- Fall is the best season to spend some time outside and watch the leaves change colour.
- Every state is full of different celebrations, ranging from horror film festivals to Voodoo music and arts fairs.
Summer might be over, but fall brings fewer crowds, sweater weather, and colourful leaves.
ALABAMA: Find your way out of a haunted corn maze at Magnolia Farms in Summerdale.
Alabama isn’t short on fall corn mazes – but the one at Magnolia Farms in Summerdale takes the cake.
Magnolia turns it up a notch with hayrides and zombies, and they even equip visitors with a paintball gun to fend for themselves as they find their way out of the eight-acre labyrinth.
ALASKA: Gaze at the Northern Lights at a resort in Fairbanks.
The view of the Northern Lights – aka aurora borealis – is near perfect in Fairbanks, Alaska, especially between mid-September and late April. And even if you don’t catch a glimpse of the stunning light show, there are hot mineral springs and a year-round ice sculpture museum nearby.
ARIZONA: Take a tour of the beautiful Antelope Canyon and hike Horseshoe Bend in Page.
When people think of Arizona, they tend to think of the Grand Canyon. But the stunning Antelope Canyon in Page is just as gorgeous – and off-season begins in October, so you’ll avoid the worst of the crowds and that notorious Arizona summer heat.
Take a tour, led by a Navajo guide, and hike the scenic Horseshoe Bend, too.
ARKANSAS: Take in the scenery at Mount Magazine State Park.
Home to the state’s highest mountain, Mount Magazine State Park is part of the picturesque Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. The park features 18 campsites, 13 fully-equipped cabins, and activities like rock climbing, hang-gliding, and horsebacking, making it a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast.
CALIFORNIA: Take a ride through Napa Valley on the “wine train.”
No need to worry about a designated driver – the Napa Valley Wine Train runs throughout the countryside, and is even more gorgeous in the fall. It offers stops at vineyards, three-course meals, and a visit to the Grgich Hills Estate.
COLORADO: Book a room at the haunted Stanley Hotel for a night.
While Colorado is home to many haunted spots, one of the most popular is the 100-year-old Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Famed for inspiring Stephen King to write “The Shining” during his stay, the more than 100-year-old hotel is no stranger to paranormal activity. Laughter is often reportedly heard in the hallways and visitors’ bags are mysteriously unpacked.
The hotel offers a night tour, where visitors can learn more about the establishment’s history and maybe experience a ghost sighting or two.
CONNECTICUT: Check out Mystic Pizza, the inspiration behind the classic Julia Roberts film, in Mystic.
There’s nothing better than a warm slice of pizza on a cool fall day.
And how can you pass through Connecticut without checking out Mystic Pizza, the site of the classic 1989 film?
Yes, it’s a real pizza place, and yes, it’s actually good. And the film takes place in the fall, so you’ll feel like you’re really in it.
DELAWARE: Cruise the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway and take in the lush views.
Stretching just over 12 miles, the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway route is one of the most popular in the state – and it’s especially beautiful in autumn.
You can make stops along the way at the countless wineries (it’s also harvest season!), mills, and historic sites. Or just take in the colourful meadows and leaves.
FLORIDA: Get out of this world at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.
It first opened its doors in 1968, and since then, the NASA Kennedy Space Centre has been eager to share its astronautical progress with the world. Stop by while you’re in Florida this fall – you could even see a live rocket launch into space.
GEORGIA: Smell the flowers — the water lilies, to be exact — at the Monet Waterlily Festival in Ball Ground.
The Monet Waterlily Festival takes place annually from September through October at Gibbs Gardens.
Over 140 varieties of water lilies can be seen throughout the grounds. You’ll feel like it’s autumn in Paris walking over the Monet Bridge – especially since Gibbs Gardens provides French cuisine, wine, and live music to top off the experience.
HAWAII: Unwind at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oʻahu.
Hawaii is an evergreen vacation option, especially if you’re looking to get away from the dropping fall temperature. Check out the Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve, located on the southeast coast of O’ahu, and unwind by the bright blue water.
IDAHO: Visit a furry friend at the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch in Coeur d’Alene.
Located in North Idaho, the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch is a rural safe-haven for alpacas and creature-lovers alike. Take a tour and interact with some of the beautiful animals on the ranch this fall – including llamas, horses, cattle, and goats.
ILLINOIS: Go pumpkin picking at the The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur.
The Great Pumpkin Patch is a working farm that displays more than 300 varieties of rare pumpkins, squash and gourds from September 8 to October 31 every year.
Pick a few to bring back home with you and make sure to grab some homemade pastries at the nearby Homestead Bakery.
INDIANA: Make the Indianapolis Zoo’s “ZooBoo” your next haunt.
Every year, the Indianapolis Zoo transforms into a “whimsical village” of pumpkins, animals, and corn mazes. There’s even “pumpkin bowling” – which, according to their website, is a fall favourite.
IOWA: Bike through the High Trestle Trail Ankeny.
Replete with amazing, geometrical architecture, the High Trest Trail Bridge in Ankeny, Iowa, is the perfect activity for strollers or bikers on a sunny fall day.
KANSAS: Have a peek at some Jack-o-lanterns at GLOW: The Magic of Nature festival in Kansas City.
The GLOW festival is located in Kansas City’s botanical gardens. The coolest attraction is their conservatory – which, around Halloween time, becomes home to hundreds of intricately carved “jumbo” Jack-o-lanterns. If that isn’t enough, there’s music, cocktails, food trucks, and a mile-long Jack-o-lantern-lined path to explore.
KENTUCKY: Live like a royal for a day at Conrad’s Castle in Louisville.
The Conrad-Caldwell House Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, offers visitors a glimpse into the Victorian era. Ogle at the Richardsonian Romanesque revival architecture, and learn about what life was like during this simpler time in history. It’s the perfect, opulent indoor activity, in case it gets a little too chilly outside.
LOUISIANA: Check out the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans.
You can’t go wrong celebrating Halloween in New Orleans, which is the Voodoo capital of America, but the Voodoo Festival, on October 25 to 27, is an experience all its own. The city’s largest park transforms into a spooky carnival, filled with art installations, vendors, a faux graveyard, carnival rides, and iconic musical acts.
This year’s festival boasts Post Malone, Guns N’ Roses, and Beck, to name a few.
MAINE: Enjoy the rugged beauty of Mount Desert Island.
Sweeping cliffs and coastal views make Mount Desert Island the perfect place to hike, bike, or just sit and ponder. TripAdvisor says it’s especially beautiful in the fall, so be sure to make a stop if you’re thinking about a trip to Maine.
MARYLAND: Have a glass of whiskey at the Sagamore Spirit Distillery in Baltimore.
Take a tour of the Sagamore Spirit Distillery in Baltimore and taste their eight-time award-winning drinks for yourself. And if you get cold, that glass of whiskey will definitely warm you up.
MASSACHUSETTS: Take a fall foliage sightseeing tour by way of Boston.
This tour is simple: cruise the gorgeous Massachusetts countryside by bus, making stops along the way to appreciate the lush foliage and forestry New England is so famous for. It’s perfect if you’re short on time but still hungry for a taste of autumn.
MICHIGAN: Sip on some cider at Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills.
Yates Cider Mill has been offering up all-natural cider from its mills since 1863. Book a tour to taste test cider made with six varieties of apples or snack on some scrumptious apple cider doughnuts.
MINNESOTA: Get up close and personal with bald eagles at the National Eagle Centre in Wabasha.
The National Eagle Centre is located on the Mississippi River in Minnesota – while there, visitors get to see rescued bald (and golden) eagles and even interact with them. It’s the perfect fall activity for any bird-lover.
MISSISSIPPI: Expand your mind at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs.
Found in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, this museum showcases the artwork of Walter Inglis Anderson, one of the most lauded American painters of the 20th century. Study his gorgeous depictions of animals, plants, and the Gulf Coast, and take in the fall scenery that inspired his work.
MISSOURI: Get cooking at the Apple Butter Festival in Kimmswick.
Boasting over 500 booths of foods and crafts, the Apple Butter Festival draws over 100,000 people to Kimmswick every year. Check it out this fall, and stir up some apple butter while you’re at it.
MONTANA: Take in the overwhelming beauty of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone.
With the summer crowds gone, fall is the perfect time to visit Yellowstone – you can truly admire the paintbrush-like trees that line the “last freeflowing river in the lower 48 states.”
NEBRASKA: Have a swim — or a stroll — through the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln.
When people think of Nebraska, they tend to think of harsh winters. But if you visit the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln before the snow starts to fall, you’ll hit the perfect sweet spot between seasons. Bring along a book and sit for hours.
NEVADA: Take a tour of Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert.
Go for a drive or book one of the many tours offered by the Southern Nevada Conservancy in Nevada’s scenic Mojave Desert. You can even sign up for the haunt hike, a nocturnal tour where you’ll learn how the desert’s chilling creatures survive.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: If you’re eager, head to Santa’s Village in Jefferson.
Some people get the Christmas bug early. So even though it’s only fall, there are a dedicated few who have already started their holiday countdown. Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, is the place for them – right down to the Santa-themed rides and activities.
NEW JERSEY: Walk among hundreds of statues at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton Township.
Grounds For Sculpture is the perfect two-in-one activity should you find yourself in Jersey this season – walk among four acres of amazing sculptures all while enjoying the fall foliage around you.
NEW MEXICO: Fly over Albuquerque in a hot air balloon.
This fall, enjoy New Mexico from above – in a hot air balloon. Check off your bucket list and book a sunset or sunrise flight with Rainbow Ryders’ to float over the Rio Grande.
NEW YORK: Strut your stuff at New York’s Village Halloween Parade — one of the biggest Halloween parades in the world.
This year, the iconic West Village Halloween Parade celebrates its 46th year – so don your best costume (you’ll be among stiff competition) as you strut down 6th Avenue on October 31.
NORTH CAROLINA: Mine for dazzling gem stones at the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine in Hendersonville.
This fun and interactive mining experience is indoor/outdoor, so no need to worry about fall rain while you’re digging for gold.Rubys, sapphires, and emeralds are found regularly – and you can even get your finds strung into custom jewellery on-site.
NORTH DAKOTA: Drive down the Enchanted Highway.
Is it really enchanted? Decide for yourself as you view 32 miles of expansive fall highway featuring the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures.
OHIO: Check out Ghoulardifest in Cleveland.
Ghoulardi was a fictional character created by radio host Ernie Anderson. He became iconic in the ’60s, hosting multiple TV shows that included “Shock Theatre” and “Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy.”
The festival takes place every year in honour of Ghoulardi, with appearances by local TV legends, live entertainment, games, and prizes.
If you’re feeling nostalgic this year, Ghoulardifest will be held from October 11 to 13.
OKLAHOMA: Explore Bricktown — a lively, hip neighbourhood in Oklahoma City.
With an industrial-chic aesthetic, Bricktown – a hip neighbourhood in Oklahoma City – is known for its lively entertainment scene, repurposed warehouse restaurants and wineries, and an eclectic mix of specialty shops. It’s a great way to spend a day in Oklahoma City.
OREGON: Hit the North Coast Craft Beer Trail in Portland.
Portland is a beer-lovers paradise, known as “Beervana.” Home to over 60 breweries – more than any other city in the world – visitors should check out the North Coast Craft Beer Trail, which is 30 miles long and includes some of the area’s best breweries, like Rogue Ales and the Astoria Brewing Co.
PENNSYLVANIA: Check out a festival dedicated to scarecrows in Peddler’s Village.
The Scarecrow Festival in Peddler’s Village happened in September- but the thousands of scarecrows it produced will be on display through the end of October.
Take a stroll throughout the village and pick out your favourite one – you can cast a vote and select a straw-made winner.
RHODE ISLAND: Stop by the Vanderbilt’s “cottage” in Newport.
They’re the closest America has gotten to royalty – and the Vanderbilts built one of their many lavish homes in Newport, Rhode Island. This one is called the Marble House, and it boasts breathtaking interiors and grounds alike. Adjusted to inflation, it cost around $US300 million to build.
The best part? The 50-room Marble House was their summer cottage.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Walk down the pier at Hilton Head Island.
If piers aren’t your thing, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is also known for its bike trails – on which you can ride, relax, and enjoy the calm surroundings.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Visit the Crazy Horse Memorial in the heart of the Black Hills.
At 6,532 feet, the Crazy Horse Memorial is one of South Dakota’s highest peaks. Take a photo of the iconic carving and learn about the culture and traditions of the North American Indians.
TENNESSEE: Feast on classic BBQ at Jack Daniel’s BBQ fest.
Every year, more than 40,000 visitors descend on Lynchburg, Tennessee for one of the most acclaimed BBQ competitions in the country. Check out the barbecue competitions and stay for the Country Dog Show at Jack Daniels’ 31st annual BBQ Fest.
TEXAS: Catch the last bit of warm weather at the River Walk in San Antonio.
It’s impossible to go to San Antonio and not check out the fabulous River Walk. Whether it’s sipping wine or shopping for a pair of cowboy boots, you’ll want to soak up the last bit of good weather as fast as you can.
UTAH: Get inspired at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park houses Inspiration Point, a dizzying rock formation that will take your breath away.
VERMONT: Bring your favourite pup to Dog Mountain in Saint Johnsbury.
Dog Mountain in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, is essentially a giant outdoor gallery that happens to be dog-themed. Visitors are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to the 150-acre park that boasts dog sculptures, a Dog Chapel, and tons of trails for you and your furry friend.
VIRGINIA: Have some good, old fashioned fall fun at the Cox Farms Fall Festival in Centreville.
Complete with giant slides, hayrides, pumpkin patches, and even a tractor museum, the Cox Farms Fall Festival is a safe haven for fall addicts – and the largest fall festival in the D.C. area. It runs all the way through November 5th.
WASHINGTON: Get lost in the colours of Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle.
Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass pays tribute to glass master and artist Dale Chihuly. Get the best of both worlds this fall and stroll through indoor galleries and outdoor garden spaces to see glass art unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
WEST VIRGINIA: Take a paranormal tour at the Weston State Hospital.
Located in Historic Weston, West Virginia, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (also known as the Weston State Hospital) served as an institution for the mentally ill in the mid-1800s.
Take a tour of the 160-year-old historic landmark and learn about its fascinating and haunting history.
WISCONSIN: See a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Whether you grew up a “Cheesehead” or not, it’s never too late to check out a Green Bay Packers football game this fall. They have a record of being a great team with even greater fans- their stadium is one of the best for tailgating in the country.
WYOMING: Check out the stunning Grand Teton National Park.
Any outdoorsy type’s dream, the Grand Teton National Park boasts rustic views and stunning mountains. Breathe in that crisp fall air.
- Read more:
- Regional fall foods in the US that everyone should try in their lifetime
- Costco is already selling 4-pound pumpkin pies, and you can buy one for just $US6
- Krispy Kreme is bringing back its fan-favourite pumpkin spice cake doughnut just in time for fall
- 11 amusement parks around the US that go all-out for Halloween
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.