- Fall can look and feel different depending on where you are in the US.
- Across the country, states celebrate with jack-o’-lanterns in the town square, colourful leaves, festive foods, and tons of seasonal fruits.
- Here are stunning photos from every state that gives a glimpse of the foliage-filled season.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The thought of crisp fall weather brings to mind cinnamon-scented candles, pumpkin-flavored everything, and beautiful foliage in shades of red, orange, and yellow.
But depending on what state you’re in, fall can look and feel pretty different. For example, Floridians are lucky if they see one brown leaf hiding among palm trees during the fall months. Meanwhile, in Alaska, aurora borealis dazzle the night skies; and in Hawaii, people spend time on the island’s picturesque beaches.
From jack-o’ lanterns, beautiful scenic spots, and hiking through colourful leaves, here’s what fall looks like in every state.
Every autumn, Alabama turns crimson for football season.
All over the US, fall is synonymous with football season, both for college and professional leagues.
Due to COVID-19, this year looks a little different. For the University of Alabama, seating in the Bryant-Denny Stadium will be at 20% capacity due to social distancing. Tailgating will also be prohibited for the 2020 football season.
Despite the restrictions, fans can still enjoy watching the Crimson Tide compete on television and chant “Roll Tide” from home.
In Alaska, the aurora borealis lights up the sky.
Fall in northern Alaska brings the famous aurora borealis, or the northern lights, which can start in mid-September in the northernmost US state. A fall adventure to Denali National Park might mean spotting a surreal light show in the sky.
Although the Arizona State Fair has been postponed to 2021, the fairgrounds are still offering plenty of drive-thru events to get residents in the fall spirit.
Though Arizona stays mostly true to its desert climate and doesn’t experience a dramatic season switch come autumn, its White Mountain region is known to be a scenic spot with opportunities to see beautiful fall foliage.
The season also brings the beginning of the annual Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, filled with quintessential carnival foods and rides. This time around, the actual Arizona State Fair has been postponed to 2021. However, the fairgrounds are hosting drive-thru concerts throughout the month of October, as well as drive-thru fried fair food to give you a taste of the fair from home.
In Arkansas, a stunning rock formation provides the perfect photo opportunity.
Known as Hawksbill Crag or Whitaker Point, this Arkansas rock formation is a popular photo spot.
During the fall, the geological wonder comes alive, surrounded by colourful leaves. According to AllTrails, the hike remains open, but is heavily trafficked.
California usually celebrates Día de los Muertos.
Día de los Muertos, or the “Day of the Dead,” is a holiday with origins in Mexico and Central and South America that commemorates relatives and loved ones who have passed away.
All around the US, celebrations for the Day of the Dead happen on and around November 2. Families celebrate life by building “ofrendas” – decorated altars – to honour their relatives, while in some cities, they host parades – like this one pictured above in Los Angeles.
This year, the event in Hollywood has been cancelled due to COVID-19. However, the team behind the event is brainstorming ideas to still honour and celebrate the special holiday.
Pumpkin-picking comes with epic views in Colorado.
Pumpkin patches and corn mazes are quintessential fall activities all around the US, and in Colorado, pumpkin-picking often comes with a gorgeous mountain view.
Pumpkin picking is a relatively easy socially distanced activity, and patches remain open across the state this fall.
Connecticut boasts the longest-lasting fall foliage season.
Connecticut may be the third-smallest state in the US by square miles, but it’s the state with the longest-lasting fall foliage season, making for captivating views at just about every corner.
The state’s fall colours can be spotted in river reflections and along tree-lined streets.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pac-Man, Fifer Orchards in Delaware has a “Pac-Maize,” promising a fun-filled day to get you in the fall spirit.
At Fifer Orchards, you can reserve a spot to try out the 6-acre “Pac-Maize,” specifically designed with extra-wide pathways and plenty of room for social distancing.
The maze was made to celebrate the iconic arcade game’s 40th anniversary, and will surely get you in the fall spirit.
In many places in Florida, temperatures remain too warm for autumnal colours.
Weather in many Florida towns typically remains stagnant as the fall months near. While other US states experience changing leaves and a gentle, crisp breeze, Floridians are lucky to see one brown palm leaf. Fall in Florida also means the state continues to be in the midst of hurricane season through November 30, according to the National Hurricane Centre.
In Georgia, get into the fall spirit at the Georgia State Fair.
The Georgia State Fair at the Atlanta Motor Speedway will be open this year under strict COVID-19 safety guidelines.
From October 2-11, fair goers can enjoy live music, pony rides, circus performers, and plenty of fair food to get everyone in the fall spirit.
In Hawaii, locals and visitors still head to the beach.
Hawaii is another US state that doesn’t see the typical orange and red fall foliage. Instead, the islands of Hawaii get amazing beach weather through autumn and are big spots for outdoor and aquatic events, like the Ironman World Championship, which takes place in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, each October.
This year, while the Ironman World Championship may be cancelled, the beaches remain a great spot to relax and celebrate fall.
It’s colder in Idaho, where fallen leaves line the Greenbelt.
As fall weather moves into Idaho, one of Boise’s most-loved trails, the Greenbelt, becomes even more picturesque with vibrant leaves that line the pathway. The 25-mile route is a perfect path for bikers and pedestrians to enjoy the city before winter creeps in.
In Illinois, the Scarecrow Stroll spreads scarecrows across town, allowing for visitors to stroll and social distance.
The Scarecrow Stroll in St. Charles, Illinois, will take place on October 9-11, with scarecrows spread out across town. In an effort to also support local businesses, scarecrows will be paired with restaurants and shops offering Scarecrow Stroll deals and special prizes.
To get in the fall spirit, the Scarecrow Stroll will also host a drive-in movie, pumpkin carving, a scavenger hunt, and a photography station.
Crunchy autumnal leaves cover Indiana’s parks.
One of Indiana’s most unique spots is the Indiana Dunes National Park, where beautiful fall leaves dot the landscape from late September through October. As birds migrate south for the winter, the sand dunes also make for stunning bird-watching opportunities.
If you plan to visit Indiana Dunes National Park, make sure to check the COVID-19 regulations and respect social distancing rules.
Visitors can search for crystallised rocks in Iowa’s Keokuk Creek.
A favourite local pastime in the city of Keokuk, Iowa, is searching for geodes, or magnificent crystallised rocks, in the Keokuk Creek. In Iowa’s peak fall foliage season, which is during mid-October, hunting for a geode in the water is even more idyllic.
In Kansas, Day of the Dead celebrations parade through the streets every year.
In Kansas City, The Central Avenue Betterment Association hosts plenty of festivities for Día de los Muertos. Face painting, food and art vendors, and of course, a big parade is held every year on Central Avenue.
Horses race at the legendary Keeneland track in Kentucky every October.
Described as the horse capital of the world, Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, hosts an annual October horse race and sometimes other championships, such as the Breeders’ Cup, which has been held at the famed Kentucky tracks in the past.
This year, even if you are not from Kentucky, you can watch the horse racing from home. Keeneland has organised digital race day programs, Keeneland party items you can order, recipes, and kids’ colouring sheets to get the entire family in the fall spirit.
Louisiana residents honour their iconic sandwich, the po’boy, with an annual street festival in New Orleans.
New Orleans’ annual Oak Street Po-Boy Festival celebrates its take on what people in other regions of the country may know as a “sub” sandwich or “hoagie.” The festival brings more than 60 varieties of the po’boy to the streets of New Orleans, along with artists and music, for a lively event that is just one of many fall festivities in the colourful city.
In Maine, orchard visitors can pick apples until late October.
Orchards around Maine attract pickers with their juicy apples from the end of August through October, according to the Maine Pomological Society.
In Maryland, bird-watchers can catch a glimpse of birds migrating south.
In mid-September, landscapes throughout Maryland begin to bloom with colourful leaves. Spending time in one of the state’s forests and parks is a common way to cherish the fall months alongside activities like watching the skies and rivers for birds that are migrating south for the winter.
Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, growers spend the season harvesting cranberries.
Fall in Massachusetts means it’s the prime season for harvesting cranberries. Cranberry bogs take up 14,000 acres in southeastern Massachusetts, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association.
Visitors enjoy cider from a century-old mill in Michigan, where apples are big business.
There’s nothing more fall-esque than sipping on apple cider on a crisp afternoon. In Michigan, apples are the largest and most valuable local fruit crop, so it’s no wonder Michigan locals pride themselves on their state’s local apple ciders and historic cider mills, such as Uncle John’s Cider Mill, which has been around since the early 1900s.
Hundreds of thousands of people descend on the Renaissance Festival in Minnesota each fall. This year, it will look a little different.
Nearly 300,000 people flock to the city of Shakopee for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, one of the state’s longest-running fall traditions. The festival usually includes jousting, music, and ancient forms of art like glassblowing and paper making.
This year, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival on Parade will be a drive-thru experience held in early October.
In Mississippi, football fans wave cowbells as the season gets underway.
Mississippi is another Southern state filled with big-time fall football pride. Fans of Mississippi State are known to not only cheer for their favourite players, but they also wave cowbells, many of which are bedazzled and decorated. The quirky but iconic cowbells can be seen (and heard) throughout the state as a symbol of school spirit.
Similar to Alabama, Mississippi State’s football stadium will be capped at 25% capacity due to COVID-19, and tailgating will not be permitted on the MSU campus this season.
Fall foliage gives Missouri’s Ozarks region an orange hue.
Missouri’s leaves typically change colour during a four-to-six week period, with the peak being in mid-October. In the Ozarks region, Missourians can find themselves surrounded by a breathtaking array of red, orange, and yellow leaves all set against rivers and mountain backdrops.
In Montana, the season shows off the stunning landscapes.
Early fall is said to be an ideal, less-congested time to drive along Montana’s famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile, two-lane highway that spans Glacier National Park, passing through landscapes of all sorts, including picturesque glacial lakes, forests, and tundra areas.
Nebraska’s capital is another picturesque fall destination.
Fall in Nebraska can be enjoyed during a hike in one of the state’s parks, or in Nebraska City, which is the birthplace of Arbor Day. The state’s capital, Lincoln, is also a picturesque autumn destination.
In Nevada, fall is a less-congested time of year to enjoy all the activities Lake Tahoe has to offer.
Beautiful in every season, Lake Tahoe is a famous destination for outdoor-enthusiasts in all types of weather. During the fall,Lake Tahoe is in its off-season prime, meaning it’s less-congested with tourists, who otherwise tend to flock to the area in summer and winter.
New Hampshire is home to a record-breaking pumpkin festival.
The Keene Pumpkin Festival brings together thousands of kids to carve jack-o’-lanterns and display their artful gourds in the city’s downtown square. The festival is also a philanthropic event that supports local charities, and in 2013, the gathering earned world record status for having 30,581 pumpkins lit at the same time.
This year, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the festival is going to be “self-managed.” Businesses and residents who live in the downtown area are now encouraged to carve their own pumpkins and display them in window fronts and on stoops to celebrate fall.
New Jersey lights up with the annual Autumn Lights Festival.
New Jersey comes alive in autumn with the 26th annual Autumn Lights Festival, held in West Milford, New Jersey.
The committee is in the process of working with local businesses to create socially distanced activities and ensure fall can still be celebrated safely.
Each fall, visitors flock to New Mexico for a nine-day hot air balloon festival. The festival has been postponed until 2021, but there are still some fun activities in store.
Spectacular colours in fall aren’t only found on the trees. In Albuquerque, the International Balloon Fiesta happens every October for nine days, filling the sky with hot air balloons and drawing more than 880,000 visitors. As the sun sets, some balloons illuminate the dark sky in what the festival calls its twilight balloon glows.
While the festival itself has been postponed until 2021, Balloon Fiesta has partnered with Yelp to create “Yelp’s Taste of Balloon Fiesta.” From October 3-11, Balloon Fiesta’s concession stands will be holding in-person or online specials, and customers will also receive Balloon Fiesta merchandise as a bonus.
In addition to the food, there will also be 14 live-stream events airing at the usual Balloon Fiesta times, so fans can still get in the fall spirit from home.
Dogs get into the Halloween spirit for an annual costume parade in New York.
Among a plethora of autumn festivities in New York, a well-loved fall tradition is the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade, where dogs (and their owners) flock to the Manhattan park, sporting comical canine costumes.
This year, dog lovers from across the world can get a glimpse of the festive costumes as the parade goes virtual. Anyone can log on this year to join in on the celebration and witness some epic costumes.
North Carolina is home to one of the most picturesque fall roads.
Described as one of the most picturesque fall road trip routes in the US, the foliage-filled Blue Ridge Parkway passes through some of North Carolina’s hot spots, like Asheville and Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
North Dakota’s parks are more beautiful than ever in the fall.
North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of the state’s most picturesque natural landscapes, and it’s home to herds of bison, or buffalo, among other creatures like bobcats, beavers, and longhorns. Fall makes for watercolor-like sunsets in the state’s vast park, as well as opportunities for scenic drives and walks.
In Ohio, growers compete for the title of heaviest pumpkin.
At the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers Weigh-Off, just one of many annual pumpkin competitions that happen in the US, giant gourds are the stars of the show, and farmers compete to see who can claim the winning title.
The event is happening this year, just with added safety restrictions to ensure the community is protected.
In Oklahoma, locals can enjoy the cooling temperatures in beautiful downtown districts.
Oklahoma City’s Bricktown district is a lively neighbourhood that illuminates in the crisp fall weather. With shops, restaurants, and string light-filled scenery, it’s a popular area to spend time in when the weather is chilly but not too cold.
There’s no end to fall activities in Oregon.
The Columbia River Gorge in Oregon is a major fall destination with amazing views, whether driving around the region or going for a kayak expedition on the water.
Pennsylvania visitors and locals can pick crisp apples at some of the country’s best orchards.
There’s something quintessentially fall about spending an afternoon at an apple orchard. Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation for apple production and is filled with orchards for apple-picking and other fall activities.
Early sunsets in Rhode Island make for stunning autumn coastal views.
Rhode Island’s stunning coastal views don’t end when the weather gets cooler. During the fall, as the sun sets earlier, the state’s wineries and lighthouses come to life.
In South Carolina, the leafy trails and bike paths come alive with fall colours.
South Carolina’s summer humidity typically doesn’t stop at the technical first day of fall, but that doesn’t mean locals aren’t in the autumn spirit.
Greenville, South Carolina, is known to be a beautiful fall foliage destination with robust bike paths.
South Dakota’s golden hour shows off the state’s breathtaking natural beauty.
South Dakota is famous for its national parks. Though the state’s nature areas might not make for the typical foliage views, locals and visitors alike can find beauty in the fall golden hour’s light shining on the sandstone ridges of the Badlands and the sculpted rocks of Mount Rushmore.
Tennessee’s tree varieties provide spectacular autumn views.
From mid-October through early November, fall colours found in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are at their most vibrant. The famous mountain range is filled with different species of trees, from maples to hickories, that make for unparalleled autumn views.
Texas serves up unique local food at its annual state fair, which will be in a drive-thru format this year.
The State Fair of Texas is among the state’s most coveted events for a month each fall, starting in September and ending in October. Attendees gather in Dallas to celebrate the spirit of Texas and indulge in unique local foods, from fried taco cones to bayou fruit bites.
This year, the fair has pivoted to a drive-thru, and it is selling plenty of tickets to its Big Tex Fair Food Drive-Thru. The entire experience is mapped out to take an hour and a half, and promises tons of delicious fair treats and an optional picnic outside the fairgrounds.
In Utah, autumn shows off the state’s natural wonders.
Among Utah’s natural wonders that shine in the fall is Bryce Canyon National Park, which is home to the world’s largest concentration of “hoodoos,” or irregular columns of rock.
In Vermont, adventurers can enjoy lakes and streams, surrounded by fall foliage.
Whether kayaking down the Waterbury Reservoir or strolling through one of the state’s 30 other parks, Vermont in the fall is filled with beautiful views, cold lakes and streams, and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors before winter creeps into the Northeast.
Usually, Virginians will celebrate fall with a fair held in a centuries-old village.
For the past 50 years, Virginians have kicked off fall at the Bluemont Fair, a festival that takes place at the end of September at the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
Even though the fair is cancelled for 2020, one special aspect that remains is the annual poster art competition, which was won by 14-year-old Emma Fajans. Fans of the fair can still purchase her poster art to celebrate fall.
Washington marks Halloween in its famous Bavarian village every fall.
Known as Washington’s Bavarian Village, the town of Leavenworth has rows of charming Tudor-style buildings and is surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains.
In the fall, the unique village comes alive with vibrant red and orange hues and celebrations for Oktoberfest and Halloween.
This year, Oktoberfest is cancelled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still stroll through the kitschy town and take in other activities, including Village Art in the Park or the Community Farmers Market.
The changing leaves transform Washington, DC’s most iconic scenes.
Washington, DC, may be a well-known spot in the spring for the Cherry Blossom Festival, but its stunning fall leaves also make for memorable landscapes that contrast the city’s traditional architecture. During autumn, leaves transform and dot DC’s most famous areas, from Georgetown to Capitol Hill, with reds, oranges, and browns.
Every year, daredevils from across the world travel to West Virginia to jump from one of its bridges into the gorge below. This year, fans can watch the best moments from the past in a virtual event.
One of West Virginia’s most notable fall events is its annual Bridge Day, where BASE jumpers (people who jump off bridges, skyscrapers, cliffs, or other fixed structures) soar almost 900 feet in the air above the New River Gorge Bridge.
The event has been a tradition since 1980 and now welcomes hundreds of jumpers from states across the nation and around the world.
Bridge Day has been postponed until 2021, but this year, daredevils can tune in virtually to relive the best moments from past years and participate in a raffle.
Wisconsin is home to some of the country’s most vibrant fall views.
Wisconsin’s Door County is known for its vibrant fall foliage, making it one of the state’s most idyllic autumn destinations. With chillier weather comes colourful trees along the state’s Lake Michigan and Green Bay coasts, plus troves of farmers’ markets, ghost tours, and corn mazes.
In Wyoming’s national parks, wild animals roam between vibrantly coloured trees.
From the beginning of September through mid-October, Wyoming’s Grand Tetons are a visually incredible fall destination. The Tetons have huge areas of deciduous trees, or trees that turn yellow, orange, and red; and the national park also sees animals like deer and bull moose roaming the grounds during autumn.