Best Fall Vacations – Safe Travel Options With Fewer Crowds
With the end of the frenetic summer travel season comes cooler days and fewer crowds in popular destinations. Whether you head to the mountains or flock to sunny shores here are some safe travel options and the best fall vacations for every type of traveler. Travel restrictions and guidelines are changing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve. Be sure to check with any destinations, hotels, or attractions to ensure they’ll be open when you visit.
Asheville, North Carolina
Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has everything you could want in a fall getaway. The quaint downtown area is filled with unique shops, galleries, breweries, and restaurants. If you love waterfalls then you can choose a hike in nearby Pisgah National Forest to spot beautiful waterfalls among the changing leaves. The Biltmore Estate is another popular Asheville attraction worth visiting. The Gilded Age mansion is the largest privately owned house in the U.S., complete with gardens and a winery. For private and cozy accommodations, opt to stay in a nearby tree house or cabin found on Airbnb.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Located near some of the country’s best national parks and most popular ski areas, Jackson Hole is a great place to visit year-round. Even so, fall season is ideal if you want to avoid some of the crowds and see the colorful mountain foliage. The ski season typically starts at the end of November, so time your trip for early fall to enjoy milder weather. A short drive to both Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole is truly a gateway to autumnal outdoor adventure. Take a scenic drive, go for a hike, or visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art. For a luxurious stay during your outdoorsy fall getaway, check out the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.
New York City, New York
Fall is a perfect time to visit New York City. Although some popular attractions won’t be reopening for a while longer — Broadway is currently shut down until 2021 — there’s still plenty to see and do in New York City. Shopping and dining venues are open across the city, and also some museums. Pick a hotel located along Central Park, which offer park views, so you can enjoy the changing leaves from the comfort of your room.
Fall is an ideal time to visit California’s wine country. Wine lovers will want to tour the area’s vineyards and wineries, or take a ride on the open-air Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. Take a break from the wineries and go for an easy hike on the Bodega Head Trail for sweeping ocean and bay views. Make sure you won’t forget to grab some fresh seafood for lunch. Nearby Farmhouse Inn offers guests a luxurious stay in wine country, complete with sommelier-led wine tours and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Flagstaff is a nature lover’s dream in early fall. Around this Arizona city you can find national forests, monuments, and parks, so there’s plenty to see and explore at this time of year. It is also a great destination if you are looking for a safe travel experience. Learn about Native American history and culture at Wupatki National Monument and visit the Petrified Forest National Park to see petrified wood and the hills of the Painted Desert. Grand Canyon National Park is just an hour and a half away, so you can easily take a day trip to this incredible national park. In this period of time you can enjoy milder weather and fewer crowds compared to the summer months. If you visit in September or early October, you can go glamping at nearby Under Canvas Grand Canyon, which is open until Oct. 26.
In Burlington, Vermont you will find red, orange, and yellow hues as the leaves change every autumn. This is the reason why it is one of the best fall vacation destinations in the U.S. Spend a day picking your own apples at one of the many nearby orchards, visit a pumpkin patch, or take a scenic drive to check out the beautiful foliage. In the evening you can enjoy a local beer or two at one of the craft breweries in town. Hotel Vermont offers charming accommodations in the heart of the city, near the Lake Champlain waterfront.
You might think of Telluride as a winter ski destination, but this Colorado town is beautiful all year round. Early fall is ideal if you’re looking for colorful foliage in a breathtaking mountain setting. Visit in September or early October to take full advantage of the season’s offerings. Go for a hike or bike ride, or take in 360-degree views of the mountains and valley from the gondola. It runs until the end of the summer season on Oct. 18, before pausing until the winter season begins. You could also opt to visit in early December to enjoy the first days of the ski season (which typically starts around Thanksgiving Day). The Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection is a perfect basecamp for all your outdoor activities, with ski-in, ski-out access and close proximity to hiking trails.
Even if autumn’s colors are beautiful, it is also the perfect time to head to beachy and tropical destinations. Maui was voted the top island in Hawaii by Travel + Leisure readers in the 2020 World’s Best Awards, and once you visit, you’ll see why. Here, you can enjoy your time on beautiful beaches, go hiking in a rain forest, or just relax at one of the many stunning resorts on this island. This summer, Hawaii required all visitors to quarantine upon arrival. For keeping a safe travel, visitors may be able to avoid that if they show proof of a negative coronavirus test.
Escape cooler autumn temperatures for sunny Bermuda this fall. Bermuda reopened for international travel in July, and visitors have to follow a number of health and safety protocols. Among them is showing a negative COVID-19 test taken up to one week before departure. Bars and restaurants are open, and beaches have physical distancing measures in place, so you can enjoy the island’s popular pink-sand beaches in peace. The Loren and the Hamilton Princess are among the popular luxury accommodations on the island.