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3 Destinations for Fall Fun

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Each year, New England’s glorious fall colors beckon tourists to visit its quaint towns and scenic parks. But other regions of the United States also boast a beautiful autumn season.

If you yearn for crisp air, crunchy leaves underfoot, and dazzling displays of nature at its best, plan your getaway to one of these 3 destinations for fall fun!

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen draws skiers and snowboarders to its snowy peaks in the winter, but it’s also one of the USA’s most beautiful destinations for fall colors. With fewer tourists, reduced lodging rates, and awe-inspiring pops of color against the blue sky and snow-capped mountains, this mountain city is worthy of an autumn visit.

Stay: Aspen is full of luxury hotels, so consider splurging on either The Little Nell or the St. Regis Aspen for a memorable five-star experience. For a more budget-friendly stay, nearby Snowmass has several options, from Pokolodi Lodge to Stonebridge Inn.

See: Drive the scenic twelve miles of Castle Creek Road, stopping at its numerous lookout points to ooh and aah at the leaves. Hike along Hunter Creek Trail to a lovely meadow, spotting old miner cabins along the way. Get up close and personal with the fall foliage as you fly along the zipline or conquer the challenging ropes course at Lost Forest.

Eat: Chefs Club, located in the St. Regis hotel, was named one of the nation’s 100 Best Restaurants by Time Magazine. It features a rotation of visiting chefs who take over the space for several months at a time and serve changing menus. For a more casual meal, The Stew Pot ladles out a variety of stews and soups alongside hearty salads and sandwiches—perfect after a long morning of hiking!

Sonoma, California

The west coast comes to life in the fall with vibrant foliage, and this is especially true when it comes to wine country. Sweeping hills burst with orange, yellow, and red, backed by the majesty of California's mountains during the harvest. Between stunning scenery and plenty of things for wine enthusiasts to enjoy, consider a California adventure to welcome in the autumn harvest.

Stay: Sonoma attracts visitors of all kinds, so lodging options range anywhere from campsites to luxury. Vintners Resort is an inn set on 92 acres of vineyards for a quaint, picturesque vacation surrounded by rustic lavishness. If you're not looking to break the bank, centered in an up-and-coming arts area comes the Astro Motel, a vintage-themed stay filled with locally made art and unique rooms.

See: Take a wine tour through Sonoma's world-renowned vineyards, discover California's many scenic hiking trails, and take home a piece of art from one of their many art galleries scattered throughout this artists' oasis.

Eat: More quaint than Napa, Sonoma hosts more laid-back dining options, perfect for the fall weather when you'd rather lay back and relax by the outdoor fires of a trendy wine bar. Valette, just off the main square in Healdsburg, is a local favorite, featuring fresh ingredients from the surrounding area. Just off the main Sonoma plaza, Girl and the Fig is a classic bistro stop for those visiting Sonoma.

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains are the best place to get in views of changing leaves, winding rivers, and the best place to take advantage of outdoor activities before the winter frost. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park runs from North Carolina through Tennessee, with the border being right near Asheville, North Carolina. This vacation is all about hiking, camping, fishing, and making s'mores out by the fire while you enjoy the crisp autumn air.

Stay: Though you may not immediately think "luxury" when you hear "mountains," there are some stunning lodging options for cabins in the Smokies. Cades Cove Vista Lodge boasts some truly spectacular views of the scenery from one of their private balconies. Castle on the Hill is a modern chalet just three miles from the city, complete with all the views of the National Park foliage.

See: In these mountains, there's no shortage of outdoor activities to take advantage of. Arrange a day of hiking trails, discover waterfalls and fishing holes, or take to the wheels with biking or a scenic drive. When you're all natured-out, head to the nearby Gatlinburg for a brewery visit or a walk around Ripley's aquarium that young and adult travelers alike will love.

Eat: Indulge in classic Southern cooking at Southern Comfort, an old-fashioned foodie delight located at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park. Or try Bennett's Pit BBQ, ranked as 2019's best barbeque in Pigeon Forge and awarded a Certificate of Excellence for seven years in a row by TripAdvisor.

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