08 Nov 4 Amazing Getaways For a Perfect Fall Weekend
Fall is something magical in the eastern regions of the country. Every year from late September to early November, nature puts on a brilliant display of color that is awe-inspiring even for natives.
Naturally, quite a few states come to mind as top travel destinations for early to mid-fall… but where are the best places to visit? If you don’t mind road-tripping for a few hours or catching a quick flight for the weekend, here are my top 4 recommendations:
Home of country music and southern hospitality, Tennessee is a must-visit for all ages and it’s even more beautiful in the autumn season. Stunning fall colors peak in late-October through early November throughout the state and the temperature remains moderate enough for a light jacket or sweater during the day.
In the central part of the state, venture out to Franklin and stay at a local bed and breakfast, exploring the historic architecture and delicious restaurants that downtown has to offer. If you’re visiting the eastern part of Tennessee, you absolutely can’t miss the incredible foliage of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Stay in Gatlinburg at the base of the Mountains, which offers a ton of laid-back activities for all ages, from fishing to horseback riding to museum-touring. Cabin rentals are aplenty in Gatlinburg, which makes for an even cozier getaway.
Just a short distance to both Philadelphia and New York City, New Jersey offers the best of both worlds: access to major tourist attractions in these cities and the ability to retreat to quieter destinations. Many of the beach towns of New Jersey, like Cape May, are rid of tourists for the year and allow for relaxing strolls through quaint towns, market shopping, and winery visits. Book a room and spa treatment at Congress Hall for a refined colonial experience and beach views.
Northern New Jersey destinations, like Sussex County, feature more natural attractions and fall foliage. Hike to the monument tower at High Point State Park for breathtaking views.
Visiting the tri-state intersection of these three states makes for an incredible weekend trip. Farmington, Pennsylvania is home to several historic landmarks, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, the Jumonville Cross, and Ohiopyle State Park – all located within about 15 minutes of each other. See the roaring Ohiopyle falls, join a whitewater rafting excursion, and grab lunch at the area’s newest (and cutest) lunch spot, Bittersweet Café, featuring grass fed meats and farm fresh produce local to the mountains.
Just an hour southwest in West Virginia is Cheat Lake. You’ll experience beautiful mountain views from Cooper’s Rock State Forest and you can stay right above the water at Lakeview Resort, which overlooks Cheat Lake and offers 36 holes of golf. Another hour car ride directly east brings you to Cumberland, Maryland for one of the coolest fall experiences I’ve had: the Scenic Western Maryland Railroad. The railroad offers several experiences for riders, from fall foliage train rides to a “Mountain Moonshine” ride that includes a three-course meal, a layover stop with campfires and music, and of course, plenty of moonshine samples.
Located on the northwest side of the “Mitten”, Traverse City is a widely popular tourist destination in the summer months for its beaches, sand dunes, and wine. In the fall season, tourism winds down, but the autumn activities heat up. Both the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and wineries are excellent attractions even outside of the summer months and Michigan apples and cherries are staples in the city’s homemade wine, cider, and sweet treats. Stay at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa or check out the local bed and breakfasts for a weekend retreat with plenty of cozy charm.
My top tips to finding the perfect getaway locations are to stay adventurous and always keep an open mind! Have you visited any of these locations? Where is your perfect fall destination?