10 Awesome Fall Destinations You Can Drive To

Fall might not be everyone’s ideal travel season, but with the leaves changing and festivals like Oktoberfest in full swing, it can be a great time to leave your city and go on a little road trip. Whether you’re interested in taking a longer road trip or whether you just want to see some of New England’s best fall colors, here are some of the best fall destinations in the US:

  1. Denver – This one will definitely be a longer drive if you’re starting from the East Coast, but there is sure to be plenty to do on the road and the destination is definitely worth the trip. Mixed in with the evergreen pine trees, you’ll see vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges of aspens and cottonwoods and oaks. October is a great month to visit, as the trees that line almost every street in Denver start to turn and show their fall colors. There is also a major Oktoberfest here, along with a separate, but equally awesome Great American Beer Festival. At both of these events, hundreds of different brewers will be showcasing their drafts!
  1. Nashville – If you still want to take a bit of a drive but are not interested in going all the way to Colorado, Nashville might be a good option for you. Music City will be in beautiful reds and oranges during the fall, and there are plenty of festivals to celebrate not just the changing weather and beer, but also the harvest. There’s no better time of year to visit a city that prides itself on its locally-grown and harvested, farm-to-table food. Festivals celebrating music and books are also going on in Nashville this fall for those that want a little variety.
  1. New YorkPortland, Maine – While Portland, Oregon is sure to be beautiful during this time of year (if as rainy as ever), Portland, Maine is a much shorter drive. Portland always has ideal weather this time of year, making outdoor activities a must. It’s also a good time to come out and try the lobster that this area is known for. The long-running food festival called Harvest on the Harbor highlights some of Portland’s best lobster dishes, paired with other specialties from the area.
  1. New York City – If it’s been a while since you have been to the city, now is the perfect time to visit. There’s nothing quite like New York in the fall, as the trees in Central Park become a patchwork of orange, red, yellow, and green. There are always festivals going on in New York City, but this time of year is the perfect time to catch one of the many food, wine, or beer festivals that are taking place.
  1. Louisville – Louisville is responsible for more than a third of all the bourbon produced in the world, and they take the time during the fall to celebrate their national and international dominance of the industry. Restaurants around the city feature special bourbons or use them to make special dishes. If you’re not as interested in the liquor as you are in fall colors, you’ll find some beautiful trees in Iroquois Park, which was designed by the same landscaper who championed Central Park in New York City. In October, you’ll find the city filled with carved pumpkins, part of the city’s Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular.
  1. Salt Lake City – If you’re willing to make the drive to Denver, consider stopping by Salt Lake on your way home (not that Salt Lake is actually on the way). This area hosts a two month long Oktoberfest that would make any Bavarian proud, and the trees on the mountains start to change as early as September. There are lots of hikes that will get you right up into the foliage and sometimes, there is even enough snow in the fall for skiing.
  1. Boston – Another city well within driving distance that definitely doesn’t get enough attention during the fall. The city is flooded with young intellectuals just starting their new semester at schools like Harvard and MIT, and the excitement permeates the city. Cambridge is a great place to visit during the fall, as there are always fun events going on, and the tree-lined streets present plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing colors.
  1. Chicago – If you like the city atmosphere of New York City, but want to try something different, the Windy City is a great option. Fall ushers great weather to this lakeside town, and with it comes a number of awesome festivals, including the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, the World Music Festival, and even the strange, but fun Great Chicago Fire Festival. The city is also dotted with beautiful parks that make it a great place to see the trees changing colors.
  1. Providence – Rhode Island is our smallest and sometimes most overlooked state, but its capital still has plenty to offer during the fall. Nature and city are perfectly mixed here, making it easy to stay in the city and enjoy the festivals (ranging from Horror Film to beer), without missing out on some beautiful fall displays. Providence’s unique WaterFire, in which bonfires are lit along the rivers that crisscross the city, is truly something to behold.
  1. Santa Fe – One of the longest drives on this list, but if you’ve never been to New Mexico in the fall, it’s time to go. It’s chile roasting season, which means the city is scented with the delicious smell of roasting chiles. Meanwhile, the International Balloon Fiesta is taking place nearby and there’s always festivals like Zozobra to enjoy.

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