Now that the summer heat is finally subsiding and pumpkin spice lattes are infusing the air, it's time to embrace the change of season and start planning a fall vacation.
This colorful season brings a cornucopia of delights, from harvest and beer festivals, to leaf peeping trails and Halloween celebrations. Many places around the country celebrate the season in their own special way, but we've picked out five of the most interesting and exciting places to visit this fall.
Check out our selections below, then peruse our travel deal section for offers that can help sweeten the price of your fall excursion!
5 of America's Best Cities to Visit in the Fall
Denver is one of our favorite places to visit in general, but never more so than in the fall when its "mile high" altitude causes the leaves to change color early. For the best leaf peeping vistas, visit Denver in October and take the Cherry Creek Bike Trail or High Line Canal.
And you know what goes great with leaf peeping? Beer! Denver is brimming with beer festivals this fall. Check out the Denver Beer Fest, Oktoberfest Denver, and Great American Beer Festival for the chance to sample over 3,500 local craft brews.
Denver is the home city of low-cost airline Frontier, and as such we often find the cheapest rates on this airline. Sure, it won't be a luxurious flight, but with prices as low as $19 1-way, that frees up more money for beer!
The picturesque city of Portland is a great place to combine stunning fall foliage with one of the country's most decadent harvest festivals. The Harvest of the Harbor features a variety of local produce from blueberries to radishes, but the focus is on seafood and beer. Of course Maine is known for its lobsters and the highlight of the festival is the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition. And yes, audience members get to sample and vote!
If you want to work off some of those lobster calories, cycle around the city with Portland's Zagster bike-share program, which costs $20 per day. Or, if you're feeling energetic, take a hike in Bradbury Mountain State Park on the edge of the city. From the summit you can see across the breath-taking fall color canopy right across to the ocean.
Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach might not be the first place you think of when you start planning your tranquil fall getaway, but in fall this resort city completely transforms from a party zone to a nature-lover's paradise. (Just make sure you plan your arrival after the rowdy Neptune Festival ends!) Bird lovers should head to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to experience the thousands of snow and Canada geese and tundra swans that make a pitstop at the refuge during their annual migration. For the best sightings wait until late November/early December, when the bird population is at its peak.
If you want to add a romantic element to your trip, why not take a couples horseback ride on Virginia Beach? This bucket-list experience is guaranteed to impress your significant other and may even earn you an end-of-the-year tan!
Savannah is widely acknowledged as one of the most haunted cities in America, making it the perfect place to celebrate Halloween. The city takes its spookiness seriously, and a stay at one of the city's many haunted hotels, such as the infamous Marshall House, is not for the faint of heart.
There are a million haunted tours available in Savannah, but Blue Orb's City of the Dead Tour is generally accepted as one of the most bone-chilling. If you don't want to fork over your hard-earned cash for a tour, head straight to one of the most haunted places in Savannah: the Moon River Brewing Company. As well as having been featured on shows like "Ghost Hunters," this historic pub also serves a pretty tasty "Apparition Ale" with the tag line "watch it disappear."
Some cities are spring cities, other cities are summer cities, but Boston comes into its element in the fall. The crisp Northern air combines with the general back-to-college excitement to energise the city and make you feel like a student all over again. Grab a warm apple cider and stroll through Harvard's Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain to fully appreciate the city's fall colors.
Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., making it a great place to celebrate Halloween. The city hosts plenty of mist-shrowded graveyards dating back as far as the 17th century. Plus, Boston is just a short trip away from Salem, a town famed for its witch trials in the 17th century. The town still takes its witching history seriously, with attractions like a witch village and witch hunt.
Finally, to really give your fall getaway a New England twist, plan a Boston visit from mid-November, when the Frog Pond in Boston's Commons opens for ice-skating.
Have you taken a memorable fall vacation? Share your experience with our readers in the comments below.