Top U.S. Destinations For A Cozy Fall Getaway
By: Valeria Ramos
As the summer heat gives way to the crisp coolness of fall, we’re daydreaming of hot apple cider, crunchy leaves, and cozy sweaters. Planning a weekend getaway in the States is a great way to make the most of the seasons and take in autumn’s breathtaking palette of gold, red, and orange landscapes.
From historic towns to tranquil countryside escapes, these seven picturesque cities promise stunning fall foliage and all the cozy vibes that make fall an irresistible season to embrace.
7 U.S. Getaways For Cozy Fall Vibes
Salem, Massachusetts: Where History Meets Fall Splendor
Nestled on the coast of Massachusetts, Salem is renowned for its rich history and captivating fall atmosphere. As the leaves change color, this historic town takes on an enchanting aura. The quaint streets lined with centuries-old buildings are adorned with pumpkins, hay bales, and fallen leaves. Visitors can explore sites like the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and the House of Seven Gables, while savoring apple cider and warm pastries. Salem’s blend of history and fall charm makes it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a bewitching autumn experience.
- Where to stay: This coven-inspired Airbnb is within walking distance of main Salem attractions.
- Must-do: Red’s Sandwich Shop is a Salem staple and this house is the only surviving building with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials.
Stowe, Vermont: A Quaint Haven Amidst Nature’s Canvas
When it comes to picturesque fall getaways, Stowe, Vermont, often tops the list. Tucked away in the Green Mountains, this charming town is synonymous with autumn beauty. The landscape transforms into a breathtaking tapestry of fiery reds, deep oranges, and vibrant yellows. Visitors can take scenic drives along the famed Route 100 or hike through Smugglers’ Notch State Park for a close-up of fall nature. Cozy lodges and charming bed-and-breakfasts provide the perfect retreat after a day of exploring, offering crackling fireplaces and warm cider to complete your idyllic fall experience.
- Where to stay: This stunning cabin is surrounded by 6,600 acres of state forest, with hiking trails right outside. Or, this family-run bed and breakfast overlooks the Green Mountains and is a five-minute drive to downtown Stowe.
- Must-do: Enjoy warm apple cider and donuts at Cold Hollow Cider Mill and view the fall foliage on Mount Mansfield (the highest peak in Vermont).
Aspen, Colorado: Fall Bliss in the Rocky Mountains
Renowned for its winter wonderland, Aspen also reveals an equally enchanting side during the fall season. As the leaves change against the Rocky Mountains, Aspen’s beauty takes on an ethereal quality. Hiking trails that weave through groves of golden aspen trees offer a serene escape, while the city’s art galleries, boutiques, and cafes provide a touch of urban charm. For a unique fall experience, consider a hot air balloon ride over the mountains, where you can witness the landscape’s transformation from a bird’s-eye view.
- Where to stay: This two-bedroom condo in downtown Aspen has views of Aspen Mountain and is within walking distance to gondolas, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and hiking trails.
- Must-do: Visit the hiking trails at Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed peaks in Colorado. Grab a hot chocolate and take a gondola ride up Aspen Mountain for panoramic views of the Rockies.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee/North Carolina: A Fall Haven for Nature Enthusiasts
Straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a paradise for those seeking the ultimate fall foliage experience. Known for its diversity of tree species, the park’s foliage display is spectacular. Visitors can enjoy scenic drives along Newfound Gap Road or hike to panoramic vistas. Cades Cove, a lush valley within the park, is particularly stunning in the fall, with its meadows and forests aglow in autumnal hues. The Great Smoky Mountains offer a serene escape into nature’s embrace during the colorful season.
- Where to stay: Bryson City offers a quaint and charming fall experience that is just a 30-minute drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- Must-do: Clingman’s Dome is a 1.3-mile hike with some of the best views of the Smoky Mountains. The dome features an observation tower that is half in North Carolina and half in Tennessee.
Portland, Maine: Coastal Charm with a Fall Twist
Portland, Maine, combines coastal beauty with the warmth of fall. As the city’s historic architecture and charming waterfront blend seamlessly with the changing leaves, a unique autumn ambiance emerges. Visitors can explore the Old Port district’s cobblestone streets, indulge in fresh seafood, and take a stroll along the Eastern Promenade, where the sparkling waters of Casco Bay contrast with the vibrant foliage. For a quintessential fall experience, take a scenic cruise along the coast for breathtaking views of the juxtaposing colors between land and sea.
- Where to stay: This apartment in Portland’s West End is a seven-minute walk to the Old Port district, where you can find plenty of restaurants, shops, and picturesque views.
- Must-do: Duckfat and Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room are two must-visit restaurants. Grab a pastry at Standard Baking Co. and watch the sun go down on this harbor cruise of Casco Bay.
Asheville, North Carolina: Where Arts and Autumn Converge
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is a hidden gem that truly shines during the fall months. This vibrant city boasts a thriving arts scene, historic architecture, and a backdrop of stunning fall foliage. The Biltmore Estate, a Gilded Age mansion, is surrounded by meticulously landscaped gardens that come alive with color during autumn. The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a scenic drive through rolling hills and forested valleys, with plenty of overlooks to capture the breathtaking views. As you explore local art galleries, craft breweries, and farm-to-table restaurants, you’ll be enveloped in Asheville’s unique blend of creativity and fall charm.
- Where to stay: Wake up to the Blue Ridge Mountains in this treehouse hideaway just 20 minutes from everything Asheville has to offer.
- Must-do: Biscuit Head is a breakfast spot locals love. Visit the famous swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain and take a haunted history tour if you’re feeling brave!
Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada: Alpine Beauty in Autumn
While Lake Tahoe is famous for its winter skiing and summer water sports, it also transforms into a breathtaking wonderland during the fall. Straddling the California-Nevada border, this alpine paradise is surrounded by towering pine trees and pristine lakes. As summer crowds disperse, the shores of Lake Tahoe become serene havens, perfect for leisurely walks and quiet contemplation. Hiking trails like the Tahoe Rim Trail and Fallen Leaf Lake Trail provide opportunities to immerse yourself in the changing colors of the forest.
- Where to stay: This private guest house is just a few minutes from the beach and ten minutes from the gondolas, restaurants, and charm of South Lake Tahoe.
- Must-do: Have brunch at the Getaway Cafe and take a day trip down Highway 88 to Hope Valley, where you’ll see swathes of yellow leaves against the Sierra Nevada peaks.
Plan Your Next Cozy Fall Getaway
From the historic streets of Salem to the countryside of Stowe and the breathtaking landscapes of Aspen, these seven U.S. getaways capture the essence of fall’s beauty and coziness.
Whether you’re seeking history, nature, or a blend of both, these cities promise a heartwarming experience amidst the splendor of fall.