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19 Epic Getaways To Enjoy Colorful Fall Leaves


Brilliant fall leaves are worth traveling for, not only because they are visually stunning, but also because it’s temporary.  At our luckiest, we get the golden yellows, fiery reds, and burning oranges for just a few weeks a year, making the fall colors even more delightful.  Planning a fall getaway to bask in the beauty of autumnal colors allows you to enjoy the season fully while it’s still around. Make sure your fall vacation matches your expectations, whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or enjoy the leaves from the car, this guide can help you decide the best place to visit in October.


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When you think of fall leaves, you likely think of the Northeastern part of the United States, and for good reason.  This area of the country has the perfect blend of environmental conditions to create the most stunning fall colors on earth. But where do you stay? What cities offer great visitor experience? How do you choose what part of the northeast to visit? We’ll outline the best cities for a leaf peeper to enjoy, and you’ll feel prepped for your next adventure with Southwest Airlines!


Portland, Maine in Fall


Offering some of the best fall foliage in the country, Portland, Maine has several regions that showcase not only the best colors you’ll see in the fall but also luxurious accommodations, delicious dining options, and of course, historical sites.  Maine is small enough that you can reasonably visit much of the state fairly easily, but if you want Portland’s best colors the peak season for leaf-peeping in the coastal areas is typically October 21 through October 27.  You’ll definitely want to spend some time exploring the coast and the islands of Maine utilizing driving tours created by other fall leaf enthusiasts.  Your fall vacation in Portland, Maine will give you a lifetime of fall memories with your family.


Portland, Maine Fall ColorsPortland, Maine Fall Colors


Fall Destinations in Rhode Island


Rhode Island brings the charm regardless of the season, but autumn is where this New England state really shines. Between its historical charm, coastal bike paths, and obviously incredible fall foliage, this state is a great option for leaf peepers.  Small enough to visit much of the state in a shorter trip, but full of culture, nightlife, and family-friendly activities, Rhode Island should definitely be on your fall vacation bucket list.


Your Fall Vacation in Syracuse, New York


Syracuse offers museums, as-seen-on-TV restaurants, and historical sites like the Erie Canal Museum. Take a short, scenic drive from Syracuse and enjoy the beauty of Skaneateles Lake, then stay at Hobbit Hollow.  If the fall leaves aren’t enough to keep you busy, you can check out haunted attractions like the 13th Hour Rising Haunted Hayride.  Syracuse is a must-go destination for leaf peepers.


Syracuse, New York Scenic Drive in FallSyracuse, New York Scenic Drive in Fall


Boston, Massachusetts: Known For Fall Leaves


When you think of fall in New England, Boston is probably the first city that comes to mind. Enjoy a self-guided walking tour of the best fall leaves in the city, or a one-of-a-kind fall foliage Brunch Cruise.  If you want to add a little heart racing fun to your vacation, try the Ghosts and Gravestones tour while riding the Trolley of the Doomed.  The stunning fall colors of Boston are sure to charm any leaf-peeping enthusiast, but if the autumn leaves don’t convince you, the fact that October is one of the best months for whale watching in the area should convince you to plan your trip right away!


Stunning Fall Colors in BostonStunning Fall Colors in Boston


Manchester, New Hampshire Fall Getaways


If you want to experience New England fall colors in a train car or at a lakefront bed and breakfast, New Hampshire is a one-stop fall getaway for your fall vacation. Some fall color enthusiasts prefer areas where the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows pop against the blues and greens of a waterfront, and Manchester offers that stunning contrast along the lakes and rivers of the area. Not only does this area offer some of the best scenic drives, but it also boasts biking trails for all levels.  If you want the charm of a small town but the accommodations of a city, New Hampshire is your best bet. 


Fall Vacation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Known for its fall colors and as the “City of Bridges,” Pittsburgh transforms into an autumnal wonderland every October.  If you want to enjoy fall colors accentuated by the rivers of the city, try the city overlook from Mt. Washington, a spot well known to locals.  Not only are there great biking trails along the rivers, but incredible breweries dot the riverfront. South of the city at Coopers Rock State Park, you have stunning canyon views of the fall leaves.  Pittsburgh boasts some of the best leaf-peeping in the country, combined with its many options for dining, nightlife, and culture, you’ll be thrilled to have spent your fall foliage vacation in the "City of Bridges." 


Coopers Rock State Park, Pittsburgh PA, Fall ColorsCoopers Rock State Park, Pittsburgh PA, Fall Colors


West Coast


The East Coast certainly has its beauty when it comes to fall colors, but the West Coast holds its own with its rugged western aesthetic.  From high alpine lakes rimmed with golden aspens to dense forests full of waterfalls, the West Coast of the United States showcases some of the country's most breathtaking fall leaves. If you are looking for a great vacation to enjoy autumn colors, the West Coast offers incredible accommodations and world-class outdoor recreation.


Eugene, Oregon Fall Destinations


Hiking might be the best way to enjoy the fall leaves, and Eugene, Oregon (newly added to Southwest's routes) has plenty of hiking trails to enjoy its stunning autumn colors. Only an hour away from Salem, Silver Falls State Park showcases fall colors through dense forests and a 177-foot waterfall. As one of the larger cities in Oregon, you can enjoy a variety of activities outside of typical fall attractions. But if you want to hike, bike, or drive through the beauty of this state, you can get out of the city and enjoy nature away from the hustle and bustle. If you are looking for a fall vacation that combines the best outdoor recreation and city accommodations, Eugene is the perfect place for you! 


Eugene Oregon Fall ColorsEugene Oregon Fall Colors


Fall Colors In Bozeman, Montana


Bozeman, Montana, one of Southwest's newest destinations, is a delightful combination of college town charm and world-class outdoor recreation, making this a perfect destination for anyone who loves fall foliage. Enjoy luxury lodging and incredible fishing at the Gallatin River Lodge, accommodations that are the perfect blend of comfort and outdoor experiences. Want to hike through the fall colors and experience the majesty up close? Bozeman offers plenty of opportunities for autumn hiking. If you’d rather enjoy the fall colors from the comfort of your car, Bozeman has several scenic drives.  Regardless of how you want to enjoy the fall colors, Bozeman gives you multiple options for your vacation that are sure to make your vacation memorable.


Bozeman Montana Fall DestinationsBozeman Montana Fall Destinations


Bellingham, Washington’s Fall Leaves


Another of Southwest's recently added destinations! What better way to enjoy brilliant fall colors than in a 240-acre city park full of waterfalls, modern park amenities, and a stunning stone bridge? Whatcom State Park gives you the opportunity to walk through autumnal beauty while enjoying the benefits of being near accommodations like the Hotel Bellweather.  You can also enjoy the colors of the season with hikes in the area, including the Yellow Aster Butte Trail, known for showing off Washington’s best fall colors.  Bellingham combines the beauty of a bay town with stunning fall colors, it’s a must-visit for any fall leaves enthusiast.


Fall Vacation in Portland, Oregon


Portland is another well-known destination for fall color enthusiasts.  Portland has amazing walking trails like those at the Hoyt Arboretum Loop, featuring over 1,000 species of plants- each species a stunner it comes to fall colors.  Even if you have a rainy day in Portland, the rainfall makes the colors more vibrant!  But if hiking in the rain isn’t your speed, enjoy one of Portland’s many museums.  If you want to see something truly unique, stick around for the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta, where enthusiasts carve out 1,000-pound pumpkins and then paddle around a lake. Portland offers a little bit of everything, so if you are planning a trip where you want to enjoy fall leaves and more, Portland is a great option!


Autumn Vacation in Boise, Idaho


Idaho is an underrated state, especially when it comes to fall colors. Boise is no exception, and this western city gives you more than just potatoes (although definitely enjoy some potato-based cuisine while you’re there!). Boise is often called the “city of trees” which should make the avid leaf peeper’s ears perk up.  Want to enjoy the colors in the city? Rent a bike or walk through the Boise Greenbelt, a 25-mile trail along the Boise River.  If you want more outdoor recreation, visit Eagle Island State Park for even more autumn beauty. The possibilities for enjoying fall leaves are endless in this tucked-away beauty.


Fall Leaves On The Boise RiverFall Leaves On The Boise River


Desert Mountain


Don’t let the word “desert” make you think there isn’t beauty abounding in these cities. In fact, these fall leaf vacation destinations are second to none and provide unique sites for avid leaf peepers.  These mountain desert destinations offer unique leaf-peeping settings, and they quickly become fall leaves enthusiasts’ favorite places.


Fall Destination in Reno/Tahoe, Nevada


Reno is more than just another city in Nevada that isn’t Las Vegas. In fact, Reno/Tahoe has one of the “Top 10 Coolest River Walks” in the country along the Truckee River, known as the Riverwalk District. What started out as a way to enjoy the natural beauty of the river has brought dining, shopping, and nightlife to the area, making the Riverwalk District a perfect place for fall leaf lovers who want to stay close to the city.  Want to enjoy the fall colors a little farther from the city? No problem, Lake Tahoe offers one of the most stunning contrasts with deep blues against the red and gold leaves.  Try the Tahoe Rim Trail for any outdoor adventure you can imagine from a casual day hike to mountain biking to backpacking.  Reno is a solid option for fall color enthusiasts who love the outdoors and the comforts of a bustling city.


Lake Tahoe In The FallLake Tahoe In The Fall


Colorado Springs' Fall Colors


If you want to see Colorado Springs' fall colors in their full glory, you’re going to have to go earlier than other areas of the country because of the area’s high altitude.  Plan on arriving any time from mid-September through mid-October to get prime leaf colors, and prepare yourself for one of the most impressive fall color shows in the country.  A short 50-minute drive from Colorado Springs you can rent a luxury cabin or even glamp to enjoy the full beauty of the fall colors. If you want to get your heart racing while you enjoy the golds and yellows of autumn you can try cycling down Peaks Highway.  If you’d rather view the leaves from the comfort of your car, the highway is a great way to enjoy the fall leaves.  Overall, Colorado Springs offers gorgeous fall colors against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, a view that can’t be beaten.


Colorado In The FallColorado In The Fall


A Perfect Fall Destination: Salt Lake City, Utah


A lesser-known fall vacation destination, Salt Lake City has plenty to offer for fall color enthusiasts.  With awe-inspiring mountains known for the “best snow on earth”, this state has more than just great snow.  For those interested in Utah’s history, a stay at Ellerbeck Mansion offers the charm of a bed and breakfast infused with Utah’s fascinating history, not to mention a delicious gourmet breakfast. When you are ready for great food and drinks, try the Whitehorse in downtown Salt Lake. Utah is home to several National Parks, and with so many mountain ranges, it’s full of incredible scenic drives, including the Alpine Loop, a local favorite. Head south and enjoy Zion National Park in the fall and see some of the most unique rock formations bedecked in fall colors. 




Minneapolis, Minnesota Fall Colors


You may not think of the Twin Cities when you think fall leaves, but that’s what makes this October vacation destination one of the best in the country.  The cities boast a 1,200-acre arboretum, and with so many species and varieties of plants in one place, it’s bound to have a breadth of fall colors and textures. Lake of the Isles Park combines two favorite pastimes, leaf-peeping and bird watching.  This area has many species of birds who stop by on their winter migrations, making this a golden spot for anyone, but especially an avid bird watcher.  For a scenic drive, try the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, and enjoy the beauty of autumn colors against the brilliant blue water.  All in all, the Twin Cities make a great destination for those looking to enjoy the colorful fall leaves.


Fall Colors in Grand Rapids, Michigan


A lesser-known fall destination, Michigan sports some of the most dazzling and unique opportunities for fall colors.  If you are historically inclined (or just a fan of a charming bed and breakfast) check out The Leonard at Logan House.  For a unique shopping experience, try The Art of the Table, a gourmet shop that “picks out the good stuff” and try something new!  When you are ready to see the fall colors, enjoy the Tunnel of Trees, an absolute must-see for fall leaf enthusiasts.  After your drive through the Tunnel of Trees, stay at the Boyne Mountain Resort, a family-friendly ski resort complete with Michigan's largest indoor water park.  This area boasts some of the most jaw-dropping colors the midwest has to offer.  Try Michigan for your fall vacation destination and create memories with fewer crowds than other locations, but just as stunning a fall color display.




Nashville, Tennessee: A Fall Vacation You’ll Love!


Nashville is known for its music scene, but the area also has some truly breathtaking fall colors.  One of the most unique opportunities for enjoying fall colors in the country is at Ruby Falls an incredible facility on top of Lookout Mountain.  Enjoy the views from the resort, and for the more adventurous leaf peepers, you can try the zip line!  While you are there, you should visit the underground waterfall more than 260 feet underground, reached by a glass front elevator. Fall Creek Falls showcases a stunning waterfall, that when surrounded by the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows of fall foliage really shines. For more waterfall magic, Ozone Falls is just a .75 mile hike through lovely fall leaves to the 110-foot waterfall.  When you’re ready to rest, try the Vandyke Bed and Breakfast in Nashville is in the heart of the music and food districts of Nashville so you can experience all the city has to offer.


Greenville-Spartanburg Fall Destinations


South Carolina has some of the most beautiful scenic byways in the country, making it a desirable spot for fall leaf viewing.  Try the Blue Ridge Parkway and be blown away by the majestic views. One of the benefits of this area is the longevity of the leaf-peeping season, which typically starts at the beginning of October and goes through November depending on the elevation. If you want overlooks, South Carolina has many that showcase the lush landscape.  South Carolina has it all, whether you want a drive, an overlook, or a solid hike, you can find it here.


South Carolina Fall ColorsSouth Carolina Fall Colors


Book Your Fall Flights Now!


Fall leaf season will be here before you know it. Planning your fall destination now will allow you to pick the perfect place for your autumn vacation. Head to to book your next Southwest Airlines flight to to one or more of these destinations. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the fall colors in the perfect destination.