fall Vacations
Crisp temperatures that range from the mid-40s to the 70s are the hallmark of any fall visit to Prince Edward Island. Though it may be too chilly to enjoy the island's beaches, there are plenty of events to keep you busy, including the Prince Edward Island International Shellfish Festival and the Fall Flavours Festival.
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The months of September, October and November in Montreal are filled with festivals and cool temperatures. First-time travelers must explore charming Old Montreal and the expansive botanical gardens, though you'll want to bundle up if you're visiting later in the season.
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Once summer ends, the hordes of seasonal tourists empty out of the nation's capital, leaving plenty of room for fall visitors to museum hop, explore the monuments and enjoy D.C.'s blossoming culinary scene. If you have time to escape the city, soak up the pleasant temps at a nearby northern Virginia winery.
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Fall in this part of Canada is characterized by cool weather and a quiet atmosphere now that summer's travelers have returned home. There's plenty to do both indoors and outdoors: The Butchart Gardens, the Inner Harbour, Craigdarroch Castle and the vineyards of Cowichan Valley all beg to be explored.
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Napa is all about wine and food – and the weather is just about perfect this time of year to enjoy both. Plan to winery hop throughout the region during the day and sit down to a decadent meal at night. Keep in mind: This is right in the middle of harvest season, so crowds and prices will be high.
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Fall temperatures range from the mid-60s to the high 80s – perfect for enjoying the State Fair of Texas, one of the country's largest state fairs. You'll also want to stop by the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for its annual Pumpkin Village display, which features more than 90,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds.
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Big Sur is a hot destination for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers year-round, but fall offers some unique sights. Blue whales, humpback whales and orcas can be spotted in the Pacific Ocean in September, and hundreds of monarch butterflies return to Andrew Molera State Park around October to settle in for the winter.
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